Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money – Monday, 23.8.2010

Posted on 24 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: State income declines, because some members of the authorities and customs officers take monetary advantage from the import of contraband and they put the money into their own pockets. After they receive bribes, they allow merchants to import these goods smoothly.

“According to regular observations at the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point in Ou Chrov district in Banteay Meachey, merchants do not pay money to the state, but to a group of members from various authorities or to customs officers.

“It should be noted that many gas tubes of merchants, with no taxes paid to the state, are massively imported but those merchants pay money to illegal check points along the way where soldiers, police and customs officers collect money. Each truck loaded with gas tubes has to pay them from US$30 to US$50, depending on how big or small the trucks are, so that they are not held up by these officers.

“According to trustworthy information that Kampuchea Thmey received from the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point, many merchants pay money to officers along the way instead of paying taxes. Some gas companies complained that they cannot sell their gas gainfully, as other merchants import a lot of gas without paying taxes and sell it at cheaper prices. Therefore, it is really difficult at present for companies working legally to sell their goods.

“Regarding to the above cases, some legally operating gas companies ask the heads of custom offices to help crack down on such activities. Particularly, the Ministry of Commerce should help to normalize the problem, otherwise state income will certainly drop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon Is Already Prepared to Solve the Border Disputes between Cambodia and Thailand [according to the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Farhan Haq]

Note:

The Cambodian press report reads too much into the release by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING, FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, Friday, August 20, 2010, carry at the end a brief note:

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CAMBODIA AND THAILAND WILL RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE THROUGH DIALOGUE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue. He stands ready to help the parties.

On 20 August 2010 a publication in the region had reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, ‘The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.’”

The added explanation, “when both sides request him to do so” is almost a standard response – it is a polite, clear expression that no action will be taken if such a request comes only from one of the two sides.

But even this press report way rejected by Mr. Farhan Haq: he said that the report that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate. He said that all he sent out was that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon “stands ready to help.”

What counts until now is the brief final note at the end, after several elaborate reports about other world affairs, in the official release of the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING of 20 August 2010.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7041, 23.8.2010

  • There Are 454 Hotels with 23,349 Rooms in Cambodian, Where Eight Are Five-Star Hotels
  • Australia Provided aid [AUD 4 Million or approx. US$ 3.60 Million] for the Construction of Justice Police Buildings [in five provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3965, 23.8.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #37, 22-23.8.2010

  • The Royal Group [of Oknha Khit Meng] Plans to Invest US$2 Billion on Rung Island [the investment project of the Royal Group was approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in 2008, and the company is seeking additional investment capital. It aims at attracting high class tourists to visit the island. The first phase of the project will have been finished within five years from now, to create an international airport, port, hotels, a golf course, and other recreation facilities for tourism – according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuon Narong]
  • Police Intercepted [two] Robbers Allegedly Involved in Almost 20 Robberies in Phnom Penh
  • Two Male Construction Workers Were Attacked with Acid over an Alleged Love Affair [the second acid attach in Phnom Penh in four days]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #242, 23.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Is Ready to Negotiate with [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen over Border Disputes [during the Asia Europe Summit in Brussels in October 2010]
  • The Prime Minister Warned He Will Remove Officials Who Irregularly Intervene in the Process of Making Appointments and to Change Them
  • A Trade Union Criticized a Sub-Decree about the Employment for Handicapped People [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the government creates this policy just to make it look good, though many disabled people are victims of land grabbing – according to the sub-decree all state institutions and ministries have to recruit 2% of their staff from disabled people, and the private sector has to employ at the rate of 1%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5283, 22-23.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Nearly US$9 Million for the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Program [to help strengthen the capacity of the National Climate Control Committee and the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment, to coordinate the formation of national policies and strategic plans about climate change]
  • 183 Kilogram of Snakes [for export to Vietnam] Were Seized from Merchants and Were Released into the Vaiko River [three suspects were arrested – Svay Rieng]

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A Civil Society Group for Social Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials – Tuesday, 17.8.2010

Posted on 18 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: A Civil society group for social accountability and transparency demanded the Anti-Corruption Unit to take action against a section of the tax collecting system for taking more money than what the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance state.

