The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on External Aid – Tuesday, 24.8.2010

Posted on 25 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

“They provide legal assistance, but they are not a non-government organizations. They accept work for profit, but they are not working just for money. The Samrith Law Group, the first institution in Cambodia providing legal services to serve public interests, is opening a new page for profit-based lawyers’ groups, saying that the reliance on funding from donors [for free legal services to the poor] can be reduced.

[This long article has been abbreviated – abbreviated sections are marked by three dots …]

“The manager of this lawyers’ group, established in 2008, Mr. Ith Meakthura, said, ‘We want to show to other lawyers in Cambodia that even though we are private lawyers, we can help poor communities.’

“As the Cambodian government cannot offer legal assistance services, this role is normally left to a handful of non-government organizations that depend on international aid agencies, such as USAID and AusAid to support their operations.

“Until early this year, two major organizations of Cambodia offering legal aid, the Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia [the web site http://www.lac.org.kh did not work at the time of this writing] were forced to restrict their expenditures after donors reduced their funding support…

“A senior lawyer of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group, Mr. Ly Ping, said that his group is using a service pricing system with different levels, depending on the capacity of clients to pay. That means they can also offer services with no payment charged. While the Samrith Lawyers’ Group receives also some funding support which is gladly received, they can gain income from their own work as the basis for their operations, in case no aid is provided…

“Mr. Ly Ping stressed, ‘This is our commitment. We want to help. It is an obligation. It is a general feeling of human beings. And we make enough money.’ He added that as for public interest activities, the Samrith Law Group handles also big cases which take a long time, maybe one year, to deal with one or two cases. Such work brings income through services such as consulting, research, and training for some of these private cases, and sometimes donors provide funds for some cases…

“Part of the reason leading to the creation of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group were limitations they saw in the system that relies on the support for non-government organizations. The Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia were established specifically to offer legal aid and related services, but for some other non-government organizations, legal aid is just one part of what they do.

“But to establish the budget of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group faces also obstacles. A major problem of the lawyers’ group are disputes, that happen between personal interests, on which they depend, and public interests, that they want to serve. Since in big land dispute cases they may face the rich and the powerful, the lawyers’ group has to ensure that they proceed carefully, to guarantee the further flow of personal cases to deal with, on which they depend.

“Mr. Ly Ping said, ‘Therefore, our strategy which cases to select is very important. We try to accept moderate cases. Such cases are not too big.’ According to the head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Vireak, though the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has accomplished some initial success, one needs to see whether they can use sustainable choices to replace existing, traditional practices or not.

“Mr. Ou Vireak said, ‘It is too quick to say. I think that legal aid can help to a certain level, but the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has not yet played an important role in legal aid. The real question is always the bigger picture: can they make a change to the court systems in Cambodia?'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2335, 24.8.2010

  • [The former and now fugitive Thai prime minister] Thaksin Resigned from the Position as an Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and Thailand Will Send Its Ambassador Back to Cambodia Today
  • More Than Ten Luxury Cars Transported Ebony Wood across the Svay Leu District; Forestry Administration Officers Said They Were Not Aware of That [Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7042, 24.8.2010

  • More Than 200 Kilogram of Wild Animals [snakes, turtles, porcupines, and civets] Were Intercepted in Suong District [five people were held – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3966, 24.8.2010

  • The Authorities Must Care about the Construction of Roads in Phnom Penh That Do Not Have Proper Culvert Systems to Drain Out the Rain Water That Floods the City When There Are Heavy Rains

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #38, 24.8.2010

  • A Sihanoukville Court Released a [police] Officer Who Raped an 11 Years-Old Girl [court officials could not be reached for comment on 23 August 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Began to Construct a Five Stories Court Building

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

  • Names of Officials to Declare Their Assets Will Be Published [according to the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • Members of the Authorities [police] Suppressed Citizens Who Protested over Flooding, Resulting from the Boeng Kak Lake [sand filling] Development [they used shields and electric batons to disperse about 200 protesters who gathered in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh]
  • [About 300] Amleang Commune Residents Blocked a Road to Protest over Land Disputes [with the sugar company owned by Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat – Kompong Speu]
  • [Prince] Ranariddh: To Merge FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party Will Result in the Loss of Positions [according to legislation about political parties, if two parties merge, the Ministry of Interior will delete the former parties’ name from the list of registered parties]
  • The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on Aid

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5284, 24.8.2010

  • Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [warned the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • There Are Only About 50 Hectares for Coffee Growing Left in Cambodia, and Coffee Growers Are Competing with Coffee from Laos and from Vietnam [before there were more than 500 hectares with coffee grown in Ratanakiri]

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Court Reform Is Necessary – Saturday, 24.7.2010

Posted on 25 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Recently, the Ministry of Justice issued a special letter to warn court officials not to do improper activities as this might invite public criticism. In a letter dated 16 July 2010, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang VongVathana, wrote that officials of the Ministry have received many complaints from the general public accusing court officials, especially, clerks, without giving their names. The Minister added in the letter that the role of clerks is to take notes, to keep the complaint documents, and to fulfill their role properly according to the legal procedures, neutral and non-biased.

“The Minister of Justice warns in the letter that clerks must not be biased towards any sides during the hearing process and they must follow the orders of judges and of prosecutors in order to gain trust in the judicial system from the public. Such a warning from the Minister of Justice towards clerks is new, but he seems not to consider the judges and prosecutors in the provinces and cities who also commit improper acts.

