Investments on Islands in the Cambodian Sea Are Full of Secrets and Corruption as They Are Not Put Up for Public Bidding – Friday, 13.8.2010

Posted on 14 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“A high ranking official of the Sam Rainsy Party demanded the government to clarify the investments by private companies on some islands in the Cambodian sea. People want to know which companies control those islands and the leasing prices, and for how long. A request was made after the Cambodian government handed over some islands to local and foreign companies for investment, but the investment opportunities were not put up to facilitate accurate and transparent public biddings.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that it is illegal that the government delivered these islands to private companies, and the income from these investments is not inserted into the national budget. The investment or concession arrangements for those islands are confidential and corrupt. Mr. Son Chhay, said, ‘Where will the income from the islands be taken? As a parliamentarian, we have to observe and monitor the national income, after the government had issued sub-decrees to hand those islands over to companies, but we have not seen any documents about the amount of income from these leasings and concessions.’

“Mr. Son Chhay added that islands in the sea have as high a potential for the Cambodian economy as the beaches near Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, because they attract national and international tourists. However, the government does not put them up for public bidding; this also affects the environment, and the background of the companies is not known. He said, ‘We have received information that several Khmer islands have been handed over by the government to powerful people or to relatives of government officials, and they then leased some islands to some foreign companies, exploiting for themselves the interests of the Khmer people.’

“In his response, a Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian and chairperson of the Commission of Economy, Finance Banking, and Audit, Mr. Cheam Yeap, acknowledged that the government did not put the investment on those islands for public auction, because the government does not have detailed plans, to show them to the clients for bidding. Since the government was not able to create detailed plans, putting them for public bidding is impossible. This recognition by such a high ranking official from the Cambodian People’s Party shows that the investment or leasing of the islands to some companies is mysterious and can be plagued by corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that he requested the government in writing since 2006 to clarify investments and leasing of islands to some companies without transparent public bidding, but he has not received any response from the government. Now, he is collecting documents to be used as evidence about the impact and the corruption, in order to submit them to the government and ask for clarification again. The intention is to summon ministers or other government representatives to clarify these investment on some islands that are being developed – their shares were sold in Hong Kong – in order to know whether such activity is legal or not, and whether it conforms with basic procedures. If there is no clarification, it can be concluded that what was done before was the illegal sale of some islands of the country.

“In July 2010, the Ministry of Tourism cooperated with UNESCO towards the registration of some beaches of Cambodia among the world most beautiful beaches [Reference not clear, maybe the UNESCO Environment and development in coastal regions and in small islands program, concerned with ‘environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, culturally respectful and economically viable development’]. It is expected that there will be strong support from national and international tourism. Also, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, said that after Cambodian beaches will have been noted, the Ministry of Tourism is trying to make some Cambodian beaches to be fully listed among the world’s most beautiful beaches during the nomination next year.

“Nevertheless, non-government officials watching the environment in Cambodia noticed that some companies taking charge of island developments do not study the effects on the environment. Like on Puos Island, while there is yet no result from the developments by a Russian company, there is mysterious information and it might be related to corruption. Obviously, the Puos Island development plan has not been provided any benefit to the nation, besides environmental deterioration and impacts on the living conditions of citizens who used to do fishing near the island.

“According to expert officials, there are about 40 islands in the Khmer sea with investment potential where some have already been developed, while some others are being developed by companies such as Rong Island, P’Oun Island, Bang Island, and Puos Island. Recently, the Cambodian government provided licenses to private companies to invest on four more islands in Koh Kong, such as Sameth, Putsa, Chhan, and Toteung islands. Among those companies, there are also Yuon [Vietnamese] companies, and the development periods are up to 90 years. This might lead of the loss of Cambodian territory, as the Cambodian government does not present investment contract documents for those companies.

“A non-government organization official in Kampot said that some years ago, a Yuon company, Try Pheap, developed Tonsay Island in Kep and evicted the Khmer citizens living there from that island. At present, that Yuon company has not continued its developments. After it obtained the license, it stopped its activities. Such a problem emerged, as previously the government did not conduct public biddings and did not set clear conditions publicly before offering a license to that private company. Therefore, from now on, the government must conduct public biddings before providing licenses to companies to develop and operate on islands in the Cambodian sea, in order to avoid secret and strongly corrupt practices as in the past.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3957, 13.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2326, 13.8.2010

  • The Head of the Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Called for Participation [from all relevant institutions and authorities] to Save the Tonle Sap Lake That Is Suffering Various Dangers
  • The CamActive Company Was Checked [following a complaint from the Monument Books and The United Knowledge companies that have legal contracts with the Cambodian authorities with exclusive rights to import and distribute English books from the Oxford University Press – according to the police of the Ministry of the Interior], and [6,465 English] Books of the Oxford University Press Imported Illegally Were Seized [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7033, 13.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Pieces of Ebony Wood Were Found Hidden in a Site in Ang Snuol District [nobody responsible for the site has been arrested – Kratie]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3957, 13.8.2010

  • Investments on Islands in the Cambodian Sea Is Full of Secrets and Corruption as They Are Not Put UP for Public Bidding

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #29, 13.8.2010

  • [The Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Welcomed to Find Border Solutions [by the government that intends to bring the Cambodian-Thai border issues to the UN Security Council]
  • 100 Years Ago Misery for Korean People Started [resulting from the invasion by Japan] – It Has Just Received an Apology from Japan [through the Japanese Prime Minister]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #236, 13.8.2010

