People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture – Thursday, 1.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“A report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund [UNCDF] released yesterday found that workers in rural areas in Cambodia are shifting to do different work besides agriculture, formerly the only source of their income. They are leading a change that can boost sustainable development in rural areas.

“The UNCDF report says that while about 80% of Cambodian citizens are mostly living as farmers, the economy in rural areas has extensive potential that is not yet used through the diversification of the economy.

“According to the above report, called Basic Development Outlook, that tries to support decentralization, two years ago, 91% of the poor people in Cambodia lived in rural areas.

This report says that even though agricultural development is crucial for Cambodia, also the diversification of the economy in rural areas, and strategies to reorganize basic policies might encourage the growth of the economy in rural areas, to move Cambodians out of poverty.

“The report says, ‘The current integrating policy strategy to develop rural areas in Cambodia focuses on agriculture and the provision of social and public services, and on the social safety network. These are necessary policies, but frequently they are not adequate for improving basic economic developments.’

“The main author of the report and Chief Technical Advisor of UNCDF, Mr. Nicola Crosta, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday, 30 June 2010, that workers in rural areas change to work in other sectors, like tourism, due to the increasing use of machinery in agriculture in Cambodia. Therefore, this sector needs less and less labor.

“Mr. Crosta added, ‘Must importantly the Cambodian government must anticipate the future (of rural development) and must not fall into the trap to think only of agriculture (that means there must be other sectors for citizens in rural areas in addition to agriculture).’

“A government official said to the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday that the government has decided to concentrate on basic developments, stressing that the increase of the yield of rice is a measure to improve the livelihood of people living in rural areas.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Iv Tong, welcomes ‘that machinery is used in cultivation, as it can increase productivity, and most importantly, improve the livelihood of farmers, and it contributes to economic growth in Cambodia.’

“He added that rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are a means to improve the living condition of farmers.

“But the above report warns, ‘While infrastructure is crucial, it should not be considered as enough for the development of the economy.’

“In the meantime, some economic advisors do not agree with the opinion that the improvement of agricultural techniques through the use of machinery leads to unemployment.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale businesses, Mr. Ut Ren, said that many laborers lose their jobs because of the replacement of human power by machinery, but they then seek jobs in food manufacturing factories.

“He added, ‘We should not be concerned that agricultural development would affect rural employment. What we have to be worried about is how much potential from this sector can be used more productively.’

“Nevertheless, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, believes that at present, there is too little industry in rural areas, so it cannot provide enough jobs for farmers.

“He said, ‘Farmers would seek jobs in new areas in agriculture such as in former forest areas, and they will travel to Thailand to seek jobs.’

“Without worrying too much about the challenges in rural areas in Cambodia, the UNCDF believes that the strengthening of decisions at the basic levels in Cambodia is an important way to boost economic growth.

“He added that at present, Cambodia is improving a 10-year plan that shows policies relating to these views.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #446, 1-2.7.2010

  • Eight Relatives of [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Are Reported [by The Nation on 30 June 2010] to Be Entering Cambodia [bringing much money, millions of Baht, with them, but Cambodia denied it] (no more details are given)

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

  • Cholera Killed Six Prov Ethnic People [25 Others are hospitalized – Lum Phat district, Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [and five other officials] Recovered from A/H1N1 [Swine Flu]
  • Cambodia Sent a Diplomatic Note to Siam [Thailand] to Investigate the Fatal Shooting on a Khmer Citizen near a Border Crossing in Sampov Loun [Battambang, that had accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

  • The Transportation of Luxury Grade Wood Occurs Again in Siem Reap [two cars were intercepted with illegal wood, and four people were arrested]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy Plans to Create a Real-Estate Assessment Committee in Order to Start to Collect Taxes at the End of This Year [it will help increase the national income from US$3 million to US$9 million, after Cambodia experienced a drop of income due to the global financial crisis]
  • An Australian Company [OZ Minerals] Wants that the Authorities Provide Appropriate Compensation to Poor Citizens before Evicting Them, when Claiming Land for Exploring Gold Minerals [in Mondol Seima district, Mondolkiri – both the company and the government share the income from the exploitation of gold]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

