The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags – Monday, 16.2.2009

Posted on 17 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“The Minister of Public Work and Transport presented some results related to important ports in Cambodia, and to problems of ships registered by Cambodia. Below is a recent interview between the Minister of Public Work and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, with National Television:

Question: How many ports are there in total in Cambodia? Where are they? What are their functions?

The Minister: Nowadays, Cambodia has two international ports, the Phnom Penh Port and the Sihanoukville Port, which are our contact point to foreign countries and to the world. These ports are controlled by public enterprises of the state under the administration of boards of directors, with members from relevant institutions, such as the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Council of Ministers etc… Besides, there are 29 different local ports (among which there are around 10 oil ports and around 19 retail-goods ports) being administered by different private companies.

“The general function of ports is to serve as docking stations, and to gather, transfer, and distribute goods and to transport travelers. Furthermore, the international ports are the points of access to the international high sea and to the world. The importance of ports, especially the international ports, is like the breath of the national economy, which contributes to develop international commerce, tourism etc…

“The Phnom Penh Port is located next to the south of the Chroy Chongva Bridge and is 3 to 4 km from the confluence between the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River. This international port serves international ships traveling along the Mekong River to the sea through Vietnam, and is 110 km from the Cambodian-Vietnamese border at K’am Samnar. This port can load and unload ships up to 2,000 tonnes for the whole year, and during the rainy season this can be increased up to 5,000 tonnes (the depth of the water is 4.5 meter).

“According to results of work (in 2008), there were around 60,000 travelers, 47,000 TEU containers [TEU = the Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a measure used in intermodal transport], 700,000 tonnes of oil, and goods of about 1.20 million tonnes.

“As for the Sihanoukville Port, it is the biggest port in Cambodia; it was constructed during the years 1956 to 1960, and it was put to use in 1961. At present, the concrete port is old, and it is only used to receive light things but will be changed to be the port for passenger ships. These days, a 400-meter container port, assisted in its construction by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation [JBIC], at a depth of 9 meter, can receive 1,000 ships per month. The quantity of handled goods was 2,057,967 tonnes (in 2008) and there were approximately 258,000 containers.

“A development project being processed (with assistance by the JBIC) comprises the construction of infrastructure to develop a special region (70 hectares). The construction of a multi-purpose port is to serve: oil exploration at the sea, and as a port for loose goods like grains (rice, corn, beans), asphalt, potatoes etc…

“As for private ports, they are general ports to transport goods from neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, etc… There are four ports active: at Keo Phos, Srae Ambel, Kamrak, and Tumnup Rolork And there are two ports being developed; they are the Stung Hav, and the Kambang Port of the Vinh Huong Company.

Question: It is obvious that land transportation is popular in Cambodia, then why it is necessary to build new ports?

The Minister: Actually, at present, Cambodian people prefer to use transport by land roads, because they think that it is quick, takes less time, and one reaches the goals one wants to go. But in generally, transport on water roads or by ships or water vehicles has very good qualities:

“1. Huge transport capacity, 2. Capital requirements are lower (spending less money than for transportation by cars/trucks), 3. It is safe and affects the environment not so much, 4. No traffic congestion, 5. It is an international route, since it can connect to far-away countries, 6. It reduces the use of land roads from being overloaded, 7. It affects the general environment less, because the quantity of carbon dioxide and the carbon dioxide released is around 42 gram per tonne/km, less than that released by land vehicles, which is around 407 gram per tonne/km.

“The advances of the economy and the growth in the number of people cause traffic jams. Trucks loaded with goods cannot move and land road traffic accidents increase. Ports cannot avoid all disturbances related to other forms of transportations including the different supporting services, such as delivering agencies of goods, fields to distribute goods and provisioning etc… This is a crucial incentive, which provides investors different good choices for investments, and Cambodia needs to develop also these sectors, including the development of ports and its own cargo ships, and particularly the establishment of special economic zones in port regions. Cambodia and Vietnam are considering the joint development of the river transportation sector, and to coordinate the border-crossing procedures for the transportations of goods, for travelers, tourists etc…

Question: If the constructions of new ports can affect maritime resources and the life of the people living at the seashore, how does the Ministry solve these problems?

