The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education – Monday, 9.8.2010

Posted on 10 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the World Bank on 5 August 2010 in Washington, the World Bank approved US$23 million as grant aid and loan to reinforce higher education in Cambodia.

“The announcement reads that of the US$23 million, US$11.5 million is grant aid and the other US$11.5 million is a loan.

“The World Bank Country Manager in Cambodia, Mr. Qimiao Fan, stated, ‘Investment in human resources for sustainable development and poverty alleviation is part of the strategy of aid for Cambodia.’

tho”According to the announcement about funding for Cambodia, released on Friday evening [6.8.2010], the project to strengthen higher education quality and to promote capacity aims at consolidating teaching quality, management, and research capacity, and will also provide scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study.

“The World Bank Country Manager added, ‘I hope that the new project will help Cambodia, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, to strengthen quality standard of education as well as to build up educational capacities for the public and the private sectors.

“High ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia welcomed this aid – it is what Cambodia needs for the development of human resources. Also, such development requires involvement from the local authorities, donors, and non-government organizations.

“The five-year project will concentrate on:

  1. Strengthening of the capacity of higher educational systems in Cambodia by promoting the development, management, and good governance of higher education institutions. This includes strengthening the capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Research and Studies, the Committee on Quality Education, and of institutions of higher education.
  2. Contributing to development of competitiveness and new kinds of loans that can help consolidate teaching and management, as well as offer real solutions to developmental problems in Cambodia.
  3. Providing scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study, based on the definition of the target groups of the poor, and on educational criteria.
  4. Monitoring and assessing the management of the project.

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 9 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2322, 8-9.8.2010

  • Most Citizens in Banteay Meanchey Stop Eating Pork [because it is infected with diseases, which harm the people’s health]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7029, 9.8.2010

  • The Head of the Royal Government Protested [by sending letters] to the United Nations about Abhisit’s Remarks Threatening to Use the Army [Mr. Abhisit allegedly was quoted by The Nation, to have said “…we will cancel the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 if the problems of aggression cannot be settled. We will use both diplomatic and military means.” Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed this remark violates the UN Charter]
  • Fifty Three Male and Female Teen Gang Members Were Rounded up in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3953, 9.8.2010

  • A Human Right Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Condemned the Actions of the Authorities against Representatives of the Residents of the Chi Kraeng District, Where at Least Forty Six People Face Arrest [after they protested over a land dispute in Siem Reap, and some were already detained since 2009]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

  • The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education
  • A Man Was Fatally Axed by an Unknown Person, Leaving His Wife and Daughters [Kandal]
  • The UNESCO Secretary General Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Negotiate over the Preah Temple Issue [on 7 August 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #232, 9.8.2010

  • A Woman Fainted and Six Others Were Injured in a Protest Was Confronted [by police and bodyguards] over a Land Dispute [around 50 citizens from Battambang came to protest in Phnom Penh over a land dispute of 1,672 hectare with a military police official – a picture from the Phnom Penh Post is accessible here:]

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Khmer Krom Position [and appealed to the Cambodian government not to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to restrict the freedom of expression of Khmer Krom people]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5271, 8-9.8.2010

  • Thai Extremists Set a Deadline for the [Thai] Government to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding [signed in 2000 Cambodia] within Seven Days [otherwise they will protest again in front of the Government House]
  • Cambodia Warned that Thailand Would Become a Lawless Country if It Decided to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about Border with Cambodia [Deputy Prime Minister Sok An is quoted to have said so]

Note

1

As the “MoU” is frequently referenced – though we are not aware that it has ever been published in the Khmer press (if it was, we would appreciate information when and where this was done) – we present here its Article V, as it was quoted by the Thai side in the context of the work foreseen in the minutes of the World Heritage Committee about the decision in 2008 to list the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying that the World Heritage Committee

  • “Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,..
  • “Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards…”

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary. 14 June 2000

Article V

To facilitate the effective survey along the entire stretch of the common land boundary, authorities of either Government and their agent shall not carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, except that which is carried out by the Joint Technical Sub-Commission in the interest of the survey and demarcation.

According to this Article V, certain activities in the border area require mutual coordination and cooperation.

