The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November – Thursday, 15.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The declaration of assets of officials of the Royal Government as well as of relevant civil society officials will be made before November 2010.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Senior Minister Om Yentieng, said during a press conference in the morning of 14 July 2010 that the Anti-Corruption Unit will proceed with the procedure of the declaration of assets of relevant officials, including officials of the Royal Government appointed by sub-decrees and royal decrees, as well as other officials including those of civil society organizations, and the declaration will be conducted before November 2010, to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law. He added that there are about 100,000 persons in Cambodia who are required to declare their assets. The duty of the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all documents. Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit has the right to check those documents anytime.

“Relating to a question from journalists about how much money is to be considered as corruption, Mr. Om Yentieng said that an amount to be considered as corruption does not need to be up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Riel 1,000 to Riel 2,000 [US$0.25 to US$0.50] can also be considered as corruption, and there are many types of corruption, like the provision of licenses and permissions, or the offering of sexual pleasure which can also be considered as corruption. He said that improper activities of traffic police who fine citizens without giving them a receipt for the fine paid can also be considered as corruption.

“Mr. Om Yengtieng added that the declarations will be made officially, and the procedure does not protect corrupt people as the opposition parties have said, because the procedures had granted full rights to the opposition parties to express their ideas during the discussions and adoptions of the law in the National Assembly, but the decision [to terminate the discussions] were within the rights of the president of the National Assembly. He believes that this law will proceed smoothly. He went on to say that as soon as this law had been released, some officials required to declare their asset felt afraid. Thus, it is not a simple matter.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit stated during the press conference that the Anti-Corruption Unit has a fivefold mission:

  1. Lead the fight against any acts of corruption.
  2. Fight against corruption of all forms, in all sectors, and at all levels.
  3. Proceed following three legal procedures: to educate, to prevent, and to punish.
  4. Fight corruption with participation by the general public.
  5. Fight corruption with participation by international agencies.

“Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit is always aware of a recommendation by the president of the National Assembly to prevent its members from committing corruption, as they are more in danger to commit corruption than others. As there are difficulties to fight corruption, the Anti-Corruption Unit is provided with some special rights to act.

“Mr. Om Yentieng stressed that all personnel of the Anti-Corruption Unit, including the watchmen at the Anti-Corruption office, have to declare their assets. There are two types of penalties for corruptions: misdemeanors and felonies, which cover 7-days to life imprisonment.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

  • The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November
  • The Sharing Experience for Adapted Development [SEAD] Delivers 40,000 Books of a Services Directory for Vulnerable People [the books, which list 280 organizations, 25 units, 85 hospitals, and 220 health centers will be provided to staff of the government and of non-government organizations that work with vulnerable children and families to be used as their reference in offering necessary services to those people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7008, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Will Have to Declare Their Assets and Debts Every Two Years
  • Cambodia and the United States of America Will Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations [from 18 to 24 July 2010 in Phnom Penh and in Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3932, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Are the Target to Declare Their Assets, according to a Report when Cambodia Hosted an Anti-Corruption Conference
  • Khmer Citizens Have Not Received the Right for Just Hearings, as Guaranteed by National and International Laws [according to observations by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights cooperating with the US Agency for International Development and the East-West Management Institute in 199 hearings at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #215, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected UN Criticism [over the proceedings of the defamation case of the opposition politician, Ms. Mu Sochua, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying that this relates to internal affairs of Cambodia; recently the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Rupert Colville, stated that Cambodian courts have been used as weapon to restrict the freedom of expression]
  • Vietnam Supplies Additional 20 Megawatt of Electricity to Cambodia [in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request, amid the increasing demand for electricity in Cambodia; according to an agreement signed by both countries, Vietnam promised to supply 200 megawatt of electricity to Cambodia by 2009, but by now, Vietnam can supply only 120 megawatt due to a lack of electricity in its own country]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5250, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Earns Riel 6,000 Million to Riel 7,000 Million [US$1,380,000 to US$1,610,000] Each Year from Fishery Yield [each year 500,000 tonnes of fish are caught – according to the director general of the Department of Fisheries Administration, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • Three Cars Loaded with Ebony Were Intercepted in the House of a Military Official in Stung Treng [but he has not been yet arrested]

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Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held – Thursday, 29.4.2010

Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum was held in the morning of 27 April 2010 at the seat of the Council of Ministers. The forum was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen; other leaders of the Royal Government, from the private sector, and many other development partners, and diplomats attended the forum.