The Minister: The constructions of new ports can have some effects on maritime resources and on the life of the people living at the sea. Generally, a construction project always affects the environment more or less. But in general, port constructions do not have the same big effects like that of hydro-electric dams. It can affect the natural environment somewhat, such as maritime diversity (fish refuges) and the ecological systems (bird refuges), there can be changes of currents or of the quality of water, dirt in the water, or oil spillings, or different waste, garbage gathering at the sea bottom etc… Projects are studied to find any additional impacts, through Environmental Impact Assessments, before their construction is licensed. Therefore, the impact on the life of people depends also on finding the required large sizes of land for the constructions of each port. Besides land for the docking port, land is also needed to build infrastructure, roads, warehouses, storage areas, service areas for the ports such as fuel stations, electricity power stations, different buildings etc… Therefore, problems may relate also to find solutions for existing houses. This is also a problem. Like other problems happening with investment projects, we cannot let citizens suffer from them, so that we would loose the benefit of their work on these jobs, so there must be solutions found.

Question: Some foreign ships use the Cambodian flag. Do they have the permission to use the Cambodian flag? If foreign ships that use the Cambodian flags commit any illegal activities, what does the Ministry do against those ships?

The Minister: The Royal Government of Cambodia permits registration of foreign ships since 1994. The number of ships registered to fly the Cambodian flag increased in 2001, and so far, there are around 800 ships registered under he Cambodian flag.

“Since February 2003, the management of the registration of Cambodian registered ships is administered by the committee of the Council of Ministers for controlling the registration of ships flying the Cambodian flag. The provision of a registry of ships with the permissions to fly the Cambodian flag means that foreign ships are allowed to travel legally under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, administered by the International Maritime Organization. There are two types of violations or wrongdoings: technical and commercial. Technical violations are violations committed by ships against different laws or regulations of countries, recognized in international law, such as environmental sea pollution (depositing of waste from ships, beyond set standards), incompetence of ship masters or officers (not holding proper, or even fake skill certificates, or invalid certificates), lack of security and safety (not meeting defined standards), or different illegal activities. As for commercial violations, some ships violate the rules by the transportation of banned goods or weapons, explosives, addictive drugs, weapons, weapons of mass destruction, slaves etc…), human trafficking or transportations of illegal refugees etc… Owners of ships or ship operators are held responsible for such activities themselves. In addition, Cambodia, as a country which operates an international ship registry, can take different actions necessary against the following crimes: 1. Impose fines through any administration and 2. Withdraw the right to fly the Cambodian flag and registration, or of other valid documents provided.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #41, 16-22.2.2009

  • 421 Families [from Banteay Meanchey] Protest at the Residence of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] over the Setting Houses of Citizens on Fire to Grab their Land

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #18, 16.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask Mr. Hun Sen to Clarify the [rumored] Presence of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin in Cambodia

Deum Tnot.3, #57, 16.2.2009

  • The Former Director of the Appeals Court, H.E. Ly Vouch Leng, Is Appointed Advisor to the Cambodian Government and Deputy Director of a Council of Legal Professionals, with Equal Position to Minister, without Investigating Her Wrongdoings [regarding a bribery case, where Te Porly, the owner of the former Chhay Hua II Hotel, accused of human trafficking, was declared free from the accusations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1874, 15-16.2.2009

  • Sihanoukville Residents Plan to Protest to Take the Prampi Chon Hotel [“7 stories hotel”] as Public Property of the State
  • Ou Chrov and Serey Sophoan Districts Are Declared Cities [Banteay Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol. 42, #6579, 16.2.2009

