Vietnam Said within Six Months This Year There Were Nearly 120,000 Cambodian Tourist Arrivals in Vietnam – Wednesday, 25.8.2010

Posted on 26 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

“Phnom Penh: Within six months of this year, the Vietnamese authorities said that the Cambodian tourist arrivals in Vietnam increased to nearly 120,000, but Cambodian experts said that most of them went for medical services.

“According to a Vietnamese agency, within six months of this year among the tourist arrivals in Vietnam, as many as 117,000 are Cambodians, an increase by 36%.

“The same source added that Ho Chi Minh City attracted most Cambodian tourists, other areas such as the highland in the central area, the Mekong low lying area, and southeast provinces followed. Ho Chi Minh City attracted from 60% to 70% of the 117,000 Khmer tourists.

“According to tourism experts, the increase in the number of Cambodian tourists to Vietnam resulted from the lifting of visas requirements between both countries. The president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, Mr. Ang Kim Eang, said on 23 August 2010 by phone that he does not have accurate figures of Khmer tourists to Vietnam, but he believes that among those tourists, most went only for medical services.

“Based on Vietnamese media, those who go for medical services in Vietnam are considered as tourists. The same source continued that each day, about 100 Cambodians seek medical services at hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City.

“An official of the Ministry of Tourism said that the Ministry does not have accurate numbers of citizens visiting foreign countries. What the Ministry has is the total number of Cambodian citizens going abroad.

“The same official added that within six months of 2010, about 232,317 Cambodian citizens went abroad.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5285, 25.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2336, 25.8.2010

  • For the Third Time, an Additional 51 Workers of the MV Factory Fainted, and the Ministry of Labor Is Requested to Close the Factory to Check the Factory
  • Cambodia Asked [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit to Warn [the Thai royalist Yellow Shirt movement leader] Sondhi Limthongkul, Who Makes Himself a Cruel Person [by using rough words to attack Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Note:

Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul [สนธิ ลิ้มทองกุล] is one of the founders of the royalist Yellow Shirt Movement. – In April 2009 he suffered an assassination attempt. In July 2010, he was indicted by the public prosecutor for lese majeste – an “anti-royalist” crime. In Thai media, he is often called a “media firebrand” because of his fiery speeches]

The speech under reference by Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul could not be found, however the response by the Press and Quick reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, distributed to the press:

Kingdom of Cambodia
Nation Religion King

Office of the Council of Ministers
Press and Quick reaction Unit
No. 012/PRU/S/2010

Statement

The Spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia has noticed that Mr. Sondhi Limthongkun, leader of the PAD (the Yellow Shirts), in the Thailand’s weekly political nightly program broadcast over ASTV on 20 August 2010, has made slanderous statement attacking our beloved and respected leader, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, conducting a hatred campaign against the people of Cambodia, igniting the name of enmity between Cambodians and Thais. He has proven once more that he is becoming a raving lunatic. By turning deaf ear and blind eye to Sondhi Limthongkun’s hatred activities against Cambodia, the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva has become an accomplice and a sponsor of a criminal prone activity, and therefore responsible for any moral and political consequences that might happen in the future.

It is unworthy to repeat what Sondhi Limthongkun, a harebrained person had said on ASTV. However the Spokesperson of the PRU will take the high ground and wishes to bring to the attention of the public at large of the followings:

  1. Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia is admirably and deeply loved and respected by the Cambodian people. He accedes to the leadership of the Government through the holding of just and fair consecutive general elections with the majority of the votes of the people and by the unanimity of votes by the members of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
  2. He is a peace loving and peace building statesman of international stature. He had seen and experienced enough the horrors of war; he fought for the survival of the Cambodian people and the nation against the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime. In fact, he builds the great national unity among Cambodians, defends the national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, culminating in the integration of Cambodia into ASEAN family, at the regional level. On the international arena, Cambodia has been known to be a fast developing country economically and socially, a country that brings justice to the victims of crime committed against humanity through the exceptional Cambodian and UN creation and functioning of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). For his internationally recognized dedication to peace, Samdech Prime Minister of Cambodia was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa and other numerous international awards and he is also a full-right member of the Academy of Natural Sciences.
  3. Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia is a dedicated and fervent Buddhist and is abide by the principles of non-violence. He upholds and leads traditional Buddhist festivities, and cares for aged devotees nationwide;
  4. King Noreso of Thailand, in fact, had asked for help from King of Cambodia during a Siam (Thailand) war with the Burmeses. After Siam had grown stronger, Siam forgot who had been the benefactor and behaves like a crocodile (in the Cambodian folk tale) that got burnt almost to death and begged a peasant to save its life and to bring it to a pond, and to return the favor to the peasant, the crocodile insisted that it must eat him, for what reason? Because the peasant tied the beast too tight when transporting it to the pond”. This had been the way that Siam had behaved, and the way that Siam had taken away Cambodian territories, like the provinces of Surin, Sisaket, Ubon. etc…
  5. The campaign of intoxication by Sondhi Limthongkun which proved to be unsuccessful up to now, has been turned to be a campaign of hatred from a raving lunatic who had his brain damaged by Thai bullets for his arrogance to the point of abasing himself. As the spokesperson of PRU had said before, “he, who sows the winds, will harvest the turbulence”. Therefore, Sondhi Limthongkun will wind up getting blown away and drown by Thai political typhoons. Sondhi Limthongkun is no longer a human being. He has turned into a beast and spoke cruelly and shamelessly about nonsense.

Once again, the Spokesperson of the PRU urges Thai political figures to put an end to the malicious campaign of innuendo, suggestion and speculation to fault Cambodia by raising the issue of the Temple of Preah Vihear based on their mysterious, unilateral and internationally unrecognized map, and to raise the enmity of Thai people towards Cambodia for their personal political gains in the midst of the squabbling among Thai politicians and the deep division of Thai society. The Spokesperson of the PRU strongly urges the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva to warn Sondhi Limthongkun to stop representing the Kingdom of Thailand as a whole as the kingdom of barbarians who think about violence, killing, cruelty by way of “decapitating and spiking head on the stick” as the way of political and social life. Last but not least, the Spokesperson of the PRU strongly urges the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva to take immediate action against Sondhi Limthongkun, for the sake of future good relations between Ihe two countries, for the simple reason that Sondhi Limthongkun, is less than a human being. He is indeed a cruel beast. Sondhi Limthongkun deserved to be muzzled and kept in the institution of deranged and dangerous people.

Phnom Penh, 24 August, 2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7043, 25.8.2010

  • Many Cubic Meters of Ebony Wood Are Exported into Thai Territory through the Thma Da Border Crossing with the Protection by Armed Personnel [Koh Kong]
  • Taiwan Advertised Medical Services in Cambodia [to attract Cambodians to receive medical services in Taiwan]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3967, 25.8.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Wants the Contract or Concession Documents to Be Published on the Website [Note: not found] of the Anti-Corruption Unit for Transparency
  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Order to Intercept Forestry Crimes Is No Longer Followed [recently, there is more illegal wood transported]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #39, 25.8.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Begin Case 002 in 2011 [of the former Khmer Rouge leaders Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khiev Samphan, and Nuon Chea]
  • The Thai Ambassador Arrived in the Phnom Penh International Airport at 19:20 p.m [on 24 August 2010] and the Khmer Ambassador Will Depart at 9:40 a.m on Wednesday Morning [to Bangkok]
  • A Delegation of the European Parliament Comes to Study the Medical Sector in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #244, 25.8.2010

  • Cambodia Has Not Implemented the Competition Policy in Commerce as It Affects Local Companies [while they do not yet have enough ability – according to the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh]
  • The Exports of Cambodia Still Face Problems Due to the Lack of Infrastructure [and expensive transportation]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5285, 25.8.2010

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community Asked the King to Help Solve Problems of Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [by asking the Vietnamese government to release all Khmer citizens arrested by the Vietnamese authorities over land disputes and over the expression of opinions]
  • Vietnam Said within Six Months This Year There Were Nearly 120,000 Cambodian Tourist Arrivals in Vietnam

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Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tensions with China – Wednesday, 11.8.2010

Posted on 12 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Vietnam shows new military relations with the United States of America this month amid more tensions with China, as both countries claim some territory in the South China sea as belonging to their respective countries.

