Toll Plans to Import New Trains into Cambodia – Friday, 27.8.2010

Posted on 28 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

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

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Toll Royal Railway company [TRR] plans to spend US$81 million to bring in new trains to Cambodia.

“It is part of the project to improve the Cambodian railways and it will cost millions of dollars. It is an important transportation system for Cambodia.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Toch Chankosal, said, ‘The company plans to buy 11 locomotives, 111 railroad cars, and other parts of trains, in order to start operations at the end of this year or early next year.’

“He added that TRR is preparing the necessary documents to be submitted to the Council for the Development of Cambodia to ask for permission for the import of trains. However, he did not tell from which countries those trains will be bought. He said the repairing of the Cambodian railroad system continues, but the company expects that the presently available trains would not be enough.

“He said, ‘In fact, we have many locomotives that can be repaired, but they are still not enough so we need to import more.’

“The Senior Country Economist, Cambodia Resident Mission, of the Asian Development Bank [ADB], Mr. Peter Brimble, said that the important reason for the improvement of the Cambodian railroad system, partly funded by ADB, is to develop the transportation system to be cost effective. He said, ‘The cost of the transportation of agricultural products is a key factor, and if you do not have efficient transportation means, there will be difficulties with the export of those products. Also, I think the basic idea behind the project is relating to cost efficiency.’

“Mr. Toch Chankosal said that this is the first step to facilitate heavy-weight transport that can also help to reduce road destruction.

“ADB and AusAID has provided US$141 million aid to TRR to repair rail tracks of 254 kilometer from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and another line of about 388 kilometer from Phnom Penh to Poipet, as well as the third line of about 48 kilometer from Poipet to Sisophon [Banteay Meanchey].

“Mr. Brimble said that ADB has no plan to provide more aid for the construction of railroads in Cambodia in the future, but he thinks that the repair of the railroad to the Sihanoukville port in Sihanoukville will receive encouragement.

“The Chief Executive Officer of TRR, Mr. David Kerr, declined to comment on the information about the import of new trains, while an ADB senior economist, Mr. Peter Broch, said that he cannot give figures provided by the Ministry of Public Transport and Works regarding the transportation.

“TRR belongs to the Toll Holdings company of Australia that holds 55% of the shares, while the rest of 45% is controlled by the Royal Group of Oknha Kith Meng. Last year, these collaborative companies receive a 30 years concession to operate the railway network in Cambodia.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #246, 27.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2338, 27.8.2010

  • A [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarian Sued Three Police Officers at the Prosecutor of the Appeals Court [as they arrested a Sam Rainsy Party activist without an arrest warrant – Kompong Thom]
  • Police Arrested a Laotian Man Alleged to Smuggle 854.5 Gram of Drugs [Preah Vihear]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7045, 27.8.2010

  • While Three Men Were Riding a Motorbike to Sing Karaoke, Three Other Men Ambushed Them, Killing One Who Died after He Was Sent to a Hospital [police are investigating to arrest the perpetrators – Kompong Speu]
  • The Australian Embassy Donated [fifteen] Reading Books to the National Library of Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3969, 27.8.2010

  • An Active [Vietnamese] Drug Smuggler in Stung Treng Was Released Temporarily by the Stung Treng Municipal Court

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #41, 27.8.2010

  • An Asian Development Bank Delegation Supports the Anti-Corruption Law [of Cambodia]
  • A Russian Tycoon [Alexander Trofimov] Who Had Sexual Relationships with Nineteen Girls [some underage] Was Convicted to Serve Eight Years in Jail [his imprisonment was reduced from 17 years, after he wrote a letter confessing his guilt and apologizing]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #246, 27.8.2010

  • Toll Plans to Import New Trains into Cambodia
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Asian Development Bank to Help Build Irrigation Systems to Promote Agriculture

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5287, 27.8.2010

  • VSJMAXX Company [name may be wrong, though several Khmer publications have the same – or company may be fake, offering to handle US$2billion without having a web site] from the United States of America Has the Ambition to Invest US$2 Billion in Agriculture in Cambodia [to do farming and to create animal food factories and international level rice milling factories]
  • Disabled Veterans and Retiring Civil Servants Complained about Difficulties to Get Their Salaries [as they were told to wait from day to day – Kompong Thom]

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Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money – Monday, 23.8.2010

Posted on 24 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: State income declines, because some members of the authorities and customs officers take monetary advantage from the import of contraband and they put the money into their own pockets. After they receive bribes, they allow merchants to import these goods smoothly.

“According to regular observations at the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point in Ou Chrov district in Banteay Meachey, merchants do not pay money to the state, but to a group of members from various authorities or to customs officers.

“It should be noted that many gas tubes of merchants, with no taxes paid to the state, are massively imported but those merchants pay money to illegal check points along the way where soldiers, police and customs officers collect money. Each truck loaded with gas tubes has to pay them from US$30 to US$50, depending on how big or small the trucks are, so that they are not held up by these officers.

“According to trustworthy information that Kampuchea Thmey received from the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point, many merchants pay money to officers along the way instead of paying taxes. Some gas companies complained that they cannot sell their gas gainfully, as other merchants import a lot of gas without paying taxes and sell it at cheaper prices. Therefore, it is really difficult at present for companies working legally to sell their goods.