  • The Council of Ministers Announces a Denial [that there was a decision to open an investigation against former commander-in-chief Ke Kim Yan about the legality of land ownership of some companies having relations with him] and Announces to Investigate to Find th People Who Released Internal Minutes of the Royal Government [Note: Other media say that the content of the leaked document was not denied]
  • Data from 2008: Every Day US$100,000 Were Spent to Have Sex Outside the Home [according to the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia, 10% of the people between the age of 15 and 49 had sex outside the home, and 36% of the people between the age of 15 and 24 were men and only 1% were women. 14% of women working at Karaoke Parlors were students]
  • Armed Robbery along Roads Reoccurs [a high school student was hit on his back to rob his motorbike by two robbers who are not yet identified – Sen Sok, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodian Public Bank [an allied bank of the Public Bank Berhad of Malaysia] Receives Award as Bank of the Year for 2008, for the Sixth Time, from the Chartered Institute of Bankers in London

Meatophum, Vol.53, #722, 16-21.2.2009

  • Gay Foreign Parents, Low-Income Parents, and Parents Having Two Children Already Cannot Ask to Adopt Children from Cambodia

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1412, 16.2.2009

  • On 14 February 2009 [the Valentine’s Day], [more than 100] Guesthouses Were Full of Youth Going to Stay and Have Sex to Show Their Love

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags
  • [The Minister of Defense] Tea Banh: Payments System to Military Officers According to Position Is Promised to Be Released in February 2009!

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

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Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors – Thursday, 5.2.2009

Posted on 6 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Disobeying medical ethics, the lack of human resources, the shortages of modern tools for analysis and treatment, result in a situation where many Khmer doctors no longer are considered as serious providers of care for Khmer citizens. The number of Cambodian citizens going to receive medical checkups and treatments in neighboring countries is greatly increasing.

“As the reasons behind, we found that the prices of treatments in foreign countries, especially in Vietnam, are similar to the prices in our own country, but the friendliness of foreign doctors towards patients is probably another factor that provides the warm feeling towards patients receiving health checkups and treatments in foreign countries, even though they know that it requires higher expenses contributing to the economy of other countries.

“Mr. Kosal (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to Vietnam to receive health checkups said that in Vietnam, before a doctor treats an illness, they thoroughly check, they do not just say something and then inject drugs, or to set up a bag of fluid for an intravenous drip, as doctors in Cambodia almost every time do, to get money.

“He added that doctors in other countries speak friendly and from a position of medical ethics, hospitals show to have sanitation standards, and they have modern tools which make patients feel confident when going to have health checkups and treatments in other countries.

“He emphasized, ‘When I say so it is not to advertise their country, or to humiliate our own nation, but the lack of a medical ethos of Khmer doctors, besides their unprincipled words, uncertain checking methods and treating people just for money, demanding money before the treatment, extending the illness [so that patients have to stay longer and spend much money for the treatment], and unqualified skills, make patients no longer feel warmly toward such doctors.’

“He continued to say, ‘I don’t believe that there are no outstanding doctors in Cambodia, and these do not adhere to immoral values,’ adding, ‘but white doctor’s clothes represent pureness, but not all who wear such clothes do respect what the value of their white clothes indicates.’

“Whether those who go to foreign countries are mostly the rich was explained by Mr. Kosal like this. The fees for treatment in the country mentioned are comparable to Cambodia, but there are additional expenses: for the service of interpreters, for accommodation, food, and for travel. Mr. Kosal added that middle class people also go for treatment, not only the rich. In addition to the mutual trust between those providing health checkups and patients in Vietnam or in other countries, pharmacies in these countries sell medicine to customers on the basis of prescriptions from expert doctors, and especially, in these countries, if a doctors do not have the specialization to treat a certain illness, they will not try to provide treatment, but they will help to refer such patients to another hospital with experts for the illness which a patient has.