“Like at the previous time, the aim of the meeting, considered to be a kind of open ministerial session, is to jointly monitor the practical progress and improvements achieved, to see how problems, which were raised during the 14th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum had been addressed, and to know what other problems investors face in Cambodia.

“The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said during his speech opening the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum that the Royal Government had led the Cambodian economy to get across a most difficult stage of the economic crisis, where the Royal Government managed to ensure financial stability as well as macro-economic and social stability, established a more favorable environment for economic and business activities, and strengthened social safety for the citizens.

“He added that encountering the global economic crisis, the Royal Government had continually intervened in the taxation system for garment and shoe factories as well as for other industries supporting these fields. Reduced tax payments on income of the garment and shoe factories was extended until the end of 2012, resulting in monthly losses for the state of about Riel 4,000,000,000 [approx. US$940,000]. To reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 0% during that time resulted in additional losses for the state of about Riel 4,300,000,000 [approx US$1 million] per month in 2008 and it increased to as much as approx. Riel 9,300,000,000 [approx. US$2.2 million] in 2010.

“The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, chaired the event and waited to address all problems after they had been raised by the eight private sector groups. Then he dealt with the problems of the working teams for agriculture and for industry, relating to the export of agricultural products, even though it is recognized that there has been improvement in the commercial sector. Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sectors needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.

“Regarding these issues, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that such type of unimportant checkpoints should be abolished at all levels, especially when such activities are carried out by institutions which are not authorized for this, and he called to abolish such licenses required by unnecessary institutions, so that export business becomes more competitive exporting agricultural products of Cambodia.

“As for the tourism working team, Mr. Ho Vandy asked the government to reduce the price of plane tickets of Cambodia Angkor Air from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, to allow flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and to add another flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and to begin local flights between Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville.

“In response, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that Cambodia adheres to a free market economy. Thus, the government cannot set prices of flights as it is done in a planned economy. In relation to the request to begin flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, he said that the government does not provide exclusive rights to Cambodia Angkor Air, and other companies can operate direct flights. He encouraged Mr. Ho Vandy – if he could make any airline to start direct flights to Sihanoukville he will request that Mr. Vandy should get a medal for this incentive.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen also addressed issues in other sectors, mostly concentrating on the lowering of tax for the import of raw materials and for means of transport, and the lowering of VAT. At the same time, he addressed also problems relating to trade unions and workers. In addition, he clarified some cases, where the private sector had called to strengthen the competition of the garment sector by considering that the expensive prices of telecommunication, transportation, and electricity are a burden.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Was Nominated as a Member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #463-464, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Government Encourages the Private Sector to Export Agricultural Products
  • Two Murderers Were Arrested for Killing a Woman to Rob Her Lexus Car to Sell it in Vietnam [Phnom Penh]
  • The Prime Minister Reminded the Authorities to Crack Down on Illegal Check Points

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22-342235, 28-29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The BHP Billiton Mining Company Did Not Give Illegal Money to Cambodia [to get a mining exploration concession from the government]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Ambassadors in Cambodia Not to Interfere in the Internal Affairs of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Decide on Bail Requests of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan on 30 April 2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and To Demonstrate [on 1 May 2010, the International Labor Day] Is Their Right
  • The Australian Embassy Provides Scholarships to 40 Cambodian Students Every Year
  • The National Children’s Hospital Receives Medical Equipment Donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA, worth about US$200,000]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [COMFREL]: The Power of the National Assembly Is in the Hands of Only One Party, and Complaints against Mr. Sam Rainsy [filed by the government] Are Dangerous for Democracy
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked the Minister of Justice to Confirm the Conditions Under Which Courts Can Detain Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #159-160, 28-29.4.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: The Money from the [Australian] BHP Company Is Not Corrupt Money [he confirmed that the government was not involved in corruption with the BHP company in providing mining exploitation rights in Cambodia, but he said that this company did provide more than US$2 million for social development projects]
  • Tourists Arrivals Increased by Almost 10% in the First Quarter of 2010 [there were more than 680,000 tourists, mostly from Korea, China, and Japan]
  • Visakh Bochea Was Internationally Celebrated in the Angkor Area in Siem Reap [with an international “Trail of Civilization and Performance” with participation from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam]
  • Cambodia Lifts the Ban on Marriages between Khmer Women and South Korean Men
  • The International Monetary Fund: Cambodia Should Improve Investment Atmosphere [in order to attract big investors: maintaining the macro-economic environment stable, improving the physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, and electricity supply, ensure a high level judicial system that is independent, and keep a well educated labor force]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