“Regarding the above issue, the chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Sam Prochea Meaneth, said that the letter was sent to all municipal courts in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Ministry aims at all court officials, particularly at clerks who work with lawsuits of citizens. Clerks at the courts do not have the power to pass judgments in any cases. The decision by the Minister of Justice to issue this letter was not because of any special cases or accusations about wrongdoings, but it was issued as part of judicial reforms.

“Observers of the court system in Cambodia said that the letter of the Minister, dated 16 July 2010, deals only with one part of the problem; it warns only clerks who may be creating problems. But judges and prosecutors, who had committed corruption, like by changing a case from wrong to right, are not warned by the Ministry of Justice and admonished to implement their roles appropriately. Corruption in the court system can result from collusion among clerks, judges, and prosecutors. Therefore to put the burden only on clerks is not proper, because it disregards the irregularities committed by some corrupt judges and prosecutors towards poor citizens.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that they often heard of complaints from citizens expressing their disappointment about the courts and especially about clerks. Non-government organizations said that when citizens have money, clerks seem to care about their complaints, but if they do not have money, clerks discriminate against them and delay their cases for a long time before starting to work on them. The issue of the letter of the Minister is a positive sign, but it is still not covering the whole truth. The most important thing is that the Ministry of Justice makes the citizens trust in the court system of Cambodia.

“Many citizens have already been victimized by judges and prosecutors who colluded with powerful officials to grab their land. In some cases, the corruption of judges and prosecutors has been revealed publicly by citizens, like in land disputes in Ratanakiri. But in the end, the Ministry of Justice did not take any legal action against corrupt those judges and prosecutors, but just assigned them to work as judges and prosecutors in other provinces. Such dealings make citizens to distrust the court system, and they curse powerful officials who grab their land.

“At present, the court system of Cambodia is being criticized by national and international circles, accusing it to be a tool of the ruling party that serves only the rich and the powerful. But for poor victimized citizens as well as for politicians of the opposition, the courts do not seem to provide them justice according to the law. Thus, judicial reform is necessary to avoid that citizens lose trust in the institution of the courts. In the meantime, the international community and the donors must encourage the Cambodian government to speed up reforming the court system, as it had promised. Clerks, judges, and prosecutors, who commit corruption by using law for personal benefit, must be punished according to the law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2309, 24.7.2010

  • Three Men Were Arrested with 570 kg of Borax Powder Used for Applying on Food [to make it last longer] Affecting Human Health [Phnom Penh – Borax, a real multi-purpose chemical]
  • A Laotian Man Was Arrested together with More Than 3,000 Drug Tablets

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7016, 24-25.7.2010

  • Victims and Former Prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison Asked for a Life Sentence Imprisonment for Duch [his sentence will be announced on 26 July 2010]

  • Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010
    • Court Reform Is Necessary
    • Cambodia Needs Investors and Tax Favors from the USA to Create a Good Atmosphere at the 60th Anniversary of Having Diplomatic Ties

    • The USA Announced to Provide US$187 Million in Aid for Three Years for the Countries of the Indochina Region [Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam] to Address Poverty and to Conserve the Lower Mekong River

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5258, 24.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister: The Royal Government Will Make Cambodia [the third] Rice Exporting Country [after Thailand and Vietnam in Asia]

    • [Secretary of State of the USA] Clinton Criticized the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam [during the ASEAN-US meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Vietnam – but indirectly supported Vietnam in its claim on some Islands in the South China Sea contested by China]

    • The [Angkor Sentinel 2010] Military Exercise at the Command Post Level [for peace keeping] Was Finished Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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  • Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel – Thursday, 8.7.2010

    Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

    “Phnom Penh: The stock market of Cambodia scheduled to be established at the end of this year might use both Dollar and Riel.

    “A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuonarong, said on 6 July 2010, after a press conference at the office of the Asian Development Bank in Cambodia, that this is a choice being discussed by stock market experts, but so far, no official decision has been made. He added, ‘The government has nothing decided, but experts, highly skilled in stock exchange matters, are thoroughly discussing and studying its advantages and disadvantages.’

    “According to the Principal Economist in the Office of Regional Economic Integration of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Jayant Menon, the choice to use both currencies (Dollar and Riel) is a mechanism that Cambodia must take into consideration, because it is related to the currency polices, and the polices about interest rates, especially the stability of the Riel, the national currency of Cambodia.

    “He went on to say that to invest by using the Dollar or the Riel is not a problem for the operation of the stock market in Cambodia, but it depends on where Cambodia wants investments to flow to. He added that the problem is whether Cambodia needs local or needs foreign investment. If Cambodia needs foreign investment, foreign investors might find it somewhat difficult to invest in the stock exchange of Cambodia.

    “So far, the Dollar, the US currency, is used for 90% of the transaction value [the Riel is used for 10%] at the markets and for payments in Cambodia, while in Laos, it is used only for 50%, and in Vietnam for merely 20%.

