A Too Quick Reaction from the Government – Thursday, 25.3.2010

Posted on 26 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“The anti-corruption law has already been adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate of Cambodia. Therefore, after the King would have signed it, it will become valid. But what has to be remembered is that local civil society officials as well as officials of the United Nations had mentioned many shortages of the new law and criticized that the two institutions too quickly adopted the law. One problem they see is that the law requires high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially.

“UN officials in Cambodia criticized specifically the very quick adoption process of the crucial anti-corruption draft law. The government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen did not accept the recommendations suggested by UN officials, but warned to expel them from Cambodia. This results in a loss of trust in the general public whether the elimination of corruption in Cambodia can be achieved effectively.

“Officials of some non-government organizations said that UN officials just wanted the anti-corruption law of Cambodia to be more transparent, so that the Cambodian government can combat corruption successfully. Therefore, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government should not have expressed an angry reaction with the UN official’s criticism, but should take into account what they mentioned. In addition, the requirement for high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially seems to help hide the assets of corrupt officials rather than to uncover corruption.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that before, the Cambodian government had offered the opportunity for local civil society officials and for international organization officials to provide ideas toward the creation of the anti-corruption draft. But the anti-corruption draft, with 9 chapters and 57 articles, recently adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate, does not include their recommendations. Moreover, both the National Assembly and the Senate used a very short time to adopt this important law, a process quite unlike the adoption of other laws which takes much time for reviewing and discussing.

“Cambodia had been ranked by Transparency International among the countries in the world where there exists very serious corruption [What is the Corruption Perceptions Index?Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 – Cambodia is on position 158 of 180 countries; this number is calculated based on 8 different suveys]. Even the US Ambassador to Cambodia had criticized that corruption leads to the loss hundreds of millions of dollars of national resources every year. That means corruption in Cambodia is a serious concern, starting from high levels to the lower, where even traffic police commit offensive acts. Thus, based on the content of the anti-corruption draft recently approved by the National Assembly and by the Senate, elimination of corruption seems impossible.

“Non-government organization officials observing corruption in Cambodia said that the 9-chapters-and-57-articles draft does not have explicit content as similar laws in Yuon [Vietnam] and in China have. Even the point about the declaration of assets of high ranking officials does not state the details clearly, and thereby does not explain how corrupt officials can be identified. The government led by Prime Hun Sen should reconsider the critical remarks by UN officials, but should not react against them too fast which does not help.

“It should be noted that the government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen had created an anti-corruption unit administered by Om Yentieng; soon it will create another anti-corruption committee. Creating two institutions that have similar roles does not explain what kind of power will be provided to which institution. With a vague anti-corruption law which does not comply with international standards, corruption might occur more seriously.

“All in all, the anti-corruption draft approved by the National Assembly, presided over by Mr. Heng Samrin, and by the Senate, headed by Mr. Chea Sim, is not praised by the general public, as the content of the law does not show its real value. Actually, the opposition party parliamentarians did not raise their hands to support its adoption. Only the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party raised their hands to support it. Under such circumstances, the government, led by the Cambodian People’s Party, should consider the content of that law again, but should not react by warning to expel UN officials just because they pointed out deficiencies of that important law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1434, 25-26.3.2010

  • The Thai Parliament Began to Meet, though the Puea Thai Party Members Boycotted It

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #443, 25.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Health Launched a Campaign of A/H1N1 Vaccinations [for citizens in Phnom Penh; so far in Cambodia, there were 566 cases of infections, and six people died]
  • [About forty] War Journalists [from the 1970s] Will Have a Reunion in Cambodia Next Month [from 20 to 23 April 2010; according to the former Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, Mr. Chhang Song]

Note:

Mr. Chhang Song had been the last Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, which came to an end with the end of the Lon Nol government in 1975. Mr. Chhang Song went, like many others, as a refugee to the USA and became a US citizen. But in 1989, he returned to Cambodia and was among the few returnees who joined the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] – offering his experience to act as a communicator between the political leadership of the CPP and the Western world.

