The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance – Wednesday, 9.6.2010

Posted on 10 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Donors and aid organizations provide development aid to Cambodia because they want the Cambodian government to create mechanisms to fight corruption, effectively implementing an anti-corruption law. In 2010, Cambodia received pledges of US$1.1 billion of aid from donors, where Japan provides US$131 million, comparable to China that provides more than US$100 million. The third big donor is the United States of America that provides US$68 million, Germany more than US$65 million, and Australia more than US$61 million. Besides, the Asia Development Bank, the World Bank, and many other global institutions provide most of the rest of the aid amounting to US$352 million.

“Also, twelve organizations of the United Nations provide more than US$86 million, and European countries, including through the European Commission, provide more than US$255 million, among which Germany provides most with US$65 million.

“Besides the intention to see the government organize anti-corruption mechanisms, the donors and aid organizations as well as international financial institutions focus on the plans to maintain macro-economic stability and to reduce the poverty of Khmer citizens, by suggesting that increased aid efficiency is essential, and they hope that the Cambodian government will use the aid efficiently and transparently, to encourage economic growth. If Cambodia cannot achieve economic growth, poverty alleviation will be difficult. Therefore, the donors and aid organizations will step up their mechanisms to carefully monitor the use of aid.

“The country director of the World Bank in Cambodia called for concentration to strengthen the economic basis, like through the improvement of competitiveness and of the investment atmosphere, the provision of concession land that benefits the poor, solutions for citizens who lose their land, public administration reforms, and especially the improvement of transparent control and use of income from natural resources.

“The International Monetary Fund, an institution that provides technical assistance on finance and banking, suggested that the Cambodian government has to cut down the national deficit that increased by 6% in 2009 down to 5% by eliminating tax exemptions, though they are important to attract investors.

“Formerly, in order to attract investors to Cambodia, the government decided not to tax factories or enterprises newly opened during the first two or three years, depending on whether those factors or enterprises had gained profit or lost.

“Also, the representative of the European Union demanded the improvement of education quality and the promotion of primary education, fields which are still weak. He said that the number of people who cannot attend school is still high. Thus, the government has to ensure that boys and girls have equal opportunities to go to school, so as to increase educational opportunities for girls. And the government has to decrease the number of students that drop out from school.

“Not only in Cambodia, but also in other developing countries in the world, financial aid is crucial for the development of these countries.

“Among the more than 14 million Khmer citizens, about 4 million live under the poverty line. In 2006, Cambodia received more than US$700 million financial aid, and the figures keep increasing from year to year, where in 2010 the aid pledges increased to US$1.1 billion. Nevertheless, expert officials estimated that in 2011, the aid will decline to US$958 million and in 2012 to US$750 million.

“The opposition parties suggested to donors and aid organizations not to provide aid to the government, accusing the government of committing corruption, and the government does not use the aid properly. But the aid keeps rising anyway.

“It is good that the government is successful in trusting donors and aid organizations in its ruling. But what the government had promised is not just to satisfy the donors. The government must work on its weak points and should not arbitrarily react against criticisms. Particularly, it should be able to carry out its commitment to conduct public administrative and judicial reforms, to strengthen the transparent management of income from oil and gas resources, and to strengthen the effective implementation of the anti-corruption law.

“If the government can achieve success following its commitments, we believe that the aid to be provided in 2011 would be more than that in 2010.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #499, 9.6.2010

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Had an Armed Clash at Ou Cham Bak Point in the Trapeang Prasat District [in Oddar Meanchey; one Cambodian army commander said that Thai soldiers started shooting at Cambodian soldiers first, but the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Defense says that this is not clear – but nobody was wounded]
  • Spain Provides a Loan of US$5 million for Development over a Period of Three Years [2010 to 2012, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals]
  • [Mr. José Mujica, a former left wing guerilla fighter, elected president in 2009] The President of Uruguay Is the Poorest President in the World [he owns no house and drives a car that cost only US$1,900; he gets US$11,000 as his salary, but he donates one fifth to the funds of his party, and the rest of the salary to the state funds to construct infrastructure for people in poor areas]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2270, 9.6.2010

  • The Forestry Head of the Sandan Commune Intercepted More Than 400 Cubic Meter of Wood Hidden by a Trader [so far nobody has been arrested – Kompong Thom]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

  • The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6977, 9.6.2010

  • The Appeals Court Maintains the Judgment of the Municipal Court That Rejects the Request [of opposition party president Sam Rainsy] to Create an Independent Border Committee [to check the putting of border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • Fake $100 Notes Worth US$10,000 Were Planned to Be Trafficked into Phnom Penh [but were intercepted; a man was arrested – the Banteay Meanchey police suspected a taxi that carried no passengers but drove very fast towards Phnom Penh – Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3901, 9.6.2010

  • Corruption and Interference by Politicians into the Judicial System in Cambodia Must Be Reformed in Time

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #189, 9.6.2010

  • Four Companies [names not mentioned] Continue to Dredge Sand at the Koh Kong Beach [sand dredging is supposed to have been forbidden, and it affects the fish yield ]
  • Another Car Assembly Company Will Be Established [in Cambodia; the Khmer First Car Company, owned by a Chinese national, will be established in Phnom Penh to assemble trucks – brand name not mentioned]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5219, 9.6.2010

