Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million – Saturday, 28.8.2010

Posted on 29 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“Phnom Penh: The Counselor of the Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, Mr. Jin Yuan, said that according to Chinese customs statistics, within six months of 2010, the Cambodian-Chinese trade amounted to US$627 million, an increase by 37.70% compared to the corresponding period last year.

“He said in a press conference in the morning of 27 August 2010 that Cambodia is an important member of ASEAN and a neighboring country with long lasting friendship, and it has benefited from the development of a China-ASEAN free trade region. Cambodia and China has achieved fruitful results through their cooperation in economy and trade. Through such quick progress, the amount of investment between both countries this year will arise beyond the amount before the global financial crisis.

“Mr. Jin Yuan added that the export from Cambodia to China rose by as much as 108.70% compared to the same period last years. Products imported from China to Cambodia increased three times. Also, Cambodia became a major target of Chinese entrepreneurs.

“He went on to say that investments from China in Cambodia range from the textile and garment sectors to other multi-sectors, such as agriculture and the development of special economic zones. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, by the end of July 2010, there were 360 Chinese investment projects or 23% of all investment projects in Cambodia, and therefore, China is the top country with investments in Cambodia compared with other countries.

“He continued to say that through encouragement by the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Department of Supervision on Product Quality of China is discussing with the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia a Memorandum of Understanding about strengthening of general sanitation standards and plant sanitation, to solve the supervision of agricultural products such as rice and cassava that are exported to China. [See also China Quality Focus – a Western managed and operated company in China] He said, ‘We believe that through joint efforts of both sides, there can be solutions for the problems relating to the export of agricultural products by the Royal Government of Cambodia.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2339, 28.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Nguyen Minh Triet – Nguyễn Minh Triết] Congratulated the Big Achievements of Cambodia [in developing the country – he said so during his visit to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7046, 28-29.8.2010

  • Cambodian-Thai Border Committees Fixed a Date for Meetings from 8 to 10 September 2010 in Bangkok
  • It Was Reported that Ebony Wood Trading Reoccurs in the Northwest on Land Roads and in the Northeast on Water Ways [Siem Reap and Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3970, 28-29.8.2010

  • The Ministry of Justice Released a Letter to Warn Judges and Prosecutors Who Read Newspapers during Hearings and Assign Clerks to Assume Their Responsibility Instead

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #42, 28.8.2010

  • Thailand Announced to Continue to Provide Aid for the Construction of Road 68 [that connects the Krolanh district in Siem Reap to Oddar Meanchey and then continues to the Thai border; it costs US$42 million]
  • A Danish Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Children [Siem Reap]
  • Customs Officers at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing Intercepted Illegal Wood [about two cubic meters] Prepared for Export to Vietnam [no responsible persons are yet caught – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

  • Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million
  • Fifty Nine Workers [some are underage] Were Liberated when a Middleman Tried to Send Them Illegally to Work in Thailand [to work on fishing boats – Phnom Penh]

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New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums – Monday, 19.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Construction development companies have received some information about a new sub-decree that allows foreigners to own about 70% of condominium buildings, in order to promote the real estate and the construction sectors in Cambodia.

“The sub-decree adopted by the Council of Ministers states that foreigners in Cambodia can have about 70% of ownership rights of houses.

“This figure is lower than that which had been proposed in the draft of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction which had determined that foreigners can own 80%. Nevertheless, this percentage is still higher than that had been proposed in the first draft about foreign ownership in 2009 which was only 49%.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Ms. Nun Pheany, said on Sunday, ‘Such a decision is to allow Cambodians to own more real estate in order to prevent too much ownership by foreigners.’

“Though the percentage for the control of real estate by foreigners is now lower, the sub-decree is still a starting point to encourage foreign investors to help develop the real estate market in Cambodia.

“Ms. Pheany believes that to develop that field cannot rely only on local buyers.

“Analysts agreed that the adoption by the government about the ownership rights of foreigners can help to boost the Cambodian economy that is being seriously affected by the global financial crisis.

“Prices of land and houses in Cambodia declined by 40% to 60% compared to 2008 when prices went sky-rocketing.

