The Declaration of Assets Should Start with High Ranking Officials – Thursday, 26.8.2010

Posted on 27 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on “About The Mirror” to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“An anti-corruption law was already adopted by the National Assembly, but so far, the government has not implemented the law to eliminate corruption. In addition, the Anti-Corruption Unit and the National Anti-Corruption Committee have not carried out significant measures to fight corruption. The anti-corruption law requires some high ranking officials to declare their assets, but the declarations will be confidential. This invites criticism that the anti-corruption law in Cambodia is not conform to international standards and it is poor, compared with those of neighboring countries.

“Recently, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, said publicly that investigating officials of the unit do not commit corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Unit will form a confidential group to observe the investigating officials of the unit. Those officials will have to pass a lie test through a polygraph every year, in order to guarantee that the officials of the unit are not corrupt. Mr. Om Yentieng said so on 23 August 2010 during a Cambodian-Korean international conference on corruption. A polygraph test is done by using an instrument to detect whether a person being tested is speaking honestly or lying. A small confidential group will be created to observe the investigating officials of the unit in case they take the opportunity to commit corruption while fulfilling their duties.

“Regarding the above case, some observers criticized that the strategy of the Anti-Corruption Unit is ridiculous, because if it creates a small group to observe each other, they have no time to investigate the corruption of high ranking officials in the government. Also, there seem to be many irregularities in the Anti-Corruption Unit because as soon as a case of corruption had been found, it is kept confidential and quiet, and there is no public result at all. More than that, some state institutions are notorious for corruption, but the Anti-Corruption Unit administered by Mr. Om Yentieng has never taken any action to investigate them. This made the general public to lose faith toward the unit, as most corrupt people are high ranking officials and their partisans.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that the Anti-Corruption Unit must accept reports of citizens on suspected corruption, and it must guarantee their safety in order to show that investigations over corruption will be enforced widely. She added that the first round of investigations should be conducted on high ranking officials such as the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, and Senior Ministers. If their assets do not correspond to their income, it would certainly mean that they committed corruption. In addition to Ms. Mu Sochua’s comments, officials of some non-government organizations said that just to look at the residences of some high ranking officials, it can already be concluded that they are corrupt.

“On 14 July 2010, the Anti-Corruption Unit announced to set November 2010 as the date to start the procedures on the declaration of assets and debts of high ranking officials, and of leaders of civil society organizations. The Anti-Corruption Unit will keep those documents; the number of persons obliged to declare their assets is more than 10,000 in Cambodia, including civil servants, military, and police, who have been appointed by royal decrees and sub-decrees, all members of the National Assembly, all members of the Senate, leaders of civil society organizations, high ranking officials, the head of the government, and officials and members of the anti-corruption institutions. The declarations will be updated every two years in writing, and it is required before and after taking or leaving office – but it will be made confidentially.

“Officials of some government organizations said that they dare to declare their assets publicly, because the property and money they have are not from corruption as in the case of corrupt officials who have colossal wealth. Therefore, if a declaration is required, it should start from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, and Senior Ministers down, as suggested by Sam Rainsy parliamentarians, in order to ensure transparency, because some high ranking officials own luxury residences and lots of wealth not compatible at all with their salaries. The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, knows those high ranking officials well, because they are mostly senior officials of the Cambodian People’s Party in the government. Thus, the declaration of assets should begin from top officials down, and it should be carried out openly and transparently, while normal officials are not afraid to declare their assets.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3968, 26.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2337, 26.8.2010

  • Children of the Rich Drove to Chase Each Other, Surprising Half of the City, but Police Tried to Hide The Case [Phnom Penh – It started with an argument between two groups: one group drove in a car and another group drove two motorbikes. Finally the car tried to chase the motorbikes and hit the motorbike to fall on the ground, and a member of the car group took a hammer and hit a member of the motorcycle group, injuring him seriously. Traffic police caught the two groups and invited their families to solve the case. But when traffic police found that the case was not a traffic accident, but a criminal case, they sent it to the criminal police. After that, no more information was given]
  • National Military Police Intercepted Two Cars Loaded with Ebony Wood and Sent them to Expert Officers [four persons were caught – Takeo]
  • A Man Raped His [85-year-old] Mother-in-Law when His Wife Was Not at Home [he was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7044, 26.8.2010

  • Duch’s Defense Lawyers Appealed against the Verdict of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, while Prosecutors Demand a Higher Punishment for Him [the Former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Duch was sentenced to 35 years in jail, but he will serve only around 19 years from now on, considering his imprisonment in the past and a reduction of the penalty]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3968, 26.8.2010

  • The Declaration of Assets Should Start with High Ranking Officials

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #40, 26.8.2010

  • The Republic of Korea Donated Technical Equipment [like video cameras] to the National Television Station of Cambodia
  • Forty Two People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in China

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #245, 26.8.2010

  • A Protest Made the Phnom Penh Municipality to Suspend Sand Dredging to Fill the Boeng Kak Lake Area [as sewage water floods the houses of residents]
  • Fourteen Government Officers of the Anti-Corruption Unit Will Be Appointed as Members of the Justice Police [as part of the measures to combat corruption]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5286, 26.8.2010

  • The Voice of Vietnam Radio Will Open the Seventh Representative Stations in Cambodia [on 27 August 2010 in Phnom Penh]
  • The Head of State of Vietnam Begins a Three Days Visit to Cambodia Today [on 26 August 2010, in response to an invitation by the Khmer King]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Disregarding or Facing Agreements in the Press? – Sunday, 22.8.2010

Posted on 23 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

The Mirror was created to mirror the Khmer language press – that is to focus on important dynamics in society, as they are reflected in the press. That includes also to observe when there seem to be discrepancies between different streams of reporting. And it includes also to observe what seems not to be reported in the Khmer language press, though one would expect it.

