Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People – Saturday, 6.3.2010

Posted on 7 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The government already sent an anti-corruption draft law to the National Assembly, after Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had sent a request to the National Assembly to establish an Anti-Corruption Board – a proposal which was rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, saying that the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly had decided to accept the anti-corruption draft law of the government for discussion.

“Copies of the government draft were distributed to all parliamentarians, and the National Assembly plans to hold a meeting on 10 March 2010, where it is assumed that to discuss the anti-corruption draft law will be on the agenda.

“The leader of the group of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, who had requested the creation of an Anti-Corruption Board, said on 5 March 2010 in a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the draft of the government does not have clear goals to prevent corruption or to prosecute those who commit corruption.

“He said that 16 years ago, as a parliamentarian of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party of Mr. Son San, he once had requested an anti-corruption law, and then, under the next governments, he requested it again and again that the National Assembly should create such a law.

“The draft of the government limits membership in anti-corruption institutions to persons, to any individual, from various institutions who will be suggested by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the King, to be appointed.

“Regarding the suggested candidates from various institutions to be appointed, Mr. Son Chhay said that it is difficult that those officials to be investigated are in the same institution that suggest candidates, and he claimed that candidates appointed by the Prime Minister cannot be considered to be independent.

“The draft speaks also about the declaration of assets, saying that it has to be made confidentially, requiring that those who declare their assets have to keep one document for themselves, and another document has to be kept at a secret place by the anti-corruption institution, and if they will be prosecuted within five years, the confidentiality is lifted.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the draft of the government does not clearly define the punishment for persons who commit corruption, and the punishment is based on different types of corruption, like minor corruption just for small thefts to eat [‘for the stomach’], and big corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay raised the example that some custom officers get a salary of only about US$100 per month, an amount that cannot meet their daily needs. Therefore they make their fellow officials collect money for them every month, and they may get about US$20,000. Mr. Son Chhay asked, ‘Is this kind of corruption “just for the stomach” a minor, or is it big corruption?’

“Mr. Son Chhay said that if the draft law of the government is approved by the National Assembly without making some changes, it will not serve the national interest and the citizens, as this draft does not explicitly determine punishment for ‘corruption.’

“He added that this law seems to serve those who commit corruption.

“The Sam Rainsy Party, civil society, and donors have encouraged to approve an anti-corruption law, and finally a draft was sent by the government to the National Assembly, after it had been approved by the Council of Ministers in early December of 2009. This draft has been kept confidential and was delayed until now, and if Mr. Son Chhay had not sent in another draft request to the National Assembly, the government would likely not have released their draft now to the National Assembly. Anyway, regarding the rejection of the draft [presented by the Sam Rains Party] by Mr. Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay considers it to be his success, because if he had not sent it to the National Assembly, the government would not have released the draft to the National Assembly.

“When journalists asked, ‘On 10 March 2010, during the meeting of the National Assembly, will the National Assembly approve the draft?’ – Mr. Son Chhay said that if the National Assembly does not discuss it in detail, it will be strange, and he will be more suspicious that this law does not serve the national interest and the citizens, but it will serve corrupt people, partisans, and powerful people.

“There are different opinions about a final rush to approve an anti-corruption law, as donor countries stay quiet and have not set a date for its discussions, unlike in previous years, where discussions started early in the years.

“Corruption in Cambodia is strongly criticized locally and internationally. Corruption exists from lower levels to the top, making Cambodia lose about US$500 million each year. This is figure was used by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley.

“Nevertheless, there is also praise from various sides that the government wants this law to be approved by the National Assembly, as it can create some obstacles for corrupt people to continue to commit corruption.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #427, 6.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Reinstated the Immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian Ho Vann [suspended over a defamation allegation by military officials]
  • ASEAN Expresses Concern over the Cambodian Military Exercises [the ASEAN secretary general said that Cambodia might convey the wrong signals to the world regarding these exercises], while Bangkok Leaders Did Not Express any Concern

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2194, 6.3.2010

  • An Anti-Corruption Draft Law Will Be Discussed on 10 March 2010
  • Civil Society [the Cambodia Labor Union Federation and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)] Fully Support the Elimination of Brothels and Gambling Sites

Note:

It is not clear so far how the ban of gambling sites will affect the big gambling institutions close to the borders with Thailand and with Vietnam, and if it will also relate to big gambling institutions in Phnom Penh, like the Naga World Casino and others.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

  • Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6901, 6-7.3.2010

  • The White Club, a Night Club where there Was Nude Dancing, Has Been Closed Down, and 120 Men and Women Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • While Iron Frames Were Transported on a Car, They Hit an Electric Power Line, Electrocuting Two Persons Fatally, Wounding Two Others, and Burning Down the Car [Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5143, 6.3.2010

  • The Government Approved a Conservation Project in the Anlong Veng Historical Tourism Region [which was the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge leadership]
  • Three Persons Died and Two Were Seriously Injured in Two Separate Traffic Accidents [Takeo]

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National Holiday – Victory over Genocide Day – Thursday, 7.1.2010

Posted on 8 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

As every year, the memory of the 7 January 1979 shows that there is deep disagreement what this day in Cambodian history means. Of course any memorial day may have different aspects. But different statements in Cambodia show that there are fundamental differences in describing what has happened, related to this day.