2

It should also be noted that the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has no intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the border with Cambodia. In a live television debate of several hours last Sunday, with representatives of the newly-formed ‘Thailand Patriot Network’ and civil society groups, including some “yellow-shirt” persons from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who request the cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Thai prime minister not only publicly rejected their request during this live TV debate, he also stated again the position of the Thai government to respect the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice, that the Temple of Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia and not to Thailand. – What is necessary, he says, is to work according to the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 on the border.

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Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia – Thursday, 24.6.2010

Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that Chinese aid not only helps with the development of Cambodia, but it also helps strengthen the independence of Cambodia.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so to the delegation of the Chinese People’s Army led by Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun, Political Commissar of the General Armament Department of the Ministry of Defense of China in the evening of 23 June 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“The minister in charge of accompanying the Prime Minister’s delegation, Mr. Sri Thamrong, told reporters after the meeting that Samdech Hun Sen had said that China has assisted Cambodia a lot, both with grant aid, and with loans including with loans without interest, to help restore and develop Cambodia. That aid not only assists Cambodia with the development, but also consolidates the national independence of Cambodia.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun told Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen that his visit to Cambodia at this time is to implement two obligations. The first, he was ordered by the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, to deliver 257 military trucks to Cambodia as soon as possible, also guaranteeing their 100% quality. The second task is to strengthen cooperation between both countries, especially between the troops of the two countries.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the quick implementation, like with the speed of a rocket – of Mr. Hu Jintao’s order within 48 days, shows the good relation and cooperation between the countries, the governments, the people, and the troops of both countries.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun considers Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as a good and real friend of the Chinese people, especially because he firmly adheres to the One-China-Policy.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen again confirmed the position of the Royal Government of Cambodia that it is the clear political position of Cambodia, since the time of the former King, and it continues for the current Royal Government of Cambodia, to adhere to the One-China-Policy without any change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #512, 24.6.2010

  • The Vietnamese President: Cambodia and Vietnam Have Good Cooperation [he said so during the private visit to Vietnam by Samdech Euv (the former King), Samdech Mae (the former Queen), and the present King]
  • The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization [NEDO] of Japan Plans to Implement Two Projects in Cambodia [setting up of modern rice milling machines at the community level, and producing clean water]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2283, 24.6.2010

  • Japan Provides Grant Aid [of about US$131 million] to Finish the Construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge [across the Mekong River on National Road 1 from Phnom Penh to Vietnam] before February 2015
  • An American Federal Court Convicted [the leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF] Chhun Yasith – to Life Imprisonment [for conducting an (unsuccessful) attack to overthrow the Cambodian government – on 23 and 24 July 2002, there was armed attack in Phnom Penh by the CFF to overthrow the government; during this attempt, three members of the CFF were killed, and some others were arrested; some members of the armed forces of the government and some common citizens were injured]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #689, 24.6.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: I Am Not Worried about the Warrant of the Yuon [Vietnamese] Puppet Court, as It Is a Problem of the Whole Nation [the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has published an arrest warrant for him, over the accusation of faking public documents and of spreading misinformation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6990, 24.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Labor Published Books with Instructive Policies for the Prevention of AIDS/HIV [to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3914, 24.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Encourages Factory Owners to Provide Wages to Workers Who Had a Forced Work Stoppage during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [constructed to reduce traffic jams; the owner of the TACFAT factory does not want to provide them wages for the time of work stoppage – and announced to welcome if workers report this to related institutions, and especially to the Ministry of Labor – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #200, 24.6.2010

  • A Cambodian Official [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong] Welcomes the Conviction of Chhun Yasith to Jail for Life for Attempting to Overthrow the Cambodian Government
  • The First Sky Road in Cambodia [built to relieve the traffic jam at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout, spending about US$7 million] Will Be Inaugurated This Morning

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia
  • Thailand Arrested More Than 200 Khmer Citizens, Accusing Them of Creating a Village in Thailand [in the district of Aranyaprathet, in the province of Srakeo, 4 km from the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • The Sydney University of Australia Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture to Conduct Archaeology Studies in Preah Vihear

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China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia – Friday, 19.3.2010

Posted on 20 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.

“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.

“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.

“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.

“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.

“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular’s declared Mission is Freedom to access today’s world for people in emerging markets].

Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, http://www.mobitel.com.kh/ offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone http://www.mfone.com.kh/ with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.

“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’

“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.

“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.