“Regarding to the above cases, some legally operating gas companies ask the heads of custom offices to help crack down on such activities. Particularly, the Ministry of Commerce should help to normalize the problem, otherwise state income will certainly drop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon Is Already Prepared to Solve the Border Disputes between Cambodia and Thailand [according to the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Farhan Haq]

Note:

The Cambodian press report reads too much into the release by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING, FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, Friday, August 20, 2010, carry at the end a brief note:

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CAMBODIA AND THAILAND WILL RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE THROUGH DIALOGUE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue. He stands ready to help the parties.

On 20 August 2010 a publication in the region had reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, ‘The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.’”

The added explanation, “when both sides request him to do so” is almost a standard response – it is a polite, clear expression that no action will be taken if such a request comes only from one of the two sides.

But even this press report way rejected by Mr. Farhan Haq: he said that the report that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate. He said that all he sent out was that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon “stands ready to help.”

What counts until now is the brief final note at the end, after several elaborate reports about other world affairs, in the official release of the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING of 20 August 2010.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7041, 23.8.2010

  • There Are 454 Hotels with 23,349 Rooms in Cambodian, Where Eight Are Five-Star Hotels
  • Australia Provided aid [AUD 4 Million or approx. US$ 3.60 Million] for the Construction of Justice Police Buildings [in five provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3965, 23.8.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #37, 22-23.8.2010

  • The Royal Group [of Oknha Khit Meng] Plans to Invest US$2 Billion on Rung Island [the investment project of the Royal Group was approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in 2008, and the company is seeking additional investment capital. It aims at attracting high class tourists to visit the island. The first phase of the project will have been finished within five years from now, to create an international airport, port, hotels, a golf course, and other recreation facilities for tourism – according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuon Narong]
  • Police Intercepted [two] Robbers Allegedly Involved in Almost 20 Robberies in Phnom Penh
  • Two Male Construction Workers Were Attacked with Acid over an Alleged Love Affair [the second acid attach in Phnom Penh in four days]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #242, 23.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Is Ready to Negotiate with [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen over Border Disputes [during the Asia Europe Summit in Brussels in October 2010]
  • The Prime Minister Warned He Will Remove Officials Who Irregularly Intervene in the Process of Making Appointments and to Change Them
  • A Trade Union Criticized a Sub-Decree about the Employment for Handicapped People [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the government creates this policy just to make it look good, though many disabled people are victims of land grabbing – according to the sub-decree all state institutions and ministries have to recruit 2% of their staff from disabled people, and the private sector has to employ at the rate of 1%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5283, 22-23.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Nearly US$9 Million for the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Program [to help strengthen the capacity of the National Climate Control Committee and the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment, to coordinate the formation of national policies and strategic plans about climate change]
  • 183 Kilogram of Snakes [for export to Vietnam] Were Seized from Merchants and Were Released into the Vaiko River [three suspects were arrested – Svay Rieng]

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Disregarding or Facing Agreements in the Press? – Sunday, 22.8.2010

Posted on 23 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

The Mirror was created to mirror the Khmer language press – that is to focus on important dynamics in society, as they are reflected in the press. That includes also to observe when there seem to be discrepancies between different streams of reporting. And it includes also to observe what seems not to be reported in the Khmer language press, though one would expect it.

Monitoring what is going on includes also to observe the reaction to one’s own publication. The main website of The Mirror by now gets up to 10,000 visits per month (it started in January 2007 with zero – replacing the former edition printed on paper).

While observing this wide interest with satisfaction, it is also disappointing to see that some important pieces of information, related to the conflicts with Thailand, are regularly not reported in the Khmer press. If this impression is wrong, we would appreciate to be informed which publications and public documents in the Khmer press we missed. The Mirror does not have access to confidential information; what we use and quote is publicly available, especially on the Internet.

In response to careful, detailed documentations, where we asked for specific responses, if our documentation is deficient, so that we can correct and improve it, there was either no response – and the public debate continues as if it were not missing some important points – or I get mail saying just “You are completely wrong!” I do not mind to get such mail, if it points to where I am wrong – I appreciate corrections.

Therefore I am repeating here some essential points, and I will do so until they are receiving proper attention in the present situation of tensions.

I was utterly surprised, talking recently to a friend who is a regular reader: when I mentioned some of the facts which had been on The Mirror repeatedly, he had obviously missed them. He thought the controversies about the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage list were related to Thailand referring to maps drawn by Thailand, and therefore Thailand was denying that the whole area around the Temple of Preah Vihear was designated a World Heritage Site.

The contrary is true, according to the documents. Emphasis in the following sections is added during editing.

For Preah Vihear

From the Cambodian 2008 submission document, THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR – Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO), Edited by the Council of Ministers, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 2008:

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand… The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and constructive atmosphere to discuss ways and means of strengthening the neighborly cooperation for a further reach for long lasting cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand… The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An,…The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.

On 18 June 2008, a Joint Communique was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, including a map presented and signed by Mr. Var Kim Hong, the Head of the Cambodian Border Committee, which was – as far as we know – never presented in the media in Cambodia (again – any correction of this information is welcome), but it was repeatedly in The Mirror, including the Cambodian proposed map for the listing, the last time here. The text says the following:

1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.