Monitoring what is going on includes also to observe the reaction to one’s own publication. The main website of The Mirror by now gets up to 10,000 visits per month (it started in January 2007 with zero – replacing the former edition printed on paper).

While observing this wide interest with satisfaction, it is also disappointing to see that some important pieces of information, related to the conflicts with Thailand, are regularly not reported in the Khmer press. If this impression is wrong, we would appreciate to be informed which publications and public documents in the Khmer press we missed. The Mirror does not have access to confidential information; what we use and quote is publicly available, especially on the Internet.

In response to careful, detailed documentations, where we asked for specific responses, if our documentation is deficient, so that we can correct and improve it, there was either no response – and the public debate continues as if it were not missing some important points – or I get mail saying just “You are completely wrong!” I do not mind to get such mail, if it points to where I am wrong – I appreciate corrections.

Therefore I am repeating here some essential points, and I will do so until they are receiving proper attention in the present situation of tensions.

I was utterly surprised, talking recently to a friend who is a regular reader: when I mentioned some of the facts which had been on The Mirror repeatedly, he had obviously missed them. He thought the controversies about the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage list were related to Thailand referring to maps drawn by Thailand, and therefore Thailand was denying that the whole area around the Temple of Preah Vihear was designated a World Heritage Site.

The contrary is true, according to the documents. Emphasis in the following sections is added during editing.

For Preah Vihear

From the Cambodian 2008 submission document, THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR – Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO), Edited by the Council of Ministers, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 2008:

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand… The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and constructive atmosphere to discuss ways and means of strengthening the neighborly cooperation for a further reach for long lasting cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand… The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An,…The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.

On 18 June 2008, a Joint Communique was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, including a map presented and signed by Mr. Var Kim Hong, the Head of the Cambodian Border Committee, which was – as far as we know – never presented in the media in Cambodia (again – any correction of this information is welcome), but it was repeatedly in The Mirror, including the Cambodian proposed map for the listing, the last time here. The text says the following:

1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.

2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.

3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;..”

This is the last public map, a Cambodian map, which was to “supersede” – that is: to replace – the formerly used Cambodian maps.

As a consequence, this was decided:

The World Heritage Committee,

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;…

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,…

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents: c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP [“revised graphic plan of the property”]; d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan)

All these points were to be implemented after convening this international coordinating committee, inviting the Government of Thailand and others, to work together and to present their results.

Questions:

– Why is the discussion in the Khmer media not referring to the official documents about the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, clearly limited in nature: “only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.” This is not based on a map unilaterally drawn by Thailand, but it relates to what the Cambodian side had officially brought to the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There is nothing to be discussed with Thailand.”

– Why are the Khmer media disregarding that there were – from the beginning – the following requests by the World Heritage Committee: “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand… [to provide the expected results] – a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone…” It has never been reported in the press that the Cambodian Government did invite the Thai Government according to this request by the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There are no buffer zones.”

Reading the documents, it seems that Thailand is not insisting on some unilaterally drawn Thai maps, but looks forward that the documented decisions of the World Heritage Committee be implemented.

For the Border

This is a different legal issue from the World Heritage Listing (though, of course, related).

In order to demarcate the border between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding “on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary” was concluded between the two countries in June 2000, long before the Preah Vihear World Heritage Listing was on the agenda of the relevant UNESCO committee. This Memorandum is related to the whole stretch of the border. That the whole length of the approximately 800 km border is to be demarcated shows that both sides agreed that this is not yet done – there is not yet mutually agreed border. Both sides agreed on this – otherwise they would not have signed this joint agreement.

While there is frequent reference to this Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 in the Khmer press, it was quite difficult to find it in Cambodia, also consulting with several persons from the media did not help. One e-mail request to a friend in Thailand immediately provided a source on the Internet.

But there is a noteworthy difference in the handling of the related task: While in Thailand, related government officials and agencies are accountable to the Thai National Assembly about what they do related to the border – the executive is monitored by the legislative – we are not aware that either the Cambodian National Assembly nor the Khmer press have requested similar information to monitor the activities of the Cambodian government officials and agencies involved. The different legal arrangements under the different constitutions of both countries result in different procedures.

Shortly after Prime Minister Hun Sen had made his conciliatory declaration about a win-win solution by mutual dialogue without a winner and a loser, several statements from various other sectors of the government were released, strongly blaming Thailand and calling for multilateral negotiations. The Prime Minister added his voice – but more recent news say that there still may be a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers soon in Brussels at an ASEN meeting.

Whatever the future will bring in terms of bilateral or multilateral meetings – the written submissions and the documented decisions will have to be faced. To continue to disregard them can hardly bring the solution where both sides win, the goal that Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as important for all.

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Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament – Saturday, 21.8.2010

Posted on 22 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: According to the first study by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, since the general elections in 1993, or within 17 years, only six ministers appeared at the parliament to clarify questions. But government officials explained that, based on the regulations, there clarifications can be given both directly and verbally, or through letters.