“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

  • China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Talked about the Loss of Territory to Vietnam Again, but Government Officials Rejected It
  • While a Family Was Eating Dinner Together, They Were Attacked by a Grenade, Killing Two Children and Injuring Eleven Other Persons [a suspect, who had a conflict with the family, was arrested – Kompong Cham]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2205, 19.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Told the Great King [Norodom Sihanouk] that His Map [that he had used earlier] Is Right
  • The Construction Site of the Phnom Penh Sugar Cane Factory Was Burnt Down by [nearly 600] Residents of the Amleang Commune [accusing the company of violating their land – Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #630, 19.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Want the European Community to Provide More Aid to Cambodia, but We Also Want the National Assembly to Play an Important Role [to review the implementation of laws by the government – he said so after a meeting with a delegation from the European Union]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6912, 19.3.2010

  • The Authorities Announced that Karaoke Parlors and Nightclubs Have to Shut by Midnight [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 19.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Condemned the Coup of 18 March 1970 by [field marshal] Lon Nol [saying that if there had been no such a coup, there would have been no destruction of Cambodia – Note: It was on 18 March 1970 that the National Assembly instituted the National Assembly President Cheng Heng as acting chief of state by a vote of 89 to 3, while Prince Sihanouk was in Moscow; on 24 March he called, now in China, for armed resistance against the new government arrangements in Phnom Penh]
  • Two Separate Land Conflicts in Kompong Speu Led to Violence Which Resulted in 14 Police Officers and 12 Other Citizens Being Injured [in one case, the authorities tried to evict citizens who lost a complaint against the Meng Keth company, and in another, citizens clashed with the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5154, 19.3.2010

  • [70 km of] National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Was Inaugurated [Ratanakiri]
  • Chevron Contributed Almost US$200,000 to Help Educate Poor Fishery Communities about Health and Micro Finance
  • Germany Donated [20] Computers Worth More Than US$30,000 to the National Assembly of Cambodia

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Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case – Tuesday, 2.3.2010

Posted on 3 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee published a statement, calling for a political solution for the president of the biggest opposition party of Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 non-government organizations, issued the statement late last week.

“The committee regrets that a lawyer of the government filed a lawsuit against Mr. Sam Rainsy, in addition to the complaint which had been handled by the Svay Rieng court. Civil society organizations wrote that the new complaint will pose more concerns among national and international opinion about the recent political situation in Cambodia, especially relating to the space for democracy and the role of parliamentarians; opposition party parliamentarians were frequently sued, while important issues in the country need the involvement by all political parties. In this sense, the committee thinks that party leaders should focus more on the national interest and unite through negotiations to peacefully settle national issues.

“The committee stated, ‘We would like to encourage our political leaders to respect each other and to negotiate patiently, discussing national problems so that Cambodian citizens can live in peace and in a democratic society.’

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project – a member of the committee, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun – explained that the statement is aimed not only at the government, but at both parties. Mr. Sok Sam Oeun said, ‘Also Mr. Sam Rainsy should soften his position.’

“However, there seems to be less hope that there can be political coordination like in 2005, as Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stated that he will not ask for an amnesty for Mr. Sam Rainsy again. Last week Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘I can say now that in the next elections, there will be opposition parties, but not such a person (like Sam Rainsy).’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen even considered Mr. Sam Rainsy’s activities as traitorous.

“The lawyer Sok Sam Oeun said that it is difficult to follow the way of politicians.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #423, 2.3.2010

  • India Provided a Loan of US$15 Million for the Construction of Electricity Lines from Kratie to Stung Treng
  • Citizens Accused Banteay Meanchey Custom Officers of Extorting Money, though They Transport Goods Legally [more than 30 homebuilt small tractors loaded with goods were blocked, extorting Riel 50,000 each, approx. US$12, to let them pass]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2190, 2.3.2010

  • It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Adds a Thai Language Section to Its Website [a government official said that doing so amid border conflicts with Thailand seems to express support towards foreign aggression]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6897, 2.3.2010

  • Thirty Six Hectares of Rubber Trees [of six families] Are in a Conflict [a company that wants to buy the land, while the owners do not want to sell it], Where by Now Thirty Hectares Have Been Burnt Down [by unknown persons – Kompong Cham]
  • More Cambodian Students Learn French [the number increased from 45,000 students in 2005 to more than 110,000 in 2009 [announced at the occasion of a meeting between the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French embassy]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3821, 2.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Welcomes the New Lawsuit by the Government, as Those Loving Justice around the World Sympathize with Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #121, 2.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Are Concerned about the Knot Tied between the Private Sectors and the Troops [saying that private companies might use the military power of those supported to support their illegal businesses], but this Was Rejected [by the government]
  • Cholera Is Affecting Five Provinces and one City [Kandal, Kompong Speu, Prey Veng, Takeo, and Phnom Penh; 223 cases of diarrhea are suspected to be Cholera – according to the Ministry of Health]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

  • Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case
  • Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]
  • [Two] Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller, Taking 300 Chi of Gold [worth approx. US$40,200], and in Cash Riel 4 Million [approx. US$950], and US$100 [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1884, 2.3.2010

  • Thai Security Is Tightened after Bomb Explosions [in Bangkok]

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The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger – Friday, 19.2.2010

Posted on 20 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“While within five years the global Millennium Development Goals should be reached, the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank said in a report on Thursday, 18 February 2010, that the global economic crisis had made Cambodia to walk ‘off track,’ and the government policies must focus on social welfare.

“Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.

“Cambodia walks ‘off track,’ not fulfilling more than half of the benchmark points listed in the global development goals, not fulfilling these Goals in seven of the eight Goals, which include to eradicate extreme poverty and the reduction of child mortality rates, to drop by two thirds of the 2009 rate by 2015.

“In 2003, Cambodia added one more Goal to the eight Millennium Development Goals, increasing their number to nine: the clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance and the aid for the victims.

“This report shows that only 20% of the Cambodia population were covered by any social protection projects. Only more than 1% of the GDP of Cambodia is spent on social protection measures, less than the
expenses in other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.

“The vice president of the Asian Development Bank, Ms. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, said on 18 February 2010 in a statement that most stimulating measures focus on other fields rather than on social protection. ‘If we want to solve impacts of the economic downturn and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, necessary expenses on social protection must be increased substantially.’

“Relating to these comments, the Director of the UN Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Ajay Chhibber, warned that if there is no better social protection, people will fall back into poverty again.

“Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.

“Based on this report, there is no progress regarding the accomplishment of environmental sustainability in forestry cover and carbon emissions absorption.

“Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, the gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.

“A parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the government made plans in the national budget to help people who have difficulties.

“He added that the government had asked the National Assembly to provide US$18 million in addition to help people in agriculture.

“He went on to say that Prime Minister Hun Sen had asked bank officials to increase loans with low interest rates for the public. The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, referred questions to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, but Secretary-General Sok Chenda could not be reached for comment.

“In an interview with the country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Ajay Markanday, he said that it is necessary to concentrate on investments in agriculture.

“He added that to address food security problems and starvation in developing countries, it is really important to focus on the amount of investment to strengthen agriculture. And a sustainable solutions for food security must be found.

“He continued to say that public funds have to be provided to create jobs for members of the poorest in the society, mostly of those are living in remote areas.

“Mr. Markanday added that when the economy starts to recover, food prices will likely rise. He added that the impact of this problem on the levels of poverty and malnutrition depend on the capacity of a country to counter it, based on the achievement of economic growth through investments.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1877, 19.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #414, 19.2.2010

  • The Government Allowed Siamese [Thai] Embassy Officials to Meet Their Prisoner [sentenced to serve twenty years in prison for planting landmines in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2181, 19.2.2010

  • The Ministry of Information Advised Radio and Television Stations to Stop Reading Texts from Newspapers and Making Additional Comments
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Received a Medal for “Most Innovative Use of Technology During a Trial” [by the Law Technology News Awards magazine, based in the United States]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #606, 19.2.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Said to Arrest the Chief Drug Smugglers Is Better Than to Create Rehabilitation Centers [for drug addicts]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6888, 19.2.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Council Rejected the Global Witness Report about Illegal Logging [accusing that families of some Cambodian leaders to cut trees – according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3812, 19.2.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Warned that If Cambodia Does Not Make More Efforts, It Will Fall Into Serious Poverty

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #115, 19.2.2010

  • The Authorities Set a Deadline for Illegal Pharmacies to Ask for Licenses [according to the Ministry of Health, there are more than 2,000 pharmacies operating countrywide where more than 1,000 have no licenses]
  • Construction Projects Approved in 2009 Declined by More Than 47% [amounting to only over US$200 million, while in 2008, they amounted up to US$381 million]
  • The Anti-Acid Crime Draft Law Will Reach the Government after the Khmer New Year [for adoption and to be sent further to the National Assembly]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 19.2.2010