    “Regarding this issue, Mr. Narong recognizes this point, but he said that the use of the Dollar has both positive and negative qualities. He explained that the use of the Dollar is good, because its value does not change much, it is easy for settling payments in exports, and it attracts foreign investment for economic growth, but it can cause difficulties for the authorities to manage currency policies and some other problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 8 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2295, 8.7.2010

    • Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Will Cooperate to Solve Dollarization Problems [to deal with challenges that result from using different currencies in the economy, to allow the three countries to promote efficient currency policies and currency exchange policies]
    • Samdech Hun Sen and His Wife Donated Two Male Elephants to the [South] Korean Government [for breeding]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7002, 8.7.2010

    • Police Intercepted a Twelve-Seater Car Loaded with 110 Pieces of Ebony, and a Person Who Tried to Protect the Wood Claiming that He Is a Military Police Officer [finally police seized the car and arrest the driver – Takeo]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3926, 8.7.2010

    • Cambodia Loses US$20 Million to US$90 Million per Year because of Failures in Its Dollarization Policy [according to studies by the Supreme National Economic Council – (interesting: its web site has also a non-operational button Call for donation) – the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, the extensive use of dollars in Cambodia, on the one hand, helps attract foreign investment and trade and enables the banking and financial systems to improve quickly through the increase of deposited money, the prevention of market disturbances, and the inflation of the prices of goods – but, on the other hand, it weakens the possibility of the National Bank of Cambodia to create its own currency policies, including for the prevention of financial crisises in the banking system, the control of the inflation rate of currency exchanges, and the printing of currency notes]
    • The Court Will Issue a Warrant to Detain [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua on 16 July 2010 if She Does Not Pay a Fine by the Deadline [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #2, 8.7.2010

    • The World Bank: Cambodia Is Very Open for Foreign Investments [compared to other countries in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific, but It Takes Longer [to launch an operation in Cambodia, which takes 86 days on average, while in other countries, it takes only 42 days]
    • The Phnom Penh Municipality Starts to Construct a Demonstration Compound [at a park near the Canadia Bank’s High Rise Building]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

    • Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel
    • Cambodia Denied that Thai Red-Shirt [anti-government] Leaders Take Shelter in Siem Reap [the Thai Prime Minister said that two red-shirt leaders are hiding in Cambodia]
    • More Than 6,000 People Suffered Injuries and Death along the Road [within six months of 2010, there were 3,040 cases of traffic accidents in Cambodia which killed 991 people, seriously injured 2,853, and lightly injured 2,562]

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    The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts – Wednesday, 30.6.2010

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

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

    “The acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens. He said so on Tuesday 29 June 2010, after the secretariat of the National Assembly released an announcement on Monday 28 June 2010, that the National Assembly will hold an annual international conference in Kratie about the role of the parliament in encouraging and strengthening the development of the triangle zone.

    “The announcement says that a conference between the Commissions on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly of Cambodia, Laos, and Yuon [Vietnam] will be organized for four days, starting from 6 July 2010, aiming to step up friendship and cooperation between countries that are good neighbors, and to participate more actively to jointly encourage friendship, solidarity, and cooperation in the border regions of the three countries.

    “It is noticed that Cambodia and Laos would gain little benefit from the development of the triangle economic zone, while Yuon, the initiator, benefits most. The triangle economic zone might create big industrial factories where Yuon can create best productivity processes, with the production for sale in the region, while Cambodia and Laos cannot do the same.

    “Mr. Kim Sophearith added that he supports the development plans of the government, but the development must be thoroughly studied to discover any bad impacts in advance, because both development or poverty alleviation will have its impacts on the economy in Cambodia, to progress as in neighboring countries.

    “Analysts noticed that most development plans of the government by investments, from local or from foreign investors, frequently victimize Khmer citizens. Obviously, in Phnom Penh, thousands of poor families, or tens of thousands of people, had suffered misery from intimidation, violence, human rights violations, or were imprisoned by the authorities or by development companies, like in the case of Sambok Chab and in the case of Dei Krahom in the Bassak commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, where citizens were evicted from their settlements where they had been living for a long time, now moved to the suburbs of Phnom Penh, where there are no adequate utility system, no schools, and no hospitals.

    “Citizens in the Boeng Kak area in the Tuol Kork district are also being victimized by the development plans of the Shukaku company which belongs to Yeay Phou, well-known as a businesswoman among many in Cambodia, who is close to high ranking officials of the ruling party. Some citizens said that they had been offered very few solutions from the state, and some did not receive any, because the state carried out expropriation legislation adopted by the National Assembly earlier in 2010.

    “The Sam Rainsy Party considers that this law will affect many poor families when the state intends to develop an area and then requires citizens living in that area to leave, even without receiving any compensation. Also, the development in the northeast of Cambodia in Ratanakiri or in Mondolkiri had seriously affected many ethnic minority people and their communities, when the government provided concession land to local and to foreign companies for their development.

    “At present, many ethnic minority people are losing the traditions handed down from their ancestors, because they do not have the land of their graves any longer, or the land for cultivation. In addition, in Kompong Thom, various families of veterans who died or are disabled were victimized by the provision of economic concession land to a Vietnamese company to plant rubber trees.

    “Thus, can this not be considered as development based on the misery of Khmer citizens? Moneaksekar Khmer criticizes this intending to ask the government to look at the difficulties of the many Khmer citizens who have been jailed due to such developments, where the government does not think sufficiently of the benefits for poor people. Therefore, because of the bitter lessons and experiences mentioned above, when planning the development of the triangle zone of the three countries – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the Cambodian government must conduct thorough studies in advance about possible bad impacts on the environment and especially on the citizens in the region, as suggested by the acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, who said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 30 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #517, 30.6.2010

    • The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister [Yim Chhay Ly], and the Senior Ministers [Chhay Thorn and Tao Seng Huor and two other officials] Are Infected with A/H1N1 [Swine Flu – according to the Ministry of Health]
    • The Ruling Party Condemns Those Who Block the Demarcation of the Border [while the opposition party says that it will continue to check the border demarcation in order to ensure transparency and independence]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2288, 30.6.2010