“The USS John S. McCain warship [a guided-missile destroyer], that docked in the Danang city port, departed on Tuesday for a four days joint exercise with the Vietnamese navy.

“On Sunday, the USS Gorge Washington aircraft carrier, that had just attended an exercise with South Korea recently in South Korean sea territory, which had led to condemnations from the Beijing government, received a Vietnamese delegation.

“The visit by the US navy invites strong attention due to regional tensions lately.

“A Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, Mr. Carl Taylor, said, ‘The tensions between China and Vietnam grew worse since over a year ago. The USA is showing its military presence and Vietnam is taking the opportunity to show itself.’

“Normally, the Hanoi government has very careful relations with its ideological ally China, but the regional ambition of its bigger neighbor raised tensions in Vietnam to a certain level.

“The ties between Hanoi and Washington have come across a long way since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975; both countries’ diplomatic ties were normalized 20 years later.

“The USA became an important partner of Vietnam, not just in trade.

“According to a recent source from the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam, the Hanoi government grew more uneasy with the ambition of China. The presences of the US navy at a Vietnamese port is very important strategically for Vietnam to demonstrate regional balance in military issues.

“Mr. Taylor said, ‘I think that the USA can play a more important role in the region.’

“The South China Sea has been the reason for territorial disputes for a long time, especially regarding the Spratly and Paracel islands that Vietnam claims to be its territory. China also claims the Spratly islands like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam do also.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga [Nguyễn Phương Nga], last week condemned China for sending a ship to conduct seismic surveys in the Paracel region, violating Vietnam’s territorial integrity.

“Senior US commanders said that they are keeping a close eye over the stepping up of Chinese military presence there, particularly the presence of the navy in the South China Sea.

“Last week, China conducted a navy and airforce exercise in the South China Sea, a week after the Secretary of State of the US Department of State, Ms. Hilary Clinton, said solutions of territorial disputes are the core for regional stability.

“During a Southeast Asian regional security forum Ms. Hilary Clinton said that the Washington government is ready to cooperate in multilateral discussions over the islands and added that this is in the national interest of the USA, considering the respect for international law in the region.

“The Beijing government immediately condemned this intention to internationalize the dispute, saying that such an action could worsen the situation.

“That US warships often dock at Vietnamese ports irritates China. Mr. Taylor said, ‘Vietnam becomes more sensitive to the Chinese reactions. The docking of the US navy in Danang shows that Vietnam is prepared to confront the displeasure of China.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2324, 11.8.2010

  • Traders Are Transporting Wood into the Srae Noy Settlement Area Day and Night
  • Police Helped a Female Worker Returning from Malaysia [after she worked there for two years] Who Almost Lost Her Memory and Cannot Find the Way to Her Home [Siem Reap]
  • The Murderer Who Raped and Killed a Female Security Guard Was Sentenced to 20 Years Imprisonment [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7031, 11.8.2010

  • A Man Was Attacked with Acid, Poured on His Head around Midnight by Two Perpetrators [who escaped; the victim was seriously wounded – Phnom Penh]
  • There Will Be More Than 2,400,000 Foreign Tourists in 2010 [according to a prediction by the Ministry of Tourism; in the first six months of 2010, there were 1,221,156 tourist arrivals, an increase by 12.39% compared with the corresponding period in 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3955, 11.8.2010

  • Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Stated Their Confidence in Their Ability in Defending Their Client [by strongly opposing the use of the Joint Criminal Enterprise principle at the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #27, 11.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Put Blame on Journalists [for misquoting his words about the use of military means to solve border disputes with Cambodia]
  • A Medical Association from South Korea [with 50 staff members] Helps to Treat Khmer Patients in Kompong Speu

