“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia” – Sunday, 11.7.2010

Posted on 12 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

On Saturday, 10 July 2010, it was reported that the King had called on all development partners of Cambodia to provide financial and technical support for forestry reform in Cambodia.

At this occasion, we reprint part of the history before this call by the King, starting with an old statement by Global Witness from December 2004, continuing with texts which had all been in Cambodian newspapers in 2010 and had been translated and published in The Mirror – a historical review for further consideration.

Resign or be sacked
3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December 2004, combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honorable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterized the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted…

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.” …

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” … Global Witness Press Release

And from the Khmer press in 2010:

It Is Time to Stop: Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities
Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
29.1.2010

“Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers. …

“… ‘All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened… The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you. How many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!’” – Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders
24.3.2010

“After the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, ordered to crack down on forestry crimes, the logging seems to continue even stronger, and some perpetrators drove luxury cars loaded with luxury wood in a procession of cars of high ranking officials to deceive the authorities.

“The authorities, including forestry administration officials, police, military police, and committees from the agencies from military and other units charged with suppressing forestry crimes and forestry criminals, intercepted cars and trucks loaded with wood and checked wood storehouses of some powerful people. But by now, the authorities have not arrested any traders to show their accomplishment to the Khmer public on television. …” – Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

Samdech Hun Sen Considers Forestry Crimes to Be Acts of National Betrayal
27.3.2010

“Phnom Penh: During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen affirmed the position of the government regarding the campaign to strongly intercept forestry crimes, and not to give up. Although there may be barriers against it made of rock or of iron, any obstacles must be broken down.

“During the cabinet meeting yesterday, which took from morning to noon, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen spoke to all members of the Royal Government, saying that all related institutions, whether on the national or on regional levels, have to cooperate to intercept forestry crimes, and to reach the ringleaders. All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal. …” – Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position,
but Should Be Punished according to the Law
7.4.2010

“Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them. …

“… Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’ …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia
to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources,
after an Unclear Suppression Campaign
6.5.2010

“… Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore. …

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees. …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Records show 17 held for forestry crimes
9.7.2010

A total of 17 people are being held in pretrial detention in Koh Kong provincial prison on forestry-related charges dating back to 2008, according to a document provided this week by a prison worker who expressed frustration with the release last month of four forestry officials charged with involvement in an illegal logging ring.

The document shows that an additional seven people in the province have been convicted of forestry crimes and are serving sentences at the prison.

The official, who asked not to be named, said that all the people on the list were “poor” Koh Kong residents who had been arrested for such crimes as “collecting wood” and “clearing farmland.”

“It doesn’t seem very fair,” the official said. “Poor people who depend on clearing forest for their livelihood are convicted for up to five years for forestry crimes, while forestry officials involved with illegal logging rings are released.”

Although their case remains under investigation, the four Koh Kong Forestry Administration Cantonment officials were released on June 24 after being arrested in a raid amid a crackdown on illegal logging called for by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished.”

Chhin Long, the chief clerk for the prosecution at the provincial court, said Tuesday that he had seen a document signed by Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun and the prime minister requesting the officials’ release.

Chheng Kim Sun, director of the Forestry Administration, noted on Thursday that the officials were still being investigated and could be summoned back to court at any time. He defended the release of the prisoners, describing it as part of standard legal procedure.

“The court is independent, and the court’s decision-making process in this case would be the same for rich and poor people, powerful and powerless people. It is not biased to one side,” Chheng Kim Sun said.

But Un Than Aan, provincial coordinator for the rights group ADHOC, said that although the releases might have been legal, the poor are bearing the brunt of the government’s logging crackdown.

“The release of the four officials can be done according to court procedure, because they are able to provide the court with a permanent job and address,” Un Than Aan said. “Poor people aren’t released because they have no permanent job or address, and they are often found guilty of forestry crimes because there’s enough evidence against them.”

ADHOC President Thun Saray said the pattern was consistent with past crackdowns.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished,” he said. “That’s been my observation for the last 15 years.” – Phnom Penh Post, 9 July 2010

“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia
to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, Saturday, 10.7.2010

“Financial and technical support” – plus, as Global Witness had quoted a 2002 statement of the Prime Minister in 2004 – “While good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.”

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday – Monday, 5.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“On Saturday Cambodian police arrested two Thai citizens accused of being involved in planing a bomb attack in Bangkok last month. The two alleged terrorists will be handed over to Thai embassy officials today [5 July 2010].

“According to an announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that the Phnom Penh Post received on Sunday, Siem Reap police on Saturday evening arrested suspects Kobchai Boonplod, born on 19 July 1967, and Varissareeya Boonsom, female, born on 30 September 1967, accused of having performed a terrorist bomb attack on 22 June 2010 in Bangkok.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said, ‘We had enough documents to confirm that they are bomb suspects before we arrested them.’ He added that the Cambodian authorities will hand over the two suspects to Thai embassy officials in Phnom Penh on Monday, 5 July 2010, at 9:30 at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

“He went on to say that Thai authorities spoke to the press last week, saying that the two suspects, who are masterminds of the bomb attack on the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party [a member of the present Thai government coalition] on 22 June 2010, escaped to Cambodia, but Thailand did not ask Cambodia to arrest them.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘The Cambodian government promised to extradite the two suspects to Thailand though there was no request from Thailand. This shows the willingness of the Cambodian Government to fight terrorism, as the Cambodian government always cooperates with other countries to combat terrorism. Monday last week, the Thai press had quoted Police Lieutenant Colonel Benjapol Rodsawas, deputy chief of the Sa Kaew immigration office, as saying that Varissareeya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod left Thailand separately on Wednesday last week and escaped to Cambodia a day after the bomb attack outside the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party at Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok. At that time, Cambodian officials rejected the information.