    • There Is No Bribery in the Demolition of Reservoirs around the Tonle Sap Lake [claimed the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor – it is said that some people who own reservoirs try to bribe officials so that their reservoirs are not demolished]
    • Burma Plans to Create Direct Flights to Cambodia [but has not specified the exact date]
    • Chemicals Are Still Applied on Food [to make it look fresh and to prevent the fly] Sold at Markets [which affect the health of eaters]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6995, 30.6.2010

    • The Sam Rainsy Party Decided Not to Pay the Fine [approximately US$2,000] of Mu Sochua [for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen], while a Treasury Official Said that the Deadline for the Payment Is 1 July 2010
    • A Court Decided to Detain a Defrocked Monk in Prey Sar Prison, as there Were Pictures of 627 Beautiful Girls Found on a Memory Stick, Bathing [nude] in Holy Water, Whom He Had Filmed Secretly

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

    • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #204, 30.6.2010

    • Thailand Released [ten] Cambodian Citizens [and two soldiers] Arrested [for crossing the border illegally]
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: If I Was Afraid [of being jailed], I Would Not Have Sued the Prime Minister [she was aware of the possibility of losing the case against Prime Minister Hun Sen and of getting jailed, before she decided to sue him. Now she is required to pay a fine, but she will not pay it and rather get jailed, as she considers the verdict not to have provided justice]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5237, 30.6.2010

    • Inquiry: Violence against Women in 2009 Declined Much Compared to 2005 [according to a study about 3,040 citizens in 24 provinces and cities, the violence by husbands against wives declined from 64% in 2005 to 53% in 2009]
    • A Prince [the Duke of Gloucester] Who Is a Royal Family Member of the English Royalty Visits Siem Reap and the Banteay Chhmar Temple [to observe the repair of the temples by the Global Heritage Fund]
    • “Cultural Life in the City” Is the Theme of Cambodia during the World Exhibition in Shanghai [China]

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    Civil Society: The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Not an Independent Institution and the Nomination of Officials Is Politically Oriented – Wednesday, 16.6.2010

    Posted on 17 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

    “Officials of some important civil society organizations in Cambodia do not trust that officials of the National Anti-Corruption Council, that held the first meeting at the Council of Ministers yesterday, can function properly, saying, ‘The National Anti-Corruption Council is not an independent institution, but it is politically oriented.

    “The president of Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Thun Saray, said, ‘Civil society organizations do not think the institution is dependent, and as we had said before, this institution is composed of people appointed based on their political orientation.

    “Also, the executive director of the Cambodia Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he could not say whether this newly created National Anti-Corruption Council can operate effectively to fight corruption.

    “He noticed that the members of the council are persons with similar faces, adding, ‘It is just like the same car driven by the same drivers, but just it is painted with a new color to appear a bit nicer.’

    “So far, both the Anti-Corruption Unit and the National Anti-Corruption Council do not seem to have earned the full support from the general public.

    “Mr. Om Yentieng, becoming a member of the National Anti-Corruption Council automatically, as he has been nominated as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit last week, said that the eleven members of the National Anti-Corruption Council have now been appointed.

    “A senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party thinks that Mr. Om Yentieng, nominated by the Prime Minister as the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, will not be able to work effectively.

    “Answering journalists questions regarding the appointment of Mr. Om Yentieng as head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit by Mr. Hun Sen’s government, a Sam Rainsy party parliamentarian and spokesperson of the party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he does not believe there will be a change in the fight against corruption.

    “Mr. Yim Sovann added, ‘I think that corruption will not decline when Mr. Om Yentieng is the head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit at the Council of Ministers.’

    “Mr. Yim Sovann noticed that corruption has spread further, adding ‘I believe that there is no change in the fight against corruption.’

    “It should be noted that, according to the anti-corruption law signed by the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia in March 2010, the National Anti-Corruption Council must have eleven members assigned by the National Assembly, the Senate, the King, the government, the National Audit Authority, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection, and the Human Rights Committee of the government.

    “That law states that other duties of the council are to check the operations of the Anti-Corruption Unit, the investigators, and to report to Prime Minister Hun Sen to make final decisions.

    “The president of ADHOC, Mr. Thun Saray, told reporters on Monday that civil society organizations will closely observe the activities of this institution.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 16 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #505, 16.6.2010

    • Cambodia for the First Time Will Have a National Arbitration Center to Solve Commercial Disputes [and to promote trust in the field of commerce – according to the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh]
    • The Medical Ship USNS Mercy [of the United States of America navy] Comes to Provide Free Treatment to Khmer Citizens

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2276, 16.6.2010

    • The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Established
    • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] His Excellency Hor Namhong Declared Victory in the Case with [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy in France [who accused Mr. Hor Namhong as having been involved in killing people during Khmer Rouge regime while he was in Boeng Trabaek prison; Mr. Hor Namhong demanded only Euro 1 or approx.US$1.25 as a symbolic compensation from Mr. Sam Rainsy]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #780, 16.6.2010

    • The US Department of State Upgraded Cambodia to the Tier 2 in the Fight of Human Trafficking and Excluded Cambodia from the Tier 2 Watch List [on human trafficking]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6983, 16.6.2010

    • In a Horrific Tragedy, an Old Man and an Old Woman together with Their Son Were Murdered at Night [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #194, 16.6.2010