“In the morning 16 August 2010, a civil society group for social accountability and transparency organized a press conference at the Baitong Restaurant in Phnom Penh about their fight against corruption in the form of excessive tax collection for vehicles.

“The president of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-Formal Economy, Mr. Von Pov, said during the conference that every year from July to October, a tax collection is implemented countrywide by tax officials of the Tax Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The collection is carried out in order to build up the national budget for the restoration and maintenance of public infrastructure, and all Cambodian citizens are obliged to pay tax on their vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes, though they suffer from the global economic crisis.

“Mr. Von Pov added regarding the tax collected by tax officials, that civil society groups for social accountability and transparency noticed that most citizens, who own vehicles, were forced by tax officials to pay an excess amount over that stated on the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that at present, 1,391,565 cars and trucks, and 11,356,398 motorbikes [the number of motorbikes given is unrealistically high – that means that about 80% of all citizens, including babies and the whole rural population – own a registered motorcycle; we assume the number includes a mistype and may be 1,356,398 – Editor] have been registered and allowed to travel in Cambodia and they are required to pay tax. On average, if a vehicle is required to pay an additional amount of Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] to tax officials, that means Cambodian citizens waste about US$1 million each year. This is corruption resulting from public officials using their positions as public officials to gain personal gain, so that corruption does not refer only to the stealing of money.

“Mr. Von Pov went on to say that to contribute to achieve the second stage of the Rectangular Strategy and to promote good governance, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, especially the Tax Department, must supervise tax officials so that they work following the official calculations for the collection of taxes. Also, the Tax Department must punish officials who commit offenses, or collect administrative fines from them, if they collect amounts beyond the tax invoices, and the Anti-Corruption Unit must take measures in such cases.

“A Coordinator of the East Asia and Pacific Social Accountability Network, Mr. San Chey, said that even though invoices are issued by the Tax Department, still excess tax collection happens, particularly in the Ponhea Leu district in Kandal and Prey Veng. He added, ‘We will submit reports within one week to the Tax Department to take action.’

“After there had been such criticism about excess tax collections by tax officials, the Tax Department released an announcement on 10 August 2010, where the third point reads, ‘Before paying tax, please read the tax tables posted publicly and pay accordingly the amount set in these tables. If tax officials demand more, please report their names and ID Card number to the Tax Department.’

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, could not be reached for comments on Monday evening, but he used to say in a previous press conference that corruption relates not only to big money, but even 50 cents can also be considered as corruption.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

  • A Civil Society Group for Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials
  • The Minister of Agriculture Called On Citizens to Eat Pork Again [claiming that the ‘blue ear disease’ of pigs does not infect people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia Adheres to Peaceful Positions; while in Cambodia, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Be Patient [in solving their border disputes]

Meatophoum, Vol.54, #796, 16-21.8.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Help Solve the Border Dispute [with Thailand; according to a letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam – who is at present chairing ASEAN – to help either within the structure of ASEAN, or directly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

  • Which Tax Officials are Punished for Forcing Citizens to Pay Excessive Taxes?

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia and Iran Signed an Agreement to Create an Economic Committee in Order to Step Up Economic Cooperation [economic cooperation between Cambodia and Iran will focus on on tourism, the oil industry, investments, agriculture, industry, Iranian export of technical services and engineering, and the exchange of expert delegates]
  • Three People Were Killed and Three Others Were Injured by Lightning [Kompong Cham]
  • Police Burnt again Chicken Meat of No Quality, but Have Never Caught a Persons Who Owns It [Banteay Meanchey]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #238, 17.8.2010

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Appealed against the sentence of Duch, [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief, who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, but considering his past jail term and the reduction of punishment, he will have to serve only about 19 more years]
  • Thailand Arrested a Cambodian Man Accusing Him of Spying [as he walked near a Thai military base; according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, he might be released after there was investigation and a request for his release by Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

  • A Vietnamese General [Le Van Dung] Visits Cambodia to Consolidate the Military Cooperation between the Two Countries
  • Six People Were Killed and Ten Others Were Slightly Injured in Traffic Accidents [in Phnom Penh and Preah Vihear, on 15 August 2010]
  • The Club of Cambodia Journalists Reacted against the Detention of a Kampuchea Thmey Journalist [as he was detained just for a minor traffic accident; the Club of Cambodian Journalists expressed concern, and considers it as a violation of human rights, protected by the Constitution of Cambodia]

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LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World – Tuesday, 20.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] has found that prisons in Cambodia could become detention centers with the highest prisoner rates before or by 2018. Such a prediction is based on the results from the observations of 18 among the 25 prisons countrywide.