  • Japan Promised to Provide Aid [of about US$20 million] for the Development of the Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos Triangle Zone
  • After a Woman Was Gang Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
  • [The president of the Human Rights Party] Mr. Kim Sokha Guaranteed that He Will Provide Financial Support for [two] Villagers Imprisoned for Removing Temporary Border Markers [offering them money and rice amounting to about US$100 per month for each family]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1877, 19.2.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger
  • [The President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Sent an Opposition Parliamentarians’ Questions over Border Issues with Vietnam to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Respond

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In 2010, Officials Who Use Their Positions to Extort Money from the People Will Not Be Tolerated – Tuesday, 16.2.2010

Posted on 16 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.

“During this annual convention, Mr. Kep Chuktema advised all civil servants and all armed personnel to continue to be strictly honorable towards the people, so that they have confidence and trust in the services provided, though previously, some officials used the opportunity of their positions to extort money from the people. But now, he warned, saying that officials doing such bad activities will no longer be tolerated.

“The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’

“He continued to say that in 2010, what remains to be done is to focus more on such issues as public order, car parking facilities, traffic jam, illegal construction sites, and violations of the regulations regarding the use of pedestrian’s sidewalks. Also, he shared the information that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had ordered the Phnom Penh Municipality to create ties with the Intervention Brigade 9 of Division 3, stationed at the battlefield in the Preah Vihear area. ‘It is a new obligation for all of us to support the battlefield which is a great pride for the people in Phnom Penh.’

“During the convention, the Phnom Penh governor delivered a new car the Tuol Kork district command station, as a reward for its previous hard work.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5127, 16.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2178, 16.2.2010

  • [The spokesperson of the Royal Government, the Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith: Cambodia Welcomes the Thai Position [to solve the border disputes bilaterally], but He Questioned whether Thailand Is Willing to Do so or Not [recently Cambodia had suggested to settle the border issues internationally, but Thailand suggested to Cambodia to solve them bilaterally]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6885, 16.2.2010

  • An Outbreak of Diarrhea with Vomiting Caused 38 People to Be Hospitalized; One Villager Died, Leaving His Children Behind; Medics Call for More Sanitation [Kompong Chhnang – there is an ongoing public controversy: some experts say there is an outbreak of Cholera, which requires a different treatment from diarrhea – but the authorities maintained that it is not Cholera, and even if it were, the treatment is the same]
  • [Eighty eight] People Gathered at the Provincial Administration to Ask for the Removal of a Corrupt Village Chief [as he sold village land secretly for his own benefit – Kompong Speu]
  • Siam [Thailand] Sent Three Khmer Kampuchea Krom People to Cambodia from Detention in Bangkok [they failed to seek asylum in a third country]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #112, 16.2.2010

  • The President of the Human Rights Party [Mr. Kem Sokha] Calls for Unity [with other parties, to compete with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5127, 16.2.2010

  • In 2010, Officials Who Use Their Positions to Extort Money from the People Will Not Be Tolerated
  • The Spokesperson of the Government Told Journalists to Be Careful when Translating Words [he reminded foreign journalists and foreign agencies in Cambodia to do so, otherwise the Prime Minister will appear to have done wrong and is then criticized for it; as an example, he said that the Cambodian Prime Minister challenged the Thai Prime Minister to ‘swear’ that he and his family should die if he claims that Thailand did not invade Cambodian territory, but some English newspaper incorrectly translated it as if he had ‘cursed’ the Thai Prime Minister]
  • Four Banks Provided Loans for an Electricity Plant Powered by Coal to be built in Sihanoukville [the OCBC Bank, the Maybank, the AmBank, and the Bank of China jointly offered US$140 million in loans to a Malaysian company, the Cambodia Energy Limited, to establish a 100 megawatt electricity plant]
  • Two Motorbikes Crashed into Each Other, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Three Others [Pursat]

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Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council – Wednesday, 10.2.2010

Posted on 11 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Cambodia has requested the United States of America to support the candidacy of Cambodia to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“During a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, and [the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to ASEAN] Mr. Scot Marciel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the morning of 9 February 2010, Mr. Hor Namhong requested the USA, through Mr. Scot Marciel, to support Cambodia’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2013 and 2014.

“Since Cambodia has become a member of the United Nations, it has never participated working in the framework of the UN Security Council.