What follows are some brief reports, reflecting different voices.

The speeches of the representatives of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party see the significance of the day in what the official name of this holiday says: a commemoration of the victory over genocide. The end of the Khmer Rouge regime brought also an end to the tremendous loss of life and the suffering of the people of a degree never experienced in any other country. It initiated also a decade of Vietnamese presence – a decade of reconstruction after the devastation suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The former King Sihanouk had expressed the meaning of this day some years ago in a very concrete way: Without this event, innumerable more Cambodian people would have lost their lives. This is a factual description.

Other voices state interpretations – this day initiated a Vietnamese presence for a decade. This is also a fact.

What is surprising is not that there are different opinions. Surprising is, when only one of the two elements is mentioned.

“French Indochina turned to Vietnamese Indochina.”

“Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the Vietnam invasion on Cambodia which consequently ruled over our country for 10 years and still continues its influence until today.” – There is not one word in this statement which would indicate that this day brought an end to a sequence of murderous years.

An anonymous blogger on the Internet wrote, in response to another voice: “You are stupid to say that: 7 January was an invasion not liberation.”

As the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany said 40 years after the defeat of the German state by the allied forces at the end of the Second World War in Europe, initiating the division of Germany and its occupation under military rule of forces from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America: “First of all, this was a day of liberation.”

It is also surprising that in the different reflections on the 7 January 1979 we did not find any reference to the fact that the Khmer Rouge regime received considerable support from the People’s Republic of China.

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National Holiday – Wednesday, 7.1.2009

Posted on 8 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

40 Years and 30 Years Later

Forty years after the defeat of the German state – the German Reich – at the end of the Second World War, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker, spoke on the anniversary, 8 May 1985. Many commentators said that this was probably the most important speech ever given in Germany on the topic.

Thirty years after the defeat of the Cambodian state – the Democratic Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge – the President of the Cambodian People’s Party spoke on the anniversary, 7 January 2009.

In both countries there had been great disagreement over how to regard their historic dates, since it marked both the end of a terrible period of history and the beginning of a period in which other countries wielded power over key aspects of life and government.

We document here some abbreviated sections of statements about these two historic events.

From the 1985 speech of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in the German Parliament:

It does not help to move into the future if we or others are too reluctant to hurt feelings. We need, and we have the self-confidence, to face the historical truth, without hiding the facts and without favoritism.

The day of 8 May is for us, above all, a day of remembrance of what people had to suffer. It is at the same time a day challenging us to openly think about the course of our history. The more honestly we are prepared to really acknowledge what happened, the more we may be open to face the consequences responsibly.

All who lived through the day of 8 May 1945 consciously have personal memories and thus quite different experiences. Some returned home, others became homeless.

It was difficult to orient oneself immediately and clearly. There was uncertainty in the country. The military defeat was complete. Our fate was in the hands of the enemies. The past had been terrible, also for many of those enemies. Wouldn’t they make us pay for what we had done to them?

Most Germans had believed that they were fighting and suffering for a good cause for their own country. And now it turned out: all that was not only futile and useless, but it had served the inhuman goals of a criminal leadership.

We had to think back to a dark abyss of the past, and to look ahead into an uncertain dark future. But it became clearer, day by day, what we all must say today: The day of 8 May was a day of liberation.
We all have good reasons to recognize the day of 8 May 1945 as the end of a period of German history when we went wrong.

[For the full text of the German original: WEIZSÄCKER-REDE 1985 – “8. Mai war ein Tag der Befreiung” click here.]


From the 2009 speech of the President Cambodian People’s Party during the 7th of January Celebration of the Victory Over Genocide Day

“The victory of 7th January saved the fatherland and the people of Cambodia from the harsh regime of genocide in a timely manner,” and the anniversary marked the end of “the dark chapter of Cambodian history” – he thanked Vietnam for “saving the country from genocide.”

While the former King Sihanouk had initially pleaded Cambodia’s case before the United Nations against the new Cambodian government installed by the Vietnamese in January 1979 after they had dismantled the Khmer Rouge regime, he later evaluated the Vietnamese invasion of 1979 differently and positively [quoting a translation from French]:

History
The January 7, 1979
By N. Sihanouk

Beijing, December 18, 2006

Some very senior (CPP) Officials recalled (with good reason) that “without the January 7, 1979,” I would – with (the future King) N. Sihamoni, Samdech N. Monique Sihanouk – be dead in the hands of Pol Potists (Khmer Rouge).

This is strictly conformed to the historical truth.

In this regards, I pay tribute and I express my deepest gratitude to H.E. Samdech Heng Samrin, H.E. Samdech Chea Sim, H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, to the Heng Samrin Khmer Armed Forces (Front), and to the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] and its armed forces.
It is certain that, without them, Pol Pot, and following my death, Pol Pot’s Angkar of the “Democratic Kampuchea” would have been still leading an ultra-infernal Cambodia.

(Signed) Norodom Sihanouk

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