“Regarding this issue, the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, stated yesterday that he could not comment on the situation until the perpetrators have been handed over to the Thai authorities today. But he welcomed the cooperation by Cambodia. He said, ‘In general, we welcome the cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia in all activities and we think that it encourages additional cooperation.’ Asked about the accusations by the Cambodian government, he said that he does not have a role to comment on the affairs or views of Cambodia.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chheang Vannarith, said that the arrest shows warming relations between both countries. He said, ‘I think that the Cambodian government takes a flexible position on bilateral ties with Thailand. I can see positive progress for bilateral ties.

“Both countries decided to withdraw their respective ambassadors in November last year, after Cambodia appointed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [convicted for corruption in a land deal] as an economic advisor of the Cambodian government.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 5 July 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #108, 5-6.7.2010

  • Mr. Chea Mony: My New Term [as president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Is to Struggle to Demand a Salary Increase [to a minimum of US$93] and to Create a Labor Court

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2292, 4-5.7.2010

  • Illegal Check Points Are Increasing at Night in Phnom Penh [to extort money from citizens traveling on motorcycles], but Higher Level Officials Ignore This [they check whether people wear helmets, have back-view mirrors, number plates, and a motorbike license. Even if there is no problem, teenagers cannot negotiate what fine to pay to be free, even when they did not commit any wrongdoings]
  • [Ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Promises to Return to Thailand at the End of This Year [to unite the Thai nation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6999, 5.7.2010

  • A Newly Created Site for Producing Mreah Prov Oil [an important ingredient for producing the drug Ecstasy – no information about who is involved – Veal Veng district, Pursat]
  • An Inhuman Drunken Man Fatally Shot a Person for Pleasure [the perpetrator is not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3923, 5.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Will Return to Cambodia This Morning, While There Are Four Days Remaining for Her to Pay Her Fine [Riel 8 million or approx. US$1,860 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Singapore Imports Sand to Enlarge Its Territory without Caring about the Destruction of the Cambodian Seashore Environment [according to Global Witness, this sea sand dredging threatens and affects fish as well as the bio-diversity of the sea]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday
  • Officials: The Number of Deaths from Lightning This Year Is Lower Than Last Year [63 people were killed during the first six months of 2010, in 2009, there were only 100 deaths]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5241, 4-5.7.2010

  • 32% of the Total Size of Cambodia Are Bio-Diversity Protected and Conservation Areas
  • Food Prices Increased by 30% within the First Six Months of 2010

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

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

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

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

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

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Improving Communication by Communicating – Sunday, 6.6.2010

Posted on 7 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

The major event during the week was the meeting of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum, which brought more than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations to Cambodia, to meet with representatives of the Cambodian government. One newspaper quoted a Cambodian official as saying, before the meeting: “Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected.” As expected! On the other hand, just days before this meeting, a group of local NGOs released a study with a critical call to the donor community, suggesting that donors should press the government to fulfill agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply Joint Monitoring Indicators defined in the past. Global Witness, the UK based monitoring agency supported by 17 trusts and foundations, 4 development organizations from different countries, and 7 governments, suggested that the donors should take “a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.”

There are voices saying that the pledge of about US$1 billion is a sign that the donors don’t care about critical statements – either deploring the fact of the pledges realize “as expected,” or taking the pledges as a sign of a flat endorsement of the Cambodian government’s policies. Both these opinions are wrong.

To publish critical evaluations of aid effectiveness some days before such a meeting helps to get broad attention. But to expect that it would greatly affect the meeting, assumes that the international donor delegates arrive to sit around the table and then decide on the spot how much to pledge. They all come with the results of a year’s deliberations at home, considering information and opinion gathered and discussed with others, and decisions prepared towards the meeting.

Both sides then, in the formal meeting, share their well considered long range statements:

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The aid provided by development partners is a very important contribution for the development of Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform.”

“The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities.’”

That is more than a hint that the donors think that available resources are not aligned to development priorities.

What went on during the closed-door meetings may have been more mutually engaging – but the most important things will happen – or not happen – during the course of the year which starts now towards the next meeting. And it will depend on the monitoring of ongoing events and the related discussions – including the regular follow-up in the press and by government and non-government agencies’ observations.

This is a field of hard work: to observe, to analyze, to compare, to speak up, to share – regularly and consistently.

There will be questions requiring answers, and if the questions do not get answers easily, they have to be repeated and made more precise and receive follow-up, maybe again and again. This is the role of the public, and especially of the media. That is why the press is also called “the fourth power” in a state – independent also, like the three others: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, mutually separate, as Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia requires.

The Mirror tries to contribute to this important process.

One element of regular surprise is information like the following, which we carried during this week:

  • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

A fugitive from prison. Was he arrested?

  • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested]

Why 60 persons for one suspect? And he was not arrested?

  • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers to go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence]

“Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law” says Article 31 of the Constitution. But some get arrested and others not! So many cries for help trust in the highest authority of the government, carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady. When will this confidence wear out if there are too many disappointments?

  • The Government Declared to Fight Corruption [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that there are only a handful of corrupt officials, and the government will encourage other officials to fight corruption together]

We will read it in the press.

And here is a variety of related observations:

An interesting source of income for the state reported:

  • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

Not much, less than US$500. There is no report how much was collected from new, big cars driving around town without neither temporary nor permanent license plates. Almost every day when I am driven around town on a motorcycle-taxi, I see some. Probably there was nothing to report because nothing is being collected from them.

The President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

Members of the National Assembly, elected by the people (The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people – says Article 51 of the Constitution), need a permission before they can travel inside of the country? Article 40 of the Constitution sound different: Citizens’ freedom to travel, far and near, and legal settlement shall be respected. We did not reed that the parliamentarians claimed this Constitutional right.

The result:

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Were Prevented from Visiting and Checking a Border Marker [in Takeo, as their visit was blocked by more than 30 armed forces and more than 50 local citizens]

And finally a dilemma:

  • The Opposition Party President Sam Rainsy Plans to Go to the Philippines to Meet with Parliamentarians and Democrats in Asia [at the end of this month, to welcome the newly elected president of the Philippines when he takes office]

Probably there will be many international guests there, especially from the ASEAN region. Among them politicians from Cambodia. But Mr. Sam Rainsy is facing the court in Cambodia, though he is abroad to avoid arrest – but he is free in France, and he is free to travel.

Could another politician from the ASEAN region, the former Thai Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra, also go to the Philippines? Maybe not. There is a search warrant for him from Interpol, and the Thai government is now in the process to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin through Interpol to 187 countries, which makes it more and more difficult to travel anywhere. Except to Cambodia:

  • Cambodia Expressed [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] the Position Not to Extradite Thaksin to Thailand

He was convicted by a Thai court for corruption – for arranging the sale of valuable Bangkok land without bidding and at a low price, to his wife. But he left the country – “temporarily for about a week,” after paying bail – and did never return.

Everybody is equal before the law? Not quite.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected – Thursday, 3.6.2010

Posted on 4 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Government officials and donors met on Wednesday in Phnom Penh for the [third] Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum. During the forum, the donors appealed to the government to speed up key reforms tied to the provision of aid. More than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations attend the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum with plans to grant aid before the meeting ends on Thursday. Officials of the Cambodian government expect that the government will get the envisaged aid of US$1 billion.

“During the speech to open the forum, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform. He said, ‘The Royal Government has made its utmost effort to firmly and deeply implement various reform programs and consider them a “life or death” issue for Cambodia.’

“The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities,’

“During the closed-door meeting on Wednesday, the delegations discussed the National Strategic Development Plan Update for 2009-2013 of the government, as well as the policies to ensure the macroeconomic stability during this time of a global economic crisis. In December 2008, Cambodia received pledges of US$951.5 million, compared to US$650 million in June 2007.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said after the meeting on Wednesday that the meeting went smoothly and there were not any objections from donors. He said, ‘I don’t know how much money the government will receive from donor countries this year, but I estimate it will reach our expectations.’

“Also, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said that the aid tendency keeps increasing, and the requirement of the government will rise to as much as US$1 billion in 2010.

“The Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum has been analyzed carefully in the past few weeks, and local and international non-government organizations called on the donors to press the government to fulfill the agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply the Joint Monitoring Indicators. Fifteen local non-government organizations said in a document released on Tuesday, ‘It is not enough to throw money at problems and hope the ruling party will act in the interest of the people.’

“A report released on Monday by Global Witness suggested that the donors should take ‘a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.’

“An advisor of the government, Mr. Raoul Jennar, said during the forum that the government and the donors have been successful in cooperating to create new laws, and he hopes that the donors will provide strong support during the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum. He said, ‘The government has made many achievements in recent years where more than 260 laws have been adopted during the previous decade. The problem is that development needs highly skilled human resources; this is a problem that Cambodia is facing.’

“Other participants said that the government should care more about the involvement by civil society rather than focusing on foreign policy makers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1442, 3-4.6.2010

  • 2,000 Workers Strike in Kompong Chhnang [against their shoe factory owner, who is forcing them to work overtime]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #494, 3.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Are Still Defiant and Want to Visit the Border Marker Number 270 [in Takeo though the president of the National Assembly did not give them a permission for this visit]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2265, 3.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Aid provided by Development Partners Is a Very Important Contribution for the Development of Cambodia
  • The Cambodian and the Indonesian Governments Signed an Agreement to Mutually Waive Visa Fees for Normal Passport

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #672, 3.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Yim Sovann: Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Will Visit the Border Marker Number 270 Today

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6972, 3.6.2010

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Said that She Will Not Pay the Fine of Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$4,000] in the Case She Lost [against Prime Minister Hun Sen over defamation], but She Would Rather Go to Jail [the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Appeals Court]
  • A Grenade Was Thrown at a Dancing Event, Resulting in One Death and Thirteen Injured People [perpetrators are not yet identified – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Hatoyama Yukio] Resigned from His Position after Staying in Office Less Than One Year