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #234, 11.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Families in the Russey Keo District [near the Cambodian Japanese Friendship or Chroy Chongva bridge] Will Be Asked to Remove Their Houses for the Claiming of Land to Create a Public Park [Phnom Penh]
  • The Deposit for the Production of [estimated] More Than 100 Million Tonnes of Titanium Discovered in Koh Kong – Its Exploitation Will Start Next Year [Titanium ore can be manufactured to 45% as Titanium slag, that can be sold for US$700 to US$2,500 per tonne based on market prices – other estimates for the price of slag is $400 per tonne]
  • Mr. Leonard Cohen [a famous singer throughout the world – “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history] Will Organize a Humanitarian Concert for Cambodia [at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on 27 November 2010; the concert tickets are available in this website: http://www.themekongsessions.com%5D
Leonard Cohen’s most famous song

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

  • Hearing of [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case over the [alleged] Faking of Public Documents and Disinformation Will Be Held on 8 September 2010
  • The Anniversary of the 2008 Registration of the Tuol Sleng [genocidal] Museum under the Memory of the World of UNESCO Was Organized [Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tension with China

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia – Thursday, 5.8.2010

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, called on and ordered the authorities and other relevant officials at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders to suspend importing pigs as they may have the blue ear pig disease which is spreading.


“He stated during the certificate granting ceremony to bachelor students of the Build Bright University at the Koh Pich conference hall in the morning of 4 August 2010 that the blue ear pig disease broke out in China in May 2010, in Vietnam and Laos in July 2010, and then in Thailand. Now it entered Cambodia, affecting pigs to die in farms in Kampot, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chnnang, Kandal, Prey Veng, and Takeo.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries has taken immediate action, because when such a disease happens in the country, even the transport of animals in our country is banned, but while there are such restrictions, the provinces along the borders still allow the massive import of pigs.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen called on the provincial authorities at the borders, especially at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders, to suspend the import of pigs in order to prevent the outbreak of this pig disease. He said, ‘All authorities, including customs and CamControl officials, must prevent it. It does not violate the principles of the World Trade Organization, but it is a measure to save the lives of animals from this disease that spreads from place to place. As for the pigs that have already been transported to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, they must be banned from being transported to Phnom Penh, as it can harm human and animal lives. Our problem now is not just to meet the demands of the consumers, but to guarantee the quality of lives of humans and of animals.’


The Prime Minister took the opportunity to issue a restrictive order, because when such a disease breaks out, there need to be emergency measures taken. Previously, there were infectious diseases like diarrhea and many children suffered from it. Now there comes the blue ear pig disease, but at the border such pigs are permitted to be imported.


He mentioned the Minister’s of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, H.E. Chan Sarun’s wordings, who had said that the illegal import of pigs through the provinces along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is more active and alarming. Samdech Hun Sen questioned [the official staff], ‘You work at border posts or at the provinces, do you care about public health or about our citizens’ health?’


“Together with the appeal and the restrictive order, the Prime Minister also called on local pork vendors not to increase the prices too much, while the import of pigs from Thailand and Vietnam is suspended. Before, there were many such cases where the traders marked their prices up, and the prices of other meat like beef, and fish, followed and so did the prices of other things. Some said that pigs imported from the west and from the east killed local pigs, while they themselves try to work for their own interests without caring about the consumers. Therefore, there should not be too much price increases and the outbreak of the disease must be prevented, as now veterinarians as well as the Departments of Animal Health and Production, both in the capital city and in the provinces, are dealing with this issue.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.9, #1450, 5-6.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia Tries to Avoid War even though Thailand Sends More Troops [to the border]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7026, 5.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Expressed His Position about the [World Heritage Committee] Meeting in Brazil and the Border Issue while the Siamese [Thai] Government Wants to Negotiate [he said there is no winning nor losing for Cambodia and Thailand regarding the meeting of UNESCO in Brazil. He wants the border issues to be solved with peace, respect, friendship, and cooperation]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Royal Government Respects the [Khmer Rouge] Court over [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Conviction [that sentenced him to 35 years in prison, but he will still serve around 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment for cooperation with the court investigations]
  • Grade Quality Wood Trading Still Occurs in Opposition to the Measures of the Government to Stop Illegal Logging [Kompong Chhnang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3950, 5.8.2010
  • Another Australian Company [the Southern Gold] Announced to Have Found Gold Ore in the Snuol District of Kratie

