National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

Posted on 3 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

While the time runs and runs evenly, the different calendars – related to the year of the sun, or related to the phases of the moon, or related to cultural history and social-political events – have their own ways. And sometimes they lead to interesting crossings.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, roughly at the beginning of the rainy season, marks the start of the planting time. And royal astrologers will observe the preferences of the drought animals during the ceremony, which food they prefer – offered to them on seven trays, with beans, corn, grass, rice, sesame seeds, water, and wine – to predict the coming season’s harvest.

We do not keep a record for The Mirror to compare the predictions with the actual results of the harvest several months later. But we just assume that there is some margin of error in the predictions, according to the different animals involved.

During the week, the Prime Minister criticized the big Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different predictions for the performance of the Cambodian economy by the end of the year. While the different economic benchmarks monitor and evaluate probably hundreds of data – every institution working independently – is it not surprising that their predictions, depending on so many factors not under their control – are still fairly similar?

The international financial turmoil has brought also a lot of unforeseeable changes for the Cambodian workers in the export and tourism industries, who create a major share of international income for Cambodia. Their work in the textile and shoe factories, and their work to serve foreign tourists visiting the country, is commemorated during Labor Day.

While some international tourist advisories advertise the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as an event worthwhile to visit and observe, some embassies advise tourists to avoiding meetings and events of the organized workers unions, as these may be related to conflicts in society.

One important, positive statement had been reported during the week. The Prime Minister was reported to have said, “Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and to Demonstrate Is Their Right.” Though Article 36 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions,” also the notion can be found often assuming that there is a fundamental conflict between the government and the labor unions. Industry and labor have, by their very nature, different interests. But the experience of economically strong democratic countries with a market economy system – like France or Germany of Japan – shows that their strength grew from a political system which allowed for both strong unions and strong associations of industrialists.

In spite of this statement by the Prime Minister, tensions between the authorities and organized labor were building up before the Labor Day, because of the unresolved murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chea Vichea, who was killed in January 2004. Two people were apprehended at that time; when they were presented to court with the claim that they had confessed to have committed the murder, they revoked, but though there were no witnesses testifying against them, and no evidence beyond their confessions in prison presented, they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Because of these publicly discussed irregularities, also the former King Sihanouk expressed his doubt that the real murderers were in prison. In 2007, the Appeals Court upheld their conviction, in spite of several witnesses assuring that one of the accused was not in Phnom Penh on the day of the killing, but 60 km away. After nearly five years in prison, the Supreme Court cited unclear evidence and called for a new investigation in December 2008; since that time, the two accused are provisionally out of prison. By now, there is no public information about what happened since.

When Chea Vichea was killed, Bradley Cox, who had made a documentary “Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election,” happened to be not far away, and he arrived some minutes after the killing. He was able to document the murder scene, and later follow the story further – the funeral, and the subsequent police and court actions.

Now the brother of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony, is the president of the Free Trade Union, and they had the plan to publicly show this documentary, “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [a trailer is available here]. The Khmer media had reported during the week various reasons why the authorities will not allow this documentary to be shown – the film would have to be first presented to the Ministry of Culture with a request to get it approved, or: this documentary has been imported illegally – while the Union intended to show it anyway near the place where Chea Vichea has been gunned down, while he was reading a newspaper.

This is a report from 1 May 2010 on the Internet:

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

Cambodian workers who hoped to see Who Killed Chea Vichea? on Saturday didn’t get so much as a bite of popcorn before police intervened and tore down the screen.

Here’s what we’ve got so far, from witnesses on the scene:

The workers’ march arrived at the screening site, in front of the newsstand where Vichea was killed, around 5:00 p.m.

They were met by a force of some 100 police, many in riot gear, as well as local officials and a large group of other men not in uniform, presumably plainclothes security forces.

The organizers went ahead and erected the screen, which was made out of sheets. The police immediately told the main organizer, Rong Chhun of the Union Confederation, to take it down as he did not have a permit. When he refused, they pushed in and pulled it down.

Mr. Chhun returned with a second screen, accompanied by opposition members of parliament, but that screen too was seized.

The workers resisted only briefly. “We did not want to have a big scene as we were outnumbered,” said one participant. “They were there to break down anything and for sure it would have been real force had we resisted and shown the movie.”

So far there are no reports of any arrests or injuries.

So the film was not shown publicly – in Cambodia. But the events of 1 May 2010 will probably contribute to get much more attention for it internationally, where it is scheduled to be shown at the following film festivals:

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

The demonstrations on 1 May 2010 of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia were not focused on the past. The ILO report in The Mirror from last Friday, 30.4.2010, “More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents” shows more problems ahead, in addition to the demands to raise the minimal wages – while facing the consequences of the international economic crisis, including an increasing competition for garment exports from other big exporters in the region – from China and from Vietnam.