  • Taiwan Reacts against a Comment of Mr. Hun Sen [who recently stated Cambodian adherence to the One-China Policy, stating that Taiwan is just a province of China; Taiwan claims that it is an independent state]
  • The Government Will Raise Border Issues [with Thailand] when the UN Secretary General Comes to Cambodia [in October 2010 – according to the Prime Minister Hun Sen – a plan for such a visit has not been confirmed by the UN offices in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5275, 13.8.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Asked Thailand Not to Be Afraid of the International Organizations [like ASEAN, UN, UN special representatives, or any dignitaries like the Indonesian president – if they participate in the negotiations with Cambodia and Thailand over border issues] China Will Provide US$8 Million to Construct a Road to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • More Than 300 Hectares of Rubber Plantation Were Expropriated from the Tai Seng Company to Be Delivered to the Samaki Group [temporarily, who had controlled it since 1980s – Ratanakiri]
  • The United States of America Praised the Mine Clearance Skills of Cambodian Troops [based on the achievements of Cambodian deminers sent to Sudan under the framework of the United Nations]

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Court Reform Is Necessary – Saturday, 24.7.2010

Posted on 25 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Recently, the Ministry of Justice issued a special letter to warn court officials not to do improper activities as this might invite public criticism. In a letter dated 16 July 2010, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang VongVathana, wrote that officials of the Ministry have received many complaints from the general public accusing court officials, especially, clerks, without giving their names. The Minister added in the letter that the role of clerks is to take notes, to keep the complaint documents, and to fulfill their role properly according to the legal procedures, neutral and non-biased.

“The Minister of Justice warns in the letter that clerks must not be biased towards any sides during the hearing process and they must follow the orders of judges and of prosecutors in order to gain trust in the judicial system from the public. Such a warning from the Minister of Justice towards clerks is new, but he seems not to consider the judges and prosecutors in the provinces and cities who also commit improper acts.

“Regarding the above issue, the chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Sam Prochea Meaneth, said that the letter was sent to all municipal courts in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Ministry aims at all court officials, particularly at clerks who work with lawsuits of citizens. Clerks at the courts do not have the power to pass judgments in any cases. The decision by the Minister of Justice to issue this letter was not because of any special cases or accusations about wrongdoings, but it was issued as part of judicial reforms.

“Observers of the court system in Cambodia said that the letter of the Minister, dated 16 July 2010, deals only with one part of the problem; it warns only clerks who may be creating problems. But judges and prosecutors, who had committed corruption, like by changing a case from wrong to right, are not warned by the Ministry of Justice and admonished to implement their roles appropriately. Corruption in the court system can result from collusion among clerks, judges, and prosecutors. Therefore to put the burden only on clerks is not proper, because it disregards the irregularities committed by some corrupt judges and prosecutors towards poor citizens.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that they often heard of complaints from citizens expressing their disappointment about the courts and especially about clerks. Non-government organizations said that when citizens have money, clerks seem to care about their complaints, but if they do not have money, clerks discriminate against them and delay their cases for a long time before starting to work on them. The issue of the letter of the Minister is a positive sign, but it is still not covering the whole truth. The most important thing is that the Ministry of Justice makes the citizens trust in the court system of Cambodia.

“Many citizens have already been victimized by judges and prosecutors who colluded with powerful officials to grab their land. In some cases, the corruption of judges and prosecutors has been revealed publicly by citizens, like in land disputes in Ratanakiri. But in the end, the Ministry of Justice did not take any legal action against corrupt those judges and prosecutors, but just assigned them to work as judges and prosecutors in other provinces. Such dealings make citizens to distrust the court system, and they curse powerful officials who grab their land.

“At present, the court system of Cambodia is being criticized by national and international circles, accusing it to be a tool of the ruling party that serves only the rich and the powerful. But for poor victimized citizens as well as for politicians of the opposition, the courts do not seem to provide them justice according to the law. Thus, judicial reform is necessary to avoid that citizens lose trust in the institution of the courts. In the meantime, the international community and the donors must encourage the Cambodian government to speed up reforming the court system, as it had promised. Clerks, judges, and prosecutors, who commit corruption by using law for personal benefit, must be punished according to the law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2309, 24.7.2010

  • Three Men Were Arrested with 570 kg of Borax Powder Used for Applying on Food [to make it last longer] Affecting Human Health [Phnom Penh – Borax, a real multi-purpose chemical]
  • A Laotian Man Was Arrested together with More Than 3,000 Drug Tablets

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7016, 24-25.7.2010

  • Victims and Former Prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison Asked for a Life Sentence Imprisonment for Duch [his sentence will be announced on 26 July 2010]

  • Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

    • Court Reform Is Necessary
    • Cambodia Needs Investors and Tax Favors from the USA to Create a Good Atmosphere at the 60th Anniversary of Having Diplomatic Ties

    • The USA Announced to Provide US$187 Million in Aid for Three Years for the Countries of the Indochina Region [Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam] to Address Poverty and to Conserve the Lower Mekong River

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5258, 24.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister: The Royal Government Will Make Cambodia [the third] Rice Exporting Country [after Thailand and Vietnam in Asia]

    • [Secretary of State of the USA] Clinton Criticized the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam [during the ASEAN-US meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Vietnam – but indirectly supported Vietnam in its claim on some Islands in the South China Sea contested by China]

    • The [Angkor Sentinel 2010] Military Exercise at the Command Post Level [for peace keeping] Was Finished Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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  • “The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia” – Sunday, 11.7.2010

    Posted on 12 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

    On Saturday, 10 July 2010, it was reported that the King had called on all development partners of Cambodia to provide financial and technical support for forestry reform in Cambodia.