“Findings from the study were shown publicly in a press conference on 20 August 2010. The team leader of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, said that since 1993, probably only six ministers showed up to respond to questions of parliamentarians in the parliament. That means also that within one 3 years period there was only one minister making clarifications. Until now, the Prime Minister has never come to answer to questions from parliamentarians following Article 96 of the Constitution. It is different from other democratic countries where prime ministers and government members regularly appear to give clarifications in parliament.

Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the Chairman of the National Assembly.
The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person.

The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing.

The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received.

In case of verbal reply, the Chairman of the National Assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. If there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time-frame not exceeding one session.

The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the procedures for questioning and for inviting ministers to appear are difficult. Sometimes, only two months after a request letter was sent there is a response, and sometimes it takes even up to one year. Some ministers do not care about answering questions from parliamentarians.

“A parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, presented a study about government members who did not properly adhere to the principles of the Constitution, which set the rules for questioning and answering to questions of parliamentarians through letters, or straight and verbally.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that 132 letters with questions were sent to members of the government in 2009, but they responded to only 23%, or 39 letters, from Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. Within eight months of 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians submitted 47 letters to the government, but only 15 letters received a response.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘In 2009, we sent 24 letters to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and he responded to 13 letters. The Prime Minister answered more questions than others among the members of the government. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, received 21 letters from parliamentarians in 2009 and he replied to 9 letters, and in 2010, he received 8 letters and he responded to 2.’

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians sent 10 letters in 2009 and 2 more letters in 2010 to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Kim Kean Hor, but he did not respond at all. Also, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, did not respond to questions from parliamentarians.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that submitting letters to request clarifications and to invite members of the governments, including the head of the government, to appear to clarify questions from parliamentarians in the parliament itself allow the government time to defend itself and to present its achievements in the past. This also helps to encourages the government to work with responsibility. ‘We aim to strengthen the implementation of democracy and to consolidate national institutions.’

“Also, another statement was released by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians over the loss of their roles in the parliament of Cambodia. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians voiced strong concern about the possible disappearance of democracy in Cambodia, which is affecting national development and social tranquility more seriously.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians appeal to the ruling party to immediately check to fix all the limitations in order to appropriately implement the principles of multi-party democracy, as stated in the Constitution of 1993.

“Responding to the above mentioned concerns, a spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, said that to respond, there are two ways: responding by letter, or directly and verbally. So far, government officials frequently sent official letters, and sometimes they appeared directly in parliament to respond. He added that the government is formed by elections, and the Cambodian People’s Party, that won a massive support in the parliament, always rules the country following democracy and respecting the rights of the citizens, who are the voters. The government is not dictatorial or lawless. The government is on the right tract based on democracy. If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.

“A senior member of the Cambodian People’s Party and a long standing member of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party always obeys the laws and the Constitution since 1993. Also, [the president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin, often allows more Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians than those from the Cambodian People’s Party to express their opinions along with the participation of national and international organizations that carefully observe the proceedings.

“In addition, during the press conference in the morning of 20 August 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians announced that they have sent a letter to the US parliament and Senate to express their support for the United States of America adopting an amendment to financial legislation that requires US listed oil exploration companies operating in Cambodia to publicly disclose their expenditures and income. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians consider that this law helps to promote transparency in the investment and in the management of income from mines, and in the oil and gas sectors in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2333, 21.8.2010

  • Thailand Sent Letters to the Ten Members of ASEAN to Suggest How to Solve the Disputes with Cambodia Bilaterally
  • After an Electric Fault Occurred [producing toxic smoke] in the M.V Factory, 120 Workers Fainted [Kompong Chhnang]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7040, 21-22.8.2010

  • A Railroad Construction Company Asked the Authorities to Crack Down on the Stealing of Concrete Supports and of Iron Bars [Kampot]
  • The Ministry of Labor Warned It Will Take Legal Action against Companies with Irregularities in Sending Workers to Malaysia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Labor and 31 companies sending workers abroad]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3964, 21-22.8.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians and a Human Rights Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Expressed Regret over the Verdict against Chi Kraeng District Residents [nine citizens were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment over a land dispute, but they will serve only 17 months and the rest will be suspended – Siem Reap]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #36, 21.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet [Nguyễn Minh Triết]] Will Visit Cambodia [from 26 to 28 August 2010 in response to an invitation by the Khmer King]
  • Cambodia Does Not Accept a Bilateral Solution with Thailand [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Only One of the Students [countrywide] Gets an A Level, and 81.90% Passed [or 87,561 students among the 106,908 candidates passed the Grade 12 examinations]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

  • Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament
  • Ebony [2.377 cubic meters] and Wild Animals [about 166 kg, including snakes, big lizards, and turtles] Were Intercepted at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing [for export to Vietnam; no persons are yet caught – Kandal]
  • Scientific Evidence Shows that Chemicals Are Still Found in Food Sold at the Markets [affecting the health of the consumers – studies conducted by the Royal Academy]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly – Saturday, 7.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: An opposition party parliamentarian asked the Minister of Labor, Mr. Vong Soth, to clarify questions at the session of the National Assembly on 12 August 2010, regarding the demand for a salary increase of workers and employees.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, wrote a letter on 5 August 2010 to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and to the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei, Heng Samrin, to suggest that the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, clarifies some irregularities at [the next meeting of] the National Assembly about the responsibility of the Ministry and the demands for a salary increase of workers and employees, as well as about the management and protection of workers abroad.