  • People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture
  • [Eighty seven] TACFAT Factory Workers Protested in Front of the Ministry of Labor to Demand Their Salaries [from the owner of the factory]
  • Global Witness Welcomes the Clarification [by the Minister of the Council of Ministers] of Oil Issue [about the payment by the Total company to receive exploration right from the Cambodian government], Mr. Sok An, but suggested that the government should publish the full details of all agreements and of account balances, so that the Cambodian people can be confident that the deals are above board]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

  • Bank Systems in Cambodia Are Mostly Controlled by Foreigners [there are 27 commercial banks, where as many as 17 banks are completely controlled by foreigners, and among 6 specialized banks and 20 micro-finance institutions about 77% are controlled by foreigners]
  • The Users of the Banking System [those who deposit their money in banks] Increased to About One Million [in 2009; according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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Patterns to Guide Reforms – “Starfish” or “Spiders”? – Sunday, 17.1.2010

Posted on 18 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

Any regular observer of the media in Cambodia knows that in spite of all the positive developments, since 7 January 1997 (the end of the Khmer Rouge regime), since the time of the UNTAC administration 1992/1993, and since the establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is a variety of different, sometimes opposing interpretations or observations of what has happened.

This is normal in any society. And for the political world of the Kingdom of Cambodia, this state of affairs is also confirmed to be appropriate by the Constitution which says in its Preamble:

“…to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory…”

This describes a process: “to restore” means that the goal is not yet reached. But how to reach it, when even the understanding of what is going on at present is so divergent?

From the past week, we present an example of such conflicting views:

11.1.2010:
Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions
…the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities…

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.

And a response:

12.1.2010:

An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be announced to the authorities in advance]

To have different views is not a surprise. But this poses the question about the methods to reach solutions. There are different models: to impose an intended goal to be reached – or to try to work out a consensus among those involved and affected. The Constitution clearly favors the latter method:

Article 35:

  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall be given the right to participated actively in the political , economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
  • Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State

Article 51:

  • The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
  • The Cambodian people are the masters of their country.
  • All powers belong to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
  • The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial powers shall be separated.

While it is clear who is the master of the country – the people – how this works out – through the National Assembly, the Royal Government, and the Judiciary – is an ongoing dynamic process which also includes differences and conflicts of opinion, as is normal in a pluralistic liberal democratic society.

It is interesting that more recent sociological research shows that in modern societies, there are more and more movements and events happening without central leadership at the top, but in a decentralized way, which makes it also more and more difficult to control them centrally.

A bestselling book in the USA analyzes such trends – co-authored by the former director of the National Cyber Security Center of the USA who is now president of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN – the organization that monitors and coordinates the highly decentralized operations of the Internet – under the title The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (originally it had been planned to be published as “The Decentralized Revolution”):

 Starfish and the Spider

The Starfish and the Spider

IT’S A STARFISH WORLD AND MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication – around ideologies like Al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

Source: The Starfish and the Spider, by Brafman and Beckstrom, Portfolio Hardcover (October 5, 2006), ISBN-10: 1591841437

Does this insight also have a meaning for the future of Cambodia? Will it move towards more and more centralized power – or will the decentralization and deconcentration process, operated as part of the administrative reforms, get more weight? A statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior from 2005 seems to aim at this for the structures of public administration, when he says:

“In this regard, the provincial/municipal governor is not the controller of commune/Sangkat. Rather, the provincial/municipal governor plays the role of a facilitator and coordinator to support communes/Sangkats.”

But the process, documented in the independent news website K7, is dragging on – naturally – very long, some say too slowly – though moving into the right direction.

The vision of the starfish, the aspirations of the organized civil society, and “the people” tend, of course, to move sometimes faster, and further, and into directions that cannot be foreseen.