“A senior partner of the Sciaroni & Associates Company and a legal adviser to the government, Mr. Bretton G. Sciaroni, said on Sunday that the sub-decree will provide a new opportunity for the Cambodian economy. He said, ‘It can help Cambodia in many ways. It helps create not only long term operations, but also attracts new foreign investors. He thinks that the sub-decree will turn Cambodia to be a country with some attraction in the region, as the decree is not too strict compared to neighboring countries.

“He said, ‘We are more open and have a better atmosphere than Thailand.’ In Thailand, foreigners can own houses merely up to 49%.

“Companies constructing satellite cities in the Phnom Penh area welcomed the decision of the government and hope that this will assist the development of the real estate market in Cambodia and increase the selling of houses, when investors can purchase more real estate property.

“The director of the construction project on Koh Pich island, Mr. Touch Samnang, said, ‘This sub-decree is good for the development of the real estate market in Cambodia. We expect that through the provision of ownership rights, more foreign investors will consider investing in Cambodia.’

“His company is constructing 168 houses and villas at Koh Pich island, and this has been achieved already by 40%.

“The executive director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, thinks that this sub-decree will make Cambodia become an attractive place for foreign investors. But he warned that this sub-decree alone is not sufficient to attract investors to come to Cambodia, adding, ‘Cambodia needs to have other incentives.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2304, 18-19.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Send Deminers for a Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon [under the system of the United Nations, said Prime Minister Hun Sen – in September 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7011, 19.7.2010

  • Big Mineral, Oil, and Gas Companies Have to Declare the Amount of Money Paid to the Royal Government [Oxfam praised the US Senate for requiring the declaration by US registered mineral, oil, and gas companies of payments to different governments around the world as a legal obligation]
  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia and the United States of America Still Have the Potential to Expand Cooperation [he said so during a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns]
  • A Firefighter Association in Japan Donated 20 Firefighter Trucks to the Phnom Penh Municipality

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #7, 18-19.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party member] Mu Sochua Called the Legal Institutions Controlled by the King Powerless [when there is no response to a Sam Rainsy Party letter to the King to ask for intervention regarding her defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen; so far there is no reaction yet from officials of the Royal Palace]
  • Cambodia Has a High Potential to Plant Rubber Trees on as Many as 600,000 Hectares [at present rubber trees are planted on 139,210 hectares, and Cambodia can already produce more than 40,000 tonnes of rubber each year for export]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3935, 19.7.2010

  • The Legal System and Corruption Are Priorities for Reforms in Order to Encourage a Good Atmosphere to Attract Investors
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee the Return of Sam Rainsy and Free and Fair Elections [during a visit of Mr. William Burns]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

  • New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums
  • A US Official [Mr. William Burns]: Military Ties between Cambodia and America Are More Than Donations of Materials [but they aim at national defense reforms towards the encouragement of civil and military relations that are crucial for a political system]
  • The United States of America Delivered Seven Artifacts to Cambodia [as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5253, 18-19.7.2010

  • Seventy Five Guards Are Deployed to Protect Porpoises from Extinction [in Stung Treng]
  • Barai Tuek Thla Reservoir Resort Will Face Drought if There Is No Rain [it was built during the Angkor era – Siem Reap ]

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Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest – Friday, 7.5.2010

Posted on 7 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology invited the six governors from Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, and Pursat, and other related institutions, to attend a discussion in the morning of 6 May 2010 to determine what to do in three regions, and to decide actions on the reservoirs in a second area around the Tonle Sap Lake. The event was chaired by the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, at a meeting at the ministry, in order to find protective measures to timely prevent the possibility of a serious devastation of the Tonle Sap Lake and other related areas.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed that the meeting held on that day was in response to a wise decision and order of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. The three areas determined connect flooded forest to the Tonle Sap Lake, and those areas are covered by grass land, jungle with tall trees, and flooded forest. Based on aerial photos taken from planes, the flooded forest is being burnt down, but the burning is not for hunting animals. A working team conducted a study over three months by using aerial photos taken in 2005. The second study was also based on – new – aerial photos, and the third study depended on direct visits at the six provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake.

“Regarding this direct monitoring, Mr. Lim Kean Hor presented the findings and figures. According to the aerial photos taken in Kompong Thom, the size of the third area dropped to only 3,130 hectares, compared to 2005 when the size was 56,000 hectares. Therefore, in Kompong Thom more than 94% or 53,000 hectares were lost.