“Mr. Son Chhay’s letter says that the request for Mr. Vong Soth to appear at the National Assembly to clarify questions was made while looking at the actual situation that exists in the country, relating to the demand for a wage increase where the Royal Government has a duty to consider this and should not take any contrasting action.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in his letter that according to the labor law of 1997, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training has the authority to define the minimum wage for work in all sectors, but the limited wage of US$50 which was in force for many years without any increase is against an universal principle, where the minimum wages in the world are increasing by 5.7% each year, and if this figure is applied on the minimum wage of Khmer workers by taking only 5% within 10 years, Khmer workers could have received a minimum wage of at least US$85.50, and this amount is still low, compared with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, where food, electricity, travel, and rents are much cheaper than in our country.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that also a study by the Cambodia Institute of Development Study (CIDS) showed differences between the minimum wage and the income that workers can earn additionally by working overtime, and this can be confusing and it might be the cause for the slow reaction from the Ministry to define the annual minimum wage scale for Khmer workers. He thinks that the demand of a minimum salary of US$93 per month is an appropriate demand, but the Royal Government is slow in organizing the public administration and in applying some legal principles to provide good and trustworthy services. In order to attract foreign investors, the government should coordinate discussions to sett the minimum wage to US$85 from September 2010, and it must carry out a 5% increase every year, starting from January of the coming year.

“Regarding the above request, Kampuchea Thmey could not ask for comments from the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, as he said that he was far away, and then he turned off his phone.

“Relating to a wage increase for workers and employees, the Ministry of Labor had decided during a council meeting on 8 July 2010 to add US$11 to the previous wage [so the minimum wage was raised to US$61].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

  • A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7028, 7-8.8.2010

  • The Appeals Court of the Ubon Province of Siam [Thailand] Heard the Case of Sixteen Khmer Citizens [they had been tried already twice to be imprisoned for entering Thai territory to cut down trees illegally]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3952, 7-8.8.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Considers the Impounding of More Than Riel 4 Million [approx. US$ 950 per month] of Her Salary to Compensate Her Accuser as a Threat and Force, and She Continues to Demand Court Reforms [she lost in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation suit against her]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #24, 7.8.2010

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Cannot Wait for Long if Thailand Has No Will to Solve the Dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia
  • Diseased Red Pigs Are Still Imported through the Sampov Loun Border Crossing in Battambang [expert officials said that eating their meat can cause breast or uterus cancer]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5270, 7.8.2010

  • A Delegation of Former Vietnamese Experts in Cambodia [from 1979, after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime] Pay a Visit to Cambodia and Meet with Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • [Seven] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Associations [jointly] Stated that They Do Not Have Any Intention to Overthrow the Vietnamese Government [it is in response to the Deputy Minister of Security of Vietnam, who recently asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to help prevent Khmer Kampuchea Krom people from various problem actions, including hiring of private and public radios’ air time]
  • Within Four Years [2006 to 2009], the Cambodian Red Cross Was Able to Raise Nearly US$28 Million [donated by generous people and by international partners]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct an Elevated Road near the Lok Song Hospital [Preah Kosamak Hospital] in Late 2010 [at the junction between Road 271 and the Russian Federation Boulevard]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers – Friday, 30.7.2010

Posted on 31 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Trade unions agreed that they should have only one voice to negotiate with enterprises if disputes take place.

“The head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said on Thursday, 29 July 2010, that in a meeting about the draft of a Trade Union Law it was suggested by the government that in an enterprise, even though there are many trade union representatives [there are by now 49 different labor federations and associations], there should be only one person chosen to negotiate with the employer. He went on to say that there is no adequate opportunity provided for trade unions to voice their opinion responding to the government and to the Ministry of Labor that created that draft. He said that this law is restrictive and leaves less power to trade unions when they act to support workers.

“The head of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr. Vong Sovann, said on Thursday that a closed door meeting had found that this draft states the obligations of workers and of employers. He said, ‘We think that the draft should be changed to a [general] law on “expert organization,” but it is just our idea and we will send it to the government after the meeting.’ He added that trade unions want the government to consider this and to remove some points. He said, ‘There should not be a requirement to state the financial situation of a union to the Ministry. The draft might rather suggest that trade unions have to be transparent for their members, which is not a problem.’

“Mr. Vong Sovann does not agree with the requirement that legally registered trade unions will have to register again after the draft will have been adopted. Therefore, the meeting will suggest to the government to remove this point. He said, ‘If strikes or demonstrations due to labor conflicts happen, the law should not consider them as crimes which might lead to the arrest of some representatives of the workers.’ Trade union representatives met to discuss also some important key issues like strikes, unjust implementation of the labor law, penalty conditions, and the court system.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

http://www.camfeba.com/

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2314, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Considers Duch’s 35 Year Imprisonment as Insufficient [but he has to serve 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment; he was responsible to oversee the murder of more than 10,000 people in the Tuol Sleng Prison]
  • A Deputy Director of a [Natural Resources and Biodiversity Protection] Organization Was Arrested for Raping an Underage Girl Twice [she is 14 years old, Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7021, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Released a Report about Cooperation in Cambodia [which focuses on human rights, good governance, and climate change; there was also discussion about the release of European Union Blue Books, written about the support of the European Union in various important sectors, part of its commitment to encourage transparency and to promote understanding about extensive development programs of the European Union]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3945, 30.7.2010