“Mr. Kosal went on to say that in general in Cambodia – besides treating any kind of illnesses whether or not they are specialized, and injecting bags of fluid through intravenous drips, which is a method they prefer to use to get much money – some of the doctors scare patients, recommending to receive [unnecessary] operations, so that they can earn more money without really caring about people’s health and lives.

“Mr. Bunthoeun (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to receive regular checkups for his liver disease, said, ‘Doctors in Vietnam carefully check illnesses. We learn from them and in their country, they work around-the-clock, making regular visits to take turn caring for patients, unlike in Cambodia, where doctors demand free time on Saturdays and Sundays.

“He added that in that country, people prefer to go to state hospitals rather than to private hospitals, because doctors at state hospitals earn bigger salaries than doctors at private hospitals, which are required to pay high taxes to the state.

“The basis for such trust is explained by Mr. Bunthoeun by saying that in that country, the government often sends doctors to be upgraded by training in foreign countries according to their skills, but not based on nepotism. On the contrary, in Cambodia doctors pay bribes to receive training, and if they fail exams they demand to continue their studies. As a result, when they become doctors, some do not have qualified skills for their career, and then they treat patients without certainty what to do, by just injecting drugs based on vague assumptions.

“Mr. Bunthoeun criticized also that some doctors in Cambodia, who have little knowledge, become proud of themselves, and even when they have almost created more problems for patients, they do not call them, and if they write prescriptions, they write them in French, in order to show off that they are knowledgeable, and their handwriting is difficult to read.

“He asked, ‘Why don’t they write in Khmer? If it is “vitamin,” why not write “វីតាមីន​” in Khmer, so that it is understandable? Why is it written in French?’ Creating trust will help reduce that patients leave to foreign countries, which wastes resources of the national economy, because if ‘doctors can create trust in the country, people will not go abroad.’

“The director of the Mekong Phnom Penh Clinic, which always sends patients to foreign countries according to their requests, Mr. Kong Kimchan, said that to send a patient to Vietnam costs between US$300 and US$400, adding that not only the rich, but also middle class people can go, and the fees for treatments are lower than in Cambodia, but a lot of expenses are needed for accommodation, food, and travel.

“As for the fact that many Khmer patients leave to go abroad, he said, ‘I do not know what to say about human resources in Cambodia, so that many people no longer have trust.’

“Mr. Kong Kimchan added that many factors influence people to no longer have trust; talking about human resources, we also have many, but the private services at some places, and the uncertainty people in general feel, and insufficient knowledge, are reasons affecting other human resources. He went on to say that also belated transportation facilities in emergencies at some localities affect the trust of the people. Although patients are transported to state hospitals, they no longer have trust.

“He continued to say, ‘Reorganizing the system for all people at the basis is good, because patients are not only in the cities, and I do not believe that Khmer doctors exaggerate the general situation of illnesses, because they also want a good reputation.’

“Regarding the lack of tools as a problem, he said, ‘We have received assistance to have many tools, and human resources are also many, but we do not share information well. Therefore, people do not know what we did and how many people we saved. After we would have published such information, what can we do? Are there enough arguments to be presented? In other countries, they have arguments and they have tools.’ He added, ‘We still have shortages; we need additional tools and additional training of human resources.’

“Do hospitals in Cambodia really have the problems as mentioned above? The director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Mr. Say Sengly, recognized, ‘The quality of our services is really limited if compared to neighboring countries, but at present, we are reforming everything, the medical ethos, the techniques, and the procedures for the care of patients.’