  • The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticized Big Institutions of the World [the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different [independent] forecasts about the Cambodian economy]
  • 88% of Garment Factories Were Affected by the Economic Crisis while 12% Were Not [according to the International Labor Organization]

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Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

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Financial Aid from the Federal Republic of Germany for 2009 and 2010 Amounts to Euro 36 Million – Tuesday, 16.3.2010

Posted on 16 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Phnom Penh: A delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany arrived in Cambodia last week to sign agreements with the Royal Government of Cambodia relating to grant aid for 2009 and 2010 of about Euro 36 Million [approx. US$49 million].

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said that last week, the senior delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany led by the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, came to visit to study the progress of Cambodian developments. The forty two delegates are from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the parliament, civil society, and private financing agencies of Germany, and also journalists.

“The spokesperson said that the delegates met with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, in the afternoon of 10 March 2010 before signing agreements between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Federal Republic of Germany about financial cooperation.

“Officials said that the financial cooperation for 2009 amounted to Euro 19 million [approx. US$26million] to implement three projects: the second phase health program with Euro 6 million [approx. US$8million], the regional economic development project also with Euro 6 million, and the second phase rural infrastructure development with Euro 7 million [approx. US$10million].

“Officials went on to say that regarding financial cooperation for 2009 and 2010, the Federal Republic of Germany promised to provide Euro 36 million [approx. US$49million], where Euro 34 million [approx. 46 million] is new aid and the rest is aid promised in 2007. Officials added that the aid for 2009 and 2010 is planned to be spent in the health sector with Euro 10.25 million [approx. US$14million], for rural development with Euro 22 million [approx. US$30million], and for other sectors Euro 3.75 million [approx. US$5million].

“Officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance added that despite the bad impact from the global financial and economic crisis, the Federal Republic of Germany keeps providing aid to Cambodia of about Euro 34 million for two years. According to the official statistics of Cambodia, between 1992 and 2009, the Federal Republic of Germany provided US$280 million [approx. US$384 million]. Based on these statistics, the Federal Republic of Germany is the fifth donor of Cambodia after China, Japan, the United States of America, and France.

“The officials continued to say that the senior delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany will visit Siem Reap to study the progress of a program implementation for ‘Regional Economic Development’ which includes the green ring area project being implemented by the Apsara Authority.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5151, 16.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 16 march 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #435, 16.3.2010

  • Cambodia Will Receive a Grant of More Than US$31 Million from the Japanese Government to Implement Four Priority Projects [relating to the Neak Loeang bridge construction, clean water, electricity, and solar energy]
  • The Prime Minister Ordered Soldiers Not to Stand along the Border while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Are Demonstrating in Bangkok [in order to avoid a misunderstanding that Cambodia would like to take the opportunity to invade Thai territory]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2202, 16.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Called on All Educational Institutions to Continue to Cooperate with the Ministry of Education to Strengthen the Quality of Education
  • Samdech Hun Sen Rejected the Information that [the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #627, 16.3.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: Cambodia Loses More Than One Billion Dollars Each Year because of Corruption [through custom officers and police officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6909, 16.3.2010

  • Three Khmer Citizens Were Shot Dead and 25 Others Were Arrested by Siamese [Thai] Soldiers [accusing them of cutting trees illegally in Thai territory] Along the Border in Oddar Meanchey, during Three Months Early 2010

Meatophum, Vol.54, #763, 15-20.3.2010

  • The Khmer King Becomes a Member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres of France

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3833, 16.3.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Rejected Red-Shirt Demonstrators Demand [to dissolve the parliament and to resign from his office] before He Escaped by Helicopter from the [Thai] King’s Guard Barracks Which Had Been Bombed

