Civil Society: The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Not an Independent Institution and the Nomination of Officials Is Politically Oriented – Wednesday, 16.6.2010

Posted on 17 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Officials of some important civil society organizations in Cambodia do not trust that officials of the National Anti-Corruption Council, that held the first meeting at the Council of Ministers yesterday, can function properly, saying, ‘The National Anti-Corruption Council is not an independent institution, but it is politically oriented.

“The president of Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Thun Saray, said, ‘Civil society organizations do not think the institution is dependent, and as we had said before, this institution is composed of people appointed based on their political orientation.

“Also, the executive director of the Cambodia Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he could not say whether this newly created National Anti-Corruption Council can operate effectively to fight corruption.

“He noticed that the members of the council are persons with similar faces, adding, ‘It is just like the same car driven by the same drivers, but just it is painted with a new color to appear a bit nicer.’

“So far, both the Anti-Corruption Unit and the National Anti-Corruption Council do not seem to have earned the full support from the general public.

“Mr. Om Yentieng, becoming a member of the National Anti-Corruption Council automatically, as he has been nominated as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit last week, said that the eleven members of the National Anti-Corruption Council have now been appointed.

“A senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party thinks that Mr. Om Yentieng, nominated by the Prime Minister as the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, will not be able to work effectively.

“Answering journalists questions regarding the appointment of Mr. Om Yentieng as head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit by Mr. Hun Sen’s government, a Sam Rainsy party parliamentarian and spokesperson of the party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he does not believe there will be a change in the fight against corruption.

“Mr. Yim Sovann added, ‘I think that corruption will not decline when Mr. Om Yentieng is the head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit at the Council of Ministers.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann noticed that corruption has spread further, adding ‘I believe that there is no change in the fight against corruption.’

“It should be noted that, according to the anti-corruption law signed by the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia in March 2010, the National Anti-Corruption Council must have eleven members assigned by the National Assembly, the Senate, the King, the government, the National Audit Authority, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection, and the Human Rights Committee of the government.

“That law states that other duties of the council are to check the operations of the Anti-Corruption Unit, the investigators, and to report to Prime Minister Hun Sen to make final decisions.

“The president of ADHOC, Mr. Thun Saray, told reporters on Monday that civil society organizations will closely observe the activities of this institution.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #505, 16.6.2010

  • Cambodia for the First Time Will Have a National Arbitration Center to Solve Commercial Disputes [and to promote trust in the field of commerce – according to the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh]
  • The Medical Ship USNS Mercy [of the United States of America navy] Comes to Provide Free Treatment to Khmer Citizens

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2276, 16.6.2010

  • The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Established
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] His Excellency Hor Namhong Declared Victory in the Case with [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy in France [who accused Mr. Hor Namhong as having been involved in killing people during Khmer Rouge regime while he was in Boeng Trabaek prison; Mr. Hor Namhong demanded only Euro 1 or approx.US$1.25 as a symbolic compensation from Mr. Sam Rainsy]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #780, 16.6.2010

  • The US Department of State Upgraded Cambodia to the Tier 2 in the Fight of Human Trafficking and Excluded Cambodia from the Tier 2 Watch List [on human trafficking]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6983, 16.6.2010

  • In a Horrific Tragedy, an Old Man and an Old Woman together with Their Son Were Murdered at Night [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #194, 16.6.2010

  • The Authorities Blocked Land Dispute Protesters [about 200 persons from different provinces and cities] to Hand Over a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King]: My Visit [at the end of June] to Vietnam Is Private [he said so, as he retired and does not enter into politics and does not handle diplomatic affairs; earlier on, the Sam Rainsy Party had asked him to mention the irregularities over the putting of border markers with Vietnam during his visit]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5225, 16.6.2010

  • The Staff Member of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister Accepted a Petition that Police Prevented from Being Carried to Samdech Hun Sen’s Residence [the petition was brought by about 200 land dispute protesters from different provinces and cities]
  • Delegations of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Met to Promote Good Governance in Public Affairs [Phnom Penh]

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Cambodia Must Find Solutions to Encourage Faster Exports – Saturday, 5.6.2010

Posted on 6 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Phnom Penh: The encouragement for the faster export of Khmer products is still a big challenge, as the legal procedures to process export documentation are time consuming, as all documents have to go across too many desks in the administration, which results in delayed operations and high expenses, making Cambodia unable to compete on international markets with neighboring countries.

