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]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

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

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

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

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

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

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

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Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran – Friday, 6.8.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation plans to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“An Undersecretary of State and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey on 5 August 2010, saying that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, will make an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran for two days from 10 to 11 August 2010, and he will leave Phnom Penh on 8 August 2010.

“He added that the visit aims to strengthen and expand ties between Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as to encourage visits between leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior leaders.

“According to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 5 August 2010, in response to an invitation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia will pay a formal visit from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“The delegates include a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Long Visalo, the head of the Cambodian Petroleum Authority, Mr. Hou Vicheth, and many other senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

“During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong will meet with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran [see the Constitution], Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the chairman of Iranian parliament, Mr. Ali Larijani. He will also have bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Masoud Mir-Kazem, and the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mehdi Ghazanfari.

“According to the announcement, the visit aims at consolidating ties between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to encourage the exchange of visits between leaders of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other high ranking officials. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation relating to oil will be signed.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran
  • Her Excellency Bun Rany [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Was Re-Elected as President of the Cambodian Red Cross for the Fifth Term

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7027, 6.8.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Print Documents about [Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief] Duch’s Sentence to Be Distributed to the General Public [5,000 copies, containing details related to the sentence]
  • 1,000 People [representatives of the Royal Government, of local and international organizations, of the United Nations, and of ethnic minority tribespeople] Will Celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3951, 6.8.2010

  • The Number Khmer Migrant Workers to Malaysia and Siam [Thailand], Where Some Suffered from Torture, Doubled in Early 2010 [according to the Cambodian/Khmer Worker Recruitment Agency [no website found]; in the first six months of 2010, it has sent 5,776 legal workers to Malaysia and 2,409 workers to Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #231, 6.8.2010

  • Cambodia Soldiers Prohibit Thai Vendors from Selling Goods in the Area of the Ta Moan Temple
  • The Opposition Party Lawyer [Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy] Warned to Walk Out of the New Hearing [on 9 August 2010 on Mr. Sam Rainsy’s case over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers], if Two Prisoners Are Not Present [claiming that they are important witnesses]
  • Vietnam Will Step Up Investment to US$1 Billion in Cambodia Next Year [in the oil and gas sectors, electricity production, mineral exploration, rubber plantations, and agricultural product processing]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5269, 6.8.2010

  • Carts Transport Wood move like for a Kathen Procession [a Buddhist ceremony with long processions] into the Angkor Chum and Puok Districts [without any interceptions from the authorities – Siem Reap]
  • Forty American Billionaires Pledged to Donate Half of Their Property for Humanitarian Affairs [according to: http://www.givingpledge.org]

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New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums – Monday, 19.7.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Construction development companies have received some information about a new sub-decree that allows foreigners to own about 70% of condominium buildings, in order to promote the real estate and the construction sectors in Cambodia.

“The sub-decree adopted by the Council of Ministers states that foreigners in Cambodia can have about 70% of ownership rights of houses.

“This figure is lower than that which had been proposed in the draft of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction which had determined that foreigners can own 80%. Nevertheless, this percentage is still higher than that had been proposed in the first draft about foreign ownership in 2009 which was only 49%.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Ms. Nun Pheany, said on Sunday, ‘Such a decision is to allow Cambodians to own more real estate in order to prevent too much ownership by foreigners.’

“Though the percentage for the control of real estate by foreigners is now lower, the sub-decree is still a starting point to encourage foreign investors to help develop the real estate market in Cambodia.

“Ms. Pheany believes that to develop that field cannot rely only on local buyers.

“Analysts agreed that the adoption by the government about the ownership rights of foreigners can help to boost the Cambodian economy that is being seriously affected by the global financial crisis.

“Prices of land and houses in Cambodia declined by 40% to 60% compared to 2008 when prices went sky-rocketing.

“A senior partner of the Sciaroni & Associates Company and a legal adviser to the government, Mr. Bretton G. Sciaroni, said on Sunday that the sub-decree will provide a new opportunity for the Cambodian economy. He said, ‘It can help Cambodia in many ways. It helps create not only long term operations, but also attracts new foreign investors. He thinks that the sub-decree will turn Cambodia to be a country with some attraction in the region, as the decree is not too strict compared to neighboring countries.

“He said, ‘We are more open and have a better atmosphere than Thailand.’ In Thailand, foreigners can own houses merely up to 49%.