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3896, 3.6.2010

  • The National Bank of Cambodia Bought Riel Notes with US$3 Million to Support the Dwindling Value of the Riel [the present exchange rate is approx. US$1 to Riel 4,260]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Is too Lazy to Respond to Thailand over an Extradition Request for Mr. Thaksin [confirming that Cambodia will not honor an arrest warrant from Interpol to extradite Mr. Thaksin, though the Thai government plans to send it through Interpol to 187 countries]
  • Disabled People [through 150 representatives of 620 families of veterans from Kompong Cham] Protested in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [in Phnom Penh] over a Land Dispute [asking for intervention by Mr. Hun Sen to distribute 4,000 hectares of land to the ‘Association Cripple Development’ in Kratie, because on 24 April 2010, the provincial authorities claimed that the land belongs to private companies]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 3.6.2010

  • Cambodia Denied It Has Provided Training Shelter in Cambodia for Thai Red-Shirt Armed Militants [a Thai military commander had commented that Thai red-shirt armed militants had been in Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Asian Development Bank Grants US$2.2 Million for a Project to Assess the Impact of Legal Procedures of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

About the Clear Separation of Functions and Responsibilities – Sunday, 30.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

According to the Preamble of the Constitution, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a multi-party liberal democracy. That different people make different observations and have different information and different opinions is natural – that these can also be expressed and discussed openly is legal under such a constitution, unless there is any criminal intent involved.

When putting the pieces for the Mirror together day by day, we encounter often confrontative news items which could be resolved easily by an open, mutual, clarifying consultation about facts and structural arrangements, which might overcome personal positions and feelings.

During the past week, we carried a report about a tragic event in India: “160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India.” But this is not just a tragedy – it is necessary to investigate what led to this problem, in order to avoid similar events to happen in future. Naturally, questions about safety procedures have to be clarified – and there were some press reports claiming that the accident was the result of a soft handling of air safety regulations. When this discussion started, the management of Air India claimed to make a thorough investigation by themselves – and prohibited its employees to discuss related questions with the press. This resulted in further protests: “The striking employees were upset over the management’s gag order prohibiting some of its leaders to speak out in public on the Mangalore crash.”

In the meantime, the Indian government has set up a Court of Inquiry headed by a former high court judge, and a Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council with persons with a background in aviation, and experts in engineering and operations. They will conduct the inquiry, not Air India. And the strike was called off.

Does this mean that the Indian government does not trust the management of Air India? Maybe or maybe not – the fundamentally important point is that Operations and Safety are to be handled by two separate, independent bodies, which have to cooperate mutually.

Some months ago, I had an experience in Malaysia where this separation obviously works. – We were about 250 passengers, waiting to board a long distance night flight. But instead of calling us to board the plane, we were told that the flight is canceled, buses would transport us to different hotels and collect us again in the morning. So it happened – connections lost and schedules not met. The explanation: When the plane was prepared for departure, the air safety controller discovered that the pilot had landed only 11 hours ago – but no pilot is allowed to fly again, if not 12 hours passed between two flights. Malaysia Airlines had to accept this ruling from the air safety institution, though it meant a disruption of many schedules and a considerable economic loss. The airline had assigned the pilot – “just one hour too short should be OK” – but the independent safety supervisor rejected this.

Not good personal relations of different actors, and group or institutional loyalties assure smooth an safe procedures, but clearly defined, different institutions – which all have to refer to objectively defined rules. And these rules have to be kept and followed.

When Mr. Om Yentieng was recently appointed as head of the newly created Anti-Corruption Unit, it was reported that some persons from the opposition parties raised critical questions about him – this is a case where different people may have different opinions. But we did not see any critical questions raised against the fact the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is also automatically a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, the body that is supervising the Anti-Corruption Unit. This is an objectively serious problem, whoever the person is. Everybody has to act responsibly in public offices – but this does not mean to be just responsible to oneself. Responsibility implies that one has to answer what is right and what is wrong to another institution. Where this is not structurally institutionalized, there is the danger that a conflict of interest may lead to wrong results.

Malaysian Airlines had the well founded interest not to disrupt its intercontinental schedule, and not to organize and pay for 250 hotel guests. But the air safety agency hand a different, also well founded interest: that the strict working schedules of pilots have to be kept.

When the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] started to investigate the Australian mining company BHP Billiton, and links to the US$2.5 million which had been paid as tea money to “Cambodia,” this naturally triggered a public interest where and under whose authorities and according to which rules this money was used. Then an amount of US$20 million from the French oil company Total was added to the surprises, and additional millions from an Indonesian company.

Then allegations surfaced that the ban on sand export, imposed by the government, was not applied, and sand exports to Singapore continued.

Around the time when different partial answers related to payments were reported in the press (which could not be reconciled with each other) the Prime Minister tasked the Senior Ministers Sok An and Keat Chhon to present a consolidated answer to the National Assembly; then also the Ambassador of Cambodia in London offered to publicly discuss and refute such allegations, raised by the British NGO Global Witness.

But on 21 May 2010, the Cambodian Embassy in London withdrew the offer in a letter from which we quote:

On the issue you raised, I am pleased to advise that His Excellency Hor Nambora is no longer prepared
to enter into a public debate with Global Witness.