During the time, when the majority of the governments of the world – and the whole “Western world” continued to consider the Khmer Rouge seat in the General Assembly of the United Nations legitimate, while not recognizing the Cambodian government in Phnom Penh during the 1980ies, he testified in the Congress of the USA, speaking against support for the fighting factions of FUNCINPEC, the Khmer Rouge, and the Khmer People’s Liberation Front against the State of Cambodia from their positions at the Cambodian-Thai border. And he helped to organize an interview for Prime Minister Hun Sen with the US National Public Radio, to provide an interpretation to the US public about the Cambodian situation from inside of Cambodia, and not from the prevalent news outlets on behalf of the border camps of the three resistance factions.

Later he became a member of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia – but in 2001, he – together with Mr. Phay Siphan and Mr. Pou Savath – was expelled from the CPP and also from his position as a senator. Details are in a document of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

After six years, Mr. Chhang Song was called back into public service, as an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia with the rank of a minister.

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2210, 25.3.2010

  • A Popular Member of the Amleang Commune Council [from the Cambodian People’s Party] and a Villager Were Detained [for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company, while about 500 villagers are protesting – Kompong Speu]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan Has Been Transferred to [Calmette] Hospital since Ten Days [he receives medical treatment for hypertension]
  • Two Chinese and one Khmer Man Were Brought to a Court for Smuggling Drugs Worth US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #635, 25.3.2010

  • Two Villagers among Five Victimized by a Land Dispute Were Detained when They Had Been Summoned by a Court for Questioning [Kompong Speu]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6917, 25.3.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Started a Big Operation to Crack Down on [ten] Massage Shops and Karaoke Parlors Offering Sex Services – among Them also the Yang Chou Massage Shop Was Closed [a Chinese man who administered the place and 37 sex workers were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

  • A Too Quick Reaction from the Government

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #138, 25.3.2010

  • Cambodia Said that 88 Thai Soldiers Died during Armed Clashes in 2008 and 2009 [and also two Khmer soldiers died; according to a Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces, General Chea Dara]
  • Cambodia Has Produced Enough Salt for the Local Demand for This Year [now 80,000 tonnes have been produced already within five months while the total demand is 90,000 tonnes]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5159, 25.3.2010

  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • A Son of Two-Star General Chea Mon [military commander of Region 4] Was Arrested over a [robbery] Case Five Years Ago [Siem Reap]

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Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans – Monday, 22.3.2010

Posted on 23 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia sent a diplomatic note to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea on 5 March 2010, informing the embassy that the Cambodian government decided to suspend the licensing of marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Rasmei Kampuchea, saying that the Phnom Penh government made this decision after the authorities arrested a female matchmaker who took 25 Khmer women at the end of 2009 to be sold to marry South Korean men, and on 3 March 2010, court sentenced the woman to serve 10 years in prison for trafficking these women.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, ‘It is just a temporary suspension, but not a permanent one. We do so only with South Korea. We need to review the procedures in order to curb trafficking more effectively.’

“In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia had already once decided to suspend the right of Khmer citizens to marry foreigners. At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Khmer citizens, who planned to get married with foreigners, to directly contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but not to contact matchmakers or brokers. That was a new measure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to prevent possible human trafficking.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added that he did know when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lift the suspension of the right of Cambodian citizens to marry South Koreans.

“The Korean news agency Yonhap had reported that the number of Cambodian women getting married with Korean men had doubled in 2009, compared with 2008. It reported that in 2008, there were 551 marriages, but in 2009, the number rose to 1,372.

Yonhap quoted an official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia as saying that the decision of the Cambodian government applied only for marriages with persons of Korean nationality, because – among all marriages between Khmers (women) and foreign men, 60% were with Korean men, and most marriages were arranged through matchmakers.