    At this occasion, we reprint part of the history before this call by the King, starting with an old statement by Global Witness from December 2004, continuing with texts which had all been in Cambodian newspapers in 2010 and had been translated and published in The Mirror – a historical review for further consideration.

    Resign or be sacked
    3.12.2004

    With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December 2004, combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

    “Ty Sokhun should do the honorable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

    Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterized the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted…

    “How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.” …

    Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” … Global Witness Press Release

    And from the Khmer press in 2010:

    It Is Time to Stop: Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities
    Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
    29.1.2010

    “Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers. …

    “… ‘All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened… The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you. How many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!’” – Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

    The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders
    24.3.2010

    “After the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, ordered to crack down on forestry crimes, the logging seems to continue even stronger, and some perpetrators drove luxury cars loaded with luxury wood in a procession of cars of high ranking officials to deceive the authorities.

    “The authorities, including forestry administration officials, police, military police, and committees from the agencies from military and other units charged with suppressing forestry crimes and forestry criminals, intercepted cars and trucks loaded with wood and checked wood storehouses of some powerful people. But by now, the authorities have not arrested any traders to show their accomplishment to the Khmer public on television. …” – Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

    Samdech Hun Sen Considers Forestry Crimes to Be Acts of National Betrayal
    27.3.2010

    “Phnom Penh: During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen affirmed the position of the government regarding the campaign to strongly intercept forestry crimes, and not to give up. Although there may be barriers against it made of rock or of iron, any obstacles must be broken down.

    “During the cabinet meeting yesterday, which took from morning to noon, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen spoke to all members of the Royal Government, saying that all related institutions, whether on the national or on regional levels, have to cooperate to intercept forestry crimes, and to reach the ringleaders. All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal. …” – Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

    Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position,
    but Should Be Punished according to the Law
    7.4.2010

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them. …

    “… Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’ …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

    Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia
    to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources,
    after an Unclear Suppression Campaign
    6.5.2010

    “… Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore. …

    “The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

    “According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees. …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

    Records show 17 held for forestry crimes
    9.7.2010

    A total of 17 people are being held in pretrial detention in Koh Kong provincial prison on forestry-related charges dating back to 2008, according to a document provided this week by a prison worker who expressed frustration with the release last month of four forestry officials charged with involvement in an illegal logging ring.

    The document shows that an additional seven people in the province have been convicted of forestry crimes and are serving sentences at the prison.

    The official, who asked not to be named, said that all the people on the list were “poor” Koh Kong residents who had been arrested for such crimes as “collecting wood” and “clearing farmland.”

    “It doesn’t seem very fair,” the official said. “Poor people who depend on clearing forest for their livelihood are convicted for up to five years for forestry crimes, while forestry officials involved with illegal logging rings are released.”

    Although their case remains under investigation, the four Koh Kong Forestry Administration Cantonment officials were released on June 24 after being arrested in a raid amid a crackdown on illegal logging called for by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

    “The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished.”

    Chhin Long, the chief clerk for the prosecution at the provincial court, said Tuesday that he had seen a document signed by Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun and the prime minister requesting the officials’ release.

    Chheng Kim Sun, director of the Forestry Administration, noted on Thursday that the officials were still being investigated and could be summoned back to court at any time. He defended the release of the prisoners, describing it as part of standard legal procedure.

    “The court is independent, and the court’s decision-making process in this case would be the same for rich and poor people, powerful and powerless people. It is not biased to one side,” Chheng Kim Sun said.

    But Un Than Aan, provincial coordinator for the rights group ADHOC, said that although the releases might have been legal, the poor are bearing the brunt of the government’s logging crackdown.

    “The release of the four officials can be done according to court procedure, because they are able to provide the court with a permanent job and address,” Un Than Aan said. “Poor people aren’t released because they have no permanent job or address, and they are often found guilty of forestry crimes because there’s enough evidence against them.”

    ADHOC President Thun Saray said the pattern was consistent with past crackdowns.

    “The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished,” he said. “That’s been my observation for the last 15 years.” – Phnom Penh Post, 9 July 2010

    “The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia
    to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia”

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, Saturday, 10.7.2010

    “Financial and technical support” – plus, as Global Witness had quoted a 2002 statement of the Prime Minister in 2004 – “While good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.”

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    Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday – Monday, 5.7.2010

    Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

    “On Saturday Cambodian police arrested two Thai citizens accused of being involved in planing a bomb attack in Bangkok last month. The two alleged terrorists will be handed over to Thai embassy officials today [5 July 2010].

    “According to an announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that the Phnom Penh Post received on Sunday, Siem Reap police on Saturday evening arrested suspects Kobchai Boonplod, born on 19 July 1967, and Varissareeya Boonsom, female, born on 30 September 1967, accused of having performed a terrorist bomb attack on 22 June 2010 in Bangkok.

    “The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said, ‘We had enough documents to confirm that they are bomb suspects before we arrested them.’ He added that the Cambodian authorities will hand over the two suspects to Thai embassy officials in Phnom Penh on Monday, 5 July 2010, at 9:30 at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

    “He went on to say that Thai authorities spoke to the press last week, saying that the two suspects, who are masterminds of the bomb attack on the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party [a member of the present Thai government coalition] on 22 June 2010, escaped to Cambodia, but Thailand did not ask Cambodia to arrest them.

