The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom – Monday, 4.1.2010

Posted on 5 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“A son of a high ranking military officer of the Cambodian government told a foreign newspaper that corruption in Cambodia occurs at present at every section of the society from top to bottom. An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewed a youth whose name is Meas Sophearith, a son of Four-Star-General Meas Sophea, a deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Army of Cambodia, regarding his view about corruption in the Cambodian society.

“According to an article in this newspaper, written by Mr. Andrew Marshall, the young Meas Sophearith, who is studying political science at the University in Alabama in the United States, who has also a place for military studies at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, a son of Mr. Meas Sophea, was quoted as criticizing the present corruption in Cambodian society, saying that corruption exists from top to bottom.

“According to the same source, Meas Sophearith described the situation of corruption in the Cambodian society nowadays, saying that most leaders are corrupt.

“Also, a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia was quoted, to have said for publication in the paper, that a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia owns a most expensive car priced at US$500,000 a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

“Besides the publication about the description of corruption by the young Meas Sophearith, another young man, Ouch Vichet, called Richard, 28, who used to study in New Zealand, spoke in the Australian newspaper about the present show-off culture among the children of the powerful and of the rich in Cambodia.

“The young Vichet was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that if anybody want that the others pay respect, they have to own luxuries and expensive cars, big diamonds, and expensive mobile phones. This young man added that his parents provided him with a residence of US$500,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares as his inheritance, while his parents-in-law gave him US$100,000 and another residence of US$200,000.

“The abundant wealth of high ranking officials, noticed by foreign observers as well as international journalists, where they compete with each other, showing off their luxury cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, helps to form the stereotypes of rich and high ranking officials of present day Cambodia.

“Mr. Andrew Marshall wrote in that Australian newspaper about Ouch Vichet, who said that people of his parents’ generation always kept money under their mattresses, but the children of the next generation keep money in safes in their houses.

“He said they usually keep a lot of money in safes at home, because they do not trust the banks, believing that if they keep their money in the banks, it will be known how much money their families have.

[…]

“The Tuol Kork area of Phnom Penh is compared to the Beverly Hills area of Hollywood in the United States, where there are, in Phnom Penh, many modern residences of high ranking officials, including of children of the prime minister, surrounded by high and sharp razor wire fencing.

“The same paper wrote that the residence of young Meas Sophearith, a son of General Meas Sophea, is carefully guarded by special forces soldiers.

“The young Meas Sophearith as well as Ouch Vichet, a businessman, who haves relations with the powerful and the rich of the country, are among the three sources that Mr. Andrew Marshall relied on for the article ‘Khmer Riche.’ The third person, Sophy, a child of a Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Mr. Hun Sen, is another source that Mr. Andrew Marshall depended upon to write about the showing off of luxury livelihood of children of high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia, while millions of Khmer common citizens live under the poverty line, though hundreds of millions of dollars of aid have been provided each year.

“The young Meas Sophearith told the Australian newspaper that he has a plan to create a foundation to help children of the poor to have a chance to study abroad, like the children of the powerful and of the rich. However, he stressed that they have to wait until their parents grow old.

[…]

“The young Meas Sophearith is not the only person who wants to see changes from what happens at present, but needs to wait until their parents grow old, or people from the old generation retire. Whether he can fulfill his intention to create a foundation to help the poor or not is another problem. [The original source is quoted here.]

[…]

“The account by a son of a high ranking official about corruption, which occurs from top to bottom, and by Mr. Ouch Vichet about how money is normally kept by high ranking officials and by the rich, is another source of information related to the question why the government is very late in adopting an anti-corruption law.

“Corruption is recognized, and the wealth of the high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia are kept in the safes at their houses, rather than at local and foreign banks. Therefore, can an anti-corruption law be adopted and can it be efficient to uncover the faces of corrupt officials, or expropriate wealth stolen from the nation, to become money to benefits the nation?”
[…]Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #376-278, 1-4.1.2010

  • [The Cambodian] Ambassador in Thailand Called the Editor of the The Nation Stupid [after the newspaper’s editor criticized the Cambodian Prime Minister in an article Hun Sen’s Vanity is a Danger to Regional Solidarity published on 29 December 2009, which said, “Hun Sen should know for a fact that the person who is really capable of toppling him is his recently appointed economic adviser – Thaksin Shinawatra. In the early 1990s, everybody knew that Thaksin, as a business tycoon, was involved in a short-lived plot to dislodge Hun Sen because of a conflict of interest over mobile telephone contracts.”]
  • During the Whole Year [of 2009] Cambodia Implemented 1,191 Projects to Develop the Country [reference is to cooperation with development partners like the UN, the EU, Japan, etc.]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2139-2141, 1-4.1.2010