2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.

3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;..”

This is the last public map, a Cambodian map, which was to “supersede” – that is: to replace – the formerly used Cambodian maps.

As a consequence, this was decided:

The World Heritage Committee,

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;…

14. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners,…

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents: c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP [“revised graphic plan of the property”]; d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan)

All these points were to be implemented after convening this international coordinating committee, inviting the Government of Thailand and others, to work together and to present their results.

Questions:

– Why is the discussion in the Khmer media not referring to the official documents about the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, clearly limited in nature: “only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.” This is not based on a map unilaterally drawn by Thailand, but it relates to what the Cambodian side had officially brought to the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There is nothing to be discussed with Thailand.”

– Why are the Khmer media disregarding that there were – from the beginning – the following requests by the World Heritage Committee: “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand… [to provide the expected results] – a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone…” It has never been reported in the press that the Cambodian Government did invite the Thai Government according to this request by the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There are no buffer zones.”

Reading the documents, it seems that Thailand is not insisting on some unilaterally drawn Thai maps, but looks forward that the documented decisions of the World Heritage Committee be implemented.

For the Border

This is a different legal issue from the World Heritage Listing (though, of course, related).

In order to demarcate the border between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding “on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary” was concluded between the two countries in June 2000, long before the Preah Vihear World Heritage Listing was on the agenda of the relevant UNESCO committee. This Memorandum is related to the whole stretch of the border. That the whole length of the approximately 800 km border is to be demarcated shows that both sides agreed that this is not yet done – there is not yet mutually agreed border. Both sides agreed on this – otherwise they would not have signed this joint agreement.

While there is frequent reference to this Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 in the Khmer press, it was quite difficult to find it in Cambodia, also consulting with several persons from the media did not help. One e-mail request to a friend in Thailand immediately provided a source on the Internet.

But there is a noteworthy difference in the handling of the related task: While in Thailand, related government officials and agencies are accountable to the Thai National Assembly about what they do related to the border – the executive is monitored by the legislative – we are not aware that either the Cambodian National Assembly nor the Khmer press have requested similar information to monitor the activities of the Cambodian government officials and agencies involved. The different legal arrangements under the different constitutions of both countries result in different procedures.

Shortly after Prime Minister Hun Sen had made his conciliatory declaration about a win-win solution by mutual dialogue without a winner and a loser, several statements from various other sectors of the government were released, strongly blaming Thailand and calling for multilateral negotiations. The Prime Minister added his voice – but more recent news say that there still may be a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers soon in Brussels at an ASEN meeting.

Whatever the future will bring in terms of bilateral or multilateral meetings – the written submissions and the documented decisions will have to be faced. To continue to disregard them can hardly bring the solution where both sides win, the goal that Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as important for all.

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The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education – Monday, 9.8.2010

Posted on 10 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the World Bank on 5 August 2010 in Washington, the World Bank approved US$23 million as grant aid and loan to reinforce higher education in Cambodia.

“The announcement reads that of the US$23 million, US$11.5 million is grant aid and the other US$11.5 million is a loan.

“The World Bank Country Manager in Cambodia, Mr. Qimiao Fan, stated, ‘Investment in human resources for sustainable development and poverty alleviation is part of the strategy of aid for Cambodia.’

tho”According to the announcement about funding for Cambodia, released on Friday evening [6.8.2010], the project to strengthen higher education quality and to promote capacity aims at consolidating teaching quality, management, and research capacity, and will also provide scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study.

“The World Bank Country Manager added, ‘I hope that the new project will help Cambodia, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, to strengthen quality standard of education as well as to build up educational capacities for the public and the private sectors.

“High ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia welcomed this aid – it is what Cambodia needs for the development of human resources. Also, such development requires involvement from the local authorities, donors, and non-government organizations.

“The five-year project will concentrate on:

  1. Strengthening of the capacity of higher educational systems in Cambodia by promoting the development, management, and good governance of higher education institutions. This includes strengthening the capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Research and Studies, the Committee on Quality Education, and of institutions of higher education.
  2. Contributing to development of competitiveness and new kinds of loans that can help consolidate teaching and management, as well as offer real solutions to developmental problems in Cambodia.
  3. Providing scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study, based on the definition of the target groups of the poor, and on educational criteria.
  4. Monitoring and assessing the management of the project.

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 9 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2322, 8-9.8.2010

  • Most Citizens in Banteay Meanchey Stop Eating Pork [because it is infected with diseases, which harm the people’s health]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7029, 9.8.2010

  • The Head of the Royal Government Protested [by sending letters] to the United Nations about Abhisit’s Remarks Threatening to Use the Army [Mr. Abhisit allegedly was quoted by The Nation, to have said “…we will cancel the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 if the problems of aggression cannot be settled. We will use both diplomatic and military means.” Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed this remark violates the UN Charter]
  • Fifty Three Male and Female Teen Gang Members Were Rounded up in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3953, 9.8.2010

  • A Human Right Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Condemned the Actions of the Authorities against Representatives of the Residents of the Chi Kraeng District, Where at Least Forty Six People Face Arrest [after they protested over a land dispute in Siem Reap, and some were already detained since 2009]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