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #131, 16.3.2010

  • Thai Soldiers Fatally Shot Two More Khmer Citizens at the Border [who entered Thai territory illegally to cut trees]
  • The Authorities Reorganize the Area Destroyed by Fire [near Wat Neak Voan, Phnom Penh; the authorities asked citizens to choose their representatives to reorganize the burnt area, while the Prime Minister ordered to construct again rooms for monks and for students in the pagoda]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5151, 16.3.2010

  • Financial Aid from the Federal Republic of Germany for 2009 and 2010 Amounts to Euro 36 Million
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Ordered Soldiers along the Border to Stay Calm and Asked Khmer Citizens Not to Join Demonstrations in Thailand

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Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People – Saturday, 6.3.2010

Posted on 7 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The government already sent an anti-corruption draft law to the National Assembly, after Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had sent a request to the National Assembly to establish an Anti-Corruption Board – a proposal which was rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, saying that the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly had decided to accept the anti-corruption draft law of the government for discussion.

“Copies of the government draft were distributed to all parliamentarians, and the National Assembly plans to hold a meeting on 10 March 2010, where it is assumed that to discuss the anti-corruption draft law will be on the agenda.

“The leader of the group of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, who had requested the creation of an Anti-Corruption Board, said on 5 March 2010 in a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the draft of the government does not have clear goals to prevent corruption or to prosecute those who commit corruption.

“He said that 16 years ago, as a parliamentarian of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party of Mr. Son San, he once had requested an anti-corruption law, and then, under the next governments, he requested it again and again that the National Assembly should create such a law.

“The draft of the government limits membership in anti-corruption institutions to persons, to any individual, from various institutions who will be suggested by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the King, to be appointed.

“Regarding the suggested candidates from various institutions to be appointed, Mr. Son Chhay said that it is difficult that those officials to be investigated are in the same institution that suggest candidates, and he claimed that candidates appointed by the Prime Minister cannot be considered to be independent.

“The draft speaks also about the declaration of assets, saying that it has to be made confidentially, requiring that those who declare their assets have to keep one document for themselves, and another document has to be kept at a secret place by the anti-corruption institution, and if they will be prosecuted within five years, the confidentiality is lifted.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the draft of the government does not clearly define the punishment for persons who commit corruption, and the punishment is based on different types of corruption, like minor corruption just for small thefts to eat [‘for the stomach’], and big corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay raised the example that some custom officers get a salary of only about US$100 per month, an amount that cannot meet their daily needs. Therefore they make their fellow officials collect money for them every month, and they may get about US$20,000. Mr. Son Chhay asked, ‘Is this kind of corruption “just for the stomach” a minor, or is it big corruption?’

“Mr. Son Chhay said that if the draft law of the government is approved by the National Assembly without making some changes, it will not serve the national interest and the citizens, as this draft does not explicitly determine punishment for ‘corruption.’

“He added that this law seems to serve those who commit corruption.

“The Sam Rainsy Party, civil society, and donors have encouraged to approve an anti-corruption law, and finally a draft was sent by the government to the National Assembly, after it had been approved by the Council of Ministers in early December of 2009. This draft has been kept confidential and was delayed until now, and if Mr. Son Chhay had not sent in another draft request to the National Assembly, the government would likely not have released their draft now to the National Assembly. Anyway, regarding the rejection of the draft [presented by the Sam Rains Party] by Mr. Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay considers it to be his success, because if he had not sent it to the National Assembly, the government would not have released the draft to the National Assembly.

“When journalists asked, ‘On 10 March 2010, during the meeting of the National Assembly, will the National Assembly approve the draft?’ – Mr. Son Chhay said that if the National Assembly does not discuss it in detail, it will be strange, and he will be more suspicious that this law does not serve the national interest and the citizens, but it will serve corrupt people, partisans, and powerful people.

“There are different opinions about a final rush to approve an anti-corruption law, as donor countries stay quiet and have not set a date for its discussions, unlike in previous years, where discussions started early in the years.

“Corruption in Cambodia is strongly criticized locally and internationally. Corruption exists from lower levels to the top, making Cambodia lose about US$500 million each year. This is figure was used by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley.