  • The Senate and the National Assembly Appointed Members of the Anti-Corruption Council [Mr. Prak Sok, a former member of the Constitutional Council, is the representative of the Senate, and Mr. Tob Som is the representative of the National Assembly]
  • The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Employment in Charge of Foreign Commerce of France [Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac] Visits Cambodia [from 9 to 11 June 2010, to boost Cambodian-French cooperation]
  • 11.54 Cubic Meter of Ebony Wood Was Intercepted [the car driver run away from the truck – Prey Veng]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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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

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The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics – Wednesday, 21.4.2010

Posted on 22 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The United States of America launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics with US$16.2 million to promote accountability and transparency in the Cambodian government.

“The program was launched on 20 April 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, and it was chaired by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol A. Rodley.

“The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] developed this Accountability in Governance and Politics 5-year program, aimed at assisting Cambodia by encouraging the government to be responsible for implementing their policies through: 1. Strengthening of accountability, transparency, and broad access to information; 2. Creation of modern leadership; and 3. Support for the electoral systems.

This program will provide US$7.2 million to the International Republican Institute from 2009 to 2014, concentrating on consolidating the capacity of civil servants and of officials of political parties through the analysis of public surveys and through the creation of effective strategies for decision making.

“This program also offers US$6.08 million to the National Democratic Institute for increasing transparency over decisions of the government, and for further strengthening the access to public information about policy formation.

“The program also provides US$2.29 million to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to strengthen the understanding of politics and the participation by women in government positions.

“Ms. Carol A. Rodley said that democracy in Cambodia is young, but it has progressed much since the first elections in 1993. She added that the United States of America hopes to cooperate with related institutions of the government, with civil society, and with all political parties to strengthen democracy in Cambodia. She went on to say, ‘I am exited about the extensive consolidation of skills and of experiences that these organizations have contributed to Cambodia, with which they can implement the projects at their areas. I believe that we will see positive results within five years.’

“On the same occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An highly assessed USAID for initiating and for funding this crucial program, and he hopes that it will contribute to promote the understanding and the participation of citizens in creating and implementing various policies that are more accountable and more transparent, so as to lead to a broader implementation of democracy in Cambodia.

“He added that the projects to be implemented are also consistent with the political program of the Royal Government that is encouraging the participation from all circles in the process to establish policies, in project organization, and in different decisions made by the Royal Government through consultations to ensure a balanced progress in Cambodia. The Royal Government clearly stated that civil society and non-government organizations are important partners for economic and social development, as well as for the strengthening of democracy and the respect for human rights in Cambodia.

“He hopes that these projects will be implemented equally and faithfully by the three organizations, according to their goals, in order to join with the Royal Government to strengthen democracy, development, and the implementation of polices to further develop the economy and the society.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #458, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank [ADB] Predicted that the Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.5% in 2010 and by 6% in 2011 [if the global economic growth is in line with the forecast of the ADB, and if the climate is favorable for agricultural cultivation in Cambodia]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Lead a Delegation to Attend the Inauguration of the Expo 2010 Shanghai [in China on 29 April 2010]
  • The Number of People Killed by an Earthquake in China [in the northwest] Rose to 2,000

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 21.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Issued a Warrant to Bring Mr. Sam Rainsy to the Court [for a hearing, not for arrest] over an Accusation that He Faked Public Maps
  • A Fierce Lightning Storm Killed Six People during a Rain in the Early Visakh Lunar Month in Bakan District [Pursat – the Visakh month is the second month in the traditional lunar calendar, in 2010 extending from the end of March to the end of April]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3859, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Found that the Rate of Poor Khmer Citizens Strongly Increased in Rural Areas

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.154, #1, 21.4.2010

  • Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Lacks behind Its Neighboring Countries in the Garment Sector and in Tourism
  • [The Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Published a Book Praising [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Politics [“The Strategy of Putting the Fire of War in Cambodia to an End” – ហេង​ពៅ “យុទ្ធសាស្ត្ររំលត់ភ្លើងសង្គ្រាម​នៅ​កម្ពុជា”]
  • The Land Dispute in Amleang Commune Is Still Hot as There Is Still No Solution [about 500 villagers continue to protest against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company encroaching on what they claim is their land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

  • The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics
  • [Twenty seven] Foreign Journalists from the time of the War between 1970 and 1975 Arrived in Cambodia Again [for a reunion, and they were welcomed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Welcomes the Former Head of State of Vietnam [Mr. Trần Đức Lương (Tran Duc Luong} during his visit to Cambodia to strengthen the ties and good cooperation between both countries]

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In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues – Tuesday, 20.4.2010

Posted on 21 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: Telecom Cambodia held a meeting on 19 April 2010 to reflect on the work in 2009 and to set its goals for 2010, chaired by Mr. Lao Saroeun, a delegate of the Royal Government as the Director General of Telecom Cambodia, and by Mr. Koy Pum, an Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication.

