To Persuade the United States of America to Reduce Import Taxes of Garment Products Might Face Difficulties – Tuesday 13.1.2009

Posted on 14 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“In a meeting about textile problems among ASEAN member countries, organized in Phnom Penh last week, the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia encouraged all garment exporting countries in the Southeast Asian region to join to persuade the United States of America to reduce import taxes. This encouragement was made because the garment industries of many exporting countries, including Cambodia, are being affected by the meltdown of the global economy.

“The Minister of Commerce of Cambodia, Mister Cham Prasidh, notorious for corruption, said that persuading the USA is crucial for exporting markets, and it might help to face the economic crisis. Mister Cham Prasidh added, ‘When there is such a global financial crisis, what you see is the decline of demands. How long can our garment sectors stand with this crisis? As we know, we all, more or less, depend on the market of the USA, and this is the reason why we have to continue to try to persuade the USA to be interested to provide us import facilities with reduced taxes or with no tax.’

“Moreover, Cham Prasidh, an in-law of [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, went on to say that the garment sector can continue progressing as long as all ASEAN member countries cooperate to expand markets in the region, before receiving better conditions from the USA. Also the deputy director of the Indonesian Textile Association expressed support with what was mentioned above, saying that this was probably a difficult time which needs an immediate solution among ASEAN member countries. Particularly, there must be an encouragement to cooperate in order to compete on the world markets while all countries are facing this financial crisis.

“It should be noted that from 1999 to 2004, the USA provided garment importing quotas to Cambodia without charging import tax. After the Multi-Fibre Arrangement [also known as the international Agreement on Textile and Clothing, 1974 to 2004] system ended, Cambodia has to pay 12.5% tax on average, making prices of garment products from Cambodia becoming more expensive, and it is difficult to compete with products from many other countries in Asia, such as China, Siam [Thailand], Yuon [Vietnam], Indonesia, and Bangladesh; most of these countries also depend on markets in the USA and in Europe.

“However, since many years, the garment sector became the biggest source of income for Cambodia, and it provides employment to more than 350,000 workers in around 400 factories countrywide. Since 2004, garment exports to world markets increased between 20% and 25% every year. Among the income from the export of garment products of US$2.7 billion in total in 2007, the USA absorbed products from Cambodia – especially garments – and the highest level was more than US$1.9 billion, compared to US$600 million for the export to markets in Europe, and US$146 million for the export to Canada.

“Nevertheless, the garment sector in Cambodia is being affected by the decline of garment demand on the US market, after this country, the most powerful country, faced a serious economic meltdown since 2008. The Minister of Commerce of Cambodia said that the garment export from Cambodia to international markets declined by 2% in 2008, so that the government expects that the USA will have policies to promote this sector again. But economists and other experts said that this expectation seems to be baseless.

“The president of a garment factory association in Cambodia recently said that when the economy falls down like this, the USA also needs to help itself. Now, Cambodia is worrying, because so far, around 60 factories have gradually closed and approximately 25,000 workers lost their employment. From April 2009 on, there are little buying orders, and prices have to be lower than before, making many factories to face serious losses.

“Civil society officials observing the garment sector in Cambodia assessed that in mid 2009, 20 more factories will finally close, because they cannot cover losses by bank loans which are also strongly restricted. In the meantime, a foreign economist said that the situation of the Cambodian garment sector might be out of trouble in at most one or two years, when the economy of the USA is expected to grow stronger again. This means that the decline of the garment sector in Cambodia has to wait until the economy of the USA grows strong again, while tens of thousands of Khmer workers of this sector loose their employment and incomes.