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #22, 5.8.2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen Wants a Bigger Cambodian Market Share Abroad [to export rice and other grains]
  • Within Three Hours, There Were Two Robberies in Phnom Penh [taking away some money and jewelry]


Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #230, 5.8.2010
  • Cambodia Is Open for Negotiations [over border issues] with Thailand, and the Prime Minister Guaranteed the Citizens that There Will Be No Armed Clash [along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • Cambodia Exports Fishery Products [of 10,000 tonnes] to International Markets [Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam] Amounting to US$20 Million within the First Six Months of 2010 [US$5 million more than during the same period last year]
  • Four Institutions Have Roles [as buying and selling representatives of stock exchange bonds] in the Cambodian Stock Exchange [the ACLEDA Bank, the Canadia Bank, the OSK Indochina Bank, the Tong Yang Bank from South Korea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5268, 5.8.2010
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Wants to Send Officials to Negotiate with Cambodia over Border Tensions
  • More Than 110,000 Victims Received Emergency Assistance from the Cambodian Red Cross during the Forth Term [from 2006 to 2010; according to the 5th convention of the Cambodian Red Cross presided over by the King]



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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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Not Everything Legal is Considered Legitimate – Sunday, 20.6.2010

Posted on 22 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health spoke against the economic exploitation from blood donations and blood infusions during an event at the occasion of the World Blood Donors’ Day. Did she say that the financial transactions related to blood donations and transfusions are illegal? No. They are legal. But she still considers these business aspect as “totally against the moral of medical professionalism, and such behavior must be avoided.”

We encounter here a situation where something that is legal is still being considered not to be legitimate. No law is violated, but still some people claim to have good reasons to say that it is not acceptable.

And the Secretary of State elaborated further about the consequences of such a discrepancy, when – from a moral perspective – a legal but illegitimate action leads to a loss of “trust from the general public” in medical institutions which are involved in such actions.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Subedi, is quoted to have made a similar remark. Speaking to journalists he said that several reasons: “the lack of resources, institutional problems, and the interference from outside of the court system have created institutions which are not trusted by citizens.”

He did not say that the law is violated – but still: the result is not trusted by many citizens.

Probably it can be said that many actions which caused the sufferings and the deaths of many people under the Khmer Rouge regime were implemented according to the law – the laws of that time – and still a basic feeling for justice considers them not to have been legitimate.

To question legality in the name of legitimacy is not without problems – but still it has to be raised in every society which is built on basic human values, such as the values stated in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia; nobody can avoid to face this dilemma.

As reported by Reuters, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia stated at the end of his third mission to Cambodia on 17 June 2010, that he was troubled by the land disputes and the apparent inability of the poor to get a fair hearing in court. And in a reference to the government’s tough stand on dissent, he expressed concern about what he called a narrowing of the political space for debate. He has the duty to report the results of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council, and he will do so in September 2010. Again: there was no statement claiming that laws are violated – but also a clear indication that he understands that there is doubt and lack of trust in the courts, and in the legitimacy of the results of court actions, felt and expressed by many people.

Facing this situation , the head of the government’s Cambodia Human Rights Commission is quoted to have said already that he expects that the assessment by the UN Special Rapporteur will not be correct, as he was in the country only for a short visit.

It is a general phenomenon that flawed or wrong information and opinion can best be countered and maybe corrected by open and transparent communication – but this may also lead to clarify that there are different, even opposing opinions.

The rapporteur, Mr. Surya Subedi, expressed also that he was disappointed that he could not meet the Prime Minister – a meeting had been scheduled only for the end of his 10-days visit, and the visit could not materialize because the Prime Minister was unwell.