“In Kompong Chhnang, there are only 4,000 hectares at present, while before there were 101,000 hectares, which is a loss of as much as 95% or 97,000 hectares. This is a serious destruction, and if there are no thorough and timely interventions, the three areas that serve as a special eco-system, providing shelter for fish to lay eggs, and that are also a natural tourism site. will be lost. Therefore, there must be emergency decisions taken to protect these areas.

“The Minister added that if the cutting down of flooded forest continues, the areas will become barren land. Thus, the authorities must think of this and take action. If some people have been doing cultivation on the land inherited from their ancestors, they can keep the land, but if it is land gained from clearing of forest during the years 2003 to 2010, it will be confiscated and kept as flooded forest area. There are losses in all provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, but Kompong Thom and Kompong Chhnang sustained more serious destruction than the other four provinces.

“After presentations by the six province governors during the discussion, it was agreed that the size of the three areas of 640,000 hectares, based on the aerial photos taken in 2005, will be kept as protected area. The meeting agreed to send this conclusion to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to decide about it formally by issuing a sub-decree for the three areas.

“Relating to reservoirs in the second area, Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed, ‘First, please keep some existing resources, and second, consider that some reservoirs were not constructed technically correct.’

“The meeting decided to determine the three areas of 640,000 taken in 2005 to be protected areas. The actions to be taken with reservoirs in the second area of the Tonle Sap Lake depends upon the Tonle Sap Lake Authority.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 7 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #471, 7.5.2010

  • Cambodia Calls On Partner Countries to Continue Addressing the Global Crisis [such as the financial, the food, the climate crisis, and the crisis related to terrorism – according to the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting held in Phnom Penh from 5 to 6 May 2010]
  • A Secretary of State [of the Ministry Social Affairs] Is Accused of Cheating US$5,000 [from the residents of a commune in Battambang, violating a contract to provide US$5,000]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2242, 7.5.2010

  • Traders Continue to Transport Wood Anarchically in Chhloung District [Kratie]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

  • Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest
  • Most Beggars in Phnom Penh Are Children – Expert Officials Suspect that They Are Probably Forced [by their parents] to Do Begging
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage after Nine Villagers Died [at present, more than 30 other villagers are suffering from it – Kratie]
  • A Park between Roads 106 and 108 Will Be Designated as Democracy Compound [for protesters, not more than 200; it is located in the Wat Phnom commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3873, 7.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Political Stability in Siam [Thailand] Is Beneficial for Cambodia [for the economy and for politics], but the Neighboring Country Must Respect International Treaties

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #166, 7.5.2010

  • Ms. Helen Jarvis Will Resign from Her Position [as head of the Victims’ Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] at the End of This Month [for personal reasons]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Promised to Dissolve the Parliament in September 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5191, 7.5.2010

  • Three Fishermen, three Brothers, Were Killed by Lightning on the Sea during Light Rain [Kampot]
  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Release 14 Detained People, Accused of Destroying Public Forest

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Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non Government Organizations – Wednesday, 25.11.2009

Posted on 25 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: Pointing to the importance to create a law about non-government organizations (NGOs) being drafted by the government, the Cambodian Prime Minister said on 24 November 2009 that previous problems caused by some NGOs encourage the government to create a law on organizations of different kinds, in order to ensure their proper operation, but this law will not affect the freedom of the NGOs.

“Examples raised by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen during the 30th anniversary celebration of the partnership between NGOs and Cambodia, were of an organization which had been prosecuted in the United State regarding the adoption of children from Cambodia, which finally became human trafficking, and of another organization that sheltered under an NGO some years ago and had taken the British Embassy as its target for a terrorist attack, but this plan was suppressed in time by the government. [The terrorist] Hambali left Cambodia and was later arrested in Thailand, after the attack on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘These examples do not imply that the Royal Government is suspecting other organizations that are implementing good activities of participating in terrorism, but please do not forget that some organizations are doing bad things.’ Therefore, we need a law to control NGOs. He stressed, ‘I guarantee that it is not an action to restrict the freedom of NGOs, please believe me.’