    • The Authorities Blocked Land Dispute Protesters [about 200 persons from different provinces and cities] to Hand Over a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
    • Samdech Euv [the former King]: My Visit [at the end of June] to Vietnam Is Private [he said so, as he retired and does not enter into politics and does not handle diplomatic affairs; earlier on, the Sam Rainsy Party had asked him to mention the irregularities over the putting of border markers with Vietnam during his visit]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5225, 16.6.2010

    • The Staff Member of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister Accepted a Petition that Police Prevented from Being Carried to Samdech Hun Sen’s Residence [the petition was brought by about 200 land dispute protesters from different provinces and cities]
    • Delegations of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Met to Promote Good Governance in Public Affairs [Phnom Penh]

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    Cambodia Prepares Commercial Law to Resolve Disputes Relating to Foreign Dumping Sales – Thursday, 20.5.2010

    Posted on 21 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

    “Phnom Penh: The Cambodian government, through it’s Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with USAID, organized to draft legislation to resolve disputes relating to foreign dumping sales of products imported from neighboring countries.

    “The anti-dumping draft consists of 6 chapters and 124 articles that have been written since 15 October 2009. This draft covers all requirements of the World Trade Organizations for carrying out measures against dumping, like measures to impose special tax compensations on dumping products, and other measures to protect local investors and products. The draft law designs all procedures and measures to enforce commercial resolutions to address the bad impact on the local industry that can result from dishonest trades and massive imports. This new law aims to support the development of competition and productivity.

    “The head of the Department of International Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce, who participated in the discussions to create that law, Mr. Sok Sopheak, told reporters that this new law is drafted to protect the local industry and productivity, adding, ‘When foreign products are imported to Cambodia and are sold at dumping price levels (cheaper than local products), for example, if the [original] price of a product is US$5, but it is sold for US$4, local industry will collapse, and the importer can supply their products without end. Thus, to deal with such activity, we take counter-measures by prohibiting the import or we investigate and demand compensation.’

    “Mr. Sok Sopheak went on to say, ‘So far, cement, pigs, and other products were affected by dumping sales from neighboring countries, and we have not had laws to open investigations or to take measures in response. We have not had accurate figures about dumping. We just received protests from pig raisers and producers of cement and of other products who claimed that they were affected.’

    “Officials of the Ministry of Commerce said that the anti-dumping draft will be discussed and finalized at relevant ministries and then sent to be approved at the Council of Ministers in late 2010. This law might then reach the National Assembly in mid 2011, and the teams responsible for drafting this law will try to finish it soon for the sake of the local community and of local producers.

    “The head of the Cambodian Macro, Small, Medium Enterprise Project [MSME] of USAID that supported the creation of the draft about anti-dumping commercial resolutions, Mr. Curtis Hundley, said that in Cambodia, dumping of Vietnamese and Thai products has happened, bankrupting local producers. Vietnam and Thailand financially support their farmers, and they produce and export products in large quantities to Cambodia by using dumping prices that destroy the local industry and local products in Cambodia.

    “Mr. Curtis added that Thailand and Vietnam exported products, such as pigs, fish, bricks, kiln products, cement, and coffee to Cambodia and sold them at dumping price levels. In 2007, Vietnam exported pigs to Cambodia that led to protests. At that time, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen ordered a halt of the import of pigs from Vietnam for eight months, until the problem had been addressed. In 2008, Thailand had local market problem and exported pigs to Laos and Cambodia, making Cambodian farmers abandon their pig raising because of the dumping imports – Thai pigs were sold at cheaper prices than Cambodian pigs. Therefore, this law will lead to commerce with equity, fairness, and honest competition in Cambodia so as to prevent the import of illegal products.

    “The commercial anti-dumping draft law was the topic for discussions on 19 May 2010 between the team that drafted it, officials of the Ministry of Commerce, and foreign experts, to adjust the wording in some points.

    “Thirty to forty local businesspeople will attend a one-day meeting to check and discuss the draft with scholars, experts, and legal people on 20 May 2010 at the Hotel Intercontinental.

    “The discussion will invite active talks between the participants and small teams with members of the drafting team. That draft will play an important role in setting, analyzing, assessing, and reporting about problematic imports, raised by businesspeople working with experts.

    “The meeting will also focus on considerations about different ways to adjust the language and wording of the draft to make it easy, considering which institutions should be in charge of commercial resolutions among the Cambodian authorities. The investigating authorities under the Ministry of Commerce can conduct inquiries on technicalities and recommend solutions through the setting of taxes or quota of the import of products from abroad.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5202, 20.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 20 May 2010

    The Agence Française de Développement [AFD] Wants to Stop Providing Aid, Changing to Provide Loans for Development [according to a meeting between the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, and the AFD’s Director of the Asian Department, Ms. Martha Stein Sochas

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #482, 20.5.2010

    • An Inhuman Man Raped His Three Daughters [ages between 6 and 11 years old] Fifteen Times [he was arrested – Siem Reap]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2253, 20.5.2010

    • The Phnom Penh Municipality Rejected the Request to Create a Border Demarcation Committee, presented by Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer [in order to check the setting of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng; the court claimed that the government already has a committee to conduct such affairs]
    • A Colonel Was Killed and Two Other Soldiers Were Seriously Injured in a Traffic Accident [Kandal]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6960, 20.5.2010

    • The Persons Who Looked Down on the Angkor Wat Temple [by putting Angkor Wat place mats on the floor in front of toilets in a hotel] Made a Public Apology [one is from the Philippines, the other from Malaysia – Siem Reap]
    • The 145th World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Was Celebrated [displaying banners and letting fly balloons to promote the understanding about Internet access and other information and ICT technologies, contributing to social and economic development, and to reduce the gender gap – on 18 May 2010 in Phnom Penh] [Probably not mentioning why Cambodia is among the countries with the highest prices in the region]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3884, 20.5.2010

    • Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Will Appeal Later This Week against the Rejection by the Municipal Court of the Request to Create a [additional] Border Demarcation Committee

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #175, 20.5.2010

    • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Suppressed [anti-government] Red Shirt Demonstrators Successfully but Left behind Turmoil in Bangkok [four other demonstrators and an Italian reporter were killed and 50 others were injured – and Red Shirt activists are supposed to be the arsonists of 35 major fires in Bangkok]
    • Villagers Having Land Disputes, Warn They Will Block a Portion of National Road 5 Today [to demand the provincial governor to solve the land dispute over 145 hectares with the KDC International company – Kompong Chhnang]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5202, 20.5.2010

    • Cambodia Prepares Commercial Law to Resolve Disputes Relating to Foreign Dumping Sales
    • Lightning Fatally Struck a Six-Months Pregnant Woman, and a Tropical Storm Destroyed 27 Houses and Killed Cattle in Svay Rieng

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change – Tuesday, 11.5.2010

    Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

    Note:

    After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

    Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

    Norbert Klein
    Editor of the Mirror

    “Almost unbearable and hotter sunshine is getting public attention; this problem clearly shows that Cambodia is experiencing a change to a hotter climate as part of the global natural phenomena. The typhoon Ketsana indicated that Cambodia starts to face natural disaster, while the temperature is alarmingly getting hotter at present. In rural areas, the heat wave is affecting farmers, making it difficult for them to go out to their rice fields. The wind also brings the heat wave to wherever the people stay, even under the trees they still feel the hot wind.

    “According to the weather forecast of 10 May 2010 of the Department of Meteorology, the temperature in low lying areas is 25 to 40 degrees Celsius, at the highlands 26 to 38, at the seashore 22 to 36. Based on the weather forecast of the website http://www.underground.com [not operational at time of editing], the temperature in Phnom Penh is 38 degrees, but the hottest temperature was up to 40 degrees, comparable to Ho Chi Minh City with 36 to 40. Bangkok has a higher temperature than Cambodia with 38 to 41 degrees. Besides, the temperature in Manila/Philippines is 36 to 44 degrees, in Jakarta/Indonesia 35 to 44, in Vientiane/Laos 37 to 43, and in Kuala Lumpur 31 to 42 etc.

    “As it is almost the end of the Visakh Lunar Month, the weather should have turned from hot to cooler, but it is seen that in the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is rain in some areas, but in some others there is no rain at all, though the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology had forecast that there will be rain everywhere during the rainy season, and there will be no ‘small dry season’ during the rainy season. The hot temperature at present makes it difficult for people to endure it, as they never encountered something like this before.

    “An official of the Department of Meteorology said that the temperature is hot because there is no rain. When the rain comes, the temperature will drop. The deputy head of the Department of Meteorology, Mr. Oum Rina, told Koh Santepheap on the phone that in April, in some areas like in Siem Reap and in the northwest, the temperature rose to 41 degrees Celsius. At other areas, the temperature was 38 to 40 degrees, but it declined when the rain came regularly. Mr. Oum Rina added that now, the temperature is still hot. In the northwest, it is 40 degrees and in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kompong Cham, and other provinces and cities, the temperature is only between 37 and 39 degrees.

    “He went on to say that the hot temperatures can last until 14 or 15 May 2010, and then they will drop as the rain will start. There will be raining for a few days later in Phnom Penh and in some other areas, and the temperature will go down. This is all part of the problem of climate change.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 11 May 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #474, 11.5.2010

    • US$1 Billion Was Signed between the Private Sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia
    • Military Police Intercepted a Car Loaded with Artifacts, but the Driver Escaped [Battambang]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2245, 11.5.2010

    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Malaysian Investors that Cambodia Opens Its Economy for All Investors
    • The US Embassy Prepares to Mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties with Cambodia [by organizing a concert on 13 May 2010]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #6511, 11.5.2010

    • Twenty Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask the Svay Rieng Court to Allow Them to Visit Meas Srey and Prum Chea at the Svay Rieng Prison [on 18 May 2010; both of them are jailed for removing border markers]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6952, 11.5.2010

    • The Hotter Temperature Is Difficult to Stand – This Shows there Is Climate Change
    • [Four] Armed Robbers Robbed a Fuel Station and Shot and Injured a Major Who Is the Owner of the Station [taking away some money and property – Pursat]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3876, 11.5.2010

    • More Than 2,000 Families Face Eviction and Their Land Will Be Sized to Be Delivered to a Private Company [Mondolkiri]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #168, 11.5.2010

    • Global Witness Criticized Sand Dredging Operations in Cambodia [for exports to Singapore, saying that those operations seriously affect the beach and river eco-systems due to a lack of transparency and regulations of the government – it estimates that at present, up to more than 796,000 tonnes of sand are dredged every month]
    • [President of the Cambodian Independent Teacher Association] Rong Chhun: We Do Not Want Laws or the Authorities to Limit Our Freedom [he said so regarding the creation of a ‘democracy compound’ for not more than 200 people protesting]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5194, 11.5.2010

    • More Than US$36 Million of Cash Were Sent by Cambodian Workers [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] to Their Families in Cambodia within One Year [in 2009]
    • The Former Head of the Vietnamese Communist Party [Mr. Lê Khả Phiêu – Le Kha Phieu] Visits Cambodia [to strengthen solidarity between both countries]
    • The Kunthak Bopha Hospital Spends US$30 Million Each Year [to provide health services; US$2.5 million from the government, US$2.7 million from the Swiss government, and the rest is from the foundation of Professor Beat Richner]
    • A Shrimp Company [Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing of Canada] Sells it’s 31.48% Stake [to Leopard, a company in Asia; each day, the company can produce more than 10 tonnes of shrimps – Sihanoukville]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products – Monday, 10.5.2010

    Posted on 11 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

    “The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is paying a three-day official visit to Cambodia which started on Sunday; he will chair a meeting for the signing of six commercial agreements worth US$1 billion.