First, we believe it would be inappropriate to share a platform with representatives of your organisation
since it would appear you have a politically-motivated and hidden agenda to discredit the legitimately-
elected Government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Second, it seems clear that your group is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international
community, not least for the irresponsible and devious way in which you operate…

In short, as your group, leadership and campaigners certainly suffered from epilepsy and other mental disabilities, it would be more prudent for any Cambodian representatives or officials, not to take part in the debate.

Epilepsy is disease defined in medical terms as “a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions” – it is surprising that the Cambodian embassy claims to have such medical data on the staff of Global Witness, quite apart form the whole style of this official letter.

We do also not have any information that Global Witness “is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international community.” – Global Witness shares the list of their supporters publicly:

Trusts and foundations

  • Adessium Foundation
  • The Blue Moon Fund
  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • The DOEN Foundation
  • The Fledgling Fund
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The Jocarno Fund
  • The Joffe Charitable Trust
  • Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug)
  • The David and Elaine Potter Foundation
  • The RH Southern Trust
  • The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
  • The Roddick Foundation
  • The Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation
  • The Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • The Staples Trust
  • The Wallace Global Fund

Development organisations

  • Concern Worldwide
  • Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos)
  • Oxfam Novib
  • Trocaire

Governments

  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • DFID – Department for International Development (UK)
  • The European Commission
  • Irish Aid – Irish Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida)
  • Norad

To accuse Global Witness leadership of “epilepsy and other mental disabilities” is probably not making an impression on the supporters of the world wide activities of Global Witness. It will rather bring embarrassing questions, asking to explain how an embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia can act in such a non-professional way.

In Cambodia today, to make such a public statement, might this lead to a court case for disinformation and defamation.

Again: this is not first of all a question about the person who wrote this letter. It is a question in which way, in the diplomatic service where such a letter was written, responsibility is exercised – not only personally by oneself and for oneself – but in a way that one institution, or one part of the institution, has to submit itself to another institution, to clarify what is acceptable, and what is not, for the Kingdom of Cambodia.

During the week, the question has also been raised, whether somebody from outside tries “to teach” something to Cambodia. This may happen occasionally, but it is not as important as that the field, as described by the Constitution, is kept open to exercise the freedoms of expression and opinion. The article about Mr. Vann Molyvann, who has shaped the image of Phnom Penh and some other places in the contry, is such an example. In spite of his historical role and his achievements, he felt compelled to resign, when his professional judgment as an architect and as a long term protector of Khmer traditional culture was overruled for shot term economic gain. To listen to him is worth while. Not only because this previous warnings about the over-use of ground water in the Angkor area have now – finally – been seen as a real problem which may lead to the collapse of some of the old temples – similar to the destruction of more modern, but historical buildings in Phnom Penh and other cities, that are being destroyed and replaced by modern business buildings, for economic gain.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cambodia Promises to Use the Money from Mineral Resources Transparently – Thursday, 27.5.2010

Posted on 28 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“International experts who attended the international conference about mineral exploration that was held for the first time in Cambodia on Wednesday, 26 May 2010, said that mineral exploration in Cambodia, which has not provided any yield so far, is like a blank project that can get benefits from the experience in other countries so as to avoid any possible mistakes.

“The conference was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh with 300 participants from all around the world to discuss transparency and development for the mineral exploration sector which has just started to be developed in Cambodia.

“This conference was organized also in view of the internal investigation about the accusation against the BHP Billiton company that is known in the public with the allegation that it had bribed [the government] to gain exploration rights in Mondolkiri.

“UNDP Resident Representative Douglas Broderick said during his speech that the start to develop the mineral exploration sector in Cambodia is part of the start to develop these resources. He said, ‘Minerals are under the ground. And it depends on our cooperation to ensure that the Cambodian people can get their benefits from the huge income from the exploitation of these natural resources.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen considers the natural resources of the country as a new treasure that can contribute to the potential of the economy. He added that natural resources as well as agriculture, the garment and the construction sectors, and tourism can contribute to the development of the economy of the country.

“The Prime Minister stressed, ‘If Cambodia has the opportunity to explore its mineral treasures, Cambodia will use the income from it responsibly for the sake of the nation.’

“In his speech, that strongly criticized Global Witness, Mr. Hun Sen called on the participants to share their knowledge in order to help the government to maximize the financial benefits from this sector, to develop the country and to reduce poverty.

“A senior expert in mineral exploration of the World Bank, Mr. Craig Andrews, told the Phnom Penh Post that this sector will provide benefits to the country if related regulations and taxes are properly enforced, and correctly aimed at the important points, before the exploration begins.

“He suggested that Cambodia should not follow Australia regarding the collection of high taxes from the profits of the exploration, saying that the exploration in Australia and in Cambodia requires policies that are different.

“Mr. Craig Andrew said that a policy to collect low taxes from the exploration, and the stability of the country, will help Cambodia to attract foreign investors.

“According to the economic and mineral exploration expert Roderick Eggert, the developing exploration sector that can be taken as models of international success are that of Chile and of Botswana.