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Charge d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial – Tuesday, 3.2.2009

Posted on 4 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: The cooperation between the Cambodian government and the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia was broadened towards civil society, and the European Commission is an important development partner of the government. A reporter of Rasmei Kampuchea, Mr. Yin Leangkong, had an interview with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, to analyze these relations.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What improvements regarding relations of cooperation between the European Union [a political and economic union of 27 member states] and the Cambodian government do you see in recent years?

The Chargé d’Affaires: The relations between the European Union and the Cambodian government grew very well during these recent years, while we had significant economic and technical cooperation with the Cambodian government. Last year, we sent an observer mission to Cambodia in order to participate in observing the elections. Through the election observer mission of the European Union, we created some recommendations from the observations, and those recommendations were supported not only by civil society, but also by the Cambodian government and different opposition parties. Therefore, both groups – civil society and the Cambodian government – supported the position of the European Union regarding the elections.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What problems do you consider to be challenges between the European Commission and the Cambodian government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Being partners, we always worked together and discussed with one another, and also we provided aid to the Cambodian government. Actually, we are not always satisfied with all what the Cambodian government has done, but also, we do not think that all what the government has done is mostly wrong. Our position is to offer support to reform programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia. We also follow with interest the slow reform progress, which has not accomplished what we had hoped for, for example, the adoption of an anti-corruption law is very slow. But we know also that the Royal Government of Cambodia is making efforts to encourage this work to move ahead.

“The European Union is also concerned about the forced evictions by using such force. Like the recent Dey Krahom case, we discussed it also with the Royal Government of Cambodia to find solutions for this problem, and we will continue to meet and discuss eviction problems, and the guarantee of the rule of law in Cambodia.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Do you consider such evictions to be part of corruption in the government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: It is a difficult problem, and I cannot answer this question, but I would like to emphasize that what we want to see is the rule of law. It is known that the European Commission has assisted Cambodia in many different sectors. For instance, we help the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s proceedings, seeing that international standards of law have been established. We support also good governance in different sectors in Cambodia.

“Regarding the evictions, I am really concerned about the use of force in evictions, and we are concerned that there has to be support for the rule of law, leading to justice and fairness in compensations for the various families living there.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Together with the progress of this cooperation, the relations have also faced problems. What do you think can be done to make the cooperation between both sides smooth?

The Chargé d’Affaires: What is important is that we focus on bilateral discussions between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia. I would like to mention three significant events: First, last November, we had regular and official discussions about human rights, good governance, and democracy. Second, we will discuss cooperation between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia, to know what factors need to be improved. Third, we will provide support for different sectors through this cooperation, such as human rights, rural development, health, and education. In March, there will be a joint meeting between Cambodia and the European Commission, in order to further strengthen partnership, and make it smoother – which are the points for our eventual discussions.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Regarding the progress of democracy in Cambodia, do you think that Cambodia is on the right track?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Cambodia is on a track of reforms, and theses reforms are crucial. I would like to refer to the experience of Spain [the home country of Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]. From 1939 to 1975, this country was under the control of the Dictator Franco, and during that period, the court system was very corrupt. However, after he died, Spain undertook reforms towards a just court system and a new administration system, but it took many years to improve the situation. Likewise, Cambodia needs much time to achieve these high goals, and it might take a generation.

“It is important that these reforms are started from the schools. Teachers need better salaries, and judges have to earn higher salaries in order to crack down on corruption, and all of us have to start working together to weed out corruption.

Rasmei Kampuchea: According to your point of view, is Cambodia already on the right track towards those positive goals?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have sponsored and supported by funding programs for education through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. We do not grant monetary resources to build schools, but we support, both with funds and training, to expand the capability of education officials, like through accounting skill, financial management, and audits. As for the education sector in Cambodia, I can say that it is on the right track, and that is why we continue supporting this sector.