    “Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘The Cambodian government promised to extradite the two suspects to Thailand though there was no request from Thailand. This shows the willingness of the Cambodian Government to fight terrorism, as the Cambodian government always cooperates with other countries to combat terrorism. Monday last week, the Thai press had quoted Police Lieutenant Colonel Benjapol Rodsawas, deputy chief of the Sa Kaew immigration office, as saying that Varissareeya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod left Thailand separately on Wednesday last week and escaped to Cambodia a day after the bomb attack outside the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party at Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok. At that time, Cambodian officials rejected the information.

    “Regarding this issue, the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, stated yesterday that he could not comment on the situation until the perpetrators have been handed over to the Thai authorities today. But he welcomed the cooperation by Cambodia. He said, ‘In general, we welcome the cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia in all activities and we think that it encourages additional cooperation.’ Asked about the accusations by the Cambodian government, he said that he does not have a role to comment on the affairs or views of Cambodia.

    “The executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chheang Vannarith, said that the arrest shows warming relations between both countries. He said, ‘I think that the Cambodian government takes a flexible position on bilateral ties with Thailand. I can see positive progress for bilateral ties.

    “Both countries decided to withdraw their respective ambassadors in November last year, after Cambodia appointed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [convicted for corruption in a land deal] as an economic advisor of the Cambodian government.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 5 July 2010

    Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #108, 5-6.7.2010

    • Mr. Chea Mony: My New Term [as president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Is to Struggle to Demand a Salary Increase [to a minimum of US$93] and to Create a Labor Court

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2292, 4-5.7.2010

    • Illegal Check Points Are Increasing at Night in Phnom Penh [to extort money from citizens traveling on motorcycles], but Higher Level Officials Ignore This [they check whether people wear helmets, have back-view mirrors, number plates, and a motorbike license. Even if there is no problem, teenagers cannot negotiate what fine to pay to be free, even when they did not commit any wrongdoings]
    • [Ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Promises to Return to Thailand at the End of This Year [to unite the Thai nation]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6999, 5.7.2010

    • A Newly Created Site for Producing Mreah Prov Oil [an important ingredient for producing the drug Ecstasy – no information about who is involved – Veal Veng district, Pursat]
    • An Inhuman Drunken Man Fatally Shot a Person for Pleasure [the perpetrator is not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3923, 5.7.2010

    • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Will Return to Cambodia This Morning, While There Are Four Days Remaining for Her to Pay Her Fine [Riel 8 million or approx. US$1,860 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
    • Singapore Imports Sand to Enlarge Its Territory without Caring about the Destruction of the Cambodian Seashore Environment [according to Global Witness, this sea sand dredging threatens and affects fish as well as the bio-diversity of the sea]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

    • Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday
    • Officials: The Number of Deaths from Lightning This Year Is Lower Than Last Year [63 people were killed during the first six months of 2010, in 2009, there were only 100 deaths]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5241, 4-5.7.2010

    • 32% of the Total Size of Cambodia Are Bio-Diversity Protected and Conservation Areas
    • Food Prices Increased by 30% within the First Six Months of 2010

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    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]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award – Tuesday, 8.6.2010

    Posted on 9 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “Phnom Penh: The judges of the international award of the Stockholm International Water Institute [‘The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is an independent policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis’] recently decided to give the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. The ceremony to deliver the award will be held in early September 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the third world-class award that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has won.

    “The announcement about the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority receiving the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 shows what the judges for this award of the Stockholm International Water Institute assessed and wrote about the qualifications of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of four rivers arms that serve as an endless water source. But because the country had suffered from chronic civil war for decades, the water supply system became obsolete, and the supply of water did not start to improve before the 1990ies.

    “In 1993, Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed by the government as the General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Department, and his team led officials and employees to do some basic work, like to totally repair the water supply system. He also initiated the creation of a new highly effective administrative system to issue invoices and receipts for payments. He also initiated international standard procedures to supply clean water to all residents of Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is successful in fighting corruption and has shown the world that the fight against corruption can be successful in a developing country through the use of simple but effective leadership, based on policies and commercial strategies that are recognized worldwide. At present, as an autonomous unit, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is supplying water 24 hours a day to 90% of Phnom Penh, which has about 1.3 million citizens, and effectively controls its revenue and expenses. In the meantime, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority continues to further develop the clean water supply system and to strengthens the internal control of the unit.

    “Since 1998, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has set up a totally new supply system. The quantity of water lost as the result of broken and leaking pipes dropped from 72% in 1993 to only 6% in 2008, which is a very small quantity compared to that of other modern countries in the world. Nowadays, the collection of water bills recovers over 98% of the invoiced charges, which allows the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to get the necessary money back to cover its operational costs. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority reaches world standards due to its leading water supply system.

    “The judges of the Stockholm International Water Institute added that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is strongly committed to act responsibly in social and environmental fields, showing to other developing countries that not only big countries can have regular access to clean water. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is a good model for all water supply institutions to improve their operations and to step up their care to provide good services to their clients. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has made effort to improve also the sanitation system in Phnom Penh, and the company is ready to be listed at the stock exchange in late 2010 [if it really starts to operate by that time].