“Nevertheless, there is also praise from various sides that the government wants this law to be approved by the National Assembly, as it can create some obstacles for corrupt people to continue to commit corruption.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #427, 6.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Reinstated the Immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian Ho Vann [suspended over a defamation allegation by military officials]
  • ASEAN Expresses Concern over the Cambodian Military Exercises [the ASEAN secretary general said that Cambodia might convey the wrong signals to the world regarding these exercises], while Bangkok Leaders Did Not Express any Concern

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2194, 6.3.2010

  • An Anti-Corruption Draft Law Will Be Discussed on 10 March 2010
  • Civil Society [the Cambodia Labor Union Federation and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)] Fully Support the Elimination of Brothels and Gambling Sites

Note:

It is not clear so far how the ban of gambling sites will affect the big gambling institutions close to the borders with Thailand and with Vietnam, and if it will also relate to big gambling institutions in Phnom Penh, like the Naga World Casino and others.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

  • Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6901, 6-7.3.2010

  • The White Club, a Night Club where there Was Nude Dancing, Has Been Closed Down, and 120 Men and Women Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • While Iron Frames Were Transported on a Car, They Hit an Electric Power Line, Electrocuting Two Persons Fatally, Wounding Two Others, and Burning Down the Car [Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5143, 6.3.2010

  • The Government Approved a Conservation Project in the Anlong Veng Historical Tourism Region [which was the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge leadership]
  • Three Persons Died and Two Were Seriously Injured in Two Separate Traffic Accidents [Takeo]

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Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case – Tuesday, 2.3.2010

Posted on 3 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee published a statement, calling for a political solution for the president of the biggest opposition party of Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 non-government organizations, issued the statement late last week.

“The committee regrets that a lawyer of the government filed a lawsuit against Mr. Sam Rainsy, in addition to the complaint which had been handled by the Svay Rieng court. Civil society organizations wrote that the new complaint will pose more concerns among national and international opinion about the recent political situation in Cambodia, especially relating to the space for democracy and the role of parliamentarians; opposition party parliamentarians were frequently sued, while important issues in the country need the involvement by all political parties. In this sense, the committee thinks that party leaders should focus more on the national interest and unite through negotiations to peacefully settle national issues.

“The committee stated, ‘We would like to encourage our political leaders to respect each other and to negotiate patiently, discussing national problems so that Cambodian citizens can live in peace and in a democratic society.’

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project – a member of the committee, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun – explained that the statement is aimed not only at the government, but at both parties. Mr. Sok Sam Oeun said, ‘Also Mr. Sam Rainsy should soften his position.’

“However, there seems to be less hope that there can be political coordination like in 2005, as Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stated that he will not ask for an amnesty for Mr. Sam Rainsy again. Last week Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘I can say now that in the next elections, there will be opposition parties, but not such a person (like Sam Rainsy).’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen even considered Mr. Sam Rainsy’s activities as traitorous.

“The lawyer Sok Sam Oeun said that it is difficult to follow the way of politicians.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #423, 2.3.2010

  • India Provided a Loan of US$15 Million for the Construction of Electricity Lines from Kratie to Stung Treng
  • Citizens Accused Banteay Meanchey Custom Officers of Extorting Money, though They Transport Goods Legally [more than 30 homebuilt small tractors loaded with goods were blocked, extorting Riel 50,000 each, approx. US$12, to let them pass]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2190, 2.3.2010

  • It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Adds a Thai Language Section to Its Website [a government official said that doing so amid border conflicts with Thailand seems to express support towards foreign aggression]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6897, 2.3.2010

  • Thirty Six Hectares of Rubber Trees [of six families] Are in a Conflict [a company that wants to buy the land, while the owners do not want to sell it], Where by Now Thirty Hectares Have Been Burnt Down [by unknown persons – Kompong Cham]
  • More Cambodian Students Learn French [the number increased from 45,000 students in 2005 to more than 110,000 in 2009 [announced at the occasion of a meeting between the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French embassy]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3821, 2.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Welcomes the New Lawsuit by the Government, as Those Loving Justice around the World Sympathize with Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #121, 2.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Are Concerned about the Knot Tied between the Private Sectors and the Troops [saying that private companies might use the military power of those supported to support their illegal businesses], but this Was Rejected [by the government]
  • Cholera Is Affecting Five Provinces and one City [Kandal, Kompong Speu, Prey Veng, Takeo, and Phnom Penh; 223 cases of diarrhea are suspected to be Cholera – according to the Ministry of Health]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

  • Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case
  • Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]
  • [Two] Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller, Taking 300 Chi of Gold [worth approx. US$40,200], and in Cash Riel 4 Million [approx. US$950], and US$100 [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1884, 2.3.2010

  • Thai Security Is Tightened after Bomb Explosions [in Bangkok]

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Environmental Pollution Has to Be Reduced in Four Industrial Target Areas – Monday, 22.2.2010

Posted on 23 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The garment industry, brick kilns, rice milling, and the rubber processing industry are frequently considered by environmentalists as causing environmental pollution, which contributes to climate change in Cambodia as well as producing greenhouse gases, released into the atmosphere, a major source of global warming.

“The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, is developing strategies to deal with the four target areas to economize the use of raw materials, to reorient the industry to create less pollution, and to use energy resource which effectively cut down environmental pollution.

“The chief technical advisor of the Cambodian Cleaner Production Program, Dr. P.K Gupta [Director of the National Productivity Council/National Cleaner Production Center of India], said during a consultation workshop about Industrial Energy Efficiency at the Sunway Hotel in the morning of 19 February 2010 that the reduction of greenhouse gases in Cambodian industry is a project of the Global Environment Facility approved in 2009. In Cambodia, it is found that the garment industry, brick kilns, rice milling, and the rubber processing industry are the most polluting fields compared to others. They play a most important role to develop the industry based economy of the country, consume the most fuel, and therefore emit most of the polluting smoke. Officials of the Ministries of Industry and of the Environment are looking for ways to reduce fuel consumption by shifting to other sources of energy for the production in these fields, sources that do not need high capital input and save electricity.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Dr. Sat Samy, said, ‘Anyway, industrial development must be combined with environmental protection – otherwise we will spend much time and money to find remedies for the destruction caused by environmental pollution resulting from development.’ He added that in recent years, global climate change made journalists, politicians, and many other people around the world to pay more attention to, and to worry about the threats to the environment which can lead to climate change, floods, droughts, and global warming, that go against the desired social sustainable situation that human beings necessarily need for their everyday lives.

“The Technical Director General of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Lonh Heal, said, ‘The four target areas are the ones on which efforts to reduce environmental pollution needs to be concentrated, because they contribute to climate change. Much scientific evidence shows that the release of greenhouse gases into the environment by human activities is the major source of global warming. Cambodia is a country that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995. As a signatory country we have to prepare to fulfill the contracted duties about greenhouse gases in our national plans. Therefore, this workshop is an effort to coordinate between the Ministries of Industry and of the Environment under an Industrial Energy Efficiency Program of the Global Environment Facility. The workshop was held for one day to consult about how to make changes that benefit both industrial operators and reduce environmental pollution.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5132, 21-22.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #416, 21-22.2.2010

  • During a Raid at Dawn in a Restaurant Suspected of Dealing with Drugs, Nineteen People Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2183, 21-22.2.2010

  • While Wood Removed from an Old House Was Being Loaded on a Truck, Military Police Blocked it to Extort Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75, though there was sufficient documentation permitting the transport – Battambang]
  • A Truck Loaded with Containers Hit a Motorbike Driver, Killing Two People Immediately [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #735, 22.2.2010

  • The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6890, 22.2.2010

  • That the Charges against [two] Local Human Rights Defenders and a Reporter [of Radio Free Asia] Were Dropped Was Welcomed [by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights]
  • A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #3814, 22.2.2010

  • The United Nations [through the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination] Warned that It Will Provide Asylum for Khmer Kampuchea Krom People if the Cambodian Government Does Not Provide Them with Khmer Citizenships

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #116, 22.2.2010

  • The King Will Leave for China for a Medical Checkup Today
  • Cambodia Will File a Complaint against Thailand Today at a Thai Provincial Court for Secretly Convicting [six] Khmer Citizens [to serve two years and three months in prison, without letting the Khmer authorities find lawyers for them – they entered Thai territory illegally to look for and to cut and steal luxury wood – [[the Cambodian wood merchants who would have benefited most are again not being targeted]]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5132, 21-22.2.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Government to Solve Border Issues with Thailand Appealing for International Help
  • Environmental Pollution Has to Be Reduced in Four Industrial Target Areas