Rasmei Kampuchea: In May, Cambodia will hold provincial and city council elections. Has the Cambodian government requested funds or experts from the European Union?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have not received any request from the government, asking for funds for the elections. But after the general elections in July 2008, we provided two experts to help the National Election Committee technically – one person helps with the legal section, and the other one helps with the publishing system. This support is provided for six to eight months. As we knew, there is much work that we have to do as stated in reports of the election observer missions, in order to assure independence and trustworthiness of the National Election Committee.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Some people think that the provincial and city elections are useless. What do you think? Are they useful for the progress of democracy or not?

The Chargé d’Affaires: I cannot say whether they are useful or not, but what I think is that the European Union provides support for decentralization and deconcentration. Therefore, any work contributing to encourage decentralization and deconcentration is good.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Relating to Siem Reap Airlines which has been black-listed in the European Union since late 2008, what is its process?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We got a report in late 2008 from a direct assessment by a group of the International Civil Aviation Organization that came to assess different safety systems, and they released a report saying that the safety systems in Cambodia need improvements. The report was sent also to the Royal Government of Cambodia for consideration. In November 2008, the European Union held a meeting with the Cambodian government to hear responses to the problems found. According to reports from member countries, the European Union decided to put Siem Reap Airlines on a blacklist, so that flights are not allowed to Europe, and this company had to halt their activities until now. What we want to see is that there should be assurances from the Royal Government of Cambodia and from Siem Reap Airlines about their safety and security procedures, before we remove it from the blacklist.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #111, 3-4.2.2009

  • An Economist [the director of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Mr. Chan Sophal]: The Government Has to Prepare More Money to Encourage Local Products and to Export Goods
  • A Clay Grinding Machine Seizes [left] Hand of a Woman [a kiln worker – Siem Reap]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #333, 3.2.2009

  • Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party Form Alliance to Compete Together for Seats in the Future
  • 25 Houses Behind the Tuol Sangkae Electricity Power Station Were Destroyed [by fire – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1863, 3.2.2009

  • Construction of the Kbal Thnol Elevated Road Will Begin in April, at a Cost of US$6 Million [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Trainees Go to Japan to Study Human Resources Development in the Health Sector and in Medical Treatment Services
  • Mr. Obama Will Start Direct Negotiations with Iran and Syria

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #195, 3.2.2009

  • The National Bank Decreases the Bank Reserve Rate [from 16% to 12%] for Private Banks so that They Can Provide Loans to Reinvest in Real Estate

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #668, 3.2.2009

  • German [parliament] Delegation Wants to See Opposition Parties in Commissions of the National Assembly; [the chairperson of the parliamentary Commission on Economy, Finance, and Audits] Mr. Cheam Yeap: He Had Let Them to Join, but They Disagreed [as they have no responsibility for any commission – while the German delegation shared their experience that opposition parties also lead commissions so that all parties have to work together]
  • The 7NG Company Distributes Donations to Former Dey Krahom Residents [of 79 families who had recently agreed to receive a small house far away as compensation in Dangkao district after the eviction, and calls on the rest of 12 families to accept this also]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3677, 3.2.2009

  • 42 Court Officials [including the president of the Supreme Court, Mr. Dith Munty, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ouk Vithun] and 27 Generals Are Sent into Retirement
  • An English Television [Channel 4] Reported that Many Foreign Companies Are Seeking to Acquire Land in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

  • Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial
  • Cambodians Become Fisher Slaves in the Sea of Thailand [theguardianweekly global network published an article with the title Forced to Fish: Cambodia’s Sea Slaves]
  • Cambodia Will Demand Thailand in a Bangkok Meeting to Define a Specific Date to Put Preah Vihear Border Markers [though there is no mutual agreement where to put them]

  • Hungary Will Forgive 50% of the Loans given to Cambodia and Change the Remaining 50% into Grant Aid [no amounts mentioned]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks the Federal Republic of Germany to Assist in Legal and Court Reforms
  • The Government Closes the Sexy Apsara Paintings Website

    Note: It is an unclear situation, because the government has not issued a widely and publicly known banning order, and not all Internet service providers in Cambodia are blocking the site. – See the Mirror editorial from last Sunday here.]