“A Royal Government advisor and a member of the Supreme National Economic Council, Mr. Sok Siphana, said early last week at the Phnom Penh Hotel, during a national workshop about the encouragement by the Rectangular Strategy for a better commercial operationalization, in order to improve business procedures for commerce, ‘We must find solutions that encourage faster commercial operations. This workshop will present many key measures, and we will discuss to find out how many stages there are to be passed, when rice is brought by farmers to be sold at a seaport, and then from the seaport to foreign countries, and what difficulties are encountered, so that they can be reduced, to improve and speed up commercial operations. We must know which steps should be eliminated or which steps could be adjusted.’

Note:

From The Mirror of Thursday, 29.4.2010: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held

“Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sector needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.”

“Mr. Sok Siphana added that it was a technical workshop, attended mainly by senior customs officials and officials from the Ministry of Commerce, while the Supreme National Economic Council as a researcher, provided the necessary backup. The emphasis was on the export of rice, cashew nuts, soy beans, corn, and cassava; the import items considered were mostly medicines.

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“Ms. Shamika Sirimanne, Chief, Socioeconomic Analysis Section at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), in Bangkok, said that the workshop will contribute to find key measures to encourage least developed countries to export products faster, in order to cut down time and expenses at different stages of the process. This problem affects exports abroad. She added, ‘According to our research, the export of products from Cambodia takes 50% more time than in other developing countries in this region. This shows that one cannot compete with other countries in the region in exports. Mr. Sok Siphana said, ‘Much rice is being exported. Also, our rice milling technology is advanced. The problem is that much of paddy rice produced by farmers is taken out to neighboring countries. This happens because we do not have trade credits to first buy much rice for storing and milling, and then to export it. As for the provision of credits, if the interest rates from banks are too high, farmers cannot ask for loans. Some banks boast that they have much money, but they do not dare to provide credits to farmers. Some banks do not have experts on agriculture working to provide loans to farmers. A large number of banks agree only to offer loans when clients have land or house titles for the bank’s security. This does not include big investors on agriculture, who can easily pay back the money they borrowed, or who can reduce their debt quickly.

“Mr. Sok Siphana said that about 20,000 tonnes of rice were exported in 2009. – This workshop was supported by UN ESCAP that had sent well-known experts from India and from the World Bank to share their experiences with Khmer officials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5216, 6.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 5 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #496, 6.6.2010

  • The Royal Government Decides to Change the Cambodia Post Services into a Public Enterprise
  • The Minister of Finance of Japan [Mr. Kan Naoto – 菅直人] Becomes Prime Minister

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2267, 6.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Announced to Cancel the Collection of Market Fees by the Roth Sensopheap Company [except for parking and toilet fees, but not on their sales turnover – Phnom Penh]
  • Traders Are Actively Transporting Wood from the Animal Habitat Forest in Snuol District [according to local citizens – Kratie]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #674, 5.6.2010

  • [The acting president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: We Asks the Government to Take 4 June as the Date to Commemorate the Loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Land [to Vietnam in 1994]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6974, 5-6.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Mine Action Center Shares Its Experience in Mine Clearance Internationally: with Colombia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5216, 6.6.2010

  • Cambodia Must Find Solutions to Encourage Faster Exports
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Plans to Go to the Philippines to Meet with Parliamentarians and Democrats in Asia [at the end of this month, to welcome the newly elected president of the Philippines when he takes office]
  • Only about 100,000 Motorbike Drivers among More Than 1,000,000 Have Driving Licenses
  • Two Lightnings Killed a Person and a Buffalo and Injured Another Person [Kompong Chhnang]

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Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake – Wednesday, 5.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, stated that Cambodia will be able to produce oil in 2012. He said so during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia in the morning of 4 May 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated on the occasion that he strongly believes in the project signed that day, because it enables to study whether or not to explore for oil and gas resources, especially to explore for oil in Block 17, adding, ‘I welcome and wish this Japanese company well for having decided to invest in Cambodia.’