  • The National Election Committee Published the Results of the Election Name List Checking in 2009 [there were 8,331,906 voters listed]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Vowed to Vigorously Protect the Throne [after the King promoted him to the rank of a five-star-general]
  • A Thai Army Commander Confirmed in Front of the Cambodian Army Commander to Let the Border Issues Be Solved by Both Countries’ Governments

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom
  • [The Opposition Party parliamentarian] Mr. Sam Rainsy: Those Who Were Behind the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1999 Are Those Who Are at Present Controlling the Power

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6846-6848, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Welcome for the Universal New Year 2010 in Cambodia This Year Was Different from the Previous Year as It Was Celebrated by More People in More Places [in Cambodia]
  • The [Svay Rieng] Municipal Court Dropped Questioning Three Suspects over the Removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [they are no longer under arrest]
  • In 2009 There Were 44 Fires in Phnom Penh Which Killed 2 People
  • Seventy Six Journalists Were Murdered in 2009 [compared to 2008, when 60 were murdered worldwide, according to the Reporters without Borders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #80-81, 1-4.1.2010

  • A Military Chief Who Was Involved in Illegal Wood Transport Was Released [by just paying a fine of US$1,500; he had been arrested for blocking the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports – Battambang]
  • The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Starts Operations Today [1 January 2010] – What Will Cambodia Get?
  • The Court Ordered the Arrest of Three More Citizens over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers in Svay Rieng
  • Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia Increased by 2% in 2009 [to 2.18 million, while in 2008, there were 2.12 million]

Note:

The China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.

“The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of traded goods is expected to extend between China and four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.” [Source]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5088-5090, 1-4.1.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Rejected to Enter Politics but Wants to Serve the Nation More [he said he could serve as a diplomat, as an adviser to the prime minister, as a lecturer on law, or related to cultural affairs]
  • An Old Man [69 years old] Raped Three Girls [10, 11, and 14 years old sisters] – He Was Arrested by Military Police to Be Sent to Court [Battambang]
  • Forty Two Packages of Heroin Worth Half a Million Dollar Were Seized [in Phnom Penh, but the ring leader of the smugglers is not yet found; Cambodia was removed from a drug black list of the international community]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1846, 1.2.1.2010

  • Mr. Rong Chhun Was Elected [again] as President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association

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IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis! – Saturday, 14.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

Note:

Apologies for the rough language – it is the policy of The Mirror to provide readers of the English translations a glimpse at the sometimes rough world of Khmer journalism as it is – as always, without endorsing opinions expressed, nor being able to verify the veracity of original statements.

“A representative of the International Monetary Fund, Mr. John Nelmes [IMF Resident Representative in Cambodia], had predicted that Cambodia would encounter the consequences of the global economic crisis, and it is necessary to be prepared in advance.

“However, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, became angry and shouted that the Cambodian economy cannot decline as predicted by this person or by that person.

“It should be remembered that the IMF had warned recently, ‘Cambodia is heading toward an economic downturn and the GDP will decline to a growth rate of only 0.5% this year, after there was rigid growth during one whole decade.’

“Moreover, Mr. John Nelmes emphasized again on Thursday [12 March 2009], ‘The Cambodian economy is in a negative status, such instability happens in the context of a bleak global economic atmosphere. We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.’

“Mr. John Nelmes added, ‘Any hope for next year’s economic growth in Cambodia is not clear, because we foresee only 3% growth for 2010, but it might change.’

“Mr. Nelmes went on to say, ‘The export data of some countries are terrible, and the US retail sellers will have negative growth rates this year. This is not a good omen for garment exports.’

“Mr. Nelmes continued to say that also the high inflation in 2008, and the rising price of the dollar make Cambodia to become a more expensive goal for tourism.

“He predicted that tourism, which had an annual growth rate of nearly 20% during three or four years, decreased to around only 5% in 2008, and might also encounter negative growth rates in 2009. The selling of cars and of motorbikes dropped now by 50%, [for cars] and it had been down by 20% at the end of 2008, compared to the twelve months of the previous year.