“Mr. Lao Saroeun said that in 2010, Telecom Cambodia encouraged efforts to collect more income, following the circulars and recommendations from different leaders. He advised the telecommunication personnel that efficiency and success result from building up trust from clients. Therefore, they must be able to maintain clients, and must think of setting up more access faciliies and network services to serve the clients.

“Mr. Koy Pum said that Telecom Cambodia is a public institution of the Royal Government of Cambodia. It is responsible for developing telecommunication and information technology, and it is actively extending telecommunication infrastructure, especially the backbone network of telecommunication, and extending the network for clients in cities and in rural areas, to respond to VGN System applications [see Note 1: further down] in the future so as to catch up with the advancement of Communication and Information Technology of the world, and particularly to meet the obvious demands of clients.

“He added that in 2009, with the agreement by the Board of Directors, Telecom Cambodia accomplished several noticeable achievements in constructing telecommunication infrastructure, expanding networks, and providing new services in response to demands. As a result, the number of clients increased steadily. In the meantime, Telecom Cambodia is facing strong competition from other operators that provide similar services, including phone networks and the Internet. This caused Telecom Cambodia to try harder to overcome all challenges and to receive positive results, as seen today.

“He said that these results cannot be seen separate from the efforts of the leaders on all levels and of the employees of Telecom Cambodia who have worked hard. Also, to accomplish new successes in 2010, an important year for telecommunication developments among strong competition, Telecom Cambodia has to define a clear vision and goals, to achieve defined results, based on proper management and monitoring mechanisms, so that the operations of Telecom Cambodia can achieve success.

“The Undersecretary of State added that besides the effects from the global economic crisis, Telecom Cambodia also faces other challenges, such as sturdy competition from other local and international telecommunication operators, difficulties in collecting payments, the limitation of services provided to clients, a lack of qualified human resources, and especially the drop of international telecommunication income from the 001 gateway.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

Note 1:

VGN Systems – Voice Gender Normalization Systems

“Traditionally the interest in voice gender conversion was of a more theoretical nature rather than founded in real-life applications. However, with the increase in mobile communication and the resulting limitation in transmission bandwidth, new approaches to minimizing data rates have to be developed. Here Voice Gender Normalization (VGN) presents an efficient method of achieving higher compression rates by using the VGN algorithm to remove gender specific components of a speech signal, and thus enhancing the information content to be transmitted.

“A second application for VGN is in the field of speech controlled systems, where current speech recognition algorithms have to deal with the voice characteristics of a speaker as well as the information content. Here again the use of VGN can remove the speaker’s voice gender characteristics and thus enhance the message contents.”

Note 2:

It is interesting that such a specific, fairly new field as VGN is mentioned here, but it is surprising that the efforts to introduce economic control by Telecom Cambodia over other Internet Service Providers, by trying to introduce a single, mandatory Internet Exchange Point and a monopoly for the purchase of international connectivity, and even the possibility of Internet content control (as had been reported also in The Mirror) is not mentioned here; related considerations date back into 2009, though the controversy became publicly discussed mainly in 2010. These plans were finally given up, after they had met with much opposition in the business community.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #457, 20.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Summons [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy to Appear Today [over a complaint of the government accusing him of faking maps and disinformation. – He is abroad; normally he sends a lawyer to represent him]
  • The Naga Casino Was Accused of Illegally Dismissing 41 Staff [they were dismissed with immediate effect without being informed in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2227, 20.4.2010

  • The Thomson Reuters Foundation [“Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity in Britain and the United States”] Has Not Responded to a Cambodian Request [to correct the size of Cambodia on a table from 176,520 square kilometers to the official size of Cambodia of 181,035 square kilometers]
  • The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Will Make an Official Visit to Cambodia [from 25 to 28 April 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

  • In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues
  • The European Union Grants US$1.6 Million for Human Rights and Democracy Work in Cambodia
  • The United Nations Calls On Donors to Provide the Funds That They Promised for Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3885, 20.4.2010

  • The Head of the Department of Labor of Mondolkiri [Mr. Noy Sron] Recruits His Son as the Deputy Head

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.153, #1, 20.4.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Investigate Government Officials [who are said to have been involved in killing Khmer citizens, and bring the suspects to the Tribunal according to the law]
  • Thai Troops Withdrew from the Chak Chreng Area [after staying there for three days; there were negotiations between army commanders of both countries]
  • Amleang Commune Residents Blocked Road 52 to Protest [against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company that continues to clear the land and blocked the way to their rice fields – Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5176, 20.4.2010

  • Thirty Five Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found in the Five Star Eva Hotel in Siem Reap [the owner of the wood had reported this to the authorities; no more information is given]
  • Police Cracked Down on a Big Group of Armed Robbers That Had Committed 20 Robberies [arresting seven people – Phnom Penh]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position, but Should Be Punished according to the Law – Wednesday, 7.4.2010

Posted on 8 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them.

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

“Mr. Hun Sen specified that Mr. Ty Sokun was reassigned from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration to become an Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture, and he was replaced by Mr. Chheng Kim Son. Also, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on wood traders and on other high ranking officials who are involved in forestry crimes to show up and to deliver any illegal wood to the authorities.

