Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

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The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies – Friday, 2.4.2010

Posted on 3 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim, announced that economic concession land of about 950,000 hectares countrywide has been provided to 85 companies.

“He said so during a parliament session in the morning of 1 April 2010 to respond to the questions and claims of an opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, regarding the economic concession land that the government has provided to companies for investment.

“Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim said that the size of economic concession land that the government has provided to companies is not more than 2 million hectares, as had been claimed by Mr. Son Chhay. Recently, because some companies did not operate appropriately according to contracts, the government had decided to cancel the contracts of 41 companies, and the land involved was more than 300,000 hectares.

“This clarification was made after a parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, had encouraged the government to immediately review the provision of concession land of more than 2 million hectares to check if they violate the land law.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in front of Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim during the parliament session that the powerful and the rich fence their concession land and keep it unused, but they cut the trees at those regions. Therefore, the government should force those companies to do farming soon, to create jobs for farmers who had lost their land, and to grow agro-industrial crops.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that if those companies do not grow anything, land taxes must be imposed on them in order to force these people who just keep their land to sell it later to foreigners [for profit] to do farming, or the land should be taken back from them to be distributed to our farmers among whom not less than 25% lost their land and have no land to do cultivation.

“The annual report from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] indicates that in 2009 there was no official report from the government showing the figures of land that the government had provided as economic concession land to private companies.

“But according to figures from partner organizations gathered by ADHOC, the government provided economic concession land of 1,208,185 hectares to private companies in 2009.

“The government can get income from the provision of economic concession land to private companies for national economic development through investment in agro-industry, and this helps to improve the living conditions of people who are employed for their labor.

“Nevertheless, ADHOC found that by 2009, no private companies that had received economic concession land operated justly, and they were involved in violent activities against citizens.

“Many negative impacts result from the licensing of economic concession land to private companies which heavily affect property, houses, cultivation land, and living conditions of the citizens at most of these economic concession areas countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #450, 2.4.2010

  • Four Ebony Traders in Kompong Cham Were Arrested and Two Wood Storehouses in Meanchey District [Phnom Penh] Were Raided
  • International Telecommunication and Information Technology Exhibition Is Held at Koh Pich [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Amatak, Vol.11, #752, 2.4.2010

  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Confiscate Mr. Son Chhay’s Land [about three hectares] and Deliver It to the Apsara Authority [Mr. Son Chhay said that he does not oppose the plan of the Apsara Authority to take the land for development, but he suggested that the government must give him a proper compensation – the offer is only US$0.50 per square meter]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2217, 2.4.2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #642, 2.4.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Official and Civil Society [the Union Federation, which consists of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Asked Car and Bus Owners Not to Increase Fares during the Khmer New Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6924, 2.4.2010

  • The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Grants US$2.5 Million to the Ministry of Rural Development for an Integration Project for Rural Development in Krouch Chhmar District [Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3848, 2.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Should Not Disregard the 91 Recommendations of the United Nations [Human Rights Council]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #144, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides Land [of 1,650 hectares] of the Ream National Park to a Company to Invest [to create an eco-tourism site – Sihanoukville]
  • China Said That It Should Not Be Blamed over Mekong River Problems [where the waterway becomes shallower because of Chinese hydro-electric dams – but there is a severe drought in South and Southwest China]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies
  • [The Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith: [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An Is the Person Who Asked for an Amnesty for Mr. Hang Chakra [the editor-in-chief of the pro-opposition party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok; he will be released from prison before the Khmer New Year in April 2010]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two More Sites Storing Luxury Wood and Found More Than 100 Cubic Meters of Wood [no information about any accusation or arrest of the owners of the illegal wood – the owners, one owns an hotel, the other a restaurant, are known]

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The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving – Monday, 29.3.2010

Posted on 30 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The US Ambassador to Cambodia said that the situation of women in Cambodia is improving.

“The US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mrs. Carol Rodley, said so at the US Embassy during an event at the occasion of the International Women of Courage Award on 26 March 2010, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia is improving and there is hope that the future will be good for women.’