  • The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education
  • A Man Was Fatally Axed by an Unknown Person, Leaving His Wife and Daughters [Kandal]
  • The UNESCO Secretary General Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Negotiate over the Preah Temple Issue [on 7 August 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #232, 9.8.2010

  • A Woman Fainted and Six Others Were Injured in a Protest Was Confronted [by police and bodyguards] over a Land Dispute [around 50 citizens from Battambang came to protest in Phnom Penh over a land dispute of 1,672 hectare with a military police official – a picture from the Phnom Penh Post is accessible here:]

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Khmer Krom Position [and appealed to the Cambodian government not to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to restrict the freedom of expression of Khmer Krom people]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5271, 8-9.8.2010

  • Thai Extremists Set a Deadline for the [Thai] Government to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding [signed in 2000 Cambodia] within Seven Days [otherwise they will protest again in front of the Government House]
  • Cambodia Warned that Thailand Would Become a Lawless Country if It Decided to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about Border with Cambodia [Deputy Prime Minister Sok An is quoted to have said so]

Note

1

As the “MoU” is frequently referenced – though we are not aware that it has ever been published in the Khmer press (if it was, we would appreciate information when and where this was done) – we present here its Article V, as it was quoted by the Thai side in the context of the work foreseen in the minutes of the World Heritage Committee about the decision in 2008 to list the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying that the World Heritage Committee

  • “Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,..
  • “Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards…”

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary. 14 June 2000

Article V

To facilitate the effective survey along the entire stretch of the common land boundary, authorities of either Government and their agent shall not carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, except that which is carried out by the Joint Technical Sub-Commission in the interest of the survey and demarcation.

According to this Article V, certain activities in the border area require mutual coordination and cooperation.

2

It should also be noted that the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has no intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the border with Cambodia. In a live television debate of several hours last Sunday, with representatives of the newly-formed ‘Thailand Patriot Network’ and civil society groups, including some “yellow-shirt” persons from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who request the cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Thai prime minister not only publicly rejected their request during this live TV debate, he also stated again the position of the Thai government to respect the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice, that the Temple of Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia and not to Thailand. – What is necessary, he says, is to work according to the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 on the border.

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The General Public Criticized the Action of the Authorities to Arrest Children Selling Newspapers at Traffic Lights, Saying if They Cannot Help Those Children with Anything, They Should Not Destroy Their Rice Pots – Monday, 2.8.2010

Posted on 4 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Homeless and poor children and orphans in Phnom Penh do different things to earn their living. Some steal, as they are too poor and cannot find enough food to eat. Some beg to survive, though it affects the social atmosphere.

“But after one year of being restricted, while receiving general education, many of these homeless and poor children and orphans turn to take up appropriate and honorable jobs again in the city by selling newspapers and flowers at traffic lights and along congested roads in Phnom Penh. These small jobs allow these homeless and otherwise inactive Khmer children to get away from misery and poverty and have better living conditions, where they can buy enough food to eat, which is welcome. Even travelers are pleased with those jobs of the children. They help to buy newspapers and flowers, and often they give them extra tips, as they see that these children can create honest jobs on their own. Compared with previous years, often many beggars were found at traffic lights, taking away the attention from the traffic lights.

“But it is regrettable and disgusting, that within the week, police tried to chase the children away who sell newspapers along the roads and at traffic lights, as if they were thieves. It is not known whether police received orders and from whom. These acts of the police make the children to live in fear. Some were sitting at the roadside, holding their newspapers and flowers and cried and felt hopeless for their lives, that just had started with some new light. The general public traveling along these roads condemned such bad actions. Some said that if the authorities cannot assist the children with anything, they should let them have their rice pots.

“In the heavenly modern cities of Singapore, Prey Nokor [Ho Chi Minh City], Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur, in those highly developed cities, there are people selling things or distributing commercial advertisement at traffic lights. Why is it so different in Phnom Penh, which is heading toward modernity?

“What the authorities do is not different from just taking away the rice pots of those homeless and poor children, many are also orphans, and it is like pushing them back to return to their previous way of living.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7023, 2.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2316, 1-2.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Dismissed Information Published by The Cambodia Daily [on 30 July 2010, saying that there is a casino allowed to be operated by the Korean company Intercity Group in Siem Reap, and he suggested that the paper should correct this information]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7023, 2.8.2010

  • The General Public Criticized the Action of the Authorities to Arrest Children Selling Newspapers at Traffic Lights, Saying if They Cannot Help Those Children with Anything, They Should Not Destroy Their Rice Pots

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3947, 2.8.2010

  • Human Rights Officials [of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] and [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Called for the Release of Twelve Citizens in the Chi Kraeng District Who Will Be Sentenced This Morning [over different accusations, when they protested over a land dispute in 2009 – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodian and Yuon [Vietnamese] Officials Suggest a Meetings to Be Organized Every Two Years to Monitor the Application of Existing Agreements, while the Sam Rainsy Party Warned They Will Review the Border Agreements if They Win the Elections