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1878, 22.2.2010

  • The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, Was Beaten by a Traffic Police, Injuring His Head [he was stopped by police and was fined Riel 5000, as his wife did not wear the seat belt; after that he started to drive, but another policeman beat him, through his car’s open window, and used rude words, though he was confused and thought Mr. Chea Mony had not yet paid the fine; Mr. Chea Mony asked the traffic police not to use violence against citizens]

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The Cambodian Commercial Scale Is Not Yet in Balance – Friday, 5.2.2010

Posted on 6 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, stated on 4 February 2010 during the inauguration ceremony of the new building of the Ministry of Commerce, ‘The Cambodian commercial scale for exports is not yet in balance.’

“He added, ‘Our foreign commerce amounts to about US$10 billion. But the Cambodian export is only something more than US$4 billion, while the imports to Cambodia amount to much more. The Cambodian-Thai bilateral trade is more than US$2 billion; the Cambodian-Chinese is more than US$1 million; and the Cambodian-Korean trade is more than US$2 billion. In total, it is more than US$5 billion.’

“To reduce this commercial imbalance, Samdech Hun Sen called on local investors to boost productivity for export, handicrafts, fishery, and other products to meet both local demands and that on foreign markets, because Cambodia has many markets such as China, Japan, Korea, the ASEAN countries, Europe, and other markets.

“Samdech Hun Sen continued to say, ‘Just as a first stage, China allowed us to export more than 318 types of products and later on 400 types, but Cambodia does not have products to be exported to China, and to member countries of ASEAN allowing Cambodia, Laos, and Burma to export to them. But Cambodia does not have products to be exported to those countries.’ Samdech Hun Sen went on to say, ‘Cambodia must strengthen its position for exports, like meat processing, eggs, vegetables, and other goods which can be sold to tourists who visit Cambodia. The creation of markets for farmers growing vegetables and raising animals, and the selling of their products to many shops, creates consistent commercial processes, and we do not need to import many things from abroad. In the meantime, those products must have quality, be attractive, and safe. The Ministry of Commerce has to assist to seek markets for these products and to encourage more exports so as to earn more profit.’

“Regarding the commercial scale issue, an economist of the Cambodian Economic Development Institute, Dr. Kang Chandararoth, spoke to Deum Ampil, saying, ‘The commercial scale is not in balance, because previously, Cambodia exported many not-processed products [to become final products]. Thus, it makes Cambodia lose value-added profits. Also, it is related to the size of places or of raw materials that we use to make those products, as the commercial infrastructure of Cambodia faces many shortages.’ He recommended, ‘Cambodia has to reform its transport infrastructure and its commercial laws to facilitate the operations of investors.’

“Also, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, stated on 3 February 2010 in a press conference at the Phnom Penh Hotel, ‘The Ministry of Tourism will improve tourism services, including the creation of various attractions.'” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #406, 5.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 5 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #406, 5.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Commercial Scale Is Not Yet in Balance
  • The National Authority for Combating Drugs Reacted against a Human Rights Watch Report [rejecting accusations that there is mistreatment of people held at rehabilitation centers]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2169, 5.2.2010

  • Civil Society Official [the director of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC, Mr. Thun Saray]: Because of [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Acts It Is Difficult to Help Him [as he acted against the law: Mr. Sam Rainsy removed temporary border markers and was sentenced to serve a two-years prison term]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #731, 5.2.2010

  • [Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries] Chan Sarun and [the Director General of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife of the Ministry of Agriculture] Ty Sokun Do Not See the Forestry Crimes in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #598, 5.2.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson and parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Increase of Electricity Prices Shows the Government’s Incompetence to Develop the Economy

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6876, 5.2.2010

  • Human Rights Conditions in the 2009 Report Are Better Than in 2008, Especially There Was Not Imprisonment for Defamation [according to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #105, 5.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Will Visit Preah Vihear This Weekend [on 6 February 2010]
  • Five Khmer Fishermen Escaped from Thai Boats and Fled to East Timor [after they saw their Thai boat owner throwing the body of a Khmer fisherman over board who had gotten sick and died]
  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC): The Freedom of Expression in Cambodia Was Restricted [in 2009]
  • The UN Studies the Copy Right Law Situation in Cambodia as Copyright Legislation Is Not Properly Implemented