Note:

“Washington, 10 March 2010. First lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored women human rights activists from around the world with this year’s Women of Courage awards at a special ceremony 10 March 2010 at the State Department

“The awardees this year are Shukria Asil of Afghanistan, Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan, Androula Henriques of Cyprus, Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran, Ann Njogu of Kenya, Dr. Lee Ae-Ran of South Korea, Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka, Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe.”

Ambassador Rodley has been the recipient of the Department’s Senior Performance Award, the State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Award, the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent, the James Clement Dunn Award for leadership, the Director of Central Intelligence Exceptional Humint Collector Award and an Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. Her foreign languages are Khmer, German, Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi.”

“Regarding the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on some entertainment night clubs, in an attempt to reduce rape and human trafficking, she said, ‘Recently, Cambodia has strengthened law enforcement against human trafficking, against drug smuggling, and against other places prone to crimes in Phnom Penh.’ She added that according to recent law enforcements activities, human trafficking has been found at places suspected to be brothels. When the authorities took legal action, victimized women who were sex workers were, in general, not arrested. In many cases, all victims were sent to rehabilitation centers.

“Ms. Carol Rodley stressed, ‘The important thing is to educate women, so they can change themselves, so that they can get proper jobs.’

“Relating to this case, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, said, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia in health, in their economic possibilities, and in the legal sector has improved.’ She added that the government has created many laws to protect women and their families.

“She went on to say that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs fully supports the policy of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, who had ordered the authorities in all provinces and in the capital city to shut down places operating illegal activities, as this is a problem that affects our Cambodian youth. Violence in society results from ethically problematic and unwelcome activities which happened and have a bad impact on society.

“Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi continued to say that the government had created a National Committee Against Trafficking in Women and Children. This committee focuses on four major fields in order to assist victims who suffer from trafficking and from violence against women: 1. Interception, 2. Conviction, 3. Protection, and 4. Rehabilitation and Integration.

“Also, the government has cooperated with development partners and civil society organizations and has achieved good results. The number of arrested perpetrators increased because of timely and effective interventions from police, which led to more convictions of perpetrators by the courts. The Ministries of Women’s Affairs, of Education, of Information, of Culture and other ministries have joined to publish information about human trafficking, so that citizens at the community level can better submit crime reports in time.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 29 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

  • The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving
  • The First Time a Cambodian Woman Had Been Nominated for the Women of Courage Award by the US Embassy [Ms. Chen Reaksmey, an advisor on information about AIDS, health, and drugs of the Kosang [“to build up”] Organization, who had been addicting to drugs for eight years, was nominated for her hard work to reduce the spread of HIV, drugs, and human trafficking in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Meanchey District Authorities Removed Light Black Plastic Foils from the Windows of 177 Cars within Two Hours [in response to a reminder by the Prime Minister – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #638, 28-29.3.2010

  • Based on [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Speech: Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap Considered as Betraying the Nation?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 29.3.2010

  • A One-Star General Got Angry with the Driver of Remorque-Moto Loaded with Ice, as the Driver Did Not Turn on the Turning Light, and He Shot and Injured the Driver with One Bullet [the general and his bodyguard were arrested – Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3844, 29.3.2010

  • It Is Clearly Criticized that Political Influence Makes the National Assembly of Cambodia Weak and Lose its Independence [according to a report for 2009 and 2010 of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute – Cambodia’s Leading Independent Development Policy Research Institute – presented to the public last week: parliamentarians did not have the possibility to implement their roles independently and effectively, as they have to face the power of the government and of their party, though they know their actual roles well]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #140, 29.3.2010

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized in the Campaign to Intercept Forestry Crimes [the opposition party welcomes this interception going on for over a week, but questions why the government does not take legal action against officials who were involved in those crimes – and just confiscates their wood]
  • The Pheapimex Company of [Ms. Cheung Sopheap and her husband, Senator Lao Meng Khin] Received the Right to Own Two Places and Buildings [the Renakse Hotel in front of the Royal Palace, and now in addition the adjacent plot with the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Thai Red Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Forced the Military to Return to Their Barracks and Some Burned Copies of the Constitution [the situation is getting worse]
  • The Number of People Having Symptoms which Look Like Cholera in Kratie Increased to 134; Six People Died [according to officials of the Health Department of Kratie]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1889, 29.3.2010

  • Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?