    “Mr. Ek Sonn Chan, appointed by the Royal government as General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, said during the conference, where the award of the Stockholm Water Industry Award was announced on 7 June 2009, that the judges for the provision of the international award to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority recognized the supply of water in Phnom Penh as having international standard quality. The duty of the unit is to continue to supply clean water for the sake of public health in large quantities any time, and this with cheap prices. The price of water in Phnom Penh is cheapest in the region. The unit could reach the above mentioned achievement because Samdech Akkak Moho Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen had chosen a leader who has the ability to identify many priorities, such as the use of loans, who can also encourage all consumers to pay their bills. Also the former Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Chea Sophara, who had worked with the Asian Development Bank and with the understanding from the Minister of Industry not to interfere into the autonomy of this unit, had enormously contributed to the present success, as well as the help from the current municipal governor. In addition, there is collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and other institutions that provided loans, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Agence Française de Développement [AFD], and the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].

    “Mr. Ek Sonn Chan said about the award, ‘We did not request this award. Others decided it. There were 64 requests from different institutions for the award in 2010, but only one was selected.’ The Stockholm International Award was established in 2000. This award is considered to be a world-class water award, created to encourage the supply of clean water for public well being. It is a great award for the field of clean water supply. The award will be delivered at a building that had also been used to deliver the Nobel Prizes, and the Swedish King will deliver it. In the past, the award was delivered to clean water institutions in the following countries:

    • 2000 to England
    • 2001 to Mexico
    • 2002 to Norway
    • 2003 to Canada
    • 2004 to India
    • 2005 to the United States of America
    • 2006 to Australia
    • 2007 to Singapore
    • 2008 again to the United States of America
    • 2009 again to Canada, and
    • 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority of Cambodia

    Most of the countries that won this award in the past are modern developed countries.

    “It should be noted that the award won by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is the third world-class award for this unit: it had also received other awards, a first award in 2004 and a second award in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 8 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #498, 8.6.2010

    • The Phnom Penh Authorities Will Take Strict Measures against Anybody Engaged in Football Betting [as the FIFA World Cup will start on 11 June 2010]
    • The United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] Called on Donors to Provide Aid for the Care of Cambodian Women and Girls [it is estimated that each day, at least five Cambodian women die while delivering babies, because of the lack of health services and medical facilities]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2269, 8.6.2010

    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The High Price of Capital in Commercial Operations Is a Challenge for Our Competitiveness [he said so during the World Economic Forum on East Asia]
    • The Authorities Asked for a Delay for One More Month from Citizens Whose Houses Were Burnt Down [on 8 March 2010 in the Boeng Kak II commune, Phnom Penh] before Relocating Them to a New Area [they live in temporary shelters, and the authorities are preventing those who wanted to reconstruct their housing from doing so]
    • 7,004 Hectares of Agro-Industrial Crops Were Totally Destroyed [by a tropical storm] in the Koulen District [Preah Vihear]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #676, 8.6.2010

    • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Plan to Quietly Go to Visit and Monitor Border Markers at the Borders with Yuon [Vietnam and with Thailand; without informing the authorities – according to the Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6976, 8.6.2010

    • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party That Had Frictions, Signed to Create an Alliance with Each Other
    • Disastrous Storm Made 23 Houses Collapse in the Thmor Koul District [of Battambang], and Lightnings Killed Two Persons in the Bakan District [of Pursat]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3900, 8.6.2010

    • Poor Citizens [from 80 families in the Boeng Kak II commune, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh] Victimized by Fire [that bunt down their houses on 8 March 2010] next to Wat Neakavon Protested [in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality] against their Evictions and Asked for in-Place Development

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #188, 8.6.2010

    • The Donors Pledged to Provide Development Aid of Up to US$2.8 Billion for Three Years [from 2010 to 2012]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

    • The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award
    • The Tax Income of May 2010 Amounts to Nearly US$59 Million [an increase by 22% compared to April]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors – Monday, 7.6.2010

    Posted on 8 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “According to assessments of some international organizations, each year as much as US$500 million of the state’s resources is lost to corruption in Cambodia, which seriously affects the interest of the country and of Cambodian citizens.

    “At present, corruption is deeply rooted in Khmer society, and there is no hope that anybody could eliminate it, though an anti-corruption law will come into force. However, national and international circles were surprised when Prime Minister Hun Sen stated recently, at the occasion of granting certificates at the Royal University of Administration, that corrupt officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, as well as civil police, and military units should know to be warned that the government will enforce the anti-corruption law against those officials, and will encourage non-corrupt officials to help report cases of corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit, which is just being established after an anti-corruption law has been voted upon.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen enthusiastically stated that the government will be able to eliminate corruption by using the anti-corruption law. He said that now, the government has enough legal mechanisms to bring corrupt officials to court to be punished, and most officials who do not commit corruption at each institution, ministry, and department will report the persons that commit corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit.

    “Mr. Hun Sen added that he trusts the fight against corruption will work, because at each unit, among 100 officials there might be only two or three who commit corruption, and there are many other non-corrupt officials who will report to the Anti-Corruption Unit. They will join to eradicate corruption, since it siphons off also the interest of the units.

    “This is a rare and interesting public commitment of Mr. Hun Sen to fight corruption. Therefore, high ranking officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, and at civil, police, and military units, they should listen to Mr. Hun Sen’s clear words and should not be confused that Mr. Hun Sen said it just to satisfy the donors to grant aid, because when he announced it publicly like this, if not all, at least some corruption can be suppressed in this way, so his words should not be criticized. Thus, officials who have been committing corruption for years have now the opportunity to clean themselves from their previous corruption, to become clean officials respecting the nation.