“The official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia told Yonhap that the Korean Embassy will try to encourage the Cambodian government to think that marriages with Korean men are not human trafficking, adding that most Khmer women [in Korea] are successful in their lives being married in Korea.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #440, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Information from The Nation Which Said that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is in Siem Reap to Give Orders [to his supporters, the] Red-Shirt Groups [to demonstrate in Thailand]
  • Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam Will Increase to US$7 Billion by 2015 [or about US$1 billion to US$2 billion each year; according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)]

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #99, 22-23.3.2010

  • In 2009, Fifty Nine Cambodian Millionaires Were Appointed as Oknhas

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2207, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Warned the United Nations Team [in Cambodia] to Stop Interfering with Internal Affairs of Cambodia [pointing to the statement of the UN team relating to the procedure of the handling of the anti-corruption law]
  • A Tragedy Occurred in a Traffic Accident Where Six Cars Hit Each Other, Killing Three People and Injuring Eight Others Seriously [Kompong Speu]
  • Twenty Five Percent of the Cambodian Citizens Have Hypertension [according to the head of the Cambodian Medical Association, Dr. Khuon Pichet]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #632, 21-22.3.2010

  • The Members of an European Union Delegates Said that the Presence of Mr. Sam Rainsy in Cambodia [for the elections] Is Very Important [to reflect democracy in Cambodia; they will make efforts to encourage the Cambodian government to permit Mr. Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6914, 22.3.2010

  • Officials of the European Union Assessed that Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia Are at an Acceptable Level
  • Generals Led Armed Forces to Control Cutting of Luxury Wood, and Seized Cut Wood along the Dangrek Mountains [about 400 cubic meters of wood and thirteen cars were confiscated – Oddar Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3838, 22.3.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Municipal Court Allowed Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit Two Persons Jailed over the Border Issue

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 22.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance Summoned 60 Real Estate Companies to Discuss the Application for Licenses [so far, only 10 companies had applied for licenses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1888, 22.3.2010

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarians Plan to Visit [two] Farmers Jailed [for two years] for Uprooting Border Markers [Svay Rieng]

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One Million Cambodians Have Diabetes and Hypertension – Monday,30.3.2009

Posted on 31 March 2009. Filed under: Week 605, Week 606 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 606

“Phnom Penh: As living becomes more modern and nourishing food increases, Cambodian people are facing two types of diseases that up to one million people have: diabetes and hypertension.

“The director of the Disease Information Center which is treating, counseling, and observing 1,300 people having diabetes in Phnom Penh and in Takeo, Mr. Maurits van Pelt, said, ‘At present, in Cambodia there are one million people having diabetes and hypertension.

“According to observations by the World Health Organization and of the Ministry of Health, 12% of people in Siem Reap and 20% in Kompong Cham have hypertension. Also, a similar observation which was conducted from 2004 to 2005 found that 5% of people in Siem Reap and 11% in Kompong Cham have diabetes.

“What is the cause of the high prevalence hypertension? Mr. Maurits van Pelt explained that it is because not many Cambodian people do exercise, and many eat much, making them fat and pot-bellied. Furthermore, it is also a result of genetic factors, since in China and in India, many people have such diseases, and Khmers have much genetic material in common with the two people.

“He added, ‘Laziness not to do exercise, no roads for walking, and some other factors resulting from different diseases, make people have hypertension. Also some urinary diseases may lead to hypertension and other diseases.’

“The president of the Disease Information Center questioned why leaders of rich countries are often slim and leaders of poor countries are fat and pot-bellied. He went on, ‘Khmer leaders do not act as models of the people, because they are too fat. Khmers like pot-bellies showing that that they are wealthy.’

“He continued to say that slim people have about 50 % of all diseases that exist, but fat people have more diseases, and overweight people are found to live seven years less than others. Urban people have twice as often hypertension, compared to those living in the countryside.

“He added, ‘Normally, we need to sweat half an hour per day, but many people say that the weather is too hot and they do not want to sweat; this is not right. To avoid overweight, we need to do physical work at least 30 minutes per day, and should not eat too much.’

“What should we eat to prevent hypertension and diabetes? Mr. Maurits van Pelt said that we should eat much vegetable, and eat some fish; Khmers should rather eat unpolished rice, for it contains Vitamin B, but Khmers like eating white rice for its taste, yet it contains much sugar and lacks vitamins.

“He said also, ‘If people are overweight, they must do exercise to put off their weight. Their health will be better. When they can put off a lot of weight to be in the right proportion with their height, they will no longer have hypertension.’