“Companies constructing satellite cities in the Phnom Penh area welcomed the decision of the government and hope that this will assist the development of the real estate market in Cambodia and increase the selling of houses, when investors can purchase more real estate property.

“The director of the construction project on Koh Pich island, Mr. Touch Samnang, said, ‘This sub-decree is good for the development of the real estate market in Cambodia. We expect that through the provision of ownership rights, more foreign investors will consider investing in Cambodia.’

“His company is constructing 168 houses and villas at Koh Pich island, and this has been achieved already by 40%.

“The executive director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, thinks that this sub-decree will make Cambodia become an attractive place for foreign investors. But he warned that this sub-decree alone is not sufficient to attract investors to come to Cambodia, adding, ‘Cambodia needs to have other incentives.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2304, 18-19.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Send Deminers for a Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon [under the system of the United Nations, said Prime Minister Hun Sen – in September 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7011, 19.7.2010

  • Big Mineral, Oil, and Gas Companies Have to Declare the Amount of Money Paid to the Royal Government [Oxfam praised the US Senate for requiring the declaration by US registered mineral, oil, and gas companies of payments to different governments around the world as a legal obligation]
  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia and the United States of America Still Have the Potential to Expand Cooperation [he said so during a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns]
  • A Firefighter Association in Japan Donated 20 Firefighter Trucks to the Phnom Penh Municipality

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #7, 18-19.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party member] Mu Sochua Called the Legal Institutions Controlled by the King Powerless [when there is no response to a Sam Rainsy Party letter to the King to ask for intervention regarding her defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen; so far there is no reaction yet from officials of the Royal Palace]
  • Cambodia Has a High Potential to Plant Rubber Trees on as Many as 600,000 Hectares [at present rubber trees are planted on 139,210 hectares, and Cambodia can already produce more than 40,000 tonnes of rubber each year for export]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3935, 19.7.2010

  • The Legal System and Corruption Are Priorities for Reforms in Order to Encourage a Good Atmosphere to Attract Investors
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee the Return of Sam Rainsy and Free and Fair Elections [during a visit of Mr. William Burns]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

  • New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums
  • A US Official [Mr. William Burns]: Military Ties between Cambodia and America Are More Than Donations of Materials [but they aim at national defense reforms towards the encouragement of civil and military relations that are crucial for a political system]
  • The United States of America Delivered Seven Artifacts to Cambodia [as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5253, 18-19.7.2010

  • Seventy Five Guards Are Deployed to Protect Porpoises from Extinction [in Stung Treng]
  • Barai Tuek Thla Reservoir Resort Will Face Drought if There Is No Rain [it was built during the Angkor era – Siem Reap ]

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Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas – Friday, 16.7.2010

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: According to a report of the United Nations for 2010, there are 1,621 communes in the 24 provinces and cities in Cambodia, where 80% is rural areas.

“The report on the outlook of fundamental developments for 2010, recently published by the United Nations, says that Cambodia has 24 provinces and cities, but only 142 communes are considered as [densely] populated or urban, while as many as 1,479 communes remain rural.

“The same source adds that in Phnom Penh, 10 among the 76 communes are considered as rural.

“Besides Phnom Penh, the report divides the rest of the 23 provinces and cities into 4 areas: low lying areas, the Tonle Sap lake area, highlands, and the seashore area.

“In the low lying areas, among the 616 communes, only 27% are considered urban. That means 83% of the total area is rural. The low lying areas cover Kandal, Kompong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo.

“The Tonle Sap lake area consists of 8 provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Pursat, and Siem Reap. In these 8 provinces, among the 491 communes, only 30 are urban, while the other 461 are still rural. To sum up, as much as 85% of the communes are rural.

“The highlands of Cambodia comprises 6 provinces: Kompong Speu, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Ratanakiri. In total, only 10 communes in these 6 provinces are urban, whereas the rest of 276 are rural. To conclude, only 9% of this area is considered urban.