In response, the Prime Minister criticized Mr. Subedi, considering it as a sign of disrespect that he said he was disappointed about the Prime Minister’s illness. “Every time he’s come here, I’ve met him,” Hun Sen said. “From now on, I’ll see him just once a year. I hope he will hear this: I’m ill, I don’t need to report to you,” Hun Sen added, accusing Subedi of wanting to “colonize” his country.

The necessary exchange of information and of opinion with Mr. Subedi, as the United Nations appointed Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, will not become easier. When Cambodia was “colonized” like many other countries by European powers and by Japan were colonized, this was done with military threat or lethal force. It is not obvious why this service of the United Nations, agreed upon with the Royal Government of Cambodia, looking into the status of the human rights situation in Cambodia, considering the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the laws based on it, is an effort to colonize Cambodia.

If it were not that hundreds of people would demonstrate – often holding pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady whom they trust that they will help them to find justice – and thousands of people gave their thumb prints to raise their concerns, considering that they have been unjustly evicted – Mr. Subedi would not listen. He listened also to these people after meeting government representatives and members of the judiciary. And these people are among the ‘masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution, and they have the right to struggle, with all other sections of society, that the application of the law is felt to be legitimate.

Where this social consensus is lost – like recently in large section of the Thai society – this can lead to serious problems.

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The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders – Wednesday, 2.6.2010

Posted on 3 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Through a press conference on Tuesday, 2 June 2010, groups of civil society organizations in Cambodia, including the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia, and the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force, appealed to the armed forces to protect the interest of citizens, and not that of private companies and traders.

“In the press conference also communities that are affected by land grabbing by companies participated. Also citizens of the Boeng Kak lake community that are facing land grabbing and eviction by the Shukaku company of Senator and Oknha Lao Meng Khin from the ruling party, citizens of the Amleang commune in the Thpong district, Kompong Speu, who are vigorously protesting against land grabbing by the Kompong Speu Sugar and the Phnom Penh Sugar companies of Senator and Oknha Ly Yong Phat from the ruling party, and citizens from Romeas Haek district in Svay Rieng, who suffer from land grabbing by the Peam Cheang Rubber Plantation company, participated.

“A representative of the Boeng Kak lake community in Phnom Penh, Ms. Huot Mony, told the story that has led to violations and intimidations, to grab their land and houses by the Shukaku Inc. company, where many citizens are staff of the Prime Minister’s advisory committees that came to settle there since 1980. In 1993, the number of citizens in the area increased. On 6 April 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipality summoned citizens to meet at the Srah Chok pagoda, informing them that all the citizens in the Boeng Kak lake area would receive land titles – but it then became quiet.

“What makes the Boeng Kak lake residents feel very disappointed and hurt is that the notification of the Phnom Penh Municipality, dated 6 February 2006, said that the Boeng Kak lake area is leased for 99 years for US$79.2 million, with the rate of US$0.60 per square meter, to the Shukaku Inc. company, to develop the area of 133 hectares, where 40 hectares are lake surface.

“Through this agreement, 4,252 families in the Boeng Kak lake area in the Srah Chok commune, Daun Penh district, have been seriously affected by the dredging of sand by the company to fill in the lake. This Boeng Kak lake representative added that the company had laid sand dredging pipes that cause the posts of their houses to become unstable, and they had ordered the authorities to threaten and to prevent citizens from repairing their houses. Some families took out their belongings and the inhabitants moved away, as they were afraid of the danger that their houses might collapse.

“Many problems had happened to the Boeng Kak lake residents – some are concerned that their houses might be burnt down, people might get electric shocks, or their houses might collapse. Sobbing while she was speaking, this representative called on the international community to think about the poor citizens who face evictions, before they decide to grant aid to the Cambodian government.

“Also, a representatives of citizens from the Kompong Speu community in the Amleang commune said that their condition is not much different from what the representative of the Boeng Kak lake area had mentioned.