“The findings from the observations of LICADHO, released on Monday, 19 July 2010, show that there are 12,646 prisoners in 18 prisons in 13 provinces, as observed by LICADHO. In December 2009, one third of the prisoners in detention did not yet have a hearing. Some prisons do not have proper living condition for prisoners.

“Prisons in Cambodia have scarce resources, and the overcrowding of prisons leads to ever more serious conditions in the prisons.

“According to the report of LICADHO, the increase in the number of prisoners from day to day might lead to a situation where Cambodia has a prison system with the highest prisoner rates in the world before or by 2018, because in some prisons in Cambodia there are three times more prisoners compared to the designed capacity. For example, in the Takmao prison, the official capacity is only 314 prisoners, but actually, there are up to 1,042 prisoners. The M2 rehabilitation center in the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh, houses up to 777 women and children while the official capacity is merely 300. The Kompong Thom prison has 208 prisoners, while the official capacity is 50 prisoners only.

“The head of the investigation section of LICADHO, Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that the major cause for the overcrowded prisons in Cambodia nowadays is that some offences should not lead to imprisonment, while now many suspects are detained temporarily before they get sentenced, affecting the judicial systems and the prisoners’ health. Also, there is overcrowding because many prisoners are jailed beyond the term of their conviction.

“Mr. Oum Sam Ath added that LICADHO recommended to the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to discuss this situation with the Ministry of Justice and with the court system, to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons by checking the terms of imprisonment, and by releasing prisoners facing minor accusations, like misdemeanors, on bail.

“Nevertheless, the head of the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Heng Hak, said that the current number of prisoners is not the highest rate in the world.

“He went on to say, ‘At present, we are dealing with overcrowding by constructing new prisons or expanding the housing capacity of the existing prisons, such as M2 and M3, and by repairing old buildings as well as constructing new ones, like in Pursat, where we built a new prison – M4 – which can house 2,500 prisoners.’

“Mr. Heng Hak added that nowadays, the conditions for prisoners are better, as they now get a food support of Riel 2,800 [US$0.65] per day.

“Before, their food support was only Riel 1,500 [US$0.35]. The health of prisoners is better than before, as they are cared for by the government by cooperating with non-government organizations working on health issues, to check and to treat prisoners.

“It should be noted that at present, there are 25 prisons nationwide with 13,325 prisoners; LICADHO found that 90% of the prisoners are overcrowded, as these 25 prisons can house merely 8,000 prisoners.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2305, 20.7.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Announced to Continue a Long-Term Career in Politics
  • The Opposition Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee [opposition party leader] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Return [but so far, there is no response]
  • In This Year’s [lower secondary school] Grade 9 Examinations, 91.81% of the [159,724] Students Passed Which Is Comparable to Last Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7012, 20.7.2010

  • Two Female Workers Jumped from the Second Floor of a House to Escape [from the VC Manpower Company, sending workers to Malaysia] – One Was Seriously Injury [she broke her spine], the Other One Ran Away [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3936, 20.7.2010

  • The United States of America [during a visit by US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns] Asked Cambodian Politicians to Think about the Freedom of Expression in Politics before They Decide to Use Court Systems to Solve Problems
  • The US Senate Created a New Law Requiring Companies Registered at the US Stock Exchange to Declare Their Payments to the Cambodian Government before Starting Oil and Gas Exploitation Later in 2012

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #8, 20.7.2010

  • Cambodia Continues to Develop the Preah Vihear Area without Caring about Thai Warnings [Thailand claimed that the demarcation of the area between both countries have not been finished, but Cambodia claimed developments are made only on Cambodian territory]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #218, 20.7.2010

  • Those Who Attempt to Overthrow Hun Sen Using No-Democratic Means Will Receive a Response by Force [the Prime Minister warned the opposition parties for recently discussing his health condition]
  • Cambodia Angkor Air Will Buy Two Planes [Airbus 321, which cost about US$99.5 million each] to Expand Its Flights [so there will be five planes in total]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Closed Investigations of Case 002 [involving former Khmer Rouge leaders Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

  • LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World
  • Samdech Dekchor Wants Universities to Be Established in All Provinces [to reduce the expenses of students who seek to further their education in cities]
  • The National Budget for 2011 Amounts to Riel 12,000,000,000,000 [approx. US$2,800 million, compared with 2010 when it was Riel 8,000,000,000,000 or approx. US$1,900 Million – according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • Garment Workers of Two Factories with About 2,000 Workers Strike to Demand Improved Work Conditions in 16 Points [such as an extra payment of US$10 for female workers who have delivered a baby buy milk powder, and the permission for a 90 days absentee regulation during pregnancy – 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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Free access to free flowing information – Sunday, 27.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

The Constitution of a country is its basic law – all other laws and regulations have to follow the guidelines of the Constitution. The Constitution is also a basic guideline for the citizens of a country, especially in a country where the Constitution declares (inscribed in the name of the people: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA” as its Preamble states): “Cambodian people are the masters of their own country,” living in the Kingdom of Cambodia that has adopted “a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism” as stated in its Article 51. The Constitution, written in 1993 by the elected representatives forming the first National Assembly of the newly established Kingdom of Cambodia, established a high and clear vision for the future after the troubled and violent decades of the past: “to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation.”

The Constitution lays out also clearly where the responsibility for the destiny of the nation is located: “All power belongs to the people.”

To fulfill the goals laid out is a daily challenge – not just to be celebrated on Constitution Day on 24 September every year, remembering the signing of the new Constitution on 24 September 1993 by King Sihanouk, and not only on the days every five years, when the members of the National Assembly are elected as the legislative power, with the authority over the creation of a new government, through which the people exercise their power.

To fulfill this challenge requires, among others, that the people can know what is going on in the country over which they are the masters: access to correct and transparent information is a fundamental condition for the Constitution to be alive.

The media play an important role in facilitating the access to information. We had the headline this week “Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]” – an indication that there is still work to be done. Some time ago it was also decided that all Ministries shall have an official spokesperson, and there had also been special training events for persons taking on these new roles.

Unfortunately, the situation is often far away from the goal to be achieved. There are regular reports in the press, almost every week, that a reporter calling a Ministry to get some information is directed to a different person, and from there to a third person, and finally the answer is “no information available.” Or after being re-directed to several other sources, the caller ends up with the original contact. Or the called party hangs up as soon as they understand the call is from a journalist.

There are other cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand it, as it is only a partial answer to a public question.

A case of this type of a response is the elaborate response given in the National Assembly by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to an opposition request for clarification about “tea money” paid by foreign oil and mineral exploring companies, about which The Mirror carried a report in the Friday edition. There was, in response to the information given, some praise in the national and international press – but there was also frustration.

“In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.”

But there were no total figures given, no explanation why such payments were not reflected in past accounts of the national budget, and no information about the administration of the Social Fund – who is responsible, and according to which criteria; no NGO could get away with such vague information.

And there are cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand the arguments used and not used.

The demarcation of national borders is an important affair, often loaded not only with practical, but also with emotional elements. Clear, transparent information can always help to defuse a tense situation. Why are then the Khmer authorities prohibiting farmers from doing cultivation on the fields next to the temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo, and people trying to visit the site to verify what is really going on were are prohibited from visiting? We did not find that the media were given the precise geographical coordinates, and detailed mapping reference – why only general reference to some border agreements?

Similarly, but even less transparent, is the argumentation in the following press report:

“An Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation].”

If the original map deposited at the United Nations does not have a grid, showing the geographical coordinates of Latitudes and Longitudes of the depicted locations – how is it possible to determine where the contested border posts are actually located? It is faking the map, if the claim is made that the original maps did contain the grid of geographical coordinates but it actually did not – but it is helping to clarify the situation, if the geographical coordinates of Northern Latitude and Eastern Longitude are later provided so that the place of the border line can be clearly shown. – The legal struggle against the grid on the map seems to criticize that clarifying information is provided, while not saying that the information provided is wrong – nor providing alternative information with the assertion what is right.