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5118, 5.2.2010

  • [Puea Thai Party president, former general, and former Thai prime minister] Chavalit: The “People’s Army” Now Have Already Had Their Leader [he rejected a request for him to lead the so called “people’s army,” a group in the Thai military supporting the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]

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There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour – Tuesday, 26.1.2010

Posted on 27 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The price of electricity supplied by Electricité du Cambodge in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham of Riel 390 [approx. US$0.09] per kilowatt-hour for households will no longer exist. The cost for household costumers, who consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, is Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour [approx. US$0.15]. The change of electricity costs and prices was discussed during a roundtable meeting organized by the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, at the Hotel Cambodiana on 25 January 2010, and officials involved from the 6 cities and provinces attended the meeting.

“A secretary of state of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the meeting, organized to release a list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham, that the [old] list of electricity prices had been approved and used since 2006, because during that period, a barrel of oil was only US$50, whereas at present, it costs US$80; and the expense for electricity production is regularly higher than the income in the six cities and provinces. The increased expenses, which exceed the income collected, based on the set selling rates, made Electricité du Cambodge to lose as much as US$27 million in 2008 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu, requiring the government to review the list of electricity prices set in 2006 to be in line with the present situation.

“He added that according to the list of electricity costs in 2006 for household customers, if they consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, they were charged only Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour which is half of the original production cost, making Electricité du Cambodge to face a continual loss, while the state does not pay for that loss. Now, the price of Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour was canceled for Phnom Penh and Kandal, but there is now a price of Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour if the citizens consume below 50 kilowatt-hours per month. A list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, and its selling rates for household customers will be adjusted.

“As for the supply of electricity by Electricité du Cambodge in Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham, Mr. Ith Prang said that the selling prices were also lower than the original production costs, but from 2010 on, the prices in the two provinces will be also be adjusted. The electricity prices for customers in the commercial and industrial sectors will be the same as those implemented in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu. The electricity prices for commerce and industry are adjusted because the state stopped subsidizing valued-added tax payments (VAT) for Electricité du Cambodge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #397, 26.1.2010

  • The Border Situation Is Normal after a Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers]
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Prepares to Form a Government-in-Exile if There Is Another Coup [in Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2160, 26.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Combat Corruption [he said so during an audience with the King at the Royal Palace]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #725, 26.1.2010

  • The Government Warned that It Will Further Sue the [opposition party] Party President for Disinformation and Incitement, Creating Social Instability [as he said that the setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers leads to the loss of Cambodian territory]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #589, 26.1.2010

  • The Pursat Authorities Close Their Eyes, Not Seeing the Strong Logging Activities for Luxury Wood in the Forest

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6867, 26.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory Was Inaugurated by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [in Koh Kong], and the Government Still Maintains the Position to Welcome Investment Projects
  • A Widow, a Mother of One Child, Was Raped and Killed in Order to Shut Her Mouth; Police Suspect that the Murderer Is an Acquaintance [Kampot]

Meatohoum, Vol.54, #758, 26.1.20010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Do Not Take Action against Overloaded Trucks [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #97, 26.1.2010

  • Khmer Military Official [General Srey Dek] Said that Three Thai Soldiers Died in a Clash in the Choam Tae Area
  • The Number of Women Diagnosed Having Breast Cancer Increased in Cambodia [to 1,548 cases in 2009, while in 2008, there were only 1,280 cases; according to a report of the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, more than 18,000 Cambodian women have breast cancer, and 40% of them died]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

  • There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour
  • Bangkok [actually Thai Region 2 army commander] Apologized to Cambodia after an Armed Clash, Resulting in the Death of Three Thai Soldiers
  • Two Traffic Accidents in Stung Treng Killed Three People and Injured Five

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1863, 26.1.2010

  • The World Bank Said that the Recovery of [the Cambodian] Economy Depends on [international] Loans [this bank forecast that Cambodia will achieve 4.2% growth in 2010]

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