“Mr. Hor Namhong pointed out to Cambodia’s qualifications to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, saying that Cambodia, with the help from the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), in 1993 organized free and fair elections for the first time in Cambodia after it had been freed from the Pol Pot genocidal regime.

“The next non-permanent Security Council Members of the United Nations will be elected in 2012.

“It should be noted that in recent years, Cambodia has sent its troops within the UN framework to help many developing countries and countries that have just recovered from war, such as Chad.

“During the meeting, Cambodia also requested America to cancel the debt that Cambodia owes America since the time of the Lon Nol regime time [the Khmer Republic, 1970 to 1975].

“Cambodia owes America more than US$300 million since the Lon Nol regime from 1970 to 1975.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 explains details of the loan with normal repayment obligations:

“Between 1972 and 1974, the US Department of Agriculture financed $274 million in purchases of US cotton, rice, and flour for Cambodia… with interest, the total had risen to $339 million by 2007.”

The Cambodian Daily further reports: “Mr. Maciel also said that the had reiterated in the meetings that the US was ‘very disappointed’ with Cambodia’s decision in December 2010 to deport 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers back to China over the objections of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees” [contrary to the Cambodian commitment to the relevant UN conventions].

“Cambodia suggested two ways the USA could cancel the debt. In the first choice, Mr. Hor Namhong suggested the USA could just cancel all the debt, but as an alternative choice, he asked the USA via Mr. Scot Marciel to cancel 70% of the debt of more than US$300 million in order to allow Cambodia to develop the country. Cambodia would pay back the rest of 30% to the USA later.

“Though he listened that there are these two modalities proposed by Cambodia, Mr. Scot Marciel could only say that he will bring Cambodia’s request about the canceling of debt to the US government when he returns back.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 adds the following further information:

Contrary to the explanation by Mr. Maciel, the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, claimed that the money was paid for the slaughter of Cambodians – “The debt was used for weaponry and the weaponry was used to destroy all things including the life in the country.”

“Mr. Scot Marciel stressed that in the USA there is no legal basis regarding the canceling of debts.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

  • Cambodia Will Appeal to the Court in The Hague and to the UN Security Council [to solve the border dispute with Thailand; according to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • US Wants Cambodia and Thailand to Peacefully Solve Border Disputes [according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2173, 10.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Siamese [Thai] Troops Can No Longer Remain at the Ta Moan Temple [claiming that it is in Khmer territory]
  • Thailand Increases Security Efforts before the Court Makes a Judgment over the Property of [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Cambodia and Italy Signed the First Agreement on Culture [about cooperation on development projects at the Angkor area, as well as about training for young experts in cultural preservation work at the Angkor area]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #733, 10.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Rejected Information that It Had Provided Khmer Citizenship to Thaksin Shinawatra

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #602, 10.2.2010

  • The Khmer King Is Listed as a Member of the Community of French Scholars [of the “Academie Française”; based on his contributions to pre-historical research in Cambodia, where he is appreciated for his efforts to maintain the Khmer cultural heritage, and especially, his support for a French training program for people in restoration techniques for the Khmer Angkor Wat Temples]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6880, 10.2.2010

  • A French Drug Addict Robbed the [Cambodia Asia] Bank; It Was the First Time that a Foreigner Committed Armed Robbery [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • The Anti-Corruption Draft Reached the National Assembly [but the content is not yet made known]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #108, 10.2.2010

  • America Does Not Plan to Cancel the Debt [of about US$300 million; according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • [The North Korean President] Mr. Kim Jong Il Told the Chinese Ambassador that the Korean Peninsula Should Be Free from Nuclear Weapons

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5122, 10.2.2010

  • [Four] Robbers Went into a House, Shot One Person to Death and Seriously and Lightly Injured Three Others, and Took Away US$15,000 [Pailin]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1873, 10.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Warned that If Negotiations [with Thailand] Do Not Bring Solutions, Armed Force Will Be Used

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There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour – Tuesday, 26.1.2010

Posted on 27 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The price of electricity supplied by Electricité du Cambodge in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham of Riel 390 [approx. US$0.09] per kilowatt-hour for households will no longer exist. The cost for household costumers, who consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, is Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour [approx. US$0.15]. The change of electricity costs and prices was discussed during a roundtable meeting organized by the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, at the Hotel Cambodiana on 25 January 2010, and officials involved from the 6 cities and provinces attended the meeting.