“During the 1980s there were just less than 30 NGOs in Cambodia. But by 2009, there are 3,207 NGOs and associations, where 1,933 are NGOs and 1,274 are associations, that is why Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen observed that Cambodia is a heaven for NGOs that carry out different activities.

“The claim about the practicality of an NGO law was made, while an NGO law is being drafted carefully by the Royal Government; some NGOs expressed the fear that the Royal Government will exercise prohibitive controls over NGOs through that law. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘I am aware that some NGOs that have acted correctly, and they do not care too much about this law, but some organizations protested loudly, and I wonder why they claim to promote the rule of law, but they want to act without a law.’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen added, ‘Anyway, we will neither restrict the freedom to creat NGOs, nor take away the funding of NGOs.’ He added that some NGOs demand that the government has to be transparent, providing information, but they themselves do not have such transparency. The Royal Government wants to know where NGOs get the money from and how they use it for what. ‘Just this they do not want to tell, but they oppose the government. The Royal Government also wants to know how much capital is from government, from development partners, and from NGOs, so that we can know the total amount of capital to allocate each year in each sector, where at present, we do not control it and we are not aware of how many activities are contributed by NGOs. This point creates difficulties for macro management or other relevant tasks.’ Samdech went on to say that sometimes, there are some overlapping activities of NGOs, and what is more problematic is that some NGOs had expressed their voice absolutely in the same way as opposition parties. Such organizations protest more than others, because they feel afraid, just because the laws in Cambodia do not allow political parties to receive funds from foreign donors.

“Samdech continued to say that in the first stage of law enforcement on NGOs, there will be difficulties. Anyway, the Royal Government will make it function smoothly.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #3, 345.11.2009

  • A Man Entered a House to Rape a 14-Year Old Girl when Her Parents Were Not at Home [the man was arrested – Battambang]
  • The Laotian Prime Minister Will Arrive in Cambodia This Morning [to visit Cambodia officially on 25 and 26 November 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non-Government Organizations
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Did Not Take Office by Robbing Power from Others like it Happened in a Neighboring Country [claimed Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Three Top Drug Smugglers Were Arrested by Military Police in Takhmao [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #538, 25.11.2009

  • If [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Closes the Border, It Does Not Cause Any Trouble for [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, but for Khmer Citizens [who earn their living at those border crossings; but Prime Minister Hun Sen still announced his firm opinion that Cambodia does not care about the warning from Thailand to maybe close the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6814, 25.11.2009

  • Samdech Deckhor Hun Sen: Now It Should Be Time to Create a Law about Non-Government Organizations and Associations
  • The Former Singaporean Prime Minister [Mr. Goh Chok Tong, now a senior minister] Visited Cambodia [to study the current situation, especially different measures that Cambodia has been taking to deal with the global financial crisis and other future problems]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #25, 53.11.2009

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Asked to Jail [Tuol Sleng former prison chief] Duch for a Long Period [for the torture and murder of many people]
  • Oddar Meanchey Villagers [of 36 families] Sleep on the Ground opposite the National Assembly [they escaped from arrest by the Oddar Meanchey authorities over land disputes with Oknha and senator Ly Yong Phat]
  • Netherlands Wants to Invest in Solar Power [in Cambodia, worth US$300 million]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1477, 25.11.2009

  • Fire in Boeng Salang Commune Destroyed Two Houses and a Car, and Other Property Was Totally Burnt [the fire was caused by an electric fault – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5056, 25.11.2009

  • Drug Smugglers Shot Police in Response, Killing One Policeman and Seriously Injuring Two Others [two suspects, husband and wife, were arrested – Phnom Prek, Battambang]
  • Thai Former Prime Minister Mr. Samak Sundaravej Died of [liver] Cancer [both disputing countries, Cambodia and Thailand, expressed condolences over his death]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1819, 25.11.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Position is Upheld [by the Appeals Court] over [the president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Mr. Moueng Son’s Case [the court sentenced him to jail for two years for disinformation, over his comment about fixing of lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple]

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The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries Including Nearly One Million Cambodian People – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

Posted on 21 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635 – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

“Rome: Because the number of starving people increases beyond the number in previous reports, today (World Food Day – 16 October 2009), the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations calls on the world to remember that more than one billion people do not have enough food to eat.