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The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

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Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans – Monday, 22.3.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 March 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6914, 22.3.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3838, 22.3.2010

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

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

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

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

  • Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1888, 22.3.2010

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

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Cambodian Export in 2009 Dropped by 18.2%; Cambodian Economy in 2010 Might Achieve Growth – Wednesday, 20.1.2010

Posted on 21 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“According to statistics of the National Bank of Cambodia, total export products of Cambodia to foreign markets in 2009 amounted to US$3,619 million, showing a decline by 18% or US$804.7 million, compared to 2008.

“The garment sector, the biggest source of income for Cambodia, dropped to only US$716.2 million, and other products dropped to only US$88.4 million.

“As the export of Cambodia declined in 2009, the import declined also to only $5,208 million which dropped by 17% or US$1,063 million, compared to the previous year.

“The governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Chanto, stated that the downturn of the Cambodian export resulted from the economic crisis. But Mr. Chea Chanto rejected forecasts by international financial institutions over the impacts of the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“Mr. Chea Chanto stressed that the growth for 2009 declined from 6.6% to only 2.1%, and the growth for 2010 is expected to achieve 3%.

“Previously, the International Monitory Fund forecast that Cambodia can achieve only 2.7% growth, the World Bank forecast 2.5%, and the Asian Development Bank forecast 1.5%.

“The forecast given by Mr. Chea Chanto is different from Mr. Hun Sen’s, who predicted that the economic growth for 2010 is only 2%. Mr. Hun Sen recognized the bad impact from the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“An economist of the World Bank office in Phnom Penh, Ms. Stephanie Simmonds [? – phonetic], predicted that the Cambodian economy will not achieve an accelerating growth in 2010.

“The forecast about economic growth in 2009 is being discussed but has not yet been finished. The economic growth estimated by the International Monitory was only 2.7%, by the World Bank 2.5%, by the Asian Development Bank 1.5%, and by the Royal Government of Cambodia 2%.

“The year 2009 is considered as an abnormal year. Cambodia had experienced a stable economic growth of almost 10% for 10 consecutive years, but this ended in 2009.

“The economist Ms. Stephanie stated that the major problem is that many citizens and investors had expected an continuing and fast growth, but this expectation was not true for 2009.

“Migrant workers who had planned to send their money back home could not do it. Also those who planned to sell their land for profit could not do it either.

“The same economist said that the import of cars decreased, and there is a somewhat bad trend related to debts owned to banks.

“The financial and economic downturn puts a burden on several sectors, but it heavily affects the garment and the tourism sectors.

“Some special groups suffer from this economic impact, such as tuk-tuk drivers, small restaurants, and other parts of the service sector. Only agriculture had a stable income, though it was partly affected by the typhoon Ketsana.

“As for 2010, there is a question: Is an economic recovering on the way for Cambodian workers and entrepreneurs or not? […]

“The export of products from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2009 dropped by more than 20%, compared to 2008. The total export of Yuon [Vietnamese] products to Cambodia amounted to about US$1,7 billion in 2009, and it is expected to rise higher in 2010 to about US$2 billion.

“Facing this situation, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Vietnam called for a meeting with investors who export products to Cambodia, to seek solutions for the problems they encounter. In 2010, the Vietnamese government will negotiate with the Cambodian government to ease the difficulties of Vietnamese investors.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #721, 20.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #392, 20.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister Agreed with the Request of [UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur] Surya Subedi Saying that NGOs Need to Elect Their Representatives to Talk with the Government
  • [Three] Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Successfully Visited [two] Villagers in Svay Rieng [detained over the removal of border markers]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2155, 20.1.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Israel to Assist in Agriculture [according to a meeting between a secretary state of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ouch Borith, and the Israeli Ambassador, Mr. Itzhak Shoham]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #721, 20.1.2010

  • Cambodian Export in 2009 Dropped by 18.2%; Cambodian Economy in 2010 Might Achieve Growth

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #584, 20.1.2010

  • The Ratanakiri Authorities Seized a Car Loaded with Kranhoung Wood When the Car Had a Flat Tyre [after the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association and local citizens informed them]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6862, 20.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Border Police Blocked Cars of Siamese [Thai] Patrol Soldiers on Khmer Territory; Then the Patrol Soldiers Set Thai Flags on Their Cars and Withdrew [Oddar Meanchey]
  • A Khmer-Australian Man and Two Accomplices Smuggling [498 grams of] Drugs Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #93, 20.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Government and the United Nations Vowed to Strengthen Good Cooperation in Human Rights
  • A Court Sent a Swedish Man for Six Years to Prison for Debauchery [with a child – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5104, 20.1.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Asked the UN Envoy to Have a Broad View on Seeing Human Rights Issues [in Cambodia – the report does not elaborate what this broader view would include, only saying that human rights means more than freedom of expression]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Rejected to Help Mr. Sam Rainsy [he is accused of removing border markers and is now abroad]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1859, 20.1.2010