  • 352 Species of Animals Are Found Living in the Region where the Kirirom 3 Hydro-Electric Dam Is to Be Built [there is concern that this plan will affect the shelter of the animals living in that 1,118 hectares of forest land]
  • Pictures of Carnivore and Herbivore Dinosaurs Found on Angkor and Bayon Walls

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3479, 3.2.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Government Rejects 15-Day Ultimatum [for the premier to resign] by Pro-[ousted former Thai Prime Minister]-Thaksin Red-Shirt Demonstrators

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“After My Son Was Born, He Died; His Weight Was 3.5 kg” – Monday, 12.1.2009

Posted on 13 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, Monday 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

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Monday, 12.1.2009

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Phnom Penh: Ms. Socheata (name changed to maintain her safety) who was at the end of her pregnancy, she started having labor pains, had hot and cold flushes, and she was starting to lose amniotic fluid. That happened in the night of 1 January 2009. She was brought by her family to the National Maternal Child Health Center – which many people still call the ‘Japanese Hospital’ – because she regularly went there for prenatal examinations.

“Mr. Sambath, her husband (also name changed to maintain his safety), said that he brought his wife to the emergency room, and his first task was to pay money. Then they checked the dilatation of the uterine cervix, and the doctors said that during that night her uterine cervix had not opened, and they told them to go back home.

“The Japanese Hospital, the National Maternal Child Health Center, is located in Srah Chak, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh. This hospital is at the west of Wat Srah Chak. Japan had assisted this hospital, and even though Japan had stopped assisting this hospital two or three years ago, it is still called the Japanese Hospital by the people. The director of this hospital is Dr. Kum Kanal.

“On 4 January 2009, at 1:30 p.m., Socheata started again having strong labor pains; so she came to let doctors check for the second time. Mr. Sambath said that in more than 16 hours, since 1:30 p.m. of 4 January 2009 to 4:20 a.m. of 5 January 2009, the baby was still alive, but due to carelessness, the baby finally died.

“Mr. Sambath complained, ‘Because we are poor, they left my wife unattended; the baby boy died before he knew anything and had not yet seen the sunlight.’ Also, he asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bunheng, to help seek justice, or to provide a proper solution, and especially not to let this bad model continue, endangering more lives of lovely babies and wives.

“In the afternoon of 5 January 2009, Mr. Sambath phoned Mr. Mam Bunheng and told him the story, and 15 minutes later, the director of the National Maternal Child Health Center, Mr. Kum Kanal, was made to be very busy. In the evening of 6 January 2009, there was a meeting about the death of Mr. Sambath’s son, led by Mr. Kum Kanal. That was what was known.

“Some staff of the Japanese Hospital who love justice told Rasmei Kampuchea in the afternoon of 7 January 2009 that there is systematic corruption, and that there are persons who cover this, who are not afraid of anyone, except the director. They went on to say that at the National Maternal Child Health Center, the number of patients declined to almost half of what it had been before. Patients go to the Calmette Hospital, and furthermore, some staff left to work there. In January 2009, there was information that there will be an investigations about irregularities at the National Maternal Child Health Center by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection. The staff of the National Maternal Child Health Center want to perform good work, but some of them are committing crimes by using babies as hostage to press their parents for money.

“A former undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, who experienced the same as Mr. Sambath with his son, expressed deep regret, and he said that some doctors do not have mercy and sympathy for human lives.

“There are notices written on the walls of the Japanese hospital with big Khmer letters on blue background, saying please do not pay anything to the staff, but only to the cashiers. Patients who are not able to pay for the services are invited to contact a monitoring group, and if someone asks for money in addition to the prescribed service fees, they should be reported to the monitoring group. The service charges at the National Maternal Child Health Center are Riel 14,300 [approx. US$3.50] for a woman delivering her first baby, and Riel 73,000 [approx. US$18] for a woman delivering her second or third baby; the normal room charge is Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.50] per night.