“This representative said that the Amleang commune residents had worked on their rice fields since before the Khmer Rouge regime, except during the Khmer Rouge regime, and then after 1979, they continued to live on their land, doing farming. Just early this year, Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s company had ordered machinery to clear their farmland and to ban them from farming on their land.

“Facing such a situation leads to serious disappointments, and the activities of the government and of these companies are not a sign of poverty alleviation, but they add a heavier burden on the citizens. In the meantime, it was noticed that when protests against land grabbing took place, private companies often used armed forces to intimidate the victimized citizens. Some cases led to shootings at the citizens, but the perpetrators were not brought to be punished.

“Non-government organizations raised six important demands to the government:

  1. The citizens must be involved in all developments.
  2. There must be proper compensation and agreements when dealing with land disputes.
  3. There must be more effective land dispute mechanisms.
  4. Arrests of citizens over land disputes must be stopped.
  5. The government should be involved in solving land disputes, based on proper procedures.
  6. Armed forces should protect the interests of citizens, and not that of powerful traders.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #493, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Increased in 2010, though Land Prices Dropped [according to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – more than 80 organizations were involved in 236 cases in 2009, compared to the corresponding period in 2010, there is an increase by 34.3%]
  • More Than 200,000 [Cambodian] Workers Are Working Illegally in Thailand [and seriously suffer from the exploitation of their labor – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2264, 2.5.2010

  • The United States of America Increases the Visa Fees to the USA from 4 June 2010 [from US$131 to US$140 for non-immigrant visas]
  • The King Issued a Royal Decree to Finalize the Appointments of Four Officials, and to Nominate Five Others [as advisors and under-secretaries of state; all of them are officials from the quota of FUNCINPEC]
  • The Number of Traffic Accidents within Five Months of 2010 Decreased, but the Number of Deaths Rose [there were 2,626 cases in 2010 which dropped by 145, but 804 people were killed, an increase by 11 deaths]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #671, 2.5.2010

  • [President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6971, 2.5.2010

  • Traffic Accidents in 2009 Made the Government Waste US$248 Million in 2009 [1,717 people were killed and 7,022 others suffered from serious injuries]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #184, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Might Be a Hot Agenda in the Meeting between Cambodia and Donors Today
  • Cambodia Expressed the Position Not to Extradite [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin to Thailand [while the Thai government plans to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin to 187 countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5213, 2.5.2010

  • The Forests in Oddar Meanchey Might Bring in US$30 Million from the Voluntary Carbon Market
  • A Tropical Strom Hit Two Districts in Siem Reap and Destroyed 373 Houses
  • Samdech Hun Sen Called on All National Institutions to Strongly Pay Attention to Children [he said so during the 61th anniversary of the International Children’s Day]
  • The National Assemblies of Cambodia and of Iran Encourage the Governments of Both Countries to Establish Embassies
  • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

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Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia – Saturday, 22.5.2010

Posted on 23 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Earlier on, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had frequently demanded that the National Assembly should promote the use of the Riel, and now there is a plan by the government for the de-dollarization of the economy towards the use of the Riel in general, which is welcomed immediately by the opposition party.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, welcomed this plan on Friday, 21 May 2010, saying, ‘This is what we have demanded for a long time, to value our national currency and to prevent inflation by using the Riel.’ Mr. Yim Sovann told Moneaksekar Khmer, ‘During sessions of the parliament, I had often raised this issues of using the Riel in our Cambodian economy, to both enhance our national prestige and to promote the Riel in order to effectively maintain macro-economic stability.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said so after a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance had mentioned, during a meeting on 20 May 2010, a plan of the government to de-dollarize the economy by using the Riel, considering also economic and social observations of the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Hang Chuonarong said that Cambodia wants to de-dollarize towards the use of the Riel. However, the Secretary of State said, ‘We want to change, but we are not sure from which step to start.’

“There is the same insight like what the opposition party had said, that only the use of the Cambodian currency can help Cambodia to maintain economic stability and its prestige. A millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Kong Triv, stated in support of the initiative that Cambodia should use the Riel to show its integrity at the international arena.