  • Samdech Sihanouk [the former King]: Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case Is Political so He Cannot Help

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The Head of the Royal Government Warned Donor Countries – Friday, 9.10.2009

Posted on 10 October 2009. Filed under: Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

“Phnom Penh: Ahead of a meeting about the provision of development aid for Cambodia, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, warned donor countries not to link conditions with development aid for Cambodia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen considers the linking of conditions with aid as being under more pressure than during the presence of Vietnamese experts in Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

“During the 30th anniversary celebration of the creation of the National Bank of Cambodia on Thursday, 8 October 2009, at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia warned that the government will not accept, or even stop receiving foreign aid, if aid is linked with conditions. Recently, the government has canceled the assistance of the World Bank for a land registration program.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen told donors that the government welcomes the involvement to develop Cambodia, but donors should not interfere and link conditions with aid.

“Getting tired of conditions set by donors at present, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that, after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, though Vietnamese troops and experts came to Cambodia, Vietnam respected the independence of Cambodia. Decisions in politics and economy were under the authority of Cambodia, different from nowadays.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stressed that at present, the development aid from the World Bank, from the International Monetary Fund, and from other donors forces the government to listen to their orders.

“In the meantime, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen appealed to donors and friends that assist Cambodia, to understand and respect the independence of Cambodia.

“Donors will meet the Cambodian government later in this year to announce development aid for Cambodia in 2010. After the international meeting in 2009, international development partners decided to provide about US$1 billion to Cambodia, linking it with conditions about the respect of human rights, the solution of land disputes, resettlement of the poor, and especially the creation of an anti-corruption law, an old intention of Cambodia.

“Human rights activists of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) pointed out that some conditions of donors aim, for example, at encouraging the Cambodian government to respect human rights or to address corruption, but not to apply pressure on the government. In this way conditions direct the implementation of laws and fill gaps of the government, so that the aid can reach the poor, and Cambodia becomes a state of law.

“ADHOC activists asked the government to soften their position and to accept aid to assist Cambodia’s poor people, rather than to reject international support, as the country needs aid.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5016, 9.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #306, 9.10.2009

  • Health Agents Seized 327 Types of Expired Medicines [Phnom Penh]
  • German Government Provides Aid for Ketsana Victims [the assistance of US$37,000 through the World Food Program, supporting to secure the survival of more than 30,000 people affected in Cambodia]
  • Natural Disaster Impacts Tourism in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2067, 9.10.2009

  • Capital of International Reserves of Cambodia Increased to US$2,522 Million [by 21% by August 2009 despite the global economic crisis; said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • 733 Families in Khvav Commune Eat Manioc Instead of Rice and Call for Aid [Siem Reap]
  • A Notorious Robber and His Son Were Gunned Down by Police when They Shot Back

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #658, 9.10.2009

  • Phnom Penh Becomes More Flooded after the Shukaku Development Company Fills the Boeng Kak Lake [with sand]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #505, 9.10.2009

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6774, 9.10.2009

  • Japan Grants More Than US$1.4 Million for Mine Clearance [in Cambodia]
  • The 30th Anniversary of the Creation of the National Bank of Cambodia Was Celebrated
  • A 11-Year-Old Girl Was Lost for a Night and Was Found Dead with Both Eyes Gouged Out [Kampot]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #22, 9.10.2009

  • Mr. Hun Sen Said that if High Ranking Officials of Cambodia Go to Testify [at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal], It Is Like Killing the Suspects [since they are the ones who overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime; he said so after the foreign co-investigating judge summoned six high ranking officials of the government to testify]
  • [Twenty one] Civil Society Organizations [that work on human rights and provide legal assistance] Asked the National Assembly to Exclude Defamation from the Penal Code
  • More Than 2,000 Workers of the Tac Fat Factory Protested after the Factory Closed [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5016, 9.10.2009

  • The Head of the Royal Government Warned Donor Countries
  • There Is Much Aid from Japan [US$1.7 billion since 1993], but There Is Very Little [Japanese] Private Investment [only US$129.9 million or 0.6% of the total foreign investment to Cambodia]
  • Vietnam Announced to Support the Candidacy of Cambodia as a Member of the World Heritage Committee

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1804, 9-11.10.2009

  • The World Bank Said that More Than 60,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs Creating Hazard for the Cambodian Economy

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

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

Norbert Klein

Note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1897, 14.3.2009

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4845, 14.3.2009

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

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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