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Small and Medium Scale Industry in Cambodia Will Be Strengthened for ASEANization – Tuesday, 23.2.2010

Posted on 24 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: Starting from 2015, member countries of ASEAN will exchange goods freely. Cambodia is among them, a country that is preparing to develop itself, while small and medium scale industry remains not so strong and needs further development so that it can compete with other ASEAN countries.

“Relating to the development of small and medium scale industry, the secretary of a Cambodian macro-micro industry community, Mr. Ouk Ren, spoke yesterday to Deum Ampil, saying, ‘The development of small and medium scale industry in Cambodia is speeding up, and its capacity has to be further strengthened for its ASEANization in 6 points: 1. Organization of leadership institutions, 2. Financial supporting systems, 3. Marketing networks, 4. Extensive communication, 5. Information and communication technology, and 6. Promotion of leadership ability in all sectors.’

“He added, ‘Most small and medium scale enterprises are operated as family businesses. Therefore, if we do not organize them, it will be difficult for them to relate to, and to integrate into foreign trade. It requires that public services are coordinated and that improvements happen so that developments are in line with the global commercial situation.’

“He emphasized, ‘Nowadays, there are more than 100 small and medium scale industrial enterprises operating in Cambodia. At present, they are facing a financial crisis, and everyone is trying to improving their operations in order to recover; but they have not prepared themselves to integrate with other ASEAN countries. Anyway, we have this policy direction, but we do not yet have explicit strategies. In the meantime, we need leadership from the Ministries of Industry, of Economy, and of Commerce, as the private sector cannot function without passing through these government institutions.’

“As for Siam [Thailand], the General Director of the Industrial Extension Department of Siam, Mr. Atith Vuthikaro [phonetic], said, ‘A few small and medium scale enterprises have established branches to cooperate in trade with other ASEAN countries.’

“He added, ‘In Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos labor is cheap, and those countries provide good opportunities for Thai investment abroad, when Thai companies establish trade relations.’

“Mr. Atith went on to say, ‘Ten percent of the leading enterprises, or around 90,000, will concentrate on the expansion into ASEAN countries. Thirty percent of the Thai enterprises have been well developed. And many of those enterprises focus on food processing and the production of beverages.’

“The director general of a Thai industrial development structure, Mr. Manob Chaiwatana Suthorn [phonetic], said, ‘While seeking trading cooperation, we initially concentrate on Cambodia, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam, because these countries have cheap labor and a lot of raw materials for the development of small and medium scale enterprises.'” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #417, 23.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #417, 23.2.2010

  • Small and Medium Scale Industry in Cambodia Will Be Strengthened for ASEANization
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Introduce Uniforms for Moto-Taxi Drivers [and Tuk-Tuk drivers, to protect the safety of tourists, as some persons pretended to be moto-taxi drivers and caused many problems]
  • Cambodia Reconsiders Providing Family Books and Khmer Identification Cards to 24 Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [that the Thai authorities had arrested and sent to Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2184, 23.2.2010

  • The Minister of Information Rejected the Information that Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Vietnam] Are Not Allowed to Watch Television Broadcasted from Cambodia
  • A Man Killed Two Nieces and Then Raped Them [they are four and twelve years old – Kampot]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #609, 23.2.2010

  • [The vice president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm Welcomes Democrats and Those Loving the Nation to Join [with the Sam Rainsy Party; this is seen as a response to the Human Rights Party that had called for unity]
  • Prince Norodom Sirivudh Will Be Appointed as a Member of the Constitutional Council, to Replace Son Soubert [whose term will terminate in two weeks]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6891, 23.2.2010

  • A Government Official Announced to Sue Mr. Sam Rainsy; [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] Va Kimhong: Maps Accusing the Government [over the setting of border markers with Vietnam, used by Mr. Sam Rainsy] Are Fake

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3815, 23.2.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Submitted a Draft [to the National Assembly] Requesting the Creation of a National Independent Board against Corruption

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #118, 23.2.2010

  • Cambodia Appeals to Citizens to Be Careful when Traveling to Thailand [as there will be a big demonstration held by the red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, on 26 February 2010]
  • Investment Projects Approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in January This Year Dropped by 25% Compared to the Corresponding Period Last Year [the amount dropped from US$100 million to US$75 million]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5133, 23.2.2010

  • China Invested from 1994 to 2009 US$7,025 Million in Cambodia

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Rice Export Is Still Difficult – Saturday, 16.1.2010

Posted on 17 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2009 there was a surplus of more than 3 million tonnes of paddy rice or more than 2 million tonnes of rice. In 2010, just the Philippines alone need to buy in 2 million tonnes of rice, and other African countries need to buy rice also. Is Cambodia ready for exporting rice abroad?