“A secretary of state of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the meeting, organized to release a list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham, that the [old] list of electricity prices had been approved and used since 2006, because during that period, a barrel of oil was only US$50, whereas at present, it costs US$80; and the expense for electricity production is regularly higher than the income in the six cities and provinces. The increased expenses, which exceed the income collected, based on the set selling rates, made Electricité du Cambodge to lose as much as US$27 million in 2008 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu, requiring the government to review the list of electricity prices set in 2006 to be in line with the present situation.

“He added that according to the list of electricity costs in 2006 for household customers, if they consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, they were charged only Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour which is half of the original production cost, making Electricité du Cambodge to face a continual loss, while the state does not pay for that loss. Now, the price of Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour was canceled for Phnom Penh and Kandal, but there is now a price of Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour if the citizens consume below 50 kilowatt-hours per month. A list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, and its selling rates for household customers will be adjusted.

“As for the supply of electricity by Electricité du Cambodge in Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham, Mr. Ith Prang said that the selling prices were also lower than the original production costs, but from 2010 on, the prices in the two provinces will be also be adjusted. The electricity prices for customers in the commercial and industrial sectors will be the same as those implemented in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu. The electricity prices for commerce and industry are adjusted because the state stopped subsidizing valued-added tax payments (VAT) for Electricité du Cambodge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #397, 26.1.2010

  • The Border Situation Is Normal after a Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers]
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Prepares to Form a Government-in-Exile if There Is Another Coup [in Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2160, 26.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Combat Corruption [he said so during an audience with the King at the Royal Palace]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #725, 26.1.2010

  • The Government Warned that It Will Further Sue the [opposition party] Party President for Disinformation and Incitement, Creating Social Instability [as he said that the setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers leads to the loss of Cambodian territory]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #589, 26.1.2010

  • The Pursat Authorities Close Their Eyes, Not Seeing the Strong Logging Activities for Luxury Wood in the Forest

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6867, 26.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory Was Inaugurated by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [in Koh Kong], and the Government Still Maintains the Position to Welcome Investment Projects
  • A Widow, a Mother of One Child, Was Raped and Killed in Order to Shut Her Mouth; Police Suspect that the Murderer Is an Acquaintance [Kampot]

Meatohoum, Vol.54, #758, 26.1.20010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Do Not Take Action against Overloaded Trucks [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #97, 26.1.2010

  • Khmer Military Official [General Srey Dek] Said that Three Thai Soldiers Died in a Clash in the Choam Tae Area
  • The Number of Women Diagnosed Having Breast Cancer Increased in Cambodia [to 1,548 cases in 2009, while in 2008, there were only 1,280 cases; according to a report of the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, more than 18,000 Cambodian women have breast cancer, and 40% of them died]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

  • There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour
  • Bangkok [actually Thai Region 2 army commander] Apologized to Cambodia after an Armed Clash, Resulting in the Death of Three Thai Soldiers
  • Two Traffic Accidents in Stung Treng Killed Three People and Injured Five

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1863, 26.1.2010

  • The World Bank Said that the Recovery of [the Cambodian] Economy Depends on [international] Loans [this bank forecast that Cambodia will achieve 4.2% growth in 2010]

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Rice Export Is Still Difficult – Saturday, 16.1.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #389, 16.1.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2152, 16.1.2010

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

Link:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link:

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5001, 16.1.2010

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

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Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia – Sunday, 15.11.2009

Posted on 18 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

Several mails I had received during the week requested what this week’s editorial should be about. Agreed. The visit of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to Cambodia has more than any other recent event received wide international attention – at the same time it resulted in bringing a range of different and opposing issues to the surface, beyond the straightforward political tensions.

The disparities start with the wording, how the visitor is called in national and international media: the possibilities extend from the fond description of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as an “eternal friend” by Prime Minister Hun Sen, to the more neutral description when referring to the “former Thai prime minister ousted by a military coup,” to the references – and this not only in part of the Thai press – to the “convicted fugitive, because of corruption, and who finally violated the bail requirements and fled the country to avoid going to prison.”

This is the first controversy.

The Cambodian government did not only refuse to live up to the Cambodian-Thai extradition agreement, “considering the prosecution and legal process against Thaksin Shinawatra as a politically motivated proceeding,” and therefore even handed back the Thai documents submitted to seek Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s extradition. On the other hand, the Thai government and part of the Thai media felt that already that extending an invitation and offering the function to be an adviser to the Cambodian government were an insult to the legal system of Thailand.