“In the seashore area, there are 4 provinces, and only 19% of the communes of those provinces are urban. The 4 provinces are Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, where there are 152 communes, but only 9 are considered as urban.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2302, 16.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Will Pay an Official Visit to Singapore on 26 and 27 July 2010 [detailed information about this visit has not yet been provided]
  • After the Authorities Checked [two] Companies Sending Workers to Malaysia, They Found Many Underage Girls [between 15 to 16 years old among them – Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7009, 16.7.2010

  • The Maternity and Child Death Rate Is Still a Concern for Cambodia [according to the Minister of Health, the death rate decreased from 472 among 100,000 live births in 2005 to only 416 deaths in 2008, and this problem needs more attention from the government]
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Stressed Her Position Again that She Would Rather Get Jailed Than Pay Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$3,930] for Losing a Defamation Case [against Prime Minister Hun Sen – as she considers the verdict not to be just]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3933, 16.7.2010

  • A Visit [from 14 to 22 July] of US Under-Secretary of State [Mr. William J. Burns] to Southeast Asia Is Crucial to Ensure the Respect for Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia [according to an announcement of the US Department of State]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #216, 16.7.2010

  • A Study [by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, conducted by interviewing 400 workers who had been sent back from Thailand through the Poipet Border Crossing]: One Fourth of Migrants Were Trafficked
  • Demonstration to Mark the Thai Invasion onto Territory [claimd by Cambodia, close to the Preah Vihear Temple, led by the president of the Cambodian Confederation Union, Mr. Rong Chhun] Was Blocked by the Authorities [Phnom Penh]
  • [Cambodian] Officials Receive Training on the Management of Oil Resources [from oil experts from New Zealand]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

  • Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Said the Ball Is in Phnom Penh’s Court [that means Cambodia should send a Cambodian ambassador to Thailand first] while Phnom Penh Said It Is in Bangkok’s [Thailand should send a Thai ambassador to Cambodia first]
  • Major General [Chim Sok] Ordered [two] Body Guards to Beat a Man Seriously after a Traffic Accident [where that man’s car had hit the General’s Lexus car from behind] and the General Demanded US$10,000 as Compensation [while the man can afford only US$4,000 – Phnom Penh]
  • Two People Were Killed after a Crash between Two Motorbikes [Prey Veng]

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Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday – Monday, 5.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“On Saturday Cambodian police arrested two Thai citizens accused of being involved in planing a bomb attack in Bangkok last month. The two alleged terrorists will be handed over to Thai embassy officials today [5 July 2010].

“According to an announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that the Phnom Penh Post received on Sunday, Siem Reap police on Saturday evening arrested suspects Kobchai Boonplod, born on 19 July 1967, and Varissareeya Boonsom, female, born on 30 September 1967, accused of having performed a terrorist bomb attack on 22 June 2010 in Bangkok.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said, ‘We had enough documents to confirm that they are bomb suspects before we arrested them.’ He added that the Cambodian authorities will hand over the two suspects to Thai embassy officials in Phnom Penh on Monday, 5 July 2010, at 9:30 at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

“He went on to say that Thai authorities spoke to the press last week, saying that the two suspects, who are masterminds of the bomb attack on the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party [a member of the present Thai government coalition] on 22 June 2010, escaped to Cambodia, but Thailand did not ask Cambodia to arrest them.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘The Cambodian government promised to extradite the two suspects to Thailand though there was no request from Thailand. This shows the willingness of the Cambodian Government to fight terrorism, as the Cambodian government always cooperates with other countries to combat terrorism. Monday last week, the Thai press had quoted Police Lieutenant Colonel Benjapol Rodsawas, deputy chief of the Sa Kaew immigration office, as saying that Varissareeya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod left Thailand separately on Wednesday last week and escaped to Cambodia a day after the bomb attack outside the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party at Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok. At that time, Cambodian officials rejected the information.

“Regarding this issue, the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, stated yesterday that he could not comment on the situation until the perpetrators have been handed over to the Thai authorities today. But he welcomed the cooperation by Cambodia. He said, ‘In general, we welcome the cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia in all activities and we think that it encourages additional cooperation.’ Asked about the accusations by the Cambodian government, he said that he does not have a role to comment on the affairs or views of Cambodia.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chheang Vannarith, said that the arrest shows warming relations between both countries. He said, ‘I think that the Cambodian government takes a flexible position on bilateral ties with Thailand. I can see positive progress for bilateral ties.