That the public handling of information and the access to it is crucial has been underlined again by the top UN officials on 3 May 2010 – marking the annual World Press Freedom Day – calling for the promoting of the universal right to publicly-held information as well as ensuring the safety of all those who work in the media, adding that “some journalists risk intimidation, detention and even their lives, simply for exercising their right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any media, and regardless of frontiers.” That is what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message for the World Press Freedom Day. It is a continuing challenge and a task not yet fulfilled.

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The British Ambassador Announced the Amount of Aid Promised for the Development of Cambodia – Saturday, 26.6.2010

Posted on 1 July 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies again – for the present delay. The transfer of a file was delayed, and then I did not have Internet access because of traveling.

Norbert Klein
At present in Canada for an Internet stability related workshop. I hope that from next week on, I should be able to upload the daily supplements of The Mirror again regularly.

“The British Embassy to Cambodia said that within the amount of US$1.1 billion aid that the government receives from donors for 2010, the British government will provide £21 million to support development plans in Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the British Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Neng Vannak, wrote in an email on 22 June 2010 that the amount of aid that the British government plans to provide to Cambodia is about £21 million, approximately US$33 million.

“He added that the aid of the British government will support health care and the improvement of accountability of Cambodian public finance.

“Besides announcing the amount of aid for the development in Cambodia, Mr. Vannak added that England is a country that is encouraging and attracting investments and boosting commercial ties in Cambodia.

“Mr. Vannak added that in 2009, English investors invested US$5.4 million. Most of the investment concentrated on the financial sector, construction, agriculture, and the garment industry. But the embassy has not yet released information for 2010.

He went on to say that relating to the commerce in 2009, the export of Cambodia to England amounted to about £177.23 million [approx. US$276 million], while the import from England to Cambodia was only £4.02 million [approx. 6.06 million]. The spokesperson of the British Embassy announced the £21 million aid for Cambodia after the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, declared early in the month that donors promised to provide about US$1.1 billion to support development plans in Cambodia. At that time, he just said that Japan is the country that promised to provide most aid.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5234, 26.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 26 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #514, 26.6.2010

  • A Student Died after a Fuel Tank Truck of the Tela Company Rolled Over Him [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2285, 26.6.2010

  • A Fire Which Resulted from an Overturned Car Burnt Two Persons to Death and Seriously Wounded Five Others [Kompong Chhnang]
  • Many Piglets Were Imported from Vietnam into Prey Veng [illegally], but the Officials in Charge Did Not Suppress It [but collude with the merchants

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6992, 26-27.6.2010

    Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Pleased with the Construction of Roads and Bridges by China That Have Quality and Are Cheap and Fast

  • Samdech Euv [the former King], Samdech Mae [the former Queen], and the King Returned Back to the Country [after paying a private visit to Vietnam]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3916, 26-27.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: The Khmer Government Is Incompetent to Protect Its Citizens Who Are Mistreated and Killed by the Authorities of Neighboring Countries [recently, another Khmer citizen was shot dead by Thai soldiers who accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5234, 26.6.2010

  • The British Ambassador Announced the Amount of Aid Promised for the Development of Cambodia
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon Met with a Delegation of the International Monetary Fund That Came to Check the Performance of the Cambodian Economy
  • Cambodia Cannot Export Fruits Abroad because of Fruit Fly Contamination [according to a workshop held by the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture]

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Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money from the Total Company – Friday, 25.6.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present still in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, but soon again on the way – to Canada. I am not yet sure when I will be able to send the Saturday installment – maybe tomorrow, maybe only later.

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, officially provided a written clarification regarding oil and gas issues, as well as the US$28 million paid by Total after a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, had asked seven questions.

“According to the letter of Mr. Sok An sent to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, on 9 June 2010 and released on 24 June 2010 to respond to Mr. Son Chhay’s questions, it explains that the Royal Government never provided licenses to any oil company for exploitation, but signed oil deals to allow companies to study and explore oil and gas resources. Companies with which such oil deals have been made by the Royal Government are:

Campex,
Chevron,
CNOOC [China National Offshore Oil Corporation],
CPHL Petroleum,
Enterprise Oil,
GS-Caltex,
Idemitsu,
JCL Petroleum,
JOGMEC [Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation],
Kris Energy,
Kuwait Energy,
Lunin,
Medco,
Mitsui Oil Exploration Company,
Petrovietnam,
Polytec Petroleum Corporation,
Premier Oil,
PTTEP,
Resourceful Petroleum,
Singapore Petroleum Corporation,
Total,
Woodside.