As a public reaction in Thailand, the popularity of the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, almost tripled, with appruval rates of 24% in September to 69% recently, according to a poll.

The interpretation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the present Cambodian-Thai dispute is basically a personal dispute between the two prime ministers, was not shared in the international press. More fundamental problems were touched upon: What does it mean for the international standing of a country when a search warrant by Interpol can be dismissed, after the fugitive, who is being sought under a “red alert” warrant, after a bail violation, and after a criminal conviction for corruption in dealing with the sale of valuable public property to a family member, up to the grotesque $60,000 event of the mysteriously mistaken box of chocolate.

How would such events be dealt with under a Cambodian anti-corruption law, due to be adopted by the National Assembly since a decade ago? If actions of corruption are committed in combination with political ones, are they then no longer subject to criminal prosecution?

There were several rumors and denials – that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra would fly together with the Cambodian Prime Minister to the APEC meetings in Singapore.

Surprising also, that the Cambodian Prime Minister compared him to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. In an interview with Times Online, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said: “There are some similarities there, but not really everything. The similarity is we won elections, we rule the countries. We’ve been ousted by the coup d’etat and we come from the people. We are democratically elected leaders and we come from the majority of the people – a big majority, not just a small majority. She’s under house arrest, I’ve been kicked out of the country.”

The Cambodian government has never found such strong critical words against the ruling military in Myanmar. Will the Cambodian government also accept such advice and change its position? The statement “I’ve been kicked out of the country” contrasts with the fact that the self imposed exile abroad started with breaking bail arrangements with the Thai law enforcement authorities, traveling abroad without the promised return.

But the invitation to Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser may lead to a second kind of controversies.

Press reports in Cambodia were not enthusiastic about his speech in front of 300 selected economists. The Cambodian Daily said that his address “primarily dealt in generalities and contained little that Cambodian economists will not already know.” Not only that: Some of his advice runs contrary to some of the traditional approaches of Cambodian economic practice.

Thakshin Sinawatra became the favorite politician among a majority of the rural population in Thailand because of his new policy of favoring them directly, with debt relief and village loan funds administered by the local communities themselves. The revenue of the public and the private sector should, first of all, be directed towards the poorest sector of society, is his advice. Large scale land leasings to big companies in favorable relation with the government, leading to considerable groups of the rural population losing their land, coming to demonstrate in Phnom Penh, asking for justice, as happens so frequently in Cambodia, are not compatible which the vision of Thaksin Shinawatra’s economic policies.

Surprising is also his emphasis on the need of reconciliation and good neighborliness between Cambodia and Thailand, in order to foster Cambodia’s economic development, including the promotion of Thailand and Cambodia together for international tourism, presenting themselves as a “joint destination.” This runs against many recent antagonistic trends: the Thai government had proposed to submit Preah Vihear together with the Cambodian government to the World Heritage Committee, which was flatly rejected by the Cambodian side. During the last year there were even plans discussed in Cambodia to create an international airport 500 meters below the mountain range where Preah Vihear is situated, which is conveniently accessible from the north, from Thailand. This plan, to exclude the natural access to Preah Vihear – and therefore tourism via Thailand, was soon given up again as economically completely unreal. The public outcry some years ago, when Bangkok Airways had named one of its airplanes Angkor Wat – while other planes are named according to other international destinations, promoting tourism to these places – has no place in this context. The Cambodian Daily reported his emphasis on the need for cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia, as the two countries’ economic fortunes are inextricably linked – adding: “Of course, not all my compatriots see it that way right now.” Those who see it differently in Thailand are assumed to suffer from being shortsighted, driven by false patriotism.

One may ask whether the anti-Thai actions of 2003, when the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh was ransacked because of a baseless rumor, resulting in further arson so that the hardware damage alone of that night was estimated at US$56 million, and the tensions before and after the designation of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site, would also fall under a similar verdict by Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that a false patriotism is in the way also in some of the Cambodian attitudes and actions.

It is surprising to consider how future suggestions of the new economic adviser of the Cambodian government will be handled, while land conflicts in rural areas continue, further large scale leasings of land are under consideration inviting countries from the Middle East to start agro-business ventures, and Japanese companies are considering to create new large tree planting schemes in Cambodia.

Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s suggestions may not only be unwelcome in his own country. They run counter to major trends of present day Cambodian big business.

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