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #19, 1-2.8.2010

  • A Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Mr. Pham Gia Khiem [Phạm Gia Khiêm] Will Visit Cambodia [from 2 to 5 August 2010 to talk about cooperation between both countries in the border provinces]
  • Cambodia Faces Many Challenges to Adjust to as a Member of the World Trade Organization [for example, some kind of food export is not possible as Cambodia cannot assure safe and sanitary processes of food production according to international standards, according to a secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Hem Sithon]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #227, 2.8.2010

  • Cambodia Drafts a Royal Decree about Regulations for Military Reservists
  • A Canadian Man Was Found Guilty of Having Sex with [Cambodian underage] Girls [and was sentenced to 11 years in prison]
  • The Government Will Spend US$1.5 Million on Tuberculosis Research [its prevalence in Cambodia; Cambodia is among the 22 countries with the highest prevalence of tuberculosis in the world]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5265, 1-2.8.2010

  • Civil Society Official [Mr. Chan Soveth, a senior investigating official of ADHOC] Said that within the First Six Months of 2010, Land Disputes Declined [there were 86 land dispute cases, where 40 cases were big, between citizens and companies and military officials; compared with the same period in 2009, there were 200 land disputes]
  • Cambodian Army Commanders Inspect Troops at the Front Line, as Thailand Is Sending More Troops to Its Front Line near the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Within the First Six Months of 2010, Cambodia Encountered a Trade Deficit of US$0.8 Billion [the export amounted to only US$2 billion, whereas the import was US$2.8 billion – according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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Borders Link and Borders Separate – Sunday, 4.7.2010

Posted on 7 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

The Mirror carries regularly reports about incidents considered to be border violations, but much more frequently information about smuggling. Some people are caught and sent to court; the border with Thailand has been beyond regular control, so that finally an attempt had to be made that even a large number of illegal border crossings had to be brought under control, as The Mirror had reported on 10 June 2010, from which we quote again:

Illegal border entries closed in crackdown

Between 30 and 40 illegal border crossings in Banteay Meanchey province have been closed in an attempt to curb the smuggling of pigs, gas, petrol, fruits and expired perishable foods from Thailand to Cambodia, provincial officials said Wednesday.

“We have closed more than 30 illegal border crossing points along the border with Thailand to stop smuggling, and this closure is forever,” Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Im Phoansophal said…

He declined to provide any figures supporting this claim, though he accused local businessmen of resorting to smuggling in order to evade taxes.

“Businessmen have always used these illegal crossing points to smuggle their goods. They prefer to do things this way because they don’t want to pay tax on items, and they think it will cost less to just bribe local officials,” he said.

Obviously, these 30 to 40 border crossings had been used regularly and formally – though illegally – for some time, before there was an effort made to put this chaotic situation to an end. This surely does not mean that there is no illegal border crossing going on any longer at the Cambodian-Thai border, which extends for about 800 kilometers, for long stretches through forested areas.

When a Thai newspaper published a report, saying that Thai anti-government activists, suspected of having been involved in the bombing of a building in Thailand during the recent violent confrontations in Bangkok, had entered Cambodia, Cambodian government officials quickly denied this and accused the Thai government and the Thai media of making false accusations against Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post reported on 29 and 30 June 2010:

In a statement issued Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers said there was no evidence the men had entered Cambodia. The statement also called on the Thai government to end what it described as a “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia…”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday that the allegations were “stupid.”

“Cambodia completely denies this kind of provocative information,” he said…

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia,” and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia.” …

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,… also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

These official and massive Cambodian denials – assuming that nobody could have crossed the border without having their names registered in an official border crossing list – were combined with accusations against the Thai government and media, requesting “they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

This war of words was accompanied by the forwarding of a document by the Spokesman and Deputy Director for Press Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit – a document written by Pen Ngoeun, an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, representing “only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers.” In spite of this disclaimer, it is interesting that this long document was widely published at this time and with this background, asking: WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END.

This long document is accusing that Thailand, since 150 years, has taken a negative attitude against Cambodia. “This writing is not a piece about history, but as far back as the eyes can see, the Kingdom of Thailand has kept its enmity towards Cambodia,” which is similar to “the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with ‘former terrorist’ turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides…” This negative attitude was also the cause which made Cambodia to entrust its destiny to French colonial rule. “Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since.”

“Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List.

Would Thailand wake up from the bad dream of a hungry mad dog? It had to be decided by Thailand. It had nothing to do with Cambodia.”

It is appropriate to say that not only persons in positions of political leadership will have to find ways to help to establish good neighborly relations. This will also be necessary in Cambodia, not only by using a different type of language, but also by seeing some facts, not published in Cambodia and therefore hardly seen, and therefore also not considered in Cambodia.

What this Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers calls “various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List” related to the contested 4.6 square kilometers around the Temple of Preah Vihear, is described with quite different words in a document, based on a meeting at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on 18 June 2008, inscribing the Temple “without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – “without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary.” The related map, superseding the maps formerly presented in Cambodia’s nomination file, signed by the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia Var Kim Hong at the same time, is here:

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Joint Communique

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries…

Finally, after, and in spite of all the strong denials and accusations, the two Thai bombing suspects, Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, were arrested in Cambodia and handed over to Thai authorities.

We recall:

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

Will this now – with reversed roles – be considered and implemented in Cambodia?