“The deputy director of JOGMEC said that he cannot foresee the amount of money to be invested in this project, as today’s signing allows the company only to study the field, but it has not reached a stage to discuss mining explorations. According to the plan, the study might take around two years, and then, the company might conduct explorations as soon as possible.

“A spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ek Tha, said at that occasion, ‘This is an agreement that encourages joint industrial studies between two Asian countries, Cambodia and Japan.’ He added, ‘The area to be studied covers 6,500 square kilometers, and it is to the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in Kompong Thom.’ According to officials, the JOGMEC had already conducted magnetic and pressure studies between 1997 and 1999.

“Mr. Ek Tha went on to say that there are concerns raised by environmentalists in Cambodia about this project. But he said that Cambodia and the Japanese oil company are studying also the possible bad impacts on the environment in Block 17, in order to reduce or to avoid those impacts, since Japan is a country that strongly cares about the environment. Cambodia is also keenly caring about the environment in order to maintain the sustainability of resources in this long term project. The environment is also an important issue for the Cambodians of future generations.

“It should be noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on commercial cooperation on underground oil and gas resources was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Takahashi Chiaki [大臣政務官 高橋千秋], who said that his country is the second biggest donor to Cambodia, granting US$12 million each year.

“According to the Council of Ministers, commercial ties between Cambodia and Japan are progressing, amounting to US$105.18 million between 1994 and 2009. Cambodia exported products to Japan worth US$69.6 million in 2008, but only US$6.8 million within 8 months of 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Set Up a Democracy Compound for Non-Violent Protesters [which is not far from the National Assembly – a law relating to this creation will become valid in June 2010]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2240, 5.5.2010

  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Wants All Journalists Associations to Unite into One [to facilitate the organization of training events and to strengthen international trust, and to better protect journalists’ rights; at present there are 23 different journalists’ associations]
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister [Tun Abdul Razak] Will Visit Cambodia Officially for Three Days [from 9 to 11 May 2010 in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #647, 5.5.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6947, 5.5.2010

  • A Man Coming from Pailin to Buy a Car Bringing More Than US$15,000 with Him Was Robbed [by four robbers] and Wounded by One Shot [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3871, 5.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Demands the Government to Explain to the National Assembly about ‘Tea Money’ and Payments from the BHP Billiton and the Total Petroleum Companies, as Well as about Payments for the Provision of Mobile Phone Licenses

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #164, 5.5.2010

  • Official [Mr. Chheng Kimson, head of the Forestry Administration]: 6,000 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized and 100 Suspects Were Accused [during the present campaign]
  • The Ministry of Health Will Provide Logos to Be Displayed at Restaurants That Serve Food According to Good Sanitation Standards

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5189, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Tells Thailand that the Ta Krabei Temple and the Cable Lift to the Mountain Is On Khmer Territory [this response was made after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had sent a diplomatic note to Cambodia, claiming that the temple and the construction site for a cable lift are on Thai territory]
  • A Trade Union and the Opposition Party Plan to Present the Documentary Film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea’ [while the authorities had warned they would take legal action against this]
  • Court Detains Fourteen Villagers for Destroying State Forest [Banteay Srey, Siem Reap]
  • The National Television of Cambodia Spends US$600,000 to US$700,000 Each Year [for hiring a satellite link] to Send Television Programs to the United States of America [now, the Ministry of Information wants to send them through standard Internet procedures which is cheaper]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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