    “Even though there have been some political views that what Mr. Hun Sen had said is just to calm the donors and national and international opinion, as the person who was appointed to be the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is not a person with proper and independent qualifications, but he is just an official who is close to Mr. Hun Sen. But we do not have the same impression like those politicians. Such an impression is not important regarding the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. What is more important is the commitment of the government, and especially of Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader. If he has real commitment, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit will have to implement the anti-corruption law properly.

    “The Anti-Corruption law had been delayed for several years before it was sent to the National Assembly to be discussed and adopted in March 2010, and then Mr. Om Yentieng was named as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. If Mr. Hun Sen, the head of the government, is willing to eliminate corruption as he claimed, the Anti-Corruption Unit will act to crack down effectively on corruption at different institutions, ministries, departments, and units according to the law, and also the participation from non-corrupt officials to uncover corrupt officials will to some degree assist to prevent the spreading of corruption.

    “Some criticized that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen, so he cannot fight corruption. Such a view seems to be wrong, because the fact that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen will encourage him to be more effective intercepting corruption when Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader, is committed to fight corruption in the government from the top to the bottom. Mr. Om Yentieng must take up the Prime Minister’s order to fight corruption. But one may be afraid that this is easier said than done.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 7 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #497, 6-7.6.2010

    • Samdech Hun Sen Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia [in Vietnam]
    • The Number of People Killed by Lightnings Increases to 35 in 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2268, 6-7.6.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Message to Welcome the New Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Kan Naoto] at the Occasion of Taking Office
    • At Present, Cambodia Grows Tobacco on Only 0.2% of the Agricultural Land Countrywide [over the past ten years, farmers have changed to grow other crops like rubber trees, cassava, and soy beans]
    • The Ministry of Health Plans to Establish Up to 250 Blood Test Centers by 2012 [nowadays, there are 235 around the country]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

    • Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #675, 6-7.6.2010

    • The Plan of Workers to Suspend Work for Three Days [to demand an increase of salaries, and that employers obey the labor law] Is Still Not Canceled

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3899, 7.6.2010

    • The King Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Intervene, to Connect State Electricity for Poor Citizens at Suburbs Who Are Using Electricity of Private Companies and Are Required to Pay the Bills in Dollars [their electricity costs approx. US$0.50 per kilowatt hour – Phnom Penh]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #187, 7.6.2010

    • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Cambodia [Mr. Surya Subedi] Comes to Cambodia to Monitor the Court System
    • Prime Minister Hun Sen Encourages Support for the Private Sector in Order to Promote Economic Growth

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 6-7.6.2010

    • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian,] Ms. Mu Sochua Faces Imprisonment if She Does Not Pay the Fine [Riel 16 million or approx. US$3,810 in a defamation case with the Prime Minister]
    • The Commune Fund Has in 2010 Countrywide Nearly US$30 Million [the funds are used to develop and carry out investment projects at all communes – The commune fund is provided by the Royal Government]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Improving Communication by Communicating – Sunday, 6.6.2010

    Posted on 7 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

    The major event during the week was the meeting of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum, which brought more than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations to Cambodia, to meet with representatives of the Cambodian government. One newspaper quoted a Cambodian official as saying, before the meeting: “Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected.” As expected! On the other hand, just days before this meeting, a group of local NGOs released a study with a critical call to the donor community, suggesting that donors should press the government to fulfill agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply Joint Monitoring Indicators defined in the past. Global Witness, the UK based monitoring agency supported by 17 trusts and foundations, 4 development organizations from different countries, and 7 governments, suggested that the donors should take “a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.”

    There are voices saying that the pledge of about US$1 billion is a sign that the donors don’t care about critical statements – either deploring the fact of the pledges realize “as expected,” or taking the pledges as a sign of a flat endorsement of the Cambodian government’s policies. Both these opinions are wrong.

    To publish critical evaluations of aid effectiveness some days before such a meeting helps to get broad attention. But to expect that it would greatly affect the meeting, assumes that the international donor delegates arrive to sit around the table and then decide on the spot how much to pledge. They all come with the results of a year’s deliberations at home, considering information and opinion gathered and discussed with others, and decisions prepared towards the meeting.

    Both sides then, in the formal meeting, share their well considered long range statements:

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The aid provided by development partners is a very important contribution for the development of Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform.”

    “The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities.’”

    That is more than a hint that the donors think that available resources are not aligned to development priorities.

    What went on during the closed-door meetings may have been more mutually engaging – but the most important things will happen – or not happen – during the course of the year which starts now towards the next meeting. And it will depend on the monitoring of ongoing events and the related discussions – including the regular follow-up in the press and by government and non-government agencies’ observations.

    This is a field of hard work: to observe, to analyze, to compare, to speak up, to share – regularly and consistently.

    There will be questions requiring answers, and if the questions do not get answers easily, they have to be repeated and made more precise and receive follow-up, maybe again and again. This is the role of the public, and especially of the media. That is why the press is also called “the fourth power” in a state – independent also, like the three others: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, mutually separate, as Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia requires.

    The Mirror tries to contribute to this important process.

    One element of regular surprise is information like the following, which we carried during this week:

    • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

    A fugitive from prison. Was he arrested?

    • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested]

    Why 60 persons for one suspect? And he was not arrested?

    • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers to go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence]

    “Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law” says Article 31 of the Constitution. But some get arrested and others not! So many cries for help trust in the highest authority of the government, carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady. When will this confidence wear out if there are too many disappointments?