“Analysts criticized that corruption in the Ministry of Commerce, managed by Cham Prasidh, and in the Ministry of Labor, administered by Vong Soth, is also a reason making the garment sector in Cambodia face serious decline, because corruption in these two ministries encourages garment factory owners to pay much kickback while their businesses do not earn much profit. Therefore, in order to prevent that the garment sector continues to decline sharply, the Hun Sen government must take action to eliminate corruption urgently, so that factories owners do not decide to close their factories and one after the other leave Cambodia.”Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3664, 13.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #2, 13.1.2009

  • The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] Published 84 Cases of Human Rights Violations in the Fourth Quarter of 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1845, 13.1.2009

  • The Plan to Expand the Capacity of the VietTel Company Is Supported by Prime Minister Hun Sen [VietTel is a telecommunications company from Vietnam, and this company aims to help promote development in Cambodia, especially in education by providing Internet access to schools and by creating a foundation to help the government to alleviate poverty]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #322, 13.1.2009

  • The Leader and His Terrorism Partisans [of four people who were involved in the setting of explosive devices in Phnom Penh recently] Were Accused by the Court of Creating Illegal Armed Forces, and of Terrorism
  • Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng Said that Cambodia Is Not a Drug Producing Country
  • The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party Negotiate to Create an Alliance

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #181, 13.1.2009

  • More Than 60 People Protest in Front of the Provincial Primary Court to Ask for the Release of Mr. Hun Sengly from Jail [he was a representative of 415 families in Kos Krolor district in Battambang and was arrested in August 2008 regarding a land dispute]
  • The Indian Embassy Reacts to the Deaths of Three Indians [in a car accident in Dangkao district in Phnom Penh, and demands the government to take action against the driver who caused the accident – one day after the accident, he escaped from a private hospital and from his house in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva Received the Majority of Votes in By-Elections [his party and their allies won 20 of the 29 seats]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6550, 13.1.2009

  • A Farmer Couple Brought Their Children back from a Hospital [in Phnom Penh]; the Husband Died along the Road because of Pain [when he complained about strong pain , the taxi driver dropped him and his family along the road where he died – Kien Svay, Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3664, 13.1.2009

  • To Persuade the United States of America to Reduce Import Taxes of Garment Products Might Face Difficulties
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Prime Ministers Will Discuss Border Disputes in Hua Hin [in Thailand during the ASEAN Summit from 27 February to 1 March 2009 – according to the Bangkok Post]
  • Can the Japanese Aid [of around US$21 million, promised by Japan on 11 January 2009] Make the Hearings of Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Proceed Soon?
  • Result of the Investigation about Illegal Logging in the Kantuy Neak [Ratanakiri] Region Is Not Yet Revealed [four park rangers who were reported to be missing during a mission returned to the Vireakchey National Park, they were not missing, they were on a 15-day patrol in the park]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4793, 13.1.2009

  • Producers of the Opera “Where Elephants Weep” Apologize, as It Was Prevented to Be Shown in All Television Channels, Offensive Scenes Will Be Changed [after complaints by the Buddhist orders]
  • Motorbike Competing with a Truck Collided with Another Truck Coming from the Opposite Direction, Causing Three Deaths [Kompong Speu]

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The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings – Saturday, 3.1.2009

Posted on 4 January 2009. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court, ranking first in committing corruption among the courts countrywide, described on Monday that it lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.

“The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Chiv Keng, notorious for being biased toward the rich and frequently causing poor people to loose their cases, said that in 2008 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not solve around 6,500 cases, while by the end of 2007, there had been 9,200 unsolved cases. If one compares the two years, in 2008 there were more of the normal complaints filed at the municipal court solved than in 2007, because in 2008, there were only 6,500 complaints not solved in time, while in 2007, there had been 9,200 left unsolved.

“Chiv Keng said, ‘This does not mean that we received fewer complaints than last year. We received a similar number of complaints like last year, but this year, we worked more effectively, and the number of judges has also increased.’

“Chiv Keng, who was just promoted as an excellency in 2008, added that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court received between 3,000 and 5,000 complaints on average per year. He said that in 2008, also more complaints than in 2007 were addressed.

“Chiv Keng went on to say that at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the number of judges was increased in 2008 from 9 to 16, and it is planned to increase the number up to 45 judges in a few more months in 2009; it will also be requested to increase the number of prosecutors to 25, while at present, there are only 8 prosecutors.