“He said, ‘Cambodian is starting as a blank project. The country has the chance to do the right things to get benefits from other countries. He added that mineral exploration companies are paying attention to transparency and openness.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #180, .275.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 27 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #488, 27.5.2010

  • Cambodia Does Not Depend on Mineral Resources Alone for Its National Economic Development
  • India Promised to Send Back Eight Khmer Citizens Who Were Trafficked to India [eight Khmer Citizens phoned their families in Cambodia to seek help from human rights organizations and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2259, 27.5.2010

  • The Government Will Cancel the Exploration and Exploitation Rights of Any Company That Commits Crimes [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #666, 27.5.2010

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Does Not Allow the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community to Organize a Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Loss of [Khmer Kampuchea Krom] Land [to Vietnam] in Front of Wat Botum [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6966, 27.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Strongly Reacted against Global Witness, Calling this Organization a Group of Thieves in London [over their criticism of the lack of transparency related to the management of payments received from natural resources exploration companies]
  • Each Year Ratanakiri Loses 2,000 Hectares of Forest Land [because of the clearance of land by forestry criminals to claim land for selling, and by ethnic minority people to claim farmland – according to the Ratanakiri governor]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3890, 27.5.2010

  • Civil Society Encourages Donors to Press the Government over Human Rights Issues and Democracy during a Meeting planned for 2 June 2010 [between Cambodia and development partners]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #180, .275.2010

  • [UN Meeting] in the United States of America: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Receives US$16.9 Million New Funds for 2010 [promised by donors]
  • Cambodia Promises to Use the Money from Mineral Resources Transparently

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5208, 27.5.2010

  • The UN Secretary General Called for Funds for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [funds needed in 2010 are more than US$21 million]
  • An Investigating Judge Issued a Warrant to Bring [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy to Court [for questioning over the accusation of having faked public documents, and having spread misinformation]
  • The Government Has a Plan to Give 133,145 Hectares of Social Concession Land for 4,000 Families of Soldiers and Members of the Police [in sixteen provinces]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies – Monday, 17.5.2010

Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: Civil society organizations working in Cambodia asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to temporarily stop providing economic concession land to private companies, because these provisions affect the life of many citizens.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia and a special Housing Rights Task Force said in their statement that by now, the Royal Government of Cambodia has offered concession land to many local and foreign private companies. It is noticed that the provisions are not in line with the Land Law, Article 59, which states, ‘Concession land can be allocated only up to a maximum of 10,000 hectares per case.’ However, there are cases that many areas of concession land with more than 10,000 hectares were delivered to different companies that are owned by only one person.

“The statement of these civil society organizations mentioned also irregularities relating to the provision of economic concession land and suggested to the government to temporarily halt providing concession land to private companies until the government can guarantee the protection and respect of legal provisions, and they asked the government to check the existing concession land arrangements, and to cancel illegal concession land contracts if found.

“In the meantime, civil society organizations asked the government to publicize and to update information about the provisions of economic concession land on the website of the Royal Government.

“The head of the Investigating Unit of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Ny Chakriya, said during the press conference held in the morning of 12 May 2010 at the Sunway Hotel, that according to observations, the provision of economic concession land has affected the life of many citizens, especially when companies started to use machinery to clear land before they get economic concession licenses from the Royal Government. He added that what is also noticeable is that some companies have the right to order armed forces to protect their land, and most such forces protect the benefits of those companies rather than protecting the benefits of the citizens.

“Also the Executive Director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said during the conference that the provision of economic concession land cannot be over 10,000 hectares according to the land law, and so far, ‘we have seen that those who had been provided with concession land, whatever mistakes they may have committed, they did not get punished.’ Those who sign to provide concession land continue to do things just as they like, as they know that they will not be punished. To change this, the Royal Government must determine penalties for institutions having the authority to provide concession land.

“In the evening of 12 May 2010, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach representatives of the Royal Government and of the Ministry of Agriculture for comments regarding the suggestions of those civil society organizations.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 17 May 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1439, 13-14.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Called on Troops to Protect the Forest and Land in the Area of Their Bases

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #476-479, 13-17.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Raised by Siam [Thailand] Saying that Cambodia Does Not Respect the Memorandum in 2000 Much [it was signed by the two governments to recognize the integrity and the territory of both countries, based by treaties and pacts recognized internationally – a source where to find the text of the 2000 Memorandum was not given]
  • The Lawyer of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Stand with [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua at the Supreme Court on 2 June 2010 [over the defamation case filed by the Prime Minister]
  • Diarrhea in Kompong Cham Increased to 251 Cases
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Canceled the Plan for Elections on 14 November 2010 and Ordered 80 Tanks to Suppress Red-Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the government – after the demonstrators had rejected the condition for the elections: that the protesters have to start to end their blockades]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

  • Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies
  • The Prime Minister Called on Citizens to Be Careful while the Weather Is Abnormally Hot [especially sanitation is important, as recently there are cases of diarrhea happening in some provinces]
  • Nearly of the 40,000 AIDS Patients [92%] Received ARV Medicines from the Ministry of Health
  • The Prime Minister Warned Army Commanders to Report in Detail about the Border Situation, neither to Exaggerate, nor to Understate the Reality
  • The Royal Government Decided to Take 640,000 Hectares of the Flooded Forest Area around the Tonle Sap Lake for Conservation
  • An 8-Year-Old Dutch Boy Survived, while 103 People Were Killed in Libyan Plane Crash