“Many high ranking officials involved in forestry crimes, who escaped abroad, must return to confess. Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’

“In the meantime, the Prime Minister warned that Ms. Khai Narin, called Che Muoy, might be arrested, who is said to be a powerful person close to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun. He warned also the Trapeang Prasat district governor in Oddar Meanchey, who used his power to authorize the transfer of state land to powerful military officials.

“Based on the words of the Prime Minister, what Ty Sokun did were mistakes that cannot be disregarded, and that made the Prime Minister lose trust in him. Also, he puts his trust in the newly appointed head of the forestry administration, Mr. Chheng Kim Son, and he hopes Mr. Chheng Kim Son will not disappoint his trust.

“It is reported that Mr. Chheng Kim Son had not been powerful, so he could not just move up to take the position and be appointed to replace Ty Sokun. But it is said that the deputy director of the Forestry Administration, Mr. Chea Sam Ath, is the most powerful person there, who would normally replace Mr. Ty Sokun. But because Mr. Chea Sam Ath is said also to be involved with corruption over forestry crimes, not much different from Mr. Ty Sokun, he was not promoted. The same source added that Mr. Chea Sam Ath has many problems, for which he might be removed or jailed, like other fellow forestry functionaries.

“Therefore, it is likely that Mr. Chea Sam Ath cannot avoid to face jail because the forestry crimes were of a large scale. If Mr. Chea Sam Ath did not have problems, he would have already been nominated head of the forestry administration. But because he has similar problems as Ty Sokun, he was ignored. Does taking responsibility for the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture end with the removal of only the Director General of the Forestry Administration Ty Sokun?

“On Monday, a forestry chief from a region facing the Gulf of Thailand, Mr. Vann Sophanna was summoned by the Koh Kong Municipal Court, but was released later. The Judge of the Koh Kong Municipal Court questioned the head of the forestry administration station facing the Gulf of Thailand, Mr. Vann Sophanna, and the Deputy Forestry Administration Chief of Pursat, Mr. Ouk Kim San, at 9:45 of 5 April 2010. The questioning was made after the national military police, in collaboration with the military police of Kampot and of Sihanoukville, arrested them on Sunday morning in Kompong Trach district, Kampot, and sent them to be detained at the Koh Kong Military Police Station and then to the court for questioning over forestry crimes in the regions under their authority.

“According to military police officials, they will continue to arrest other suspects involved in forestry crimes. It is said that Vann Sophanna, who is a powerful figure in illegally trading wood, is vicious and very domineering. He often blamed his fellow officials over minor mistakes. The general public waits to see other senior officials, who are involved in forestry crimes, also arrested, as recently some other forestry administration officials had been arrested. The interception of forestry crimes and the arrest of perpetrators started after strict orders from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“It should be noted that last week, many forestry administration officials, with positions from commune to district forestry administration heads, especially those in Kompong Cham, were removed. According to some reports, the Kompong Cham district forestry administration head, Mr. Hun Ieng, the Memut district forestry administration head, Mr. Thong Vannviravuth, the Memut commune forestry administration head, Mr. Yim La, and the Dambae commune forestry administration head, were removed from their positions, and they face imprisonment. Besides forestry administration officials in Kompong Cham, where the authorities found thousands of cubic meters of wood in Memut district, other forestry officials in Pursat and in some other provinces, where there is illegal wood trading, are also facing removal and arrest.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #454, 7.4.2010

  • As a Result of the Hot Campaign to Combat Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Was Removed and Chheng Kim Song Was Appointed to Replace Him
  • After Mr. Ty Sokun Was Removed from His Position, Documents Relating to Irregular Measures Were Disclosed
  • A Military Brigadier General Is Detained at the Prey Sar Prison due to His Anarchic Gunfire [which injured an English woman – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2221, 7.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Removes Ty Sokun and Warned Other Officials
  • The National Assembly Adopted a Draft Allowing Cambodia to Become a Part of the ASEAN Anti-Terrorism Pact

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6928, 7.4.2010

  • A 45-Seater Bus Was Illegally Loaded with 68 Pieces of Ebony [the driver was arrested – Siem Reap]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

  • Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position, but Should Be Punished according to the Law

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #147, 7.4.2010

  • Ty Sokun Was Removed from His Position and the Newly Appointed Forestry Chief Was Warned [by Prime Minister Hun Sen] that He Would Be Jailed if He Cannot Intercept Forestry Crimes [Mr. Ty Sokun said that his ability was limited and most perpetrators have relations with high ranking officials and with the rich, and they often warned forestry officials]
  • Mr. Hun Sen Ordered the Authorities to Break Down All [illegally constructed] Reservoirs [in the flood plain] around the Tonle Sap Lake [this can cause flooding and disrupt the spawning of fish]
  • The Prime Minister Warned Chevron [he said that this oil company will lose its exploration rights if it cannot produce oil by the end of 2012]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5170, 7.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Openly Announced to Remove Mr. Ty Sokun from the Position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
  • The Wood Stored by the Owner of the [Siem Reap] Cultural Village Was Not 200 Cubic Meters, but More Than 600 Cubic Meters

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Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse – Saturday, 3.4.2010

Posted on 4 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia is not surprised about the announcement of the US Department of State to suspend military aid for Cambodia. In the afternoon of 1 April 2010, during the daily press conference of the US Department of State in Washington, the spokesperson, Mr. Philip Crowley, announced the decision of the United States of America to suspend donating about 200 military trucks and trailers. According to Mr. Philip Crowley, the suspension was decided because Cambodia deported Uighurs, who had sought asylum in Cambodia, to the Beijing authorities in December 2009.