“Mr. Maurits warns, ‘The spreading of these diseases will increase, because there are more overweight people than before, more vehicles, more American food imported to Cambodia, which contains a lot of cholesterol, and such long-processed food is not good.’

“Regarding people having diabetes, Mr. Maurits said that diabetes patients have to be careful not to have hypertension. He added that if they have diabetes for five years, they may get urinary diseases and continue to have hypertension. Therefore, people who have diabetes have to do exercises, eat food that is not salty, and take care not to get overweight.

“He added that besides providing education through a Friends-Educate-Friends Program for people with diabetes in a district in Takeo and at poor regions in Phnom Penh, he is asking for funds from the European Unions to expand the program at Thma Puok district in Banteay Meanchey. But, there is no response from donors yet.

“He criticized donors, “I asked them once, but they did not agree to provide funds, saying that it is not important. They tell me to work with AIDS, but there are only more than 60,000 AIDS patients, while there are one million people having hypertension and diabetes.’

“He added that donors provide 60% of their funds for AIDS and less than 1% for non-infectious diseases. He said, ‘There are many AIDS and tuberculosis experts, but why aren’t there non-infectious disease experts?’

“Mr. Maurits continues to say, ‘I think Khmers dare not to ask for aid for this field. I think that is wrong.’

“The director of the World Health Organization in Cambodia, Mr. Michael O’Leary, said during the closure of the health convention last week that the high prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and the changes of the pattern of living is a clear sign of the spreading of interaction between these in Cambodia.

“He added that a study shows that about half of the Cambodian men smoke cigarettes, and this number is still increasing. With these interrelated problems, progress must be made to deal with health care needs, for which the government has to find responses.

“However, [the Minister of Health] Dr. Mam Bunheng said, ‘The rate of smokers among men and women declines, but the indicators of the program have not yet achieved their goal in 2008. That is diabetes, hypertension, and the identification of people suffering on their heads in traffic accidents are difficult to measure. Therefore rechecking is necessary.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4858, 30.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #45, 30-5.3.2009

  • Rate of Students Dropping Out of School Is Still High
  • The Number of Rapes of Underage Persons Is Higher Than the Rapes of Adults [according to a report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC, there were 419 rapes of women and children in 2008, out of which 280 cases were against underage persons]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #150, 29-30.3.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Calls on Red Shirt Group to Demonstrate against [Prime Minister] Abhisit until He Resigns
  • England Asks G-20 Economic Summit Session to Increase Fund to Assist Impoverished Countries by Around US$100 Billion

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1910, 29-30.3.2009

  • Phnom Penh Governor Allows the Opposition Party to Hold a Buddhist Commemoration Ceremony in Front of the Former National Assembly [for those who were killed by the grenade attack on 30 March 1997]
  • A Dam Broke in Jakarta and Killed 60

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6615, 30.3.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Merchants Come to Buy Dry Cassava Like Normal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4858, 30.3.2009

  • The Government Will Not Set the Start of the Trial of Khmer Rouge Leaders on 30 March as a National Holiday
  • One Million Cambodians Have Diabetes and Hypertension
  • The United Nations Highly Assesses the Royal Government for Combating AIDS and Human Trafficking

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1684-685, 29-30.3.2009

  • [The director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia] Mr. Chhang Youk Questions Why Duch Alone Is Heard in Court, but Not Also Nearly 200 Other Prison Chiefs
  • Khmer Side Demands Siamese [Thai] Troops to Withdraw Mine Danger Signs Put [along the Border in Samlot, Battambang]
  • [The chairperson of the Cambodian Committee for Solving Border Disputes] Va Kimhong Acknowledges that Solving Border Disputes Bilaterally Is Useless [he had said so nearly one year ago already, negotiations were useless]
  • [The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun: The Prime Minister Acknowledged that the Quality of Education in Cambodia Is Low [recently in a public speech], while [the Minister of Education] Im Sethy Is Very Angry [about a survey by the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association – allegedly not carried out carefully, and producing some wrong data, especially about high dropout rate]

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