“Regarding this problem, an expert, who was involved in marketing to help export rice, said that Cambodia still cannot export rice on a large scale. Family-scale export is possible, as our country is not yet ready to do big rice businesses.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale business, Mr. Ut Ren, spoke to journalists in an interview on Wednesday [13 January 2010], saying that Cambodia is not yet able to export rice on a large scale, because Cambodia does not yet have an adequate rice export structure. He added that the country does not yet have large scale storehouses for paddy rice. A rice milling house can normally store 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes, but these too hardly exist in Phnom Penh. There has not yet been an effort to gather all forces together. Most small rice export associations operate to serve only their own interest and they do not cooperate and trust each other, and there is no coordination between the state and the private sector. Also the costs of transportation is still high, compared to neighboring countries. In Vietnam, it costs only US$7 to US$12 to transport one tonne of rice to the ports, but in our country, it costs up to US$40 to US$50. Transport is possible only in the dry season, but not in the rainy season. There is much more investment needed before smooth export procedures are possible. In addition, to get a container loaded with rice to be exported, one needs to pay unofficial expenses of at least US$55 to customs, US$55 to CamControl, and US$30 for one document to the Ministry of Agriculture. Besides, it is necessary to pay US$50 to the Ministry of Commerce for a license.

“Mr. Ren added that in addition, our country does not have marketing experts at international markets. Vietnam has rice market advertising offices in the Philippines and in Africa. Thailand has more than 40 market advertising offices worldwide.

“He went on to say that therefore, to become a rice exporting country, first, Cambodia needs to have a rice export support structure. Rice export has its special criteria, unlike the export of other products. The government should create a separate high level authority to guide the export of rice. The government should implement a integrated structure policy, that means that customs, CamControl, the agriculture and the commerce related authorities have to work jointly. At present, when a rice exporter has received a license from the Ministry of Commerce, they need to go next to customs, then to CamControl, and then to those in the agricultural areas having rice to sell – this takes much time.

“He said that because of existing difficulties, high costs, and much time needed to run from place to place [to satisfy the related bureaucratic necessities], owners of rice mills still prefer their traditional family-scale businesses.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5101, 16.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #389, 16.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister [Mr. Hun Sen] Sent Condolences for the Large Number of [ earthquake] Deaths in Haiti

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2152, 16.1.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep’s Accusation that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Takes Cambodia as a Basis for Activities against Thailand
  • Cambodian Citizens Can Have Visas-on-Arrival to Enter Kuwait Directly at Kuwait Airports [according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]

Link:

On 14 January 2010, many international media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again. “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month,” reported Radio Australia News.

On 15 January 2010, the Bangkok Post quoted Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a former Thai minister of foreign affairs and at present a legal adviser to the Shinawatra family, saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has dropped his plan to visit Cambodia.

“Previously, Thaksin had planned to visit Cambodia from Jan 15 to 17, but he has scrapped the plan. He will visit another country in Asia instead,” Mr Noppadon said.

Asked about the Cambodian foreign minister’s statement that Thaksin would visit Phnom Penh this month, Mr Noppadon said he had no idea.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #581, 16.1.2010

  • [High ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party] Cheam Yeap Admitted that Cambodia Is in Trouble with Its Debt to Russia [Cambodia owes about US$1 billion; and Russia has not responded to Cambodia’s request to cancel it]

Link:

In addition to the US$1 billion debt to Russia there is a smaller debt of US$300 million which Cambodia owes to the USA.