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Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available – Friday, 2.7.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Phnom Penh: Private mobile phone companies are encountering a lack of frequencies and cannot provide their services to millions of mobile phone customers well, so they asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia to intervene to add more frequencies.

“According to a source familiar with the frequency issue, a licensed private company had asked the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, to intervene for the company to increase the frequencies available so that the companies can provide better services to their customers.

“The letter of request was also forwarded by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, H.E. So Khun. But later, when the company asked to increase the number of frequencies, the Ministry said that there are no frequencies available. Actually, there are unused frequencies, but the Ministry does not make them available.

“Private companies asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, to intervene supporting their request for the increase of available frequencies for licensed companies, so that they can provide good services to their clients.

“On 27 April 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated during a meeting of the Public-Private Sector Forum that any requests for the increase of the number of frequencies for mobile phone companies, the Ministry has to send them to the Royal Government to decide. But according to a trustworthy source, previously, the Ministry had provided frequencies to some companies without including the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the decision. The Ministry did it on its own quietly. Some companies went directly to the Ministry, and the Ministry provided the frequencies to them immediately. However, some licensed companies, that had sent their requests to the head of the Royal Government for the increase of frequencies, had their requests rejected by the Ministry saying that there are no frequencies remaining.

“Some investors of private companies said that mobile phone companies operating at present are seeking ways to serve and to satisfy their clients who use their services, but the challenge is that some licensed companies are not provided with additional frequencies by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication to provide better services to their clients. Probably, some companies had colluded with the Ministry to receive more frequencies secretly, without involving the whole Royal Government.

“At present, millions of mobile phone clients are annoyed when calling from one phone to another, and some people had requested the companies to expand their service regions to ease communication. But some private companies said that the problem is not their capacity to expand their mobile networks, but the reason is that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication does not provide them with more frequencies, as requested.

“Regarding this issue, Kampuchea Thmey tried to contact the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for more information, but failed to receive such information.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

  • Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available
  • This Year the Number of Candidates to Take the Grade 9 Exam [lower secondary examination, usually at the age of 14 to 15, before entering higher secondary school] Is 159,724, Which is an Increase by 3,394 Candidates [the exam will be from 5 to 6 July 2010 countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6997, 2.7.2010

  • Deum Ampil Is Bankrupt; This Young News Center [a press center that had been created few years ago] Surprisingly Stopped Its Publications [newspapers and radio broadcasting; according to information by Deum Ampil to the Ministry of Information]
  • On 26 July 2010, The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Announce the Verdict to Sentence Brutal Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [at 10:00 a.m.]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3921, 2.7.2010

  • The First Drop of Oil of Cambodia Will Be Produced by 12/12/2012 [but the government has not yet specified anything about the expected quantity]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #206, 2.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Cambodia Can Extract Its First Oil by December 2012 [after there had been positive results from the oil exploration in Block A in the gulf of Thailand, with joint investments by Chevron with 30%, Mitsui Oil Exploration with 30%, Kris Energy with 25%, and GS Caltex of South Korea with 15%]
  • The Court Set a Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Riel 8 million [approx. US$1,850] Compensation to the Prime Minister [for losing a defamation case; she is required to pay it within ten days after the announcement by the judge on 29 June 2010, otherwise legal measures will be taken against her]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5239, 2.7.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted Two Draft Laws Relating to Economic Cooperation with ASEAN, China, and South Korea [to create an investment atmosphere which is free, coordinated, transparent, and competitive, in order to achieve a business environment based on friendship between ASEAN, China, and South Korea, offering protection to all investors. Also, the agreements will help to promote opportunities and increase the flow of investment capital from the private sector for the development of the economies of the ASEAN countries cooperating with China and South Korea]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed in the Prey Sar prison] Heng Pov Was Brought [to court] for Questioning over the Murder of the Former President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Vichea [in 2004 – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Workers Legally Abroad [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] Is Nearly 30,000 [workers in South Korea can get between US$800 to US$2,000 per month, in Malaysia from more than US$200 to nearly US$300, and in Thailand a bit less than in Malaysia]

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Free access to free flowing information – Sunday, 27.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

The Constitution of a country is its basic law – all other laws and regulations have to follow the guidelines of the Constitution. The Constitution is also a basic guideline for the citizens of a country, especially in a country where the Constitution declares (inscribed in the name of the people: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA” as its Preamble states): “Cambodian people are the masters of their own country,” living in the Kingdom of Cambodia that has adopted “a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism” as stated in its Article 51. The Constitution, written in 1993 by the elected representatives forming the first National Assembly of the newly established Kingdom of Cambodia, established a high and clear vision for the future after the troubled and violent decades of the past: “to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation.”

The Constitution lays out also clearly where the responsibility for the destiny of the nation is located: “All power belongs to the people.”

To fulfill the goals laid out is a daily challenge – not just to be celebrated on Constitution Day on 24 September every year, remembering the signing of the new Constitution on 24 September 1993 by King Sihanouk, and not only on the days every five years, when the members of the National Assembly are elected as the legislative power, with the authority over the creation of a new government, through which the people exercise their power.

To fulfill this challenge requires, among others, that the people can know what is going on in the country over which they are the masters: access to correct and transparent information is a fundamental condition for the Constitution to be alive.