“Anyway, this initiative was intensively debated on Thursday, 20 May 2010. Most participants wanted Cambodia to take effective actions to ensure the use of its currency. For years, Cambodia had been criticized for allowing the free use of foreign currencies, including the US Dollar, which is being lively traded in the markets of Cambodia – and that devalues the Riel.

“Mr. Yim Sovann said that dollar notes are used for buying and selling, including even such simple daily vegetable products like water convolvulus, and this partly devalues its own currency – something no other countries do as Cambodia does. Neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam established their central banks for exchanging foreign currencies into their countries’ currencies. Everywhere in Yuon [Vietnam], the Dong is used. He added that tourists as well as investors exchange Dollar notes or their countries’ currencies when they leave Cambodia [for Thailand of Vietnam].

“As for foreign currencies used in Cambodia, it is not only the US Dollar. In some provinces of Cambodia bordering Siam [Thailand] and Yuon, their currencies are also invading . For example, if one want to go to Bavet in Svay Rieng or to Phnom Din district in Takeo, one needs to exchange Riels and Dollars for Dongs in advance. And if one wants to go to Oddar Meanchey or to Koh Kong, one needs to exchange money to have Thai Baht, because at those places, Riel notes are not used in general, and some common vendors do not even know Khmer Riel notes well.

“The most important problem is that earlier on as well as recently, it had been reported that the Koh Kong Water Supply and Electricity Authority – exclusively controlled by a local millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Ly Yong Phat, known to hold a Siamese identification card – officially decided to order the citizens in the town to settle their electricity bills with Thai Baht. This seems to show to have indirectly cut-off the province of Koh Kong from Cambodia and attached it to Siam.

“This bad decision, that leads to the devaluation of one’s own currency, seems to be a part of the devaluation of the national identity, and it is seen to originate from the Cambodian government itself, as most bidding and expense-income projects of the state are settled by using US Dollars rather than Riels. Therefore, the Cambodian People’s Party government has to be awake and stop devaluing its own currency. If it prints Riel notes, but does not use them broadly in the country, it is useless to print them and to waste national resources on it. In fact, it is not a good practice when a nation does not support its own country, but values the currencies of other nations.

“At present, the Riel of Cambodia is not used broadly to settle the account of important products – which is very dangerous for Cambodia. Thus, the government should reconsider the demands mentioned above by the opposition party and in a timely way introduce new strategies to guarantee the potential of the Riel in the markets.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #484, 22.5.2010

  • Cambodia Supports a Statement of Vietnam That Expresses Concern about the Situation in Siam [Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is among the Twenty Countries around the World to Receive [direct agricultural] Aid from the United States of America
  • [Oknha] Mong Riththy: Collecting Taxes for Pigs Imported from Neighboring Countries Will Help Farmers [each year Cambodia loses US$146 million on imported pigs]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2255, 22.5.2010

  • Wood Trading Still Continues Strongly in Oddar Meanchey
  • According to Latest Information, 85 Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai Government] Died and 1,898 Were Injured
  • Agricultural Officials Encourage Citizens to Grow Foreign Grass [it contains higher nutrition than local grass]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6962, 22-23.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Asked for a Reduction of Wood Consumption, but Suggested the Use of Iron and Cement Instead in Order to Reduce Logging
  • The Koh Kong Town Runs Out of Clean Water as the Water Reservoir Dries Up Due to the Too Hot Weather
  • Mr. Philippe Gréciano [professor at the university of Grenoble in France, who has also worked at the international genocide court it Rwanda] Is Appointed as Defense Lawyer of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

  • It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5204, 22.5.2010

  • Five People Trafficking Humans across the Border Were Arrested and Seventeen Victims Were Freed [Sampov Loun district, Battambang]
  • The Destructions in Bangkok Amounts to US$1.5 Billion

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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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A Too Quick Reaction from the Government – Thursday, 25.3.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 March 2010

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

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

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #443, 25.3.2010

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

Note:

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

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

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

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2210, 25.3.2010

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6917, 25.3.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

  • A Too Quick Reaction from the Government

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5159, 25.3.2010

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

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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