Some of these companies had given up and left, because the oil and gas resources they were researching cannot be developed commercially.

“Responding to the questions that Mr. Son Chhay had asked, ‘What policies allow companies to gain profit before they get exploitation licenses?’ – Mr. Sok An said that these companies are qualified, they have sufficient techniques and resources to explore, they have proper programs responding to the needs for exploration, care about the environment, have the ability to enter into competition, they can provide appropriate benefits to Cambodia, and they meet other points stated in the regulations for oil exploration from 1991.

“Responding to the questions, ‘What payments do they have to make before they get a licenses? What payments have to be made into the state budget? If there are such payments, since when have such payments been implemented?’ – Mr. Sok An said that the companies do not have to pay all money before they receive oil deals. But when a company gets a deal, they might pay some money, like reward money for signing, and money for a social development foundation. But they are not obliged to pay it, and it depends on negotiations based on the expected oil potential. In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.

“Another question is, ‘Where has the US$28 million payment of the Total company been used, and where has this been published? What policies were used to determine the amount of US$28 million?

“Mr. Sok An responded that the amount of money paid by Total is US$26 million (US$20 million as reward money for signing, and US$6 million was for the social development foundation). The rest of US$2 million is for processing the administrative work which the company volunteered to pay for the long term. No money has been paid to any individual who is an official of the Royal Government. The government manages and uses the income from the oil and gas resources through the same entrance and exit [that is the national budget]. As for the social development fund into which the oil companies paid, it is not so much and it depends on the potential of the resources; the foundation had been established in 1995.

“Mr. Sok An made these clarifications in response to the Sam Rainsy Part parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, who had sent a letter with questions on 7 May 2010, through the National Assembly.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #513, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Absolutely Firmly Ordered that No Primary Schools and Health Centers Should be Sold [especially those in Phnom Penh – previously, some primary school directors and heads of health centers had sold or relocated institutions for their own benefit]
  • The [SBJ] Bank of Vietnam Invests US$3 Million in Gold Minerals Development in Cambodia
  • More Than 6,000 Families at the Northeast Received Free Treatments from American Medics

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2284, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Called On Citizens to Obey the Traffic Laws during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [in Phnom Penh]
  • Australia Has the First Female Prime Minister [Ms. Julia Gillard] after a Grim Party Revolt

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

  • Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money of the Total Company

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #690, 25.6.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Must Cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to Arrest the Persons Who Made the Grenade Attack in Front of the [former] National Assembly, to Be Convicted like [the Cambodian Freedom Fighters leader] Chhun Yasith [convicted to serve a life time prison term for attempting a coup d’etat in Cambodia in 2000]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6991, 25.6.2010

  • The 24th Synthesizing Report of the ILO Shows the Recovery of the Garment Sector [in Cambodia – the rate of export within five months of 2010 was more than that within the corresponding period last year; the rate of employment increased a little since 1 November 2009 and the rate of unemployment which results from the global financial crisis is stable – it is not deteriorating]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #690, 25.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Leader [Mr. Sam Rainsy] and Parliamentarian [Ms. Mu Sochua] Who Are Facing Arrest Will Attend the ASEAN Free Parties’ Forum in the Philippines as Honorary Speakers [from 27 to 29 June 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #201, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Said that the Sam Rainsy Party Was Also Involved in the Unsuccessful Coup [by the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF]
  • Thai Soldiers Shot and Killed a Khmer Worker when He Was Returning from Work [accusing him of illegally trafficking motorbikes across the border – the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, condemned this fatal shooting and waits for an explanation from Thailand]
  • The Mong Riththy Group [Company] Invests US$10 Million to Plant Rubber Trees at a Seashore Region in Sihanoukville in 2010 [on 5,000 hectares of land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5233, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Asked the Ministry of Transport of China to Invest to Construct [many] Roads in Cambodia According to the Built-Operate-Transfer [BOT]

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Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected – Thursday, 3.6.2010

Posted on 4 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Government officials and donors met on Wednesday in Phnom Penh for the [third] Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum. During the forum, the donors appealed to the government to speed up key reforms tied to the provision of aid. More than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations attend the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum with plans to grant aid before the meeting ends on Thursday. Officials of the Cambodian government expect that the government will get the envisaged aid of US$1 billion.