The media play an important role in facilitating the access to information. We had the headline this week “Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]” – an indication that there is still work to be done. Some time ago it was also decided that all Ministries shall have an official spokesperson, and there had also been special training events for persons taking on these new roles.

Unfortunately, the situation is often far away from the goal to be achieved. There are regular reports in the press, almost every week, that a reporter calling a Ministry to get some information is directed to a different person, and from there to a third person, and finally the answer is “no information available.” Or after being re-directed to several other sources, the caller ends up with the original contact. Or the called party hangs up as soon as they understand the call is from a journalist.

There are other cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand it, as it is only a partial answer to a public question.

A case of this type of a response is the elaborate response given in the National Assembly by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to an opposition request for clarification about “tea money” paid by foreign oil and mineral exploring companies, about which The Mirror carried a report in the Friday edition. There was, in response to the information given, some praise in the national and international press – but there was also frustration.

“In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.”

But there were no total figures given, no explanation why such payments were not reflected in past accounts of the national budget, and no information about the administration of the Social Fund – who is responsible, and according to which criteria; no NGO could get away with such vague information.

And there are cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand the arguments used and not used.

The demarcation of national borders is an important affair, often loaded not only with practical, but also with emotional elements. Clear, transparent information can always help to defuse a tense situation. Why are then the Khmer authorities prohibiting farmers from doing cultivation on the fields next to the temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo, and people trying to visit the site to verify what is really going on were are prohibited from visiting? We did not find that the media were given the precise geographical coordinates, and detailed mapping reference – why only general reference to some border agreements?

Similarly, but even less transparent, is the argumentation in the following press report:

“An Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation].”

If the original map deposited at the United Nations does not have a grid, showing the geographical coordinates of Latitudes and Longitudes of the depicted locations – how is it possible to determine where the contested border posts are actually located? It is faking the map, if the claim is made that the original maps did contain the grid of geographical coordinates but it actually did not – but it is helping to clarify the situation, if the geographical coordinates of Northern Latitude and Eastern Longitude are later provided so that the place of the border line can be clearly shown. – The legal struggle against the grid on the map seems to criticize that clarifying information is provided, while not saying that the information provided is wrong – nor providing alternative information with the assertion what is right.

That the public handling of information and the access to it is crucial has been underlined again by the top UN officials on 3 May 2010 – marking the annual World Press Freedom Day – calling for the promoting of the universal right to publicly-held information as well as ensuring the safety of all those who work in the media, adding that “some journalists risk intimidation, detention and even their lives, simply for exercising their right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any media, and regardless of frontiers.” That is what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message for the World Press Freedom Day. It is a continuing challenge and a task not yet fulfilled.

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People – Tuesday, 22.6.2010

Posted on 24 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 21 June 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia called on the authorities countrywide of all levels to collect and report the accurate numbers of disabled people, in order to facilitate the creation of policies as well as of procedures to assist the disabled people.

“The speech of the head of the Royal Government was welcomed by officials from the opposition parties and from civil society organizations in Cambodia, but they appealed on the Prime Minister to monitor the implementation by himself – otherwise the implementation by local authorities may not be effective.

“Presiding over the closing convention at the National Institute of Education, and the third anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian Veterans Association, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said, ‘I call on the municipal and district authorities and other related authorities to check how many veterans live in their localities, and among them, how many are poor so as to set up programs to assist them.’

“An opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Chea Poch, spoke to Deum Ampil on Monday evening, saying that he strongly supports what the Prime Minister said, adding that Samdech Hun Sen really thinks about the benefits of Cambodia’s disabled people. But he asked Samdech Hun Sen to monitor the situation himself, as some officials do not take up his recommendations.

“Mr. Chea Poch added, ‘Since 1992, and later in 1998 when the war ended, the Prime Minister mentioned this issue, but local authorities do not listen. Therefore, I suggest that Samdech Hun Sen takes practical steps.’

“As an example for a similar situation Mr. Chea Poch pointed to the case of illegal logging, which had led to the removal of the Director of the Forestry Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ty Sokun, but he was not arrested and jailed. On the contrary, he has been promoted.

“A senior investigation official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, praised the concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Cambodian Veteran Association, so that there should be only few disabled people found begging or causing trouble in the society.

“However, Mr. Chan Soveth regretted that the government just creates awareness, but does not initiate programs to support the daily lives of disabled people – now they feel disappointed, though they had sacrificed themselves for the country, but assistance should not be provided based on nepotism.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen clearly said that the help for disabled people should be provided without nepotism; that means that all will get help without considering their political orientation.

“Regarding this point, the head of the Royal Government asked to check certain salary lists to prevent the selling or buying and the mortgaging of materials provided to disabled people.

“He said, ‘I ask that those who bought Provisions booklets [to administer the salaries and and material donations] for disabled people to return the booklets to them, either free of charge or by selling them back at appropriate prices.’

“The Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Samheng, said during the convention that all veterans receiving support from the state in 2010 are 90,605 families or 268,082 persons, and the monthly funds spent on them amount to Riel 6,419,834,848 [approx. US$1,503,000].