    “Five commercial agreements will be signed by the private sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia, and another agreement will be signed between a Malaysian company and the Cambodian government.

    “Also Mr. Hun Sen will attend the signing ceremony. The agreements to be signed focus on the educational sector, the technical field, security, the Halal food industry (food containing no pork, prepared according to Muslim regulations), agriculture, training, and the exchange of products.

    “This is the first official visit of Mr. Razak since he became prime minister last year. This visit is considered important for the strengthening of bilateral ties with Cambodia. According to officials of the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, the entire commerce between both countries in 2009 amounted to just US$150 million. About 90% of the commerce was exports of textile products, palm oil, food, and drinks from Malaysia, while the other 10% was export of goods, rubber, textiles, and rice from Cambodia.

    “The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia said that there are a lot of opportunities for Malaysian investors to come to invest in various sectors in Cambodia, such as education, health care, construction, the Halal food industry, tourism, oil, and gas. At present, Malaysia is the fourth biggest foreign investor in Cambodia after China, South Korea, and Yuon [Vietnam].

    “The investments from Malaysia include sports infrastructure, hotels, education, banking, and fast food. Trade and investments between Cambodia and Malaysia are expected to double while the region is moving towards the ASEAN Economic Association in 2015, which will allow the free flow of goods, capital, and people. The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia stressed that Malaysian investors consider Cambodia as an important country for investments, as Cambodia is located in the Mekong River Basin, comprising of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, with a total population of 100 million.

    “During this visit, 117 Malaysian investors will participate in the private sector conversation, and Mr. Razak and Mr. Hun Sen will chair the Cambodian-Malaysian commercial forum and a lunch reception. Also the leaders of the two countries will chair a meeting to sign six commercial agreements.

    “The Malaysian Prime Minister will meet with the Cambodia side to discuss bilateral affairs at the Council of Ministers, and he will visit the Esata Operations Center, a Cambodian-Malaysian telecommunications company, the construction site of a new building for the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, and the Kunthak Bopha IV Hospital. On the last day, he will meet the Khmer King Norodom Sihamoni, the president of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, and the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 10 May 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #473, 9-10.5.2010

    • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister Rejected a Request for Intervention [from citizens] over a Land Dispute in Kandal Stung District [with the Heng Development company, Kandal. The PM had looked into the case already in 2009 and came to the conclusion that the 842 families involved have no right to own the disputed land of 200 hectares]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2244, 1-10.5.2010

    • The Film Who Killed Chea Vichea Cannot Be Played at Any Place as Long as There Is No Permission [according to Sub-Decree 63 of the government, Article 20 says that before the operation, playing, leasing, and selling of all types of films, it is necessary to ask for permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. A secretary of state of this ministry said that this film cannot be played publicly, but it can be played privately, for example in a room with a small audience]

    Note:

    It is surprising to observe that thousands of pornographic CDs and DVDs are being sold publicly all over town, and many of them are shown in some restaurants or coffee shops. Were they all legally imported and did they all first receive the permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fina Arts? Probably yes? Because they are being operated, played, leased, and sold in public – so the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is aware of this. But there are no reports that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is dealing with them with a similar intensity, comparable to the attention it is giving to Who Killed Chea Vichea.

    • The Number of People Suffering from Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 51 [there is no recent report whether there is testing also for Cholera being performed – as some medical practitioners claim that there is also Cholera in Cambodia. The assertion by some medical authorities that the treatment for Diarrhea and for Cholera is the same is wrong]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

    • Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6951, 10.5.2010

    • Robbers Continue to Commit Robberies in Battambang, Taking Away 100 Chi of Gold [approx. US$14,000] while the Authorities Have Not Identified the Robbers Who Took Away US$100,000

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3875, 10.5.2010

    • The Ministry of Education Should Eliminate Corrupt Nepotism in the Department of Education of Preah Vihear [it is claimed that some positions are controlled by leaders, their in-law, daughters, and their groups of friends]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #167, 10.5.2010

    • Cambodia and Malaysia Will Sign Commercial Agreements for US$1 Billion Today
    • [The Phnom Penh Sugar] Company Sends More Soldiers [more than 150] to Protect Its Land [provided by the government as concession land; Amleang commune, Thpong district, Kompong Speu. The company which is being protected by soldiers is one of the companies which “sponsors” military units]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5193, 9-10.5.2010

    • A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, a Member of FUNCINPEC [Mr. Hun Phoeung] Was Removed from His Position [Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of working for an opposition party]
    • More Than US$7 Million Was Collected [as charitable donations] during the Celebration of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Anniversary on 8 May
    • Two Died and Twelve Others Were Injured in New Shootings in Bangkok

    Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1892, 9.5.2010

    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Let’s See whether [the Phnom Penh municipal governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Dares to Remove [Chamkar Mon district governor] Lo Yuy over Corruption, as He Had Said, or Not [recently he warned to revoke the Chamkar Mon district governor for being inactive, not suppressing illegal activities in his district]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held – Thursday, 29.4.2010

    Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

    “Phnom Penh: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum was held in the morning of 27 April 2010 at the seat of the Council of Ministers. The forum was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen; other leaders of the Royal Government, from the private sector, and many other development partners, and diplomats attended the forum.