“However, everything is different from the above prohibition notice. Each patient pays extra money in addition to the services, such as: Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] or 50,000 [approx. US$12.30] or US$30 for doctors, Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.50] to each medical staff who injects, outside of the working hours, three syringes three times per day (it is not known whether they use government provided or private medicine), Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] for bathing a baby, Riel 2,000 for cleaning the wounds of a woman, and there are other cases where patients are treated for money outside the government services [using this public hospital to treat patients privately and earn money from private persons] during the mornings; each medical staff earns at least Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] for services outside the public system.

“A woman staying at Room 215 on the first floor said that, when the head of her baby appeared half way, first the doctors asked her how much money she would offer them. That woman offered them Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.30], but the doctors demanded Riel 70,000 [approx. US$17] from her. Because she begged that that was all the money she had, they agreed. This is an incredible story, but that was what that woman said herself. Another woman staying in the next bed offered the doctors US$5.00, but only when they arrived at the sum of US$30.00 they agreed.

“Regarding these wrong and unauthorized expenses, the director of the hospital, Mr. Kum Kanal, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bunheng, could not be reached for comment.

“Mr. Sambath brought his wife back from the hospital, and could only tell this story to other people. ‘He said that his dead baby was a son. They told me that he was not born prematurely, and that he weighed 3.5 kg, but he died.’

“They did not agree to deliver the body of his baby to him to celebrate a proper funeral for him.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4792, 11-12.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 12 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1844, 11-12.1.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly and honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin Leads a Delegation of the National Assembly to Visit Laos and Vietnam
  • Primary Schools in Suburbs Lack 50 Buildings Corresponding to 1,000 Rooms [each room can accept between 60 and 70 students – Phnom Penh]
  • A Man Was Arrested by Police for Raping a Six-Year-Old Girl [Kampot]
  • Cholera Killed 500 Buffaloes in Krakor District [Pursat]
  • In 2008 Unemployment in the United States Reached a New Record [there were 2.6 million unemployed people]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #321, 12.1.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Decides to Attend the 14th ASEAN Summit in Thailand [held from 27 February 2009 to 1 March 2009]
  • The Documentation Center of Cambodia provides Khmer Rouge History into the Curriculum [of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #324, 11-13.1.2009

  • Prince Ranariddh Responds to Insult by Hun Sen [that there are people preparing documents to ask for positions from him; Prince Ranariddh asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to release the names of those people]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #180, 11-12.1.2009

  • Fishery Official: During this Moon-Month of Khneot 10,000 Tonnes of Fish Could be Caught to Make Prahok for the Citizens
    Japan Donates Machines to Help with Mine Clearance in Cambodia [of more than US$4 million]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6549, 12.1.2009

  • Japan Promises to Encourage a Project to Construct a Neak Loeang Bridge Soon [in Prey Veng – according to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs , Mr. Nakasone Hirofumi]
  • There Were 34 Crime Cases Less in 2008 Than in 2007 [there had been 224 cases in 2007]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #718, 12-17.1.2009

  • The Price of One Certificate [for Khmer citizens, to get employment, to register their place of residence, or to get married in a foreign country] Is US$5, but the Price Goes Up and Down Whether It Is Urgent or Not! [US$5 for 1 month – it takes one month to receive a certificate, US$45 for 15 days, US$100 for one week, and US$150 for one day; but these extra charges do not go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance…]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3663, 12.1.2009

  • [The president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy: If There Is No Decentralization, There Is No Democracy [on 31 January 2009, the Sam Rainsy Party will hold a decentralization congress, summoning all its 2,660 commune council members countrywide]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Take Action according to the Complaint of Corruption Allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [filed by foreign co-defense lawyers of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea – according to the president of the Municipal Court, Mr. Chiv Keng]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4792, 11-12.1.2009

  • ”After My Son Was Born, He Died; His Weight Was 3.5 kg”
  • The Group Who Planted Explosive Devices Belongs to a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [four suspects are arrested]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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Monday, 25.8.2008: United States of America Grants More Than US$34 Million for Heath and Education Projects in Cambodia

Posted on 26 August 2008. Filed under: Week 575 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 575

“Phnom Penh: The government of the United States of America and the Royal Government of Cambodia will sign two bilateral agreements at a total cost of US$34.3 million as donor funds for 2008, from the U. S. Agency for International Development [USAID] to promote priority sectors in Cambodia – health and education.