“Mr. Ith Samheng added that during the convention, additional members of the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association were nominated, where there are 66 members, among them additional 10 permanent members, two additional deputy heads, and three more deputy general secretaries. In total, there are 161 members and 17 permanent members in the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association.

“It should be noted that Prime Minister Hun Sen is the head of the Cambodian Veterans Association, together with three deputy heads: Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, and Minister Ith Samheng.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People
  • The Prime Minister: The Use of the Word “Disappointed” by [the UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia] Surya [because he could not meet the Prime Minister who was not well] Is a Big Insult [for the leader of Cambodia; he suggested Mr. Surya should have said instead he “regretted” this; Mr. Hun Sen personally regards this as a serious insult against him as a patient, so that he could not offer to meet with Mr. Surya]
  • Three Siblings Were Attacked by Acid by [two] Unknown Persons [they suffered minor injuries – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2281, 22.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Was a Peaceful Island [country with peace and no war] before the Coup on of 18 March 1970 [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] [Though there was internal war with the Khmer Rouge movement, and part of the country was used by North Vietnamese troops which led to the bombing in these areas by the US air force]
  • A Man Who Trafficked [twelve] People to Be Sold in Siam [Thailand] Was Sent for Seven Years to Prison

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #687, 22.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Ask Samdech Euv [the former King] to Discuss Border Issues with Yuon [Vietnamese] Leaders [during his present visit to Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6988, 22.6.2010

  • A Woman Was Killed and Her Body Was Cut to Pieces and Thrown Away at the Pich Nel Valley [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]
  • The Internet Service Provider EZECOM Provides Free Internet Access to Universities

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #198, 22.6.2010

  • The State Has Provided More Than 20,000 Hectares of Land to Veterans [countrywide so far]
  • Internet Game Centers Are Opened Again after They Were Considered to Be Legal [before the authorities had closed places operating computer games regarding it as gambling. After the Minister of Information explained the difference between games and gambling, game centers are now allowed to open gain]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5230, 22.6.2010]

  • 3rd July 2010 Is the Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine to the Treasury [for losing a defamation court case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Mother and Her Son Were Killed in a Store by Fire [allegedly from burning incense sticks]

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The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions – Saturday, 12.6.2010

Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to issue a sub-decree soon about the rate of disabled people that should be employed at state institutions, companies, factories, and enterprises.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Sem Sokha, said in the evening of 11 June 2010 that the sub-decree had already been checked by the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council, and it will then be sent to relevant ministries, and finally to a cabinet meeting.

“Mr. Sem Sokha added that the sub-decree will be released soon, because also Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen wants it to be issued soon in order to help handicapped people to work at state and private institutions.

“Mr. Sem Sokha mentioned some contents of the sub-decree, which states that state institutions are required to employ at least 2% disabled people [among their total personnel] who have sufficient qualifications, while private companies, factories, and enterprises are required to recruit 1%.

“When he was asked what actions would be taken, if any state or private institutions do not adhere to the sub-decree, he explained that they will be fined to pay 50% of the salary of the civil servants they would have to hire. That means if a ministry is required to employ two or three disabled people but do not employ them, they have to pay 50% of their salaries as a fine. He added that for companies, factories, and enterprises, they will be charged 40% of the staff salary. According to a demographic study in 2004, 4% of the population are disabled.

“Mr. Sem Sokha said that when the sub-decree becomes valid, disabled people will receive full rights to live integrated in society and especially they can work at different state and private institutions like normal people.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #502, 12.6.2010

  • A CRV [“compact recreational vehicle”] Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing Two people and Injuring Three Others Seriously and Lightly [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

  • The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions
  • The USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Warship of the United State of America Began [for the first time also a] Cambodia Phase of CARAT Exercises [Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, begun in 1995, after Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were involved already in the past]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #680, 12.6.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that There Will Be a Political Solution for Him [he was convicted over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng; now he is abroad]
  • A Petition Was Sent to the US President to Ask Him to Condemn the Supreme Court of Cambodia and the Cambodian Government over the Prosecution of Ms. Mu Sochua [regarding the defamation case of Prime Minister Hun Sen which is a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression. There is no information given which institution or group organized it – it is just stated that thumb prints and signature were collected by people supporting the petition]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6980, 12-13.6.2010

  • Japan Announced to Grant US$131 Million Development Aid to Cambodia Each Year for Three Years
  • A Twelve Seater Car Tire Burst and the Car Overturned, Resulting in Three Deaths and Six Injured People [Kompong Cham]
  • Lightnings Killed Three Persons and Injured Another in the Kong Meas and Dambae Districts after Two Days of Continuing Rain

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3904, 12-13.6.2010

  • Leaders from 46 Countries in Asia and Europe Will Meet in Brussels [on 14 July to prepare the upcoming 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5222, 12.6.2010

  • The Forestry Heads of Three Provinces [Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Oddar Meanchey] Were Reshuffled while the Iron Fist Campaign Is Still Being Implemented Strictly
  • The Authorities Chased a Car Loaded with Ebony, Driven by a Kompong Thom Police Major; Because He Was Scared, He Ran into the Soth Nikum District Police Station [the car driver and his wife were arrested – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers] Rejected the Findings of the Corporate Council (?) based in England Which Indicate that Peace in Cambodia Is Deteriorating

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.

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