“He added, ‘If we talk about the rights of customers and of service providers, the service providers have to take care of patients, but we do not restrain patients, if they want to go to neighboring countries to find better qualified treatment. He continued to say that as for making patients afraid, and the excessive use of too many intravenous drips, it seldom happens at state hospitals, but frequently it happens in private clinics so as to receive much income.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #12, 5.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Appear to Explain His Position to the [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court on 11 February 2009 [on a complaint lodged against him by the National Election Committee, as he has not paid Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, for defamation – related to a speech during the election campaign in 2008]
  • [Around 3,000] Workers of a Shoe Factory Strike to Demand that the Factory Owner Obeys the Labor Law

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #112, 5-6.2.2009

  • [Adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee] Mr. Om Yentieng Reacts to a Report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association ADHOC [voicing concerns over serious land disputes, poor law enforcement, and impunity in 2008 – Mr. Om Yentieng said, ‘I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC’s report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.’]
  • [Former director of the Phnom Penh Department of Education] Mr. Chea Cheat Is Appointed to Replace Mr. Oum Hoeung, Who Is Sent into Retirement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1865, 5.2.2009

  • Serbia Deploys Ambassador [accredited in Indonesia also] to Cambodia for the First Time
  • A US Ten-Stories Tourist Cruise Ship [with around 1,393 tourists from more than 100 countries] Docks in Sihanoukville
  • Agricultural Researchers of Singapore and Taiwan Come to Study Land Availability and Quality in Cambodia for Investment
  • The United States of America Warns North Korea about Missile Testing as Creating Trouble

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #335, 5.2.2009

  • 19 Generals Are Appointed Advisors to Samdech Hun Sen after the Shift of H. E. Ke Kim Yan [as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #337, 5.2.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Demands Euro 100,000 [approx. US$130,000] Reparation from [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy, but the French Court Reduces It to One Euro [regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s book, defaming him, that he was, as Boeng Trabaek prison chief, also victimizing innocent Khmer citizens; but the court allows the publishing of the book after deleting one sentence defaming Mr. Hor Namhong]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #197, 5.2.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Protests in Front of the Headquarters of the 7NG Company to Demand US$20,000 as Compensation [among the 1,465 Dey Krahom families, 45 try to demand US$20,000 compensation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6570, 5.2.2009

  • Appeals to the Tamil Tiger Insurgents [by the USA, the European Union, Japan, and Norway] to Surrender [because their fate comes almost to and end through the Sri Lankan government military forces]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3679, 5.2.2009

  • A Person Who Was Close to [top Khmer Rouge leader] Pol Pot [Van Sith, an important former Khmer Rouge official in charge of commerce] Died. It is a Significant Loss for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia, he died in late 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

  • Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors
  • Negotiation in Bangkok: Thailand Continues to Demand to Use the Word Pra Vihan [พระวิหาร in Thai – Preah Vihear ព្រះវិហារ in Khmer] Which Blocks Border Marker Settings
  • A personal note:

    In Europe, at the French-German border, we use, of course, both languages on the border signs: “France” and “Frankreich,” and “Allemagne” and “Deutschland” – no problem.

    As for a big city which, during the centuries, was sometimes German and sometimes French – the French call it “Strasbourg” and the Germans call it “Straßburg.”

    It is surprising that this common sense question of the two languages is mentioned as posing the difficulties, while there has no mutual agreement ever been announced where to put the markers in the widely contested area – always considering the very restricted Cambodian claim – “for the time being” – expressed by the Cambodian side in the Joint Communique of 18 June 2008.

  • Five Children Found to Have Survived the Tuol Sleng Prison [in videos about the Tuol Sleng prison recently provided by Vietnam, taken at the time of the liberation of the prison by Vietnamese soldiers in 1979, who documented it on film] the Documentation Is Now Being Sought to Be Used as Witness Material
  • The Government Creates a New Committee to Solve Investors’ Problems
  • France Asks to Permit again International Adoptions of Children from Cambodia, but Cambodia Suggests to Consider Some Conditions [1. Should single persons be allowed to adopt children or not?, 2. Should families that already have two children be allowed to adopt another child?, and 3. Should gay families be allowed to adopt a child?]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3480, 5.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has Received 94 Civil Party Victim’s Complaints for the Case of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [Kaing Gek Eav]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


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