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #655, 15.5.2010

  • Global Witness Asked International Donors to Press [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Government [to ensure that all money collected from the selling of natural resources’ exploration rights will be recorded in the national budget, and be allocated in a way beneficial to the Khmer citizens]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6954-6957, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Construction of the Phnom Penh-Cho Ray Hospital (Bệnh viện Chợ Rẫy) Worth About US$40 Million Was Started [with investments by the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Investment Joint Stock company and the Sok Kong Import Expert company]
  • Villagers Get Sick and Died and Barriers Were Put to Ban Outsiders to Go in; Since April Seventeen People Died in Siem Pang District [Stung Treng – vomiting and “diarrhea” denying it is Cholera]
  • The King Plans to Visit Japan for Five Days [from 16 to 20 May 2010]
  • Traveling Was Banned in Bangkok; Clashes between Soldiers and Protesters Resulted in 25 Deaths and 200 Injured People
  • [Conservative leader] Mr. David Cameron Becomes the New Prime Minister of England

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3881, 17.5.2010

  • Land Concessions Are a Concern of Citizens Who Own No Land for Cultivation

Phendei Khmer, Vol.8, #36, 19-25.5.2010

  • A Horrific Accident: A Bus Struck a Korean Made Truck, Killing Four People and Injuring Thirty Three Others [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #170-172, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Bring Justice for Khmer Citizens
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage in Four Provinces [Kompong Cham, Kratie, Ratanakiri, and Stung Treng; so far, 34 people died – health officials continue to claim it is not Cholera]
  • The Kompong Thom Authorities Wait for a Decision from the Ministry of Agriculture to Provide Rice Fields to Former Kroya Villagers [who were evicted since 2009 – Kompong Thom]
  • Khmer Krom Citizens Asked for Permission [from the Phnom Penh Municipality] to Celebrate the [61st] Anniversary of the Loss of Land [to Vietnam; at the park in front of Wat Botum on 4 June 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct 12 Roads in the Boeng Kak Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5196-5199, 13-17.5.2010

  • The United Nations Sees that the Economic Situation of Cambodia Is Better Than 2009 [the economic growth of Cambodia is predicted to be 4%]
  • A Bus of the Cambodia Angkor Express Carrying Tourists Hit a Motorbike, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Two Others [Phnom Penh]
  • Lightning Hit a Villa and Tropical Storm Destroyed More Than 40 Houses in Siem Reap

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam – Wednesday, 12.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“In recent months, the import of live pigs from Vietnam into Cambodia on motorbikes – small scale trading, where a motorbike can transport two to four pigs – seems to increase from day to day, while veterinarians do not care to check the pig’s health before they are allowed to be brought in.

“The deputy head of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association that protects the local pig raisers, Mr. Srun Pov, complained that the collusion to import live pigs from Vietnam to Cambodia through various border crossings, avoiding tax payments and appropriate health checks, is increasing recently.

“Mr. Srun Pov said that obviously, on 10 May 2010, representatives of the association went to check some border crossings in the Ponhea Kraek district, Kompong Cham, and found that hundreds of pigs were imported on that day by traders without proper health checks from expert officials. Just on that morning, the representatives of the associations could see more than 40 motorbikes carrying 3 to 4 pigs each and they gathered those pigs to be delivered into trucks to send them to Phnom Penh.

“He added that to allow the trafficking of live pigs into Cambodia without proper health checks affects the health of citizens who eat pork and harms local pig raisers, as at present, the association is trying to encourage more local citizens to raise pigs.

“On behalf of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association, Mr. Srun Pov called on the authorities, especially Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to take measures to prevent and to eliminate such anarchic import of pigs, because just at the boarder crossings in Kompong Cham, more than 100 pigs were imported each day. What about at other border crossings in Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, and Takeo? How many thousands of pigs are being imported illegally?

“Citizens living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border ask veterinarians to carefully check the pig’s health before allowing their import. If the present situation continues, local pig raisers will be affected more seriously.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #475, 12.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Encourages Railroad Construction Companies to Repair the Damaged Railroad [the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, recognized that some private companies repair the railroad with low quality or without proper technical standards, making it to become damaged again soon]
  • Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 83 Cases [six cases are serious]
  • Within Two Months of 2010, There Were More Than 100,000 Cases of Pneumonia and Twenty Four People Died

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2246, 12.5.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Denied the Information that He Enters Politics [recently, there had been rumors that he will return to lead FUNCINPEC]
  • Traffic Police Was Accused of Hitting a Man on His Head so that He Was Bleeding, as He Did Not Wear a Helmet [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #652, 12.5.2010

  • The Dredging of Millions of Tonnes of Sand to Be Exported to Singapore Seriously Affects the Environment of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

  • Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3877, 12.5.2010

  • [Oknhas] Mong Riththy and Ly Yong Phat Confidentially Received Licenses to Export Sand, Resulting in the Loss of National Income [according to Global Witness] and This Is a Bad Model of Corruption Committed by People in Leadership in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #169, 12.5.2010

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Will Visit Preah Vihear Today [to inaugurate a new school building and other achievements in this province – but he will not visit the temple area]
  • Sand War between Cambodia and Global Witness Continues, while Singapore Rejected the Report [saying that the sand dredging trade with Cambodia is operated without caring about the bad impacts on the society and the environment, as this has to be controlled by Cambodia]
  • Benigno Aquino Wins the Elections and Prepares to Become the New President of the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5195, 12.5.2010