“The executive director of the World Food Program, Ms. Josette Sheeran, said, ‘Actually, the “World Food Day” is also “No Food Day” for 1 among 6,000 persons [Late addition: Apologies for a grave error during the process of preparing the manuscript: it is “1 among 6 persons” – a much more serious situation. And, according to the original English version we now replaced the former rendering “Word Without Food Day” with “No Food Day.”] in the world in this year. It should be remembered that more than one billion people will not have enough food to eat this year. We cannot change this problem. Therefore, our challenge is to make “No Food Day” become “World Food Day” for hundreds of millions of people who do not have sufficient food to eat.

“The flow of food aid is at the lowest level within the last 20 years, while there are more starving people due to the impacts from rising food prices, from the global financial crisis, and from more climate change.

“This year, the World Food Program plans to provide food to 108 million people in 74 countries in the world, including nearly one million Cambodians. But serious shortage of fund leads to the reduction of food to be distributed to some countries, and to temporary suspension of aid in some other countries. So far, donor countries have granted approx. US$2.9 billion in aid to the World Food Program which plans to spend US$6.7 billion in total for 2009.

“Ms. Sheeran added that during these decades, the World Food Program can supply food to about 10% of the men, women, and children who are starving in the world. But this year is the first year that the agents of the World Food Program seem not to be able to achieve its goal. As an agency to respond to emergency needs, the World Food Program has encountered many unexpected demands in 2009, like the response to the recent flood in the Philippines.

“As for Cambodia, the World Food Program said that even given the development that has been achieved in recent years, Cambodia is still considered as a country with starvation placed at high emergency levels, and it is among 36 countries in the world where there is a very high number of children suffering from malnutrition. Since 1979, the World Food Program has closely cooperated with the Royal Government of Cambodia, with other agencies of the United Nations, and with non-government organizations to alleviate starvation and malnutrition in Cambodia. The overall aim of the World Food Program in Cambodia is to improve food security among starving people through many programs related to education, health, and nutrition, to rise the living standard, and to sustainably build up against natural disasters and against other shocks. In 2008, the World Food Program supported nearly one million of the poorest people and of people with food insecurity.

“To celebrate the ‘World Food Day’, an event was jointly organized under the concerns of achieving food security during the crisis’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program in Takeo. The World Food Program Representative to Cambodia, Mr. Jean Pierre De Margerie, said that achieving food security is still a challenge for thousand of poor and vulnerable people of Cambodia. The follow-up impacts from the rising food prices and the global economic crisis worsen the level of vulnerability in Cambodia, especially in regions hit by the typhoon Ketsana. He added, ‘Efforts to work collaboratively and the good coordination from all relevant partners are the best way to accomplish a regular and sustainable food security in Cambodia.'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2076, 20.10.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Citizens that the State Will Not Collect Fees for Listening to Radio and for Watching TV [after there was a request by the chairperson of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation Propaganda and Information of the National Assembly to collect such fees]
  • Four Robbers Robbed the Srae Prang Village Chief’s House, Taking Kathen [a Buddhist ceremony] Money [approx. US$5,000], and Shot His Son to Death [Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

  • The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries, Including to Nearly One Million Cambodian People
  • More Than 300 Fishermen Protested in Front of the Municipality as Fishing Yields Drop to Almost Zero because of [sea] Sand Dredging [Koh Kong]
  • The Head of the Eye Department [of a Korean university] of [South] Korea Promised to Continue to Provide Eye Treatments and to Train Cambodian Ophthalmologists [by sending Korean volunteers, as they did since 2007]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #29, 20.10.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Asked Global Witness to Stop Criticizing the Cambodian Government of Cutting Trees [the Prime Minister said during the First National Forum on Climate Change that global warming is first of all the result of economic activities in rich countries – the cutting of trees in a small country will now have global consequences]
  • Husband and Wife Who Tortured a Girl Are Detained at Prey Sar Prison [Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Interior Announced to Fine Overloaded Trucks Seriously [as they create traffic hazards]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5025, 20.10.2009

  • The National Assembly Continues to Discuss the Demonstration Law
  • A 64-Year-Old Man Raped Two Young Girls [8 and 9 years old – he was arrested – Pursat]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1811, 20.10.2009

  • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy: We Do Not Want Peace like Peace for Slaves [he said so while the National Assembly was discussing the defamation law

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Outlook into 2009 – Sunday, 11.1.2009

Posted on 12 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

Observing a wide range of discussions about the future, there are two fields which get most prominent attention: the economy – and the state of law.