“The Spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘This aid suspension is not a problem. If they grant it, we say thanks for it. Anyway, the trucks are not new. They are used vehicles to be provided to others, to clean out their storage. But the United States of America should not take the case of the Uighurs as an excuse to put blame on Cambodia.’ He said so to journalists in the afternoon of 2 April 2010.

“The spokesperson of the government blamed the United States of America and the UNHCR for their slow work which had not led to any results to take the Uighurs out of Cambodia to a third country – and now they put the blame on the Cambodian government! Mr. Khieu Kanharith recalled, ‘When the Uighurs were hiding in Cambodia for over one month, the Cambodian authorities did not know this. The Chinese government did not know it either. But during this period, even the UN human rights office and some US organizations could not determine whether those Uighurs were political refugees or who they were. When they saw they could not handle this, they decided to announce it to journalists.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, considered the US statement as their own decision, and an affair of the United States of America. Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘Cambodia worked based on its rights and integrity.’

“During a previous meeting between Mr. Scott Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister had explained to him that the expulsion of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia was just implemented according to Cambodian immigration law.

Note:

“A State Department official tells The Cable that just before the Cambodian government sent the ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they face imprisonment or worse, there were a flurry of diplomatic efforts to try to convince the Cambodians to hold off. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even phoned Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to urge him to rethink the decision, the official said, but to no avail.”

[source]

“The deportation of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia in December 2009 is a sensitive case for the US administration. The US Department of State reacted since the beginning and used serious words. Washington even said that the decision of Cambodia to deport the Uighurs to the Beijing authorities will affect the relations between the United States of America and Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Cambodian government claimed that there is still no visible effect on the Cambodian-US ties due to the suspension of military aid.

“The spokesperson of the US Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. John Johnson, said that the latest announcement by the US Department of States is only related to military assistance. It is a suspension without a specific time-line. He said, ‘This is a special and worrying case. But the United States of America will continue to cooperate with Cambodia in other fields.’ According to this spokesperson, the US military aid provided to Cambodia since 2006 amounted to about US$6 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #451, 3.4.2010

  • About US$248 Million Were Wasted due to Traffic Accidents in 2009 [according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport]
  • 309 Families from Chhlong District Protested against Land Grabbing by the Kastim Company [for prohibiting them to do farming on the land that they have been cultivating for a long time – Kratie]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2218, 3.4.2010

  • The United States of America Suspends the Donation of 200 Military Trucks to Cambodia
  • In 2009 1,717 Citizens Died from Land Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [7,022 were seriously injured; there were 12,535 accidents – according to Handicap International Belgium]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summoned Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time for Questioning [over the accusation of using fake maps to document border cases, and for disinformation – he is required to appear at the court on 20 April 2010]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Expressed Regrets that the United States of America Cut Military Aid to Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6925, 3-4.4.2010

  • More Than 100 Persons Are under Arrest for Forestry Crimes [including powerful persons and wood traders – according to Mr. Ty Sokun, Director, Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries]
  • [Pailin Governor] Ea Chhean Sued the Pailin Forestry Chief for Colluding with Wood Traders Who Organized to Cut Trees of Some Mountains from Top to Foot
  • Four Forestry Officials Were Removed form Their Positions, and the Municipal Court Issued Arrest Warrants for Four Other Wood Traders [over illegal wood trading – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The United States of America Temporarily Suspends Military Assistance, Straining the Military Ties between Both Countries Again

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

  • Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse
  • Phnom Penh: Laying Culverts Is More Important Than Constructing Roads [because the culvert system left from the past is almost totally ruined, which results in floods in the city]

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Tears and Ashes Remain and the Future Is Not Not Clear after the Fire behind Wat Neak Voan – Wednesday, 10.3.2010

Posted on 11 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

Note:

Apologies for the delay – I am still at an ICANN conference – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global coordination for the Internet name space – in Nairobi/Kenya. I hope to be back in Phnom Penh next Monday. I try to avoid delays – but I am kept busy at the conference and do not always have Internet access when I would like to have it.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: One of the hundreds of victims of the terrible fire which destroyed more than 200 houses on 8 March 2010 said, between sobs and with tears, ‘My house was totally burnt down. I am seeking if anything remained which I could sell to get some money to buy food.’

“On 9 March 2010, the victims of the fire continue exploring to see if there is any property left in the ashes from the fire whose cause is still not known. Some surrounded their land by markers, some dug in the ashes, and some went to the water blackened by the fire to see if there is anything from their lost property.

“A victim with six children, Ms. Sum Srey, said in between sob, when she was asked about the fire, pointing to the deadly smoke, ‘That fire burnt very fast. I have nothing left. I am looking for anything remaining that can be sold for money to buy food.’