“The [signing] ceremony will be held on 25 August 2008 and will be presided over by Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Mr. Joseph Mussomeli, the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Ms.
Erin Soto, USAID Mission Director, who will sign on behalf of the US government. These new funds will add to nearly US$200 million since USAID granted funds for the health and education sectors of Cambodia since 2002.

“An announcement by the US Embassy on 23 August 2008 said that the first agreement will be a grant of a total volume of US$32.2 million to strengthen the health sector as a priority. This fund will promote all activities aiming at the reduction rate of infections and of the impact of HIV/AIDS, and the prevention and the wiping out of big infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and bird flu, in order to improve child and maternal health and reproductive health, and to strengthen the public heath system, also including the strengthening of additional technical skills for health staff.

“The second agreement will provide more than US$2 million in total to support plans of the Royal Government of Cambodia for the education sector. The funds will be used for the existing programs to improve the quality of education as the basis to increase access to schools for Cambodian children, as well as for children of minority peoples, and for those who do not get access to employment [disabled persons?], and also support the schooling of very poor children. This activity will also focus on the implementation of new study programs at the national level with educational standards which will cut down the rates of dropping out of school and of the repetition of classes through the enhancement of the quality of teaching and through assessments of the results of the students’ studies.

“In addition to the activities in the health and education sectors, USAID assists also some programs for the benefit of all the Cambodian citizens, including programs to strengthen human rights, the rule of law, of basic good governance, and of decentralization, the fight against corruption, the development of the private sector, and the fight against human trafficking. USAID expects to grant US$57.5 million to Cambodia in 2008.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4676, 24-25.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 August 2008


Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #32, 25-26.8.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, the Former President of the Third Term National Assembly and Co-President of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, Had [a huge number of] 59 Advisors and 66 Assistants


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1728, 24-25.8.2008

  • National Election Committee Rejects Opposition Party’s Request to Show Evidence [of irregularities for deleting voters’ names – NEC claims that the names were deleted a long time ago]
  • Many Mountains in Pailin Seriously Destroyed [by powerful people’s land grabbing]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #229, 24-26.8.2008

  • People Talking on Mobile Phones Were Killed by Lightning, because [Posts and Telecommunication Minister] So Khun Is Poor in Communication Technology [???]
  • Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Will Take Evidence to Complain to UN Together, in Early September [over irregularities in election]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6432, 25.8.2008

  • Government Official [Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith] Accuses an American Newspaper [The Modesto Bee] of Insulting Cambodia [an article by Pulitzer Prize winner former journalist and now professor of journalism at Stanford University Joel Brinkley, quoting the Phnom Penh Post report and the US Ambassador about a fatal traffic accident and impunity: “The world leader in corruption is – Cambodia”]


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.11, #1351, 25.8.2008

  • Robbers Shot at Gold Seller and Robbed Him of Nearly 300 Chi of Gold [worth approx. US$30,000]; the Gold Seller Is Wounded and a Neighbor, Who Tried to Help Him, Was Shot Dead [by robbers – Angkao, Phnom Penh]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4676, 24-25.8.2008

  • United States of America Grants More Than US$34 Million for Heath and Education Projects in Cambodia
  • Samdech Krom Preah [Prince Norodom Ranariddh] Decides Not to Enter Politics [according to Prince Thomico]
  • Thai Opposition Group Announces to Hold a Large Demonstration to Expel the Government on 26 August 2008

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – some fundamental challenges into the future

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