  • Cambodia Announced to Use Troops to Withstand Siamese [Thai] Ambitions to Take Control of the 4.6 Square Kilometers around the Preah Vihear Temple

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #17, 30.7.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Set a Time to Walk Out from the UNESCO Meeting [of the World Heritage Committee, which is to make a final decision at 10:00 p.m. [no time zone given] on 29 July 2010 about the Cambodian management plan for the Preah Vihear Temple region; the Thai Prime Minister said that Thailand has prepared troops to withstand Cambodian troops if the border dispute at the Preah Vihear region would becomes more tense]
  • The Ministry of Agriculture Drafted a Sub-Decree about Agriculture Related Contracts for the First Time [in order to promote trust between farmers and companies]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

  • Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers
  • A Hyundai Truck Assembly Factory in Koh Kong Will Begin Its Operations in September 2010
  • The National Assembly Asked the Apsara Authority to Check Requests of Citizens [from 1,255 families, to allow them to reconstruct their houses and selling stalls]
  • The United Nations Declared that the Right of Access to Clean Water Is Also Human Right

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5263, 30.7.2010

  • HAEDA City Group [from South Korea] Starts the Angkor Resort City Project with US$470 Million as Capital [to construct a four-star hotel, condos, a golf course, a commercial center, a supermarket, a health center, etc.]
  • The National Assembly Decided to Withhold Money of [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua’s Salary [as compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]

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If There Are No National Standards for Food Safety, the Export of Goods Will Be Impossible – Monday, 26.7.2010

Posted on 27 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy said that technical obstacles against the export of products from Cambodia are a very serious problem. ‘We do not have proper national standards, and we have not any in line with ASEAN. As a member of the World Trade Organization, we need to eliminate such commercial obstacles.’

“The head of the Department of Industrial Standards at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, Mr. Ping Siv Lay, said during a meeting of a technical committee on food and processed food, supported by the Asian Development Bank, held for two days on 22 and 23 July 2010 at the Hotel Cambodiana, that food safety is a sensitive topic, on focus in recent years, and it is a priority for the Royal Government of Cambodia to improve the safety of food and bewerages. Food in Cambodia is a high level problem in the region. Food manufacturers must promote the implementation of measures of general and of personal sanitation. But which standards do they have to take up? Are they recognized as internationally defined standardized in the country or not? At present, there is no answer, when food manufacturers produce food with can carry high hazards: such as chicken, sausages, milk, drinks, etc.

“Mr. Ping Siv Lay added that for private companies to have exports going on with food security, there need to be national standards for the export of products to international markets. The Asian Development Bank office in Cambodia vowed not only to support the development of standards, but also to help to promote food safety testing in the country, which will also facilitates commerce.

“This official went on to say, ‘We have created standards for ten types of products to ensure commerce in the country. But there are yet no quality standards for international markets.’

“According to an official of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, such technical obstacles make it impossible that a larger portion of agricultural products can be exported, even though our trading partners do not charge taxes. As Cambodia does not have standards, no special products have been exported to China. The other side in trade relations demands us to adhere to standards for our products, comparable to their standards, so that export can be carried out.

“During the meeting, many questions were discussed in order to create a draft about food standards to catch up with other countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5259, 25-26.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 July 2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7017, 26.7.2010

  • [About 500] Workers Marched to Demand an Increase of Their Salaries in Front of the National Assembly – They Do Not Accept the Increase Offered by the Labor Council [they demand a minimum salary of US$75 per month, while at present, they are offered US$61]
  • Officials of Seven Embassies [of Australia, Britain, Cuba, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam] Visited the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3941, 26.7.2010

  • [The vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm Appealed to the US Administration to Intervene, so that Mr. Sam Rainsy Can Return to Cambodia [who has been convicted for the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]
  • The Women’s Movement for Democracy Has Collected Riel 10 Million [approx. US$2,370] to Be Paid as Compensation to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Instead of [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua [as she lost a defamation case against him; but the collected money needs first to be accepted by Ms. Mu Sochua.]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #12-13, 24-25.7.2010

  • Cambodia Supports (together with ASEAN countries) a Statement [of the UN Security Council] That Condemns North Korea [for sinking a South Korean navy ship, killing 46 navy soldiers]
  • The United Nations Continues to Seek Contributions to Fund the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [additional US$10 million are needed for 2010, and US$39 million for 2011]
  • North Korea Declared to Use Nuclear Threats to Respond to US Military Exercise [with South Korea]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #222, 26.7.2010

  • For the Crimes at the S-21 Center [known as the Tuol Sleng Prison, where more than 15,000 persons were sent to their death]: Will Kaing Kek Eav Get 40 Years Imprisonment or a Release? [the sentence of the former head of the Tuol Sleng Prison will be announced on 26 July 2010]
  • Two Companies [of Cambodia,: Seledamex and Rattana Corporation] Will Receive Land Concession of Nearly 20,000 Hectare for Rubber Plantation in Preah Vihear [with the consent of the Prime Minister, for 99 years]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5259, 25-26.7.2010

  • If There Are No National Standards for Food Safety, the Export of Goods Will Be Impossible
  • The Cambodian-Thai General Border Committee Promised to Guarantee Security along the Border [officials of both sides of the border committee met on 15 and 16 July 2010 in Bangkok]
  • A Government Ambulance Car Hit People, Resulting in Two Deaths and Three Injured [the driver escaped – Takeo]

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Using Computers: Upholding Rights and Freedoms while Fighting Crime – Sunday, 18.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

The Ministry of Defense hopes that the use of computers will help better to cut down the names of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the military. This was expressed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, who said that the present census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than in previous years. “It is an annual census to find out the real number of soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.” There are some traditional elements in this process, even surprising ones – if one assumes that soldiers would be known, present, and listed at their command posts: “All soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists… the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense.”