    • The Government Declared to Fight Corruption [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that there are only a handful of corrupt officials, and the government will encourage other officials to fight corruption together]

    We will read it in the press.

    And here is a variety of related observations:

    An interesting source of income for the state reported:

    • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

    Not much, less than US$500. There is no report how much was collected from new, big cars driving around town without neither temporary nor permanent license plates. Almost every day when I am driven around town on a motorcycle-taxi, I see some. Probably there was nothing to report because nothing is being collected from them.

    The President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

    Members of the National Assembly, elected by the people (The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people – says Article 51 of the Constitution), need a permission before they can travel inside of the country? Article 40 of the Constitution sound different: Citizens’ freedom to travel, far and near, and legal settlement shall be respected. We did not reed that the parliamentarians claimed this Constitutional right.

    The result:

    • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Were Prevented from Visiting and Checking a Border Marker [in Takeo, as their visit was blocked by more than 30 armed forces and more than 50 local citizens]

    And finally a dilemma:

    • The 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]

    Probably there will be many international guests there, especially from the ASEAN region. Among them politicians from Cambodia. But Mr. Sam Rainsy is facing the court in Cambodia, though he is abroad to avoid arrest – but he is free in France, and he is free to travel.

    Could another politician from the ASEAN region, the former Thai Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra, also go to the Philippines? Maybe not. There is a search warrant for him from Interpol, and the Thai government is now in the process to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin through Interpol to 187 countries, which makes it more and more difficult to travel anywhere. Except to Cambodia:

    • Cambodia Expressed [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] the Position Not to Extradite Thaksin to Thailand

    He was convicted by a Thai court for corruption – for arranging the sale of valuable Bangkok land without bidding and at a low price, to his wife. But he left the country – “temporarily for about a week,” after paying bail – and did never return.

    Everybody is equal before the law? Not quite.

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    Samdech Dekchor: Isolation Sickness, Not to Work in Teams Does Not Lead to Success but to Danger – Friday, 4.6.2010

    Posted on 5 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

    “Phnom Penh: In front of students and officials of the Royal University of Administration who received their degrees on Thursday, 3 June 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that if somebody does not work cooperatively and works with a self-isolating attitude, such an approach does not lead to success but to danger.

    “Presiding over the 54th anniversary of the creation of the Royal University of Administration, combined with the granting ceremony of degrees and certificates to students and to senior officials of the Royal University of Administration, held at the National Institute of Education, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘A person should not be isolated but working in a team – to work together leads to success. To isolate oneself is like a dangerous sickness. Such people believe that if they leave the country, the nation will collapse, and if they leave their province, the province will be ruined.’

    “The head of the Royal Government added that in any institution, both in the Royal Government and in the ministries, not all people commit corruption. If there are 100 officials, only two or three are corrupt. Therefore the others will cooperate to eliminate corruption.

    “The head of the government publicly announced during this event that the leader of the country, as well as fellow officials, are servants of the people to provide services to them and not to dominate the people.

    “In this sense, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said that the higher positions they hold, and the more powerful they are, the more they have to lower themselves down to listen to others.

    “He said, ‘We must think that we have to serve the people, but not to control them. Whether we hold high or low positions, we must listen to all arguments, and we must be honest to the people and do everything for them, but we must not do anything that affects them.’

    “At the same time, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen announced again that he will be the candidate for the position of prime minister in the 2013 elections, and that he has the total support of the Cambodian People’s Party. He said, ‘If you want Hun Sen to be prime minister, you have to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party, but Hun Sen alone cannot work, he needs the support by the party.’

    “Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians told Deum Ampil that the announcement about the candidacy as prime minister by Samdech Hun Sen does not mean that he will stay in this position forever. It depends on the upcoming votes by the people.

    “The head of the Royal Government said that the activities of the Royal government in the previous terms and in the current fourth term show that the people support the government, and this will lead to success also in the next terms.

    “On the same occasion, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen recalled the three core points of the Win-Win Policy of the Royal Government that have led to total national unity and to progress:

    1. Guarantee the security of both the possessions and the lives of all persons who leave Pol Pot to join the government.
    2. Keep them in their roles that they played before. If they are soldiers, let them still be soldiers. If they were police, let them be police. And if they were district governors, let them be in their positions.
    3. Recognize both that they were a movement and they are no more a movement.”

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #495, 4.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 4 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #495, 4.6.2010

    • Different Ideas between the Ruling and the Opposition Parties over the US$1.1 Billion Aid
    • Samdech Dekchor: Isolation Sickness, Not to Work in Teams Does Not Lead to Success but to Danger

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2266, 4.6.2010

    • Two Foreigners [living in Cambodia, a Bangladeshi and a Nepali] Were Sent to Court for Being Suspected as Members of a Terrorist Network [anonymous persons had written letters to some embassies, saying that there are foreign terrorists transiting through Cambodia – and then police investigated and arrested these two foreigners; but they claim that they are not involved]
    • A Tropical Storm Destroyed Twenty Houses, Injured Fifteen People, and Killed Six Cows in Khsach Kandal District [Kandal]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #775, 4.6.2010

    • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People Will Celebrate [on 4 June 2010] the 61th Anniversary of the Loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Land [to Vietnam in 1949] while the Authorities of the Hun Sen Government Try to Restrict Them [this year the celebration is allowed only at the Samaki Reangsei pagoda in the Stung Meanchey commune, Meanchey district, Phnom Penh]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6973, 4.6.2010