It should be noted that reports about new financial assistance from China often do not state clearly what is aid, and what is repayable loans. We do not know of any comprehensive listing of the total amount of money at present owed by Cambodia to China, and when how much will have to be repaid.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6859, 16-17.1.2010

  • A Nine-Year-Old Girl Was Raped and Killed in a Forest [the perpetrator is not known – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5001, 16.1.2010

  • Rice Export Is Still Difficult
  • In 2010 Cambodia Will Have Three More Labor Export Markets [accepting Khmer workers: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates]

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Tuesday, 26.8.2008: Vietnam to Provide Telecommunication Satellite Services to Different Countries

Posted on 27 August 2008. Filed under: Week 575 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 575

“The Vietnamese newspaper Saigon Liberation reported on 22 August 2008 that a Vietnamese state company, Telecommunication International, which is responsible for the first Vietnamese telecommunications satellite VINASAT-1, has discussed with foreign customers the possibility to provide them services.

“Its important partners include Asia Broadcast Satellite [ABS], which is a big Asian company in telecommunications, based in Hong Kong, Universal Telecomm Services of the United States, Protostar of Singapore, and Thaicom of Thailand.

“Vietnam’s Telecom International and ABS have signed a protocol on the capacity of exchanges between VINASAT-1 and ABS-1. This document is used as a starting point for the cooperation between the two companies in telecommunication and satellite services.

“Medium scale satellite VINASAT-1 was launched in April 2008 with a capital of US$300 million. It can provide services over Southeast Asia, part of China, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Hawaii. This satellite would last from 15 to 20 years. The transmitting capacity of VINASAT-1 corresponds to 10,000 telephone lines or 120 television stations.

“Before having its own telecommunication satellite, Vietnam had to spend $15 million each year on telecommunication satellite services of foreign countries such as of Russia, Australia, and Thailand.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6433, 26.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1729, 26.8.2008

  • Siam [Thailand] Is Very Embarrassed at [29th] ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Assembly [AIPA] General Assembly [18-24 August in Singapore; because many countries supported the principle to prohibit invasions of one country against another]

  • Note:

    We could not yet find an AIPA report mentioning this; the legislators present decided, however, to hold the 30th AIPA General Assembly in Thailand in 2009 – normally a gesture of confidence towards a country]

    As for the basic orientation of the Assembly, we quote from the Opening Speech of the AIPA Assembly, by the Prime Minister of Singapore:

    “By 2015, ASEAN will become a single market and production base.

    The founders of AIPO understood the need to take a larger view of the region’s interests beyond national and domestic considerations.

    And when problems arise between ASEAN countries, which is inevitable from time to time, this will give you a feel for the people on the other side of the issue, so that we can keep the difficulties in perspective and maintain the friendship between our countries.

    This makes it even more necessary for parliamentarians to set the tone in ASEAN cooperation, to lead and manage domestic sentiments, to stand firm against xenophobic attitudes, and to support policies which keep our economies open and integrated.”

  • Construction of Concrete Fences at Border Is New Government’s Priority Plan


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #82, 26.8.2008

  • The New National Assembly and the Government Will Be Created through One Package Voting [according to the Cambodian Government’s spokesperson Khieu Kanharith]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6433, 26.8.2008

  • Cambodia Calls [the planned border separators, built by concrete] “Fence”, Thailand Calls the [concrete construction] “Wall” – Government Spokesperson Rejects the Use of the Word Used by the Bangkok Post Which Means a Different Thing
  • Samdech Euv [the retired Father King]: Royal Family Members and Politics – Princes and Princesses Are Finally Unsuccessful
  • Vietnam to Provide Telecommunication Satellite Services to Different Countries


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3548, 26.8.2008

  • Opposition Parties [Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party] Complain to Signatory Countries of 1991 Paris Peace Accord about Unfair Election in Cambodia
  • Yuons [Vietnamese] Are Still Able to Enter to Do Rice Farming on Khmer Land at Border Area, without Any Intervention [by Cambodian authorities]
  • Khmer Soldiers at Preah Vihear Temple Border Have Malaria and Respiratory Diseases


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4677, 26.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party Maintain Position Not to Participate in [Inaugural] National Assembly Session if There Is No Solution [for election irregularities]
  • Collection of Road Taxes [2008] Started on 15 September 2008 and It Will Finish on 14 November 2008

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – some fundamental challenes into the future

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