    “Like at the previous time, the aim of the meeting, considered to be a kind of open ministerial session, is to jointly monitor the practical progress and improvements achieved, to see how problems, which were raised during the 14th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum had been addressed, and to know what other problems investors face in Cambodia.

    “The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said during his speech opening the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum that the Royal Government had led the Cambodian economy to get across a most difficult stage of the economic crisis, where the Royal Government managed to ensure financial stability as well as macro-economic and social stability, established a more favorable environment for economic and business activities, and strengthened social safety for the citizens.

    “He added that encountering the global economic crisis, the Royal Government had continually intervened in the taxation system for garment and shoe factories as well as for other industries supporting these fields. Reduced tax payments on income of the garment and shoe factories was extended until the end of 2012, resulting in monthly losses for the state of about Riel 4,000,000,000 [approx. US$940,000]. To reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 0% during that time resulted in additional losses for the state of about Riel 4,300,000,000 [approx US$1 million] per month in 2008 and it increased to as much as approx. Riel 9,300,000,000 [approx. US$2.2 million] in 2010.

    “The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, chaired the event and waited to address all problems after they had been raised by the eight private sector groups. Then he dealt with the problems of the working teams for agriculture and for industry, relating to the export of agricultural products, even though it is recognized that there has been improvement in the commercial sector. Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sectors needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.

    “Regarding these issues, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that such type of unimportant checkpoints should be abolished at all levels, especially when such activities are carried out by institutions which are not authorized for this, and he called to abolish such licenses required by unnecessary institutions, so that export business becomes more competitive exporting agricultural products of Cambodia.

    “As for the tourism working team, Mr. Ho Vandy asked the government to reduce the price of plane tickets of Cambodia Angkor Air from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, to allow flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and to add another flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and to begin local flights between Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville.

    “In response, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that Cambodia adheres to a free market economy. Thus, the government cannot set prices of flights as it is done in a planned economy. In relation to the request to begin flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, he said that the government does not provide exclusive rights to Cambodia Angkor Air, and other companies can operate direct flights. He encouraged Mr. Ho Vandy – if he could make any airline to start direct flights to Sihanoukville he will request that Mr. Vandy should get a medal for this incentive.

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen also addressed issues in other sectors, mostly concentrating on the lowering of tax for the import of raw materials and for means of transport, and the lowering of VAT. At the same time, he addressed also problems relating to trade unions and workers. In addition, he clarified some cases, where the private sector had called to strengthen the competition of the garment sector by considering that the expensive prices of telecommunication, transportation, and electricity are a burden.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 29 April 2010

    Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Was Nominated as a Member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #463-464, 28-29.4.2010

    • The Government Encourages the Private Sector to Export Agricultural Products
    • Two Murderers Were Arrested for Killing a Woman to Rob Her Lexus Car to Sell it in Vietnam [Phnom Penh]
    • The Prime Minister Reminded the Authorities to Crack Down on Illegal Check Points

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22-342235, 28-29.4.2010

    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The BHP Billiton Mining Company Did Not Give Illegal Money to Cambodia [to get a mining exploration concession from the government]
    • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Ambassadors in Cambodia Not to Interfere in the Internal Affairs of Cambodia

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

    • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Decide on Bail Requests of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan on 30 April 2010
    • Samdech Hun Sen: Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and To Demonstrate [on 1 May 2010, the International Labor Day] Is Their Right
    • The Australian Embassy Provides Scholarships to 40 Cambodian Students Every Year
    • The National Children’s Hospital Receives Medical Equipment Donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA, worth about US$200,000]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

    • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [COMFREL]: The Power of the National Assembly Is in the Hands of Only One Party, and Complaints against Mr. Sam Rainsy [filed by the government] Are Dangerous for Democracy
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked the Minister of Justice to Confirm the Conditions Under Which Courts Can Detain Citizens

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #159-160, 28-29.4.2010

    • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: The Money from the [Australian] BHP Company Is Not Corrupt Money [he confirmed that the government was not involved in corruption with the BHP company in providing mining exploitation rights in Cambodia, but he said that this company did provide more than US$2 million for social development projects]
    • Tourists Arrivals Increased by Almost 10% in the First Quarter of 2010 [there were more than 680,000 tourists, mostly from Korea, China, and Japan]
    • Visakh Bochea Was Internationally Celebrated in the Angkor Area in Siem Reap [with an international “Trail of Civilization and Performance” with participation from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam]
    • Cambodia Lifts the Ban on Marriages between Khmer Women and South Korean Men
    • The International Monetary Fund: Cambodia Should Improve Investment Atmosphere [in order to attract big investors: maintaining the macro-economic environment stable, improving the physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, and electricity supply, ensure a high level judicial system that is independent, and keep a well educated labor force]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

    • The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held
    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticized Big Institutions of the World [the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different [independent] forecasts about the Cambodian economy]
    • 88% of Garment Factories Were Affected by the Economic Crisis while 12% Were Not [according to the International Labor Organization]

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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

    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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