Considering the results of a similar exercise in 2008, where – according to Mr. Cheam Yeap, a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People’s Party – the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police, for whom salaries were regularly paid out (to whom?), the new findings might again bring considerable savings to the national budget.
Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat added that there is confidence that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents.

The newly created Anti-Corruption Unit of the government will start with to collect about 100,000 declarations of assets, and this process is to be implemented before November 2010, “to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law.” Though the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all these documents, it has not been announced how this is going to happen practically. Even trusting the capacities of computer systems, it will be difficult to receive and file more than 1,000 asset declarations per day during the remaining days before November.

But the past week brought also a different reminder about the power of computer systems: Cambodian authorities began creating legislation against cyber crimes. “A workshop about the creation of legislation against cyber crimes was held on 13 July 2010 at the Council of Ministers, and government officials, officials of national and international organizations, and representatives of Internet Service Providers, of telecom companies, of technology companies, of publication institutions, and of other relevant fields participated in the workshop… The advancement of technology is a double-edged sword. It can make many things easier and provides abundant benefits for quick development. But it also creates opportunities for criminals to use it to commit various offenses.” This double reality was pointed out: that by now communication technology plays an ever growing role in society – but on the other hand, Cambodia is also experiencing similar problems and threat as they happen in other countries also, which can be a threat for security, economy, and the general and political life of a society.

This Cambodian workshop was held also to consider how other countries are dealing with this new world wide problem. The head of the Economic Crime Division of the Council of Europe, Mr. Alexander Seger, referred to the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime of 2001, which had been developed during four years before it was presented to the member states of the Council of Europe, but which is also open for other states to sign and to access, so that among the 47 countries which signed it, there are also non-European countries: Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States of America.

These preparatory efforts in Cambodia are considering the same range of criminal activities which happen also in other countries around the globe. “Cambodia has already experienced many problems that allow cyber criminals to commit offenses using such technology. There are many cases where all must pay attention, to prevent cheating on the Internet, to receive the inheritance from someone illegally, not to respond to electronic messages asking for passwords, or messages threatening someone, stealing of passwords, and the distribution of child pornography into computer systems, or the sending of spam mails.”

What is remarkable is the fact that the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime does not only point to the threats which can come from criminal use of the Internet, and to the need to protect society from them. Included in this document of 28 pages is also a warning that the need for criminal prosecution shall not violate fundamental rights of the citizens to be protected:

The member States of the Council of Europe and the other States signatory hereto,… Convinced of the need to pursue, as a matter of priority, a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cyber crime, inter alia, by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation;…

Mindful of the need to ensure a proper balance between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1950 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other applicable international human rights treaties, which reaffirm the right of everyone to hold opinions without interference, as well as the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and the rights concerning the respect for privacy;

Mindful also of the right to the protection of personal data, as conferred, for example, by the 1981 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;…

Have agreed as follows:

Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offenses under its domestic law, when committed intentionally…

followed by chapters on Illegal access, Illegal interception, Data and System interference, Misuse of devices, Computer-related forgery and fraud, Offenses related to child pornography and to infringements of copyright, etc.

When representatives of governments, of the business community, and of civil society – according to the multi-stakeholder principle introduced by the United Nations for dealing with questions of the present Information Society – met in June for an Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong, the issue of cyber security was also high on the agenda. While there was an emphasis on legal measures to assure the security and stability of the Internet, and on technical facilities to implement such controls, a group of civil society representatives from Southeast Asia made their common concern public in a 2010 Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance.

This Southeast Asian reflection starts with a references to the UN Summits for the Information Society of 2003 and 2005, especially with their Declaration of Principles, which the representatives of governments from around the globe had voted upon:

We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Building on this guideline, which had led to the setting up of the Internet Governance Forums, this civil society declaration says among others in a longer text:

Key Observations of the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum Roundtable in Hong Kong on 15-16 June 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

Critical issues of Internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on Internet governance policy:

Openness

Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that serves as a fundamental venue for one’s knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development. Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.

Access

The Internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with Internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on Internet governance. Proceedings at the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the Internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address the right to privacy and to civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed…

Today’s information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties…

The references of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime and of the Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance to human rights and freedoms, not only threatened by criminal action, but also by efforts to impose extensive control, are important reminders that security must be human security.

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Germany Is Encouraging Investments in Cambodia – Saturday, 17.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“According to the German Embassy, German investments in Cambodia are small, but the Embassy is encouraging more to come while Germany is the biggest buyer of products from Cambodia among the other countries of the European Union.

“The deputy head of Mission of the German Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier, told Rasmei Kampuchea on 13 July 2010 that, even though Germany is a major commercial partner of Cambodia, the German Embassy wants to see a further increase in this field.