“According to the local authorities, no lives were lost in the fire next to Wat Neak Voan in the night of 8 March 2010. But 178 big and small houses constructed next to each other in the area, 10 rooms of monks in the Wat, and 21 rooms of students were totally burnt down. This destruction made 257 families, 90 monks, and 181 students lose their shelter.

“This big fire broke out at 18:40 p.m. southwest of Wat Neak Voan in the Boeng Kak II commune, in Tuol Kork district.

“According to investigations by the police, the fire was caused by an electric fault in a house owned by a Mr. Phoeun Pho, a construction worker.

“About 60 firefighter cars rushed to the site to intervene but encountered problem with the narrow roads to reach the site to put out the fire. Some families could take few belongings in time, and some families’ property was all stolen or snatched away by thieves.

“Sister Kong Satha, whose husband is a motor-taxi driver – they have nine children to care for – who rented a house in the area, said with tears that she could only take the television set and a bike. Everything else was burnt. And she did not receive any donation, as the village chief said that her family’s name is not on the list.

“The Tuol Kork district governor, Mr. Seng Ratanak, said that in the first stage, donations were distributed to only 257 families that owned real houses, and the authorities will assist those who rented houses later.

“The district governor said that to reorganize the area, the Phnom Penh Municipality provides two options. First, each family will be offered a 6 by 12 meter plot of land in Ponhea Leu District, Kandal if they agree to leave, and second, if they still want to settle on the same area, the authorities will organize it technically by constructing wider roads.

“The victims of the fire, besides losing their property and their houses, now have also to struggle for their daily lives after this dreadful event. Some fear that they will no longer be allowed to reconstruct their houses on their previous sites, and they will be forced to settle in other areas which are remote, and where it is difficult to earn a living. They just hope that they will not be victimized twice, once by the fire, and then by a forced eviction to live in a remote area where it will be difficult to live.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5146, 10.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #430, 10.3.2010

  • The UN Encourages Cambodia to Strengthen Information and Communication Technology [to boost economic development]
  • 74,000 Hectares of Land [in 22 provinces] Are Prepared to Be Allocated for Decommissioned Soldiers [according to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2197, 10.3.2010

  • The Prosecutor Rejected the Request of Mr. Sam Rainsy to Postpone His Appearing at the Municipal Court [over the accusation to have faked maps, and a defamation case initiated by the government – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #622, 10.3.2010

  • [The President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun Called Not to Threaten Teacher Association Officials at Provinces and Cities in the Whole Country [when they make negative comments to journalists about the education system]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6904, 10.3.2010

  • Today the National Assembly Will Discuss the Anti-Corruption Draft Law Which Has Been Long Awaited by the Public
  • 178 Houses, 10 Rooms of Monks, and 21 Rooms of Students [who lived in the pagoda] Became Ashes after a Fire Broke out [in the “Railway Block,” Phnom Penh]
  • The Production of Fake Medicines Was Intercepted by a Raid of the Economic Police, and Twenty Six Types of Drugs, Weighing 19.28 Tonnes All Together, Were Seized [a Chinese man was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3828, 10.3.2010

  • The Siamese [Thai] Government Declared a State of Emergency from 11 to 23 March 2010, under the Internal Security Law [as big demonstrations by red shirt demonstrators were planned in Bangkok and in seven provinces]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #127, 10.3.2010

  • Besides a Lack of Food and Shelter, the Victims of the Fire in Boeng Kak II [257 families in the “Railway Block”] Are Worried about Being Evicted [Phnom Penh]
  • [The ASEAN Secretary-General] Surin Pitsuwan: The Media Quoted His Words Incorrectly [by publishing that he was strongly concerned about a recent military exercise in Cambodia; actually, he said that he is concerned about the continuing border tension between Cambodia and Thailand]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5146, 10.3.2010

  • Tears and Ashes Remain and the Future Is Not Not Clear after the Fire behind Wat Neak Voan
  • The National Assembly Rejected the Request [of the Sam Rainsy Party and civil society] to Delay Discussing the Anti-Corruption Draft Law

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ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally – Thursday, 4.3.2010

Posted on 4 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] again appealed to the authorities of the Siamese [Thai] government to investigate cruel shootings by Siamese solders against Khmer citizens who just crossed the border illegally to find jobs to earn their daily living.

“The chief investigator of ADHOC, Mr. Ny Chakriya, said in a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in the morning of 3 March 2010, ‘We ask the [Cambodian] authorities to please put pressure on the Thai authorities and soldiers who fatally shot innocent Cambodians.’

“The appeal was made towards the international community, especially all signatory countries respecting human rights, to look at the cruelties of Siamese soldiers against Cambodian civilians, because since 2008, it has been observed that more than 20 Khmer citizens had been shot dead or wounded.

“Mr. Ny Chakriya said that such cases were seen happening from 2008 to early 2010, but the Thai authorities have not conducted any investigations. According to Mr. Ny Chakriya, this call being made during a press conference is another invitation to the Siamese authorities and government to take urgent actions to investigate the crimes, according to the laws, in order to show that Siam [Thailand] is a country that respects the law.