As the Cambodian economy – internationally – depends much on the export of garment products and on international tourism, and on a construction boom, we did mirror related reports:

The garment industry was a sure bet in the past – in every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%. But this was not an assurance for the future. The situation is bad, but not too bad, some observers say:

In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. – The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, it was expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore the global financial crisis affected this sector very little.

Others are more careful to express their hope: While at present the future looks really to dark, things may change:

Presently received orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there are no buying orders for May and June 2009.

But buyers from the United States of America probably wait until the new president takes his position in mid January, then they will continue buying.

Investments in the construction industry are also facing big problems:

All construction projects of high rise buildings to develop the city to become a modern city are mostly based on foreign investment in Cambodia. Therefore large scale investments, like those by Korean investors planning constructions for the city, are delayed.

The labor unions say that 30% of the construction workers are laid off, and various projects are suspended; and it is forecast that in 2009 the decline will continue.

And tourism?

The Minister of Tourism recognized that the global financial crisis and the confrontation with Thailand in the Preah Vihear region slows the number of tourists to Cambodia down, but Cambodia will make all efforts to guarantee the safety of tourists, and to promote the further growth of tourism.

The loss of everyday jobs and income for the families is a consequence resulting from the decline in the number of tourists to Cambodia since July 2008.

Such reductions in the economic possibilities are also reflected in the cautious employment policy of the government for new graduates, in spite of the fact that their number is increasing year by year:

The Cambodian government decided to reduce the recruitment of new civil servants from 9,000 to 8,000 to work at different ministries and departments in 2009.

To reduce employment alone will not be sufficient. We will watch out for reports about other determined decisions how to contain and to save expenses.

The plan to spend US$10 million on public lighting in Phnom Penh is surprising in this context. Even if it is intended to do this with a foreign loan, it is not only a liability to be paid back; after the investment is done, a lot of electricity will have to be paid for. Public taxpayer money will have to be spent regularly for the electricity, and this money will go to the producers of electricity; more and more private companies will profit from this.

Of course there is the hope for big oil money in the futue. And the international community has pledged around one billion dollars of aid for 2009.

The scholarly wisdom from the field of Economics and of Business Administration has not prevented a global economic meltdown of a size never before experienced. Now there are many efforts under discussion, what kind of political will and political action is needed to control the economic problems so that they do not get totally out of control. The myth about the “self-regulatory powers of the market” led into global crisis; new bold legislation and new government interventions are now being called for internationally.

There is new movement also in Cambodia in the field of the role of law.

The new year started with an almost unexpected news from the past: after five years of doubts and mistrust in police and in court actions, related to the 2004 murder of the labor leader Chea Vichea, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were released on bail, because, as the Supreme Court judge Dith Munty explained, there is a lack of clarity: the case needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

There will have to be a lot of explanation to be done, why previous investigations were not done correctly, and how it was possible that gaps in the procedures – which had been pointed out by many, including by the former King – could not be rectified without keeping two persons in prison for five years.

Now the police waits already one whole week for the green light from the court to start the new investigation. It is probably the correct procedure now to wait for the court again. When there is a lack of clarity, new investigations are to be made, according to the law, independently from any outside influence, also independent from the executive branch of the government, according to the Constitution of the country.

Article 51 of the Constituton says:
“The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary. The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.”

But it is at least surprising that the effort by three persons, accredited by the Bar Association of Cambodia to act at the courts in Cambodia, met with difficulties when hey tried to file a law suit. They want to initiate a clarification by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court about allegations of irregularities at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. They had not been able, in spite of their efforts over several months, to receive certain pieces of information – as we had mirrored on Friday, 9.1.2009, in detail from the Khmer press.

What is even more surprising – not based on any legal expertize, but just on common sense – is that the appeal to a court of law to bring clarity, is not welcome, but is met by an expression of regret. The national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia criticized this appeal to a court with the argument, that they had entered into service at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on the basis of a Royal Decree, signed by the King.