“He said, ‘The Embassy wants to see increasing commercial ties between Cambodia and Germany. I think there is potential in many sectors.’

“According to figures from a European delegation to Cambodia, among all member countries of the European Union that buy products from Cambodia, Germany is the biggest buyer. Germany receives as much as 31% of the products from Cambodia to the European Union, while the products from Germany to Cambodia are only 12% among other countries of the European Union.

“Besides Germany, other countries of the European Union buying from Cambodia are England with 29%, and Spain with 13%. Countries of the European Union exporting products to Cambodia are France with 36%, Belgium with 14%, and Italy with 11%.

“In addition to commercial ties, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier said that at present, Germany is trying to promote investment relations, though there are only a few German investors in Cambodia.

“He said, ‘In our efforts, the Embassy is maintaining good cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia.’

“He added that many German businesspeople and investors had visited Cambodia, but so far, many German companies still use their offices in Bangkok or in Vietnam to watch over the whole region.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 17 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2303, 17.7.2010

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Decided to Temporarily Suspend Detaining [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua, but Will Cut Her Salary [taking the fine and compensation for losing against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case from her salary at the National Assembly]
  • Cambodia Denied That an [anti-Thai government] Red Shirt Leader Is Hiding in Cambodia [after an accusation by Thai press The Nation]
  • The Ministry of Information Sued Khmer Amatak for Disinformation [after it published, on 5 July 2010, an article with a title “The 13th Anniversary of the Coup in July 1993 Signals that Hun Sen Has Gathered Power”]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7010, 17-18.7.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Completely Recovered [from swine flu and his eye problems], and He Presided over a Cabinet Meeting
  • A Gold Seller Was Fatally Shot and [Two] Robbers Took Away 370 Chi of Gold [US$538,350], US$3,000, Baht 5,000 [approx. US$150], and Riel 20 Million [approx. US$4,600 – Preah Vihear]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3934, 17-18.7.2010

  • The World Inter-Parliament Meeting [held in Geneva] Concentrated on the Mistreatment of Parliamentarians by the Ruling Parties in 34 Countries [and asked the Cambodian government to stop suing opposition parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

  • Germany Is Encouraging Investment in Cambodia
  • So Far No Action Has Been Taken by the Authorities against the Champa Manpower Group after Its Irregularities Had Been Discovered [this company forced workers, including underage girls, to live in unhygienic conditions while receiving training before they are sent to work in Malaysia – Phnom Penh]

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The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November – Thursday, 15.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The declaration of assets of officials of the Royal Government as well as of relevant civil society officials will be made before November 2010.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Senior Minister Om Yentieng, said during a press conference in the morning of 14 July 2010 that the Anti-Corruption Unit will proceed with the procedure of the declaration of assets of relevant officials, including officials of the Royal Government appointed by sub-decrees and royal decrees, as well as other officials including those of civil society organizations, and the declaration will be conducted before November 2010, to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law. He added that there are about 100,000 persons in Cambodia who are required to declare their assets. The duty of the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all documents. Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit has the right to check those documents anytime.

“Relating to a question from journalists about how much money is to be considered as corruption, Mr. Om Yentieng said that an amount to be considered as corruption does not need to be up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Riel 1,000 to Riel 2,000 [US$0.25 to US$0.50] can also be considered as corruption, and there are many types of corruption, like the provision of licenses and permissions, or the offering of sexual pleasure which can also be considered as corruption. He said that improper activities of traffic police who fine citizens without giving them a receipt for the fine paid can also be considered as corruption.

“Mr. Om Yengtieng added that the declarations will be made officially, and the procedure does not protect corrupt people as the opposition parties have said, because the procedures had granted full rights to the opposition parties to express their ideas during the discussions and adoptions of the law in the National Assembly, but the decision [to terminate the discussions] were within the rights of the president of the National Assembly. He believes that this law will proceed smoothly. He went on to say that as soon as this law had been released, some officials required to declare their asset felt afraid. Thus, it is not a simple matter.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit stated during the press conference that the Anti-Corruption Unit has a fivefold mission:

  1. Lead the fight against any acts of corruption.
  2. Fight against corruption of all forms, in all sectors, and at all levels.
  3. Proceed following three legal procedures: to educate, to prevent, and to punish.
  4. Fight corruption with participation by the general public.
  5. Fight corruption with participation by international agencies.

“Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit is always aware of a recommendation by the president of the National Assembly to prevent its members from committing corruption, as they are more in danger to commit corruption than others. As there are difficulties to fight corruption, the Anti-Corruption Unit is provided with some special rights to act.