“Chiv Keng continued to say that the space available for work is also a problem for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court; therefore the municipal court plans to construct a building with six floors in the compound of the present Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“According to the last Court Watch Bulletin [Volume 5, #23, October 2008], published by the Center for Social Development, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had only two hearing rooms in September 2007 in which the municipal court conducted hearings for more than 884 criminal cases between October 2006 and September 2007.

“The same report added that the municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he saw some progress in the Khmer court system, but there is a lot more work that the court has to do.

“He said, ‘Courts should make their judges more independent than they are at present, so that the judges can decide about the various complaints by themselves.’

“Chiv Keng acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve. Chiv King pointed out, ‘Now we are not 100% in good order, but we have made many reforms, and now, we do not hear as much criticism about corrupt courts as three or four years ago.’

“Chiv Keng added that at present, courts have ways by which citizens can report about inactivities of courts, or about different rule violations by courts. Chiv Keng continued to say that Cambodia needs more than 300 judgesT and prosecutors in addition countrywide. At present, Cambodia has only around 200 judges and prosecutors.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1837, 3.1.2009

  • The Department of Information Denies Radio Free Asia Broadcast that Citizens Are Forced to Set Flags [in front of their houses to welcome the upcoming 7 January [1979] victory festival]
  • Former Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] Joins Samdech Hun Sen’s Daughter’s Wedding [Phnom Penh]
  • There Were More Than 8 Million Voters in the Voter Lists of the National Election Committee in 2008
  • Thieves Entered to Break a Safe in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Taking Riel 20 Million [approx. US$5,000]
  • The Number of Beggars at the Beaches in Sihanoukville Increase
  • A Senior Leader of Hamas Killed by an Air Strike Attack by Israel on Gaza
  • Cuba Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #174, 3.1.2009

  • A Korean Man Committed Suicide by Hanging without Any Known Reason [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6542, 3-4.1.2009

  • Three Explosive Devices Were Destroyed [by the Cambodian Mine Action Center – CMAC] – Police Conclude as a First Assumption that the Aim Was that the Sound of Explosions Should Trigger Disturbance [one hand made explosive device was set in front of the Ministry of Defense and two others were found west of the TV3 station – Prampi Makara, Phnom Penh]
  • A Girl in a Sugar Cane Plantation Was Raped by Three Wild Workers; One of Them Raped Her and the Ears of the Two Others Were Bitten [all of them were arrested – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

  • The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings
  • [The president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy: Because of the Events of 17 April 1975 [when the Khmer Rouge regime took full control of Cambodia], There Were the Events of 7 January 1979 [which led to the invasion by Vietnam – critical appraisal of the 30th victory anniversary over the Khmer Rouge]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Sent to and from the Calmette Hospital More Frequently because of Serious Illness
  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] Is Pressed to Resign after He Phoned to Ask for Negotiations about Border Disputes with [the Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong [according to the Bangkok Post, he is pressed to resign by officials from the ruling Democratic Party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4785, 3.1.2009

  • The Acid Attack on In Soklida’s Aunt Is Sent to Court to Be Sentenced; this Is ‘Special,’ Compared to the Cases of Tat Marina, Touch Sunich, and Pov Panhapich [who also suffered acid attqcks, because police take quick [[???]] action for what happened on 8 May 2008, while for the three other women, so far no perpetrators have been found and convicted; it is seen that Ms. In Soklida, a film star, is richer, because now, she owns a car taken away from Ms. Chea Ratha by police, and she has her own bodyguards]
  • Defense Lawyers of Victims Warn They Will Resign from Work in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [if there is no money for them]
  • The Royal Government Creates a Committee for the Management of Concessions and for the Rehabilitation of the Cambodian Railway [financed by the Asian Development Bank]
  • Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister Orders Investigations of Phone Call Threats against Him

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