“To reflect the atrocities of Siamese authorities and soldiers against Khmer citizens, during the Wednesday conference, ADHOC invited victims who had been able to escape from shootings by Thai soldiers, and victim’s families, to tell journalists about their sufferings.

“Ms. Boun Tha, 43, living in Sla Kram commune, Siem Reap, whose children were shot dead, recalled that Siamese authorities had called her to take the bodies of her children, but along the way, she saw that some Thai persons dragged her children’s bodies and kicked them like animals.

“She added, ‘It was very cruel; they had covered and bound my children’s eyes and they kicked my children with their boots, disfiguring their faces. They were very bad. They mistreated innocent Khmer citizens.’

“In addition, she stressed that according to those who witnessed the event directly, her 18-year-old son cried for help from his father many times until he fainted. After that, they hit his face with their boots and shot him.

“According to ADHOC, by now it has been already 20 months during which 20 Cambodians suffered from shooting, torture, and killing by Thai soldiers along the Cambodian-Thai border. But so far, the Thai authorities have not shown a real intention to investigate, accuse, and prosecute the perpetrators, in order to provide justice to the Cambodian victims.

“Therefore, ADHOC criticized that the Siamese authorities do not show respect for human rights. Quite in contrast, there are no actions taken against perpetrators, which seems to mean that the Siamese authorities are allowing such bad violence to happen.

“According to ADHOC, the victims and their families who encounter such atrocities from Siamese solders, together with other witnesses, will file lawsuits related to these crimes committed by the Thai authorities. It is time that the Siamese authorities take notice of these complaints, and they have to respond to what happened.

“In the meantime, the human rights organization ADHOC warned that there must be no more such serious human rights violations without punishment according to the laws. ADHOC stressed that the political tension between Cambodia and Siam is not the reason that the military of their country shows their anger in this way against innocent people. ADHOC said the military tension between Cambodia and Thailand is not an appropriate reason for fatal shootings of weak and innocent people.

“However, regarding serious human rights violations by Siamese solders and their authorities, both civil society and Cambodian citizens demand the government to increase honest investments in Cambodia and to halt grabbing land of farmers for wicked investors.

“This is the only way to reduce the risky migration of Khmer citizens [abroad looking for employment]. Also, this will help to keep the government’s face from being embarrassed, as it happened recently, when it was reported that Siam and Yuon [Vietnam] sent Khmer beggars back to Cambodia. Otherwise, that Khmer officials are rich, only around 18% of the millions of Khmer citizens, as found by the Asian Development Bank, is just the richness of millionaires on a garbage dump.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 4 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1432, 4-5.3.2010

  • A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #425, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Needs US$800 Million for the Development of Renewable Energy [according to the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2192, 4.3.2010

  • Two Chinese Men Were Convicted to Serve Twenty 29 in Prison and Three Khmers [15 years] for Drug Production and Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • [Vietnamese] Migrants Doing Day-Businesses [like selling fuel and charging batteries] Discharge Waste into the Rivers [but the authorities do not care about it – Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #617, 4.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy [now in France], to Appear on 9 March 2010 [regarding a government lawsuit over border issues]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: Cambodia Needs Much More Time so that the Power of the Courts Become Stronger Than Individual Power [of some powerful people – therefore the courts are not yet independent]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6899, 4.3.2010

  • The United States of America Plans to Deliver Statues of the Buddha and Khmer Artifacts to Cambodia in July 2010 [those artifacts were trafficked to America and identified them as belonging to Cambodia – so they are to be returned]
  • [More than 300] Citizens from Eleven Villages Protest over Land Clearance Activities by a Company [the Kompong Speu Sugar Company, which affects their farmland; the company invests to plant sugarcane on 9,000 hectares of land – Kompong Speu]
  • [Twenty four] Korean Volunteer Doctors Provide Free Treatment for Khmer Citizens, Especially Teachers and Students [in Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

  • ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #123, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Will Do Military Exercises by Shooting [200] BM21 Rockets [in Kompong Chhnang]; It Is Not a Show of Muscle, but to Strengthening the National Defense Capacity
  • [Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy] Suy Sem: Electricity Supply Will Rise by 25% in 2010 [as Cambodia gets additional power from Vietnam]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5141, 4.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Has Already Prepared a Draft to Sue Thailand at the UN Security Council for the Aggression Committed [at the Preah Vihear region]
  • Samdech Dekchor Encourages All Television Stations to Produce and Broadcast National and Cultural Arts

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A Parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party Rejected the Reports of COMFREL and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union – Friday, 12.2.2010

Posted on 13 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Phnom Penh: A parliamentarian and high ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party voiced his strong reaction by totally rejecting a report of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections (COMFREL) on Thursday 11 February 2010, and of an announcement by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) over the suspension of the immunity of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“The parliamentarian from Prey Veng and chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party won the through the [2008] elections as many as 90 seats, more than two thirds of the total of 123 seats. Under this situation, leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party do not commit any wrongdoings, because it could affect the confidence of citizens who are voters or party members.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap added that he would like to announce, instead, what the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly did, saying, ‘As a parliamentarian, what we did (suspended the immunity of Sam Rainsy Party’s parliamentarians) was based on the law. The suspension or the withdrawal of the immunity is not an important matter. We just put off their raincoats (the immunity) to let them get soaked like others, and to let the court question and work on them. The National Assembly has the obligation to obey the law. Though the immunity of parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party was suspended, they can attend meetings and retain the necessary rights to vote on laws and to receive their salary like the other parliamentarians.’