    • Cambodia Receives Pledges of US$1.1 Billion Development Aid [at the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum 2010]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3897, 4.6.2010

    • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Support the Rights and the Benefit of Workers Who Plan to Strike without Public Marching, for Three Days [to demand an increase of salaries, and to press employers to obey the labor law of Cambodia]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #186, 4.6.2010

    • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Were Prevented from Visiting and Checking a Border Marker [in Takeo, as their visit was blocked by more than 30 armed forces and more than 50 local citizens]
    • The Government Declared to Fight Corruption [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that there are only a handful of corrupt officials, and the government will encourage other officials to fight corruption together]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5215, 4.6.2010

    • The Cambodian Embassy: Thai Police Tortured a Cambodian Worker [scars are seen on his body as a result of beating] to Get Him to Admit [that he was involved in destroying and burning a Thai bank; Cambodia asked Thailand to release him]
    • The Number of Vehicles Countrywide Increased to More Than One Million [there are 1,391,565 vehicles where 1,135,638 are motorbikes; according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport]

    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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    The Minister of Information Claims that Internet Games Are Not Illegal – Tuesday, 25.5.2010

    Posted on 26 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

    “Disagreement emerged regarding places operating Internet games in Cambodia after there had been a report that the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, stated that those places are not related to money betting, and they should not have been closed.

    “According to the deputy director of the VTC Online Internet game company, Mr. Ha Manh Hung, about 300 such places were closed this year after Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered to crack down on gambling.

    “Earlier this month, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities considered Internet games to be a type of betting, and therefore they are illegal in Cambodia.

    “But according to a report on the Internet site of Deum Ampil, Mr. Khieu Kanharith said, ‘The Prime Minister did not give a wrong order, but the implementation goes beyond the order in some areas.’

    “Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that the closure of such operations does not correspond to the recommendation of Samdech Hun Sen, because video games are not related to betting, but they have a role to develop modern technical skills for the youth, the next generation.

    “But the Minister added that game shops operating near schools should be closed. He went on to say, ‘Game operators should have strategies and policies to prevent students from forgetting their studies, for example, by allowing them to play not more than three hours per day.’

    “When the Phnom Penh Post contacted him by telephone on Monday, he said he could not comment on it, because he is in China.

    “Some officials of the Ministry of Information also refused to comment, saying that they do not know about it.

    “There is still a lack of clarity about the fate of Internet games in general.

    “A police official of the Tuol Svay Prey I police post in Phnom Penh, Mr. Chin Sitha, said, ‘We continue to take action against coffee shops and Internet shops that operate computer games until we receive different orders from the head of the district police.’

    “The Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naroth, refused on Monday evening to give comments on this case.

    “Information technology companies are also careful until they know the situation clearly.

    “Mr. Ha Manh Hung from VTC Online Internet game company said on Monday, ‘We want to know the position of the government.’

    “This Vietnam-based company had announced earlier this month that the company has delayed releasing Internet games in Cambodia, after some places operating Internet games had been intercepted, adding that the company had already spent US$80,000 on advertisement.

    “Mr. Ha Manh Hung said, ‘If the situation becomes clear, we will start releasing games. But if the situation remains the same, we will not waste our money again.’

    “He continued to say that before, the company had cooperated with Vietnamese authorities to implement some measures to control game players by encouraging to limit their playing time, for example by reducing their score points if somebody plays for three consecutive hours, or after 9:00 p.m.

    “He suggested that a forum or a meeting with government officials would help to address this disagreement.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #178, 25.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 25 May 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #486, 25.5.2010

    • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Open Four Roads from the Boeng Kak Area to Connect to the South [in order to reduce traffic congestion]
    • A Car Fatally Struck a Person and Moved On, Hitting Four Other Cars [the car driver is held by police – Phnom Penh]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2257, 25.5.2010

    • In 2009, the Bilateral Trade between Cambodia and Thailand Dropped by About 22% [the trade amounted to US$1,658 million]
    • Those Having Diarrhea Accused the Kratie Health Department of Not Caring to Save Them [so far, five people have died in the hospital. – Today, Dr. Beat Richner announced in a full page ad in The Cambodia Daily that the hospitals to which he relates have diagnosed 290 cases with the germ “Vibrio cholerae” – Cholera – among 1300 patients treated, and informed the Cambodian authorities since several months, but the Cambodian authorities continue to deny that it is Cholera and wrongly claim that the treatment for Cholera and for diarrhea is the same]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6964, 25.5.2010

    • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Announce the Verdict on Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief ‘Duch’ on 26 July 2010

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3888, 25.5.2010b>

    • Cambodia Sees 30% Tax on Income from the Exploitation of Minerals Countrywide [the 30% shall bring income from mineral exploration into the state budget of Cambodia in order to avoid its loss into corruption]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #178, 25.5.2010

    • Khmer Embassy Officials Visited a Khmer Worker Arrested in Thailand [accused of having joined to burn down a bank in Bangkok]
    • [200] Romeas Haek District Residents Protested in Front of the Municipality [to demand the release of a man and the lifting of the accusations against fifteen others over a land dispute – Svay Rieng]
    • The Minister of Information Claims that Internet Games Are Not Illegal

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5206, 25.5.2010

    • Australian Minerals Company Finds 8.1 Tonnes of Gold
    • Chamkar Mon Police Arrested Seven Drug Smugglers and Users, Seizing 103 Small Packages of Ice Drugs [Phnom Penh]

    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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