“The executive director of the ANZ Royal Bank, Mr. Stephen Higgins, said that Cambodia needs cheaper electricity and more roads to encourage broader commercial exchanges.

“Mr. Higgins added that while one kilowatt/hour of electricity costs around US$0.05 in Vietnam, in Cambodia it can cost up to US$0.18, which is much more expensive than in Vietnam. He went on to say that the cost of transportation of agricultural goods in Cambodia is four times more expensive than in Thailand, adding, ‘This is a big difficulty. If the government wants to spend its money, it should spend it on anything that promotes the productivity in the country.’ He continued to say that although the agricultural structure might get improved and likely earn additional income, employment opportunities will be less. More production in different other sectors besides the garment sector will absorb a growing number of the labor force. The garment sector was producing more than half of the industrial output of the country, while food production earned only about 10 percent.

“Also, Mr. Higgins looks forward to the promise that there will be a Commercial Court to solve commercial disputes, which is a key factor to encourage investors.

“He added that corruption is still another concern for investors – different anti-corruption laws and regulations could solve this situation. He said, ‘Everything to clear up corruption will have long-lasting results.’

“Recently, a parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘The government has to recognize the serious situation of Cambodia and must not conceal it. And the government must really support the budget package of around US$500 million [proposed by the Sam Rainsy Party] to encourage the economy.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party said so after the Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, had dismissed the predictions about the dramatic downturn of the economy of the country, which suffers the impacts of the global economic crisis.

“The Prime Minister, who boasts about his political achievements, claimed proudly to protect this bad face, saying , ‘Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.’

“Because of this persistence, without recognizing what is right or wrong, Hun Sen predicted the future of the economy in Cambodia himself, ‘Cambodia will have 6% GDP growth in 2009.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen chatted lightly, referring to America, Europe, Japan, and Korea as elephants. He added, ‘The global economic crisis in Asia in 1997 was like a sheep that fell dead on the elephants’ legs. But now, the elephants died and fell on sheep’s legs.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the government still hides the rate of economic changes, they will be hurt by it in turn.’ He added that the IMF might make only few mistakes in their forecasting, which is technical and it is not colored by politics.

“He went on to say, ‘The government should not mix politics with technical problems.’

“The Cambodian economic growth, predicted for 2009 after just two or three months, was nearly 5%. However, on Friday last week [6 March 2009], the IMF listed Cambodia among the countries facing an economic slowdown.

“The IMF predicted that Cambodia will have another 0.5% drop in economic growth, because of the global economic crisis, and the decline of tourism, and of the construction and the garment sectors.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Cambodia Restricts to Climb to the Preah Vihear Temple, and a Siamese [Thai] Monk Is Arrested for Attempting to Climb to the Temple
  • The UN Drug and Crimes Office [in Cambodia] Hopes that [the former commander-in-chief, who has just been appointed as the 10th deputy prime minister in charge of drug administration] Mr. Ke Kim Yan Will Strongly Act to Combat Drugs
  • The Government Provides a Livelihood Allowance of Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5.00] per Month to Civil Servants
  • The Court Orders Police to Detain a Taiwanese Man and a Military Police Officer for International Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Security Companies Sign Agreements with the National Police Office to Promote Citizens’ Security
  • Japan, South Korea, and America Announce to Shoot Down a North Korean’s Satellite Launching

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1897, 14.3.2009

  • The National Election Committee Bars Foreign Passport Holders to Join the [district and provincial/city council] Election Campaign

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

  • IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6602, 14-15.3.2009

  • Senior Official of UNESCO [Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï] Promised to Work for a Sustainable Protection OF the Preah Vihear Temple [he said SO during his official visit to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man from Hong Kong Had 846 Gram of Heroin When He Wanted to Board a Plane [he was arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport]
  • The Iraqi Journalist Who Threw a Shoe at Mr. Bush Is Sentenced to Serve Three Years in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4845, 14.3.2009

  • The Minister of Labor [Mr. Vong Soth]: 99 Factories Are Closed, 78 Factories Are Opened, and 20,000 Unemployed Workers Are Seeking Jobs
  • Cambodian and America Look for Possibilities to Encourage Agricultural Production
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces to Allow the [national and international] Public to Attend [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Hearing [on 30 March 2009]
  • The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia
  • Vietnam Provides Documents and More Than 300 Photos Regarding the Khmer Rouge Regime

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

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