“He went on to say that the reports of COMFREL and of the IPU, which criticized that the National Assembly’s records in this term are worse than in the previous terms, and that the suspension of the immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians was not done based on the law… claim unnecessary concerns which contrasts the reality. ‘As the National Assembly, we adhere to and implement the laws of Cambodia.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap stressed that both the government and the National Assembly are not worried, because what they have done complied with the Cambodian law.

“The reaction of the parliamentarian from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party was made a day after COMFREL had issued a report on 10 February 2010 which says that democracy in Cambodia is being affected, because the Cambodian People’s Party caused the freedom of expression and the discussions in the National Assembly to diminish. Also, criticism of the suspension of the immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians in three cases – of Mr. Sam Rainsy, of Ms. Mu Sochua, and of Mr. Ho Van – was easily made but was not based on the law.

“Meanwhile, the IPU criticized, on 10 February 2010, that the suspension of the immunity of the three Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians did not go through careful discussions and reviews beforehand. The IPU added that it will put this issue on the agenda of the 122nd meeting in April and May 2010.

“Regarding the suspension of the immunity, [the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr Ho Van appealed to the president of the National Assembly to give him back his immunity, because the judgment of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court dated 2 February 2010 decided to lift the accusation against him, over his assumed defamation against 22 senior military officials, and it has been sent to the president of the National Assembly.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap said that the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly led by Samdech Heng Samrin will organize a meeting very soon to install the immunity back to Mr. Ho Van, after the National Assembly had received information about the judgment and his request earlier this week.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5124, 12.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 12 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #412, 12-18.2.2010

  • A Son of General Chea Man [Region 4 military commander] Continues Wood Trading though the Prime Minister Had Warned Against It
  • 5,000 Grilled Pigs Are Needed during the Traditional Chinese New Year Festival [on 14 February 2010 in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2175, 12.2.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected a Siamese [Thai] Declaration that the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple [as a world heritage site] Is Not Yet Finished [as Cambodia has not fully met the management plan for the temple as required by UNESCO]
  • Forty Three People Were Injured when a Car Overturned Driving Downhill [Sihanoukville]

Note:

The claim that the Cambodian government has fully met the requirements of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is surprising for the interested public, as it has only been reported that a Cambodian report was submitted before 1 February 2010 to the World Heritage Committee, while there is no report how the following requirements, from the UNESCO minutes, have been fulfilled – and the Thai government publicly claims that they do not know the Cambodian report – though the Thai government should have been involved – according to the UNESCO minutes.

Of special interest are the following points of the UNESCO minutes:

  • “14. 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;
  • “15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

    a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

    b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property;

    c) confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

    d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan;
  • “16. Further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center by February 2010, for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 a full Management Plan for the inscribed property, including a finalized map.”

These points touch on matters where “the participation of the Government of Thailand” seems to be required, according to the UNESCO minutes, as the border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand has not yet been accomplished.

Further details are in the lower section of The Mirror of 7 February 2010.

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #734, 12.2.2010

  • Kratie Military Police Threatened to Shoot the Representatives of the Authorities Who Intercepted Trucks Loaded with Illegally Cut Wood [heading to Vietnam; finally, with a further intervention from the provincial authorities, forestry administration officials could seize those trucks, but the military police officials who threatened them were not punished]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #604, 12.2.2010

  • Google Told Cambodia to Send Mapping Document to the Tele Atlas Company to Change the Khmer-Siamese Border Data
  • The Amount of [garment and textile] Exports Is US$2.8 Billion and the Amount of Salaries Paid to [more than 300,000 textile and garment] Workers Is Only US$27 Million per Year [according to an official of the Ministry of Labor, a worker gets about US$60 per month, and if they work additional hours, they get US$100 to US$120 per month]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6882, 12.2.2010

  • China Wants to Invest to Plant Rubber Trees on 60,000 Hectares of Land in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the Chinese Ambassador]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3810, 12-17.2.2010

  • The Freedom of Expression Became Restricted and the Not-Independent Courts Become Tools Used for Mistreating Opposition Party Activists [according to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, Mr. Surya Subedi – it is said that after his visit to Cambodia from 18 to 30 January 2010, he brought the bad human rights condition in Cambodia to the attention of the UN secretary general.]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #110, 12.2.2010

  • Thai Troops Are Conducting War Exercises, while Cambodian Troops Are on Alert [at the border]
  • [The former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Asked to be transferred to House Arrest Rather Than to Be Jailed in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5124, 12.2.2010

  • A Parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party Rejected Reports of COMFREL and the Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Traffic Accidents Killed 138 People in January 2010 [countrywide; the number of deaths increased by 34 compared to the corresponding period in 2009]
  • About US$4 Million [from development partners and USAID] Is Planned to Be Spent for A/H1N1 Vaccine Campaign [such as on training, transportation, and project planning]

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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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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