“During the speech to open the forum, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform. He said, ‘The Royal Government has made its utmost effort to firmly and deeply implement various reform programs and consider them a “life or death” issue for Cambodia.’

“The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities,’

“During the closed-door meeting on Wednesday, the delegations discussed the National Strategic Development Plan Update for 2009-2013 of the government, as well as the policies to ensure the macroeconomic stability during this time of a global economic crisis. In December 2008, Cambodia received pledges of US$951.5 million, compared to US$650 million in June 2007.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said after the meeting on Wednesday that the meeting went smoothly and there were not any objections from donors. He said, ‘I don’t know how much money the government will receive from donor countries this year, but I estimate it will reach our expectations.’

“Also, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said that the aid tendency keeps increasing, and the requirement of the government will rise to as much as US$1 billion in 2010.

“The Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum has been analyzed carefully in the past few weeks, and local and international non-government organizations called on the donors to press the government to fulfill the agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply the Joint Monitoring Indicators. Fifteen local non-government organizations said in a document released on Tuesday, ‘It is not enough to throw money at problems and hope the ruling party will act in the interest of the people.’

“A report released on Monday by Global Witness suggested that the donors should take ‘a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.’

“An advisor of the government, Mr. Raoul Jennar, said during the forum that the government and the donors have been successful in cooperating to create new laws, and he hopes that the donors will provide strong support during the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum. He said, ‘The government has made many achievements in recent years where more than 260 laws have been adopted during the previous decade. The problem is that development needs highly skilled human resources; this is a problem that Cambodia is facing.’

“Other participants said that the government should care more about the involvement by civil society rather than focusing on foreign policy makers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1442, 3-4.6.2010

  • 2,000 Workers Strike in Kompong Chhnang [against their shoe factory owner, who is forcing them to work overtime]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #494, 3.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Are Still Defiant and Want to Visit the Border Marker Number 270 [in Takeo though the president of the National Assembly did not give them a permission for this visit]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2265, 3.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Aid provided by Development Partners Is a Very Important Contribution for the Development of Cambodia
  • The Cambodian and the Indonesian Governments Signed an Agreement to Mutually Waive Visa Fees for Normal Passport

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #672, 3.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Yim Sovann: Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Will Visit the Border Marker Number 270 Today

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6972, 3.6.2010

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Said that She Will Not Pay the Fine of Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$4,000] in the Case She Lost [against Prime Minister Hun Sen over defamation], but She Would Rather Go to Jail [the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Appeals Court]
  • A Grenade Was Thrown at a Dancing Event, Resulting in One Death and Thirteen Injured People [perpetrators are not yet identified – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Hatoyama Yukio] Resigned from His Position after Staying in Office Less Than One Year

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3896, 3.6.2010

  • The National Bank of Cambodia Bought Riel Notes with US$3 Million to Support the Dwindling Value of the Riel [the present exchange rate is approx. US$1 to Riel 4,260]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Is too Lazy to Respond to Thailand over an Extradition Request for Mr. Thaksin [confirming that Cambodia will not honor an arrest warrant from Interpol to extradite Mr. Thaksin, though the Thai government plans to send it through Interpol to 187 countries]
  • Disabled People [through 150 representatives of 620 families of veterans from Kompong Cham] Protested in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [in Phnom Penh] over a Land Dispute [asking for intervention by Mr. Hun Sen to distribute 4,000 hectares of land to the ‘Association Cripple Development’ in Kratie, because on 24 April 2010, the provincial authorities claimed that the land belongs to private companies]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 3.6.2010

  • Cambodia Denied It Has Provided Training Shelter in Cambodia for Thai Red-Shirt Armed Militants [a Thai military commander had commented that Thai red-shirt armed militants had been in Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Asian Development Bank Grants US$2.2 Million for a Project to Assess the Impact of Legal Procedures of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #484, 22.5.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2255, 22.5.2010

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5204, 22.5.2010

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

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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.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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