This case brings a basic problem of perception to the public, whether this society will live up to its constitution, where an independent judiciary is to find out what is right and what is wrong, or whether positions of rank will have precedence. Do the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia not trust that the courts can fulfill their duty?

The fact, that a person had an illustrious career to which he was properly appointed, is no reason not to clarify by the courts and on the basis of the law in a transparent way, whether a person has acted properly or not. When Heng Pov, who was, over the course of time, undersecretary of state, and assistant to the Minister of the Interior, and then police commissioner of the city of Phnom Penh – who had had all the proper appointments – was put to the test by the courts, he failed and is now in prison.

Whoever is innocent, should be happy to have this finally confirmed by a normal, public court. Why not?

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2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work – Saturday, 10.1.2009

Posted on 11 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. The export of garments to international markets declined by 2%, which has created general concern. Difficulties will last 3 to 6 months further, but officials said that there will be no serious effects on the garment sector.

“The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia [GMAC – the web link has, under “Members” a detailed database with information about all GMAC members], Mr. Van Sou Ieng, said in a press conference in the evening of 7 January 2008 at the Hotel Le Royal, that more than 60 garment factories closed in 2008, causing around 25,000 workers to loose their employment. The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, he expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore, the global financial crisis affected this sector very little. He added that Cambodia might face difficulties from 3 to 6 months, and in 2010, we can hope again. In every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Oum Mean, reported to Kampuchea Thmey on 9 January 2009 that 73 factories closed and 24,397 workers had lost their work. However, in the same year, 64 new factories had opened, absorbing 13,000 workers by now. The number of workers might further increase, because newly opened companies are in the suburbs. Thus, recently unemployed workers will continue to work at new factories, and most of them have skills because of several years of experience. Some workers go to work for factories in special zones located near their home villages or towns, like in Svay Rieng and in other areas.

“There are different number given, because some of the closed factories were not among the members of the GMAC.

“Mr. Oum Mean went on to say that more than 20,000 workers will find jobs in new factories. While the world faces a financial crisis which affects big countries, such as the Untied State of America and Europe, Cambodia is also affected, because those big countries are garment importing countries from Cambodia. While citizens of those countries meet difficulties, they will cut down their expenses, and this affects the buying orders, ‘but we are not strongly affected, because the Cambodian economy depends on agriculture as the basis – even though before, the prices of fuel had increased and the prices of goods followed the market prices and general needs.’

“Coming from the ministry in charge of observing working condition, Mr. Oum Mean said, as the world faces a financial crisis causing common effects, that Cambodia, which exports garments to international markets, is also concerned, including the Royal Government, workers, and employers. ‘We have to join efforts and be patient, so that our factories remain stable and develop, because many countries recognize that the working conditions in Cambodia are acceptable according to international standards. When we export our goods with the labeled “Made in Cambodia,” both Europe and the United States of America always agree to buy them, since they know that these goods have quality, and our workers get enough benefits. We have to continue maintaining this reputation well.’

“He did not prohibit to have protests or demands by workers, but before doing something, they must be wise to avoid to act inappropriately affecting the fate of all, because when factories close, also employers loose, though they are owners, since the factory is a rice pot for all.

“Regarding the above problems, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony, mentioned some numbers in the morning of 9 January 2009, that in 2008, there were 27,000 workers who lost their work, and 26 factories closed.

“However, in 2008, all together 37 factories closed, but it was not because they were bankrupt – but it was because they relocate their factories to new locations in the suburbs, and they just changed their factory names. Another reason was that some factories lost their money in speculation. Also, because of the global financial crisis, some factories that were affected were run by Korean owners, such as the Woosu CNS Factory, the Chantechay Factory [phonetic] which suspended their work, also the Cambohenshare Factory [phonetic – ‘Cambo Hansae’?] suspended its work, and also the Tay Factory [phonetic]. Some factories suspend their work for 2 or 3 months; so workers will not wait and go to work at other factories.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that while workers face unemployment, ‘we will help them according to the law. When factories close, they have to settle final payments for their workers according to the law. … The government is also responsible to solve problems of unemployment of workers. Some workers turn to find jobs in Thailand, but we help workers, according to the law, in order to help them to stay in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Van Sou Ieng said after the end of the 26th council plenary session of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries on 7 January 2009, that buyer orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there is no buying order for May and June 2009. Buyers offer only US$3 for 1 shirt while before, they offered US$4. Big companies agreed to loose US$2 or US$3, but from May to June buyers must offer US$4 again. As for small factories, they might close, because they cannot stand the loss.