“Mr. Om Yentieng stressed that all personnel of the Anti-Corruption Unit, including the watchmen at the Anti-Corruption office, have to declare their assets. There are two types of penalties for corruptions: misdemeanors and felonies, which cover 7-days to life imprisonment.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

  • The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November
  • The Sharing Experience for Adapted Development [SEAD] Delivers 40,000 Books of a Services Directory for Vulnerable People [the books, which list 280 organizations, 25 units, 85 hospitals, and 220 health centers will be provided to staff of the government and of non-government organizations that work with vulnerable children and families to be used as their reference in offering necessary services to those people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7008, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Will Have to Declare Their Assets and Debts Every Two Years
  • Cambodia and the United States of America Will Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations [from 18 to 24 July 2010 in Phnom Penh and in Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3932, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Are the Target to Declare Their Assets, according to a Report when Cambodia Hosted an Anti-Corruption Conference
  • Khmer Citizens Have Not Received the Right for Just Hearings, as Guaranteed by National and International Laws [according to observations by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights cooperating with the US Agency for International Development and the East-West Management Institute in 199 hearings at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #215, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected UN Criticism [over the proceedings of the defamation case of the opposition politician, Ms. Mu Sochua, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying that this relates to internal affairs of Cambodia; recently the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Rupert Colville, stated that Cambodian courts have been used as weapon to restrict the freedom of expression]
  • Vietnam Supplies Additional 20 Megawatt of Electricity to Cambodia [in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request, amid the increasing demand for electricity in Cambodia; according to an agreement signed by both countries, Vietnam promised to supply 200 megawatt of electricity to Cambodia by 2009, but by now, Vietnam can supply only 120 megawatt due to a lack of electricity in its own country]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5250, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Earns Riel 6,000 Million to Riel 7,000 Million [US$1,380,000 to US$1,610,000] Each Year from Fishery Yield [each year 500,000 tonnes of fish are caught – according to the director general of the Department of Fisheries Administration, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • Three Cars Loaded with Ebony Were Intercepted in the House of a Military Official in Stung Treng [but he has not been yet arrested]

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Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available – Friday, 2.7.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Phnom Penh: Private mobile phone companies are encountering a lack of frequencies and cannot provide their services to millions of mobile phone customers well, so they asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia to intervene to add more frequencies.

“According to a source familiar with the frequency issue, a licensed private company had asked the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, to intervene for the company to increase the frequencies available so that the companies can provide better services to their customers.

“The letter of request was also forwarded by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, H.E. So Khun. But later, when the company asked to increase the number of frequencies, the Ministry said that there are no frequencies available. Actually, there are unused frequencies, but the Ministry does not make them available.

“Private companies asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, to intervene supporting their request for the increase of available frequencies for licensed companies, so that they can provide good services to their clients.

“On 27 April 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated during a meeting of the Public-Private Sector Forum that any requests for the increase of the number of frequencies for mobile phone companies, the Ministry has to send them to the Royal Government to decide. But according to a trustworthy source, previously, the Ministry had provided frequencies to some companies without including the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the decision. The Ministry did it on its own quietly. Some companies went directly to the Ministry, and the Ministry provided the frequencies to them immediately. However, some licensed companies, that had sent their requests to the head of the Royal Government for the increase of frequencies, had their requests rejected by the Ministry saying that there are no frequencies remaining.

“Some investors of private companies said that mobile phone companies operating at present are seeking ways to serve and to satisfy their clients who use their services, but the challenge is that some licensed companies are not provided with additional frequencies by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication to provide better services to their clients. Probably, some companies had colluded with the Ministry to receive more frequencies secretly, without involving the whole Royal Government.

“At present, millions of mobile phone clients are annoyed when calling from one phone to another, and some people had requested the companies to expand their service regions to ease communication. But some private companies said that the problem is not their capacity to expand their mobile networks, but the reason is that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication does not provide them with more frequencies, as requested.

“Regarding this issue, Kampuchea Thmey tried to contact the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for more information, but failed to receive such information.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

  • Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available
  • This Year the Number of Candidates to Take the Grade 9 Exam [lower secondary examination, usually at the age of 14 to 15, before entering higher secondary school] Is 159,724, Which is an Increase by 3,394 Candidates [the exam will be from 5 to 6 July 2010 countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6997, 2.7.2010

  • Deum Ampil Is Bankrupt; This Young News Center [a press center that had been created few years ago] Surprisingly Stopped Its Publications [newspapers and radio broadcasting; according to information by Deum Ampil to the Ministry of Information]
  • On 26 July 2010, The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Announce the Verdict to Sentence Brutal Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [at 10:00 a.m.]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3921, 2.7.2010

  • The First Drop of Oil of Cambodia Will Be Produced by 12/12/2012 [but the government has not yet specified anything about the expected quantity]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #206, 2.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Cambodia Can Extract Its First Oil by December 2012 [after there had been positive results from the oil exploration in Block A in the gulf of Thailand, with joint investments by Chevron with 30%, Mitsui Oil Exploration with 30%, Kris Energy with 25%, and GS Caltex of South Korea with 15%]
  • The Court Set a Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Riel 8 million [approx. US$1,850] Compensation to the Prime Minister [for losing a defamation case; she is required to pay it within ten days after the announcement by the judge on 29 June 2010, otherwise legal measures will be taken against her]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5239, 2.7.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted Two Draft Laws Relating to Economic Cooperation with ASEAN, China, and South Korea [to create an investment atmosphere which is free, coordinated, transparent, and competitive, in order to achieve a business environment based on friendship between ASEAN, China, and South Korea, offering protection to all investors. Also, the agreements will help to promote opportunities and increase the flow of investment capital from the private sector for the development of the economies of the ASEAN countries cooperating with China and South Korea]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed in the Prey Sar prison] Heng Pov Was Brought [to court] for Questioning over the Murder of the Former President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Vichea [in 2004 – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Workers Legally Abroad [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] Is Nearly 30,000 [workers in South Korea can get between US$800 to US$2,000 per month, in Malaysia from more than US$200 to nearly US$300, and in Thailand a bit less than in Malaysia]

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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