  • Officials of the Cambodian Government and Investors Reject a Report by Global Witness over the Dredging of Sand for Export Abroad
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister Is Grateful as the Investment in Cambodian Has Increased to US$1.8 Billion and He Promises to Encourage Investment in Rice Milling
  • France Plans to Provide Loans without Guarantee [by the Cambodian government] on Four Projects [for the rice milling associations to produce standard rice for export to Europe, for public lighting in Phnom Penh, for training for workers, and for the creation of a vocational training center on tourism and hotel services; but the amounts of the loans are not mentioned]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change – Tuesday, 11.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“Almost unbearable and hotter sunshine is getting public attention; this problem clearly shows that Cambodia is experiencing a change to a hotter climate as part of the global natural phenomena. The typhoon Ketsana indicated that Cambodia starts to face natural disaster, while the temperature is alarmingly getting hotter at present. In rural areas, the heat wave is affecting farmers, making it difficult for them to go out to their rice fields. The wind also brings the heat wave to wherever the people stay, even under the trees they still feel the hot wind.

“According to the weather forecast of 10 May 2010 of the Department of Meteorology, the temperature in low lying areas is 25 to 40 degrees Celsius, at the highlands 26 to 38, at the seashore 22 to 36. Based on the weather forecast of the website http://www.underground.com [not operational at time of editing], the temperature in Phnom Penh is 38 degrees, but the hottest temperature was up to 40 degrees, comparable to Ho Chi Minh City with 36 to 40. Bangkok has a higher temperature than Cambodia with 38 to 41 degrees. Besides, the temperature in Manila/Philippines is 36 to 44 degrees, in Jakarta/Indonesia 35 to 44, in Vientiane/Laos 37 to 43, and in Kuala Lumpur 31 to 42 etc.

“As it is almost the end of the Visakh Lunar Month, the weather should have turned from hot to cooler, but it is seen that in the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is rain in some areas, but in some others there is no rain at all, though the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology had forecast that there will be rain everywhere during the rainy season, and there will be no ‘small dry season’ during the rainy season. The hot temperature at present makes it difficult for people to endure it, as they never encountered something like this before.

“An official of the Department of Meteorology said that the temperature is hot because there is no rain. When the rain comes, the temperature will drop. The deputy head of the Department of Meteorology, Mr. Oum Rina, told Koh Santepheap on the phone that in April, in some areas like in Siem Reap and in the northwest, the temperature rose to 41 degrees Celsius. At other areas, the temperature was 38 to 40 degrees, but it declined when the rain came regularly. Mr. Oum Rina added that now, the temperature is still hot. In the northwest, it is 40 degrees and in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kompong Cham, and other provinces and cities, the temperature is only between 37 and 39 degrees.

“He went on to say that the hot temperatures can last until 14 or 15 May 2010, and then they will drop as the rain will start. There will be raining for a few days later in Phnom Penh and in some other areas, and the temperature will go down. This is all part of the problem of climate change.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #474, 11.5.2010

  • US$1 Billion Was Signed between the Private Sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia
  • Military Police Intercepted a Car Loaded with Artifacts, but the Driver Escaped [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2245, 11.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Malaysian Investors that Cambodia Opens Its Economy for All Investors
  • The US Embassy Prepares to Mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties with Cambodia [by organizing a concert on 13 May 2010]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #6511, 11.5.2010

  • Twenty Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask the Svay Rieng Court to Allow Them to Visit Meas Srey and Prum Chea at the Svay Rieng Prison [on 18 May 2010; both of them are jailed for removing border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

  • The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change
  • [Four] Armed Robbers Robbed a Fuel Station and Shot and Injured a Major Who Is the Owner of the Station [taking away some money and property – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3876, 11.5.2010

  • More Than 2,000 Families Face Eviction and Their Land Will Be Sized to Be Delivered to a Private Company [Mondolkiri]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #168, 11.5.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized Sand Dredging Operations in Cambodia [for exports to Singapore, saying that those operations seriously affect the beach and river eco-systems due to a lack of transparency and regulations of the government – it estimates that at present, up to more than 796,000 tonnes of sand are dredged every month]
  • [President of the Cambodian Independent Teacher Association] Rong Chhun: We Do Not Want Laws or the Authorities to Limit Our Freedom [he said so regarding the creation of a ‘democracy compound’ for not more than 200 people protesting]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5194, 11.5.2010

  • More Than US$36 Million of Cash Were Sent by Cambodian Workers [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] to Their Families in Cambodia within One Year [in 2009]
  • The Former Head of the Vietnamese Communist Party [Mr. Lê Khả Phiêu – Le Kha Phieu] Visits Cambodia [to strengthen solidarity between both countries]
  • The Kunthak Bopha Hospital Spends US$30 Million Each Year [to provide health services; US$2.5 million from the government, US$2.7 million from the Swiss government, and the rest is from the foundation of Professor Beat Richner]
  • A Shrimp Company [Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing of Canada] Sells it’s 31.48% Stake [to Leopard, a company in Asia; each day, the company can produce more than 10 tonnes of shrimps – Sihanoukville]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...