“Mr. Chea Mony agreed with Mr. Van Sou Ieng, who said that big companies are less affected while small factories are more seriously affected, because they produce their garments for big factories. But he did not agreed with what Mr. Van Sou Ieng said, that the buyers from international markets are lowering their price offers; this would be impossible, because each buying contract contains clear agreements. Mr. Chea Mony asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to kindly take action with officials of relevant ministries regarding corruption which affects the garment sector. He asked also the head of the Royal Government to reduce the prices of goods at the markets, which affect the living standard of workers who earn small salaries.

“The president of the Cambodia Workers Labor Federation of Trade Union Mr. Vong Sovann, expressed his concern in the morning of 9 January, that some factories were closed for good, and buying orders dropped in 2008. Bur only small factories having 200 or 300 workers were closed. Some factories closed in the city but opened in the suburbs, and some new factories do not have enough workers.

“Mr. Vong Sovann added that his union will provide more broad educational information about the economy for workers, so that they understand the present economic situation, and what causes demonstrations and strikes. ‘We will try to explain to workers to be patient and to solve problems through negotiations. As a result, in late 2008, demonstrations and strikes declined, which showed that workers became more knowledgeable.’

“The president of the Cambodia Labor Union Federation, Mr. Som Oun, said in the morning of 9 January 2009 that 64 new factories had opened and 73 factories had closed, including factories sub-contracted by bigger factories, and some of the factories do handicraft work. There were only around 20 factories [of those closed?] exporting garments by themselves. The number from GMAC and the numbers from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training are not in line with each other, and GMAC did not give a number of new factories. The number of factories closed was comparable to 2007. Workers loosing their employment go to work for other factories; therefore, the number of unemployed workers was not so high. Some unemployed workers of some factories returned to their homes to help harvest paddy rice.

“Mr. Som Oun said that some factories do not have enough workers. Obviously, a shoe factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district asked him to help recruit up to 2,000 workers, because this factory added another big building, and now the workers have to eat their meals in the factory. Therefore, he did not worry that workers are unemployed, ‘We still have buying orders from the United States of America and from Europe, because, according to the International Labor Organization, Cambodia is the country in the region which best respects working conditions. Buyers from the United States of America wait until the new president takes his position in the middle of this month, then they will continue buying.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #105, 9-13.1.2009

  • Aid for the Neak Loeang Bridge and Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Are the Major Agenda Items for the Visit by the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Three [Vireakchey] National Park Rangers Are Missing in the Jungle in Ratanakiri and Are Not Yet Found [they are missing since 28 December 2008 when they went on a mission against illegal logging]
  • The Ministry of Planning Starts to Identify Poor Families [to ease the provision of services and aid for poor families – Note: The articled does not give any information how this enormous task, similar to a census, is to be implemented]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1843, 10.1.2009

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Cambodia and in Vietnam] Plan to Hold Demonstrations to Demand Rights, although They Do Not Have Permissions [by the authorities]
  • The United Nations Said that 257 Palestinian Children Died in the War in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #323, 10.1.2009

  • [The member of the Constitutional Council] Son Soubert: The Renakse Hotel Is a Monument of the Architecture during the French Colonial Time That Should Be Kept

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #179, 10.1.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Expressed Regret over the Corruption Complaint Filed by Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea at the Municipal Court [Note: Actually, the statement was not released in the name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, but in the name of the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6548, 10-11.1.2009

    Police Confiscated More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets Imported from Laos [and arrested a man – Stung Treng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3662, 10-11.1.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the State of Cambodia and now the vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann Accused Hun Sen of Violating the Right of Parliamentarians to Distribute Donations to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Forest Clearings [to create agricultural] Land in Ratanakiri Spreads More Seriously [according to a forest administration official in Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

  • 2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Accepted Complaint of Nuon Chea’s Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers
  • Cambodia Assigned to the Position of the Next Chairperson of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries [meeting held at the Hotel Le Royal on 7 January 2009]!

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

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