“Both countries decided to withdraw their respective ambassadors in November last year, after Cambodia appointed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [convicted for corruption in a land deal] as an economic advisor of the Cambodian government.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 5 July 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #108, 5-6.7.2010

  • Mr. Chea Mony: My New Term [as president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Is to Struggle to Demand a Salary Increase [to a minimum of US$93] and to Create a Labor Court

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2292, 4-5.7.2010

  • Illegal Check Points Are Increasing at Night in Phnom Penh [to extort money from citizens traveling on motorcycles], but Higher Level Officials Ignore This [they check whether people wear helmets, have back-view mirrors, number plates, and a motorbike license. Even if there is no problem, teenagers cannot negotiate what fine to pay to be free, even when they did not commit any wrongdoings]
  • [Ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Promises to Return to Thailand at the End of This Year [to unite the Thai nation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6999, 5.7.2010

  • A Newly Created Site for Producing Mreah Prov Oil [an important ingredient for producing the drug Ecstasy – no information about who is involved – Veal Veng district, Pursat]
  • An Inhuman Drunken Man Fatally Shot a Person for Pleasure [the perpetrator is not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3923, 5.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Will Return to Cambodia This Morning, While There Are Four Days Remaining for Her to Pay Her Fine [Riel 8 million or approx. US$1,860 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Singapore Imports Sand to Enlarge Its Territory without Caring about the Destruction of the Cambodian Seashore Environment [according to Global Witness, this sea sand dredging threatens and affects fish as well as the bio-diversity of the sea]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday
  • Officials: The Number of Deaths from Lightning This Year Is Lower Than Last Year [63 people were killed during the first six months of 2010, in 2009, there were only 100 deaths]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5241, 4-5.7.2010

  • 32% of the Total Size of Cambodia Are Bio-Diversity Protected and Conservation Areas
  • Food Prices Increased by 30% within the First Six Months of 2010

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People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture – Thursday, 1.7.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“A report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund [UNCDF] released yesterday found that workers in rural areas in Cambodia are shifting to do different work besides agriculture, formerly the only source of their income. They are leading a change that can boost sustainable development in rural areas.

“The UNCDF report says that while about 80% of Cambodian citizens are mostly living as farmers, the economy in rural areas has extensive potential that is not yet used through the diversification of the economy.

“According to the above report, called Basic Development Outlook, that tries to support decentralization, two years ago, 91% of the poor people in Cambodia lived in rural areas.

This report says that even though agricultural development is crucial for Cambodia, also the diversification of the economy in rural areas, and strategies to reorganize basic policies might encourage the growth of the economy in rural areas, to move Cambodians out of poverty.

“The report says, ‘The current integrating policy strategy to develop rural areas in Cambodia focuses on agriculture and the provision of social and public services, and on the social safety network. These are necessary policies, but frequently they are not adequate for improving basic economic developments.’

“The main author of the report and Chief Technical Advisor of UNCDF, Mr. Nicola Crosta, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday, 30 June 2010, that workers in rural areas change to work in other sectors, like tourism, due to the increasing use of machinery in agriculture in Cambodia. Therefore, this sector needs less and less labor.

“Mr. Crosta added, ‘Must importantly the Cambodian government must anticipate the future (of rural development) and must not fall into the trap to think only of agriculture (that means there must be other sectors for citizens in rural areas in addition to agriculture).’

“A government official said to the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday that the government has decided to concentrate on basic developments, stressing that the increase of the yield of rice is a measure to improve the livelihood of people living in rural areas.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Iv Tong, welcomes ‘that machinery is used in cultivation, as it can increase productivity, and most importantly, improve the livelihood of farmers, and it contributes to economic growth in Cambodia.’

“He added that rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are a means to improve the living condition of farmers.

“But the above report warns, ‘While infrastructure is crucial, it should not be considered as enough for the development of the economy.’

“In the meantime, some economic advisors do not agree with the opinion that the improvement of agricultural techniques through the use of machinery leads to unemployment.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale businesses, Mr. Ut Ren, said that many laborers lose their jobs because of the replacement of human power by machinery, but they then seek jobs in food manufacturing factories.

“He added, ‘We should not be concerned that agricultural development would affect rural employment. What we have to be worried about is how much potential from this sector can be used more productively.’

“Nevertheless, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, believes that at present, there is too little industry in rural areas, so it cannot provide enough jobs for farmers.

“He said, ‘Farmers would seek jobs in new areas in agriculture such as in former forest areas, and they will travel to Thailand to seek jobs.’

“Without worrying too much about the challenges in rural areas in Cambodia, the UNCDF believes that the strengthening of decisions at the basic levels in Cambodia is an important way to boost economic growth.

“He added that at present, Cambodia is improving a 10-year plan that shows policies relating to these views.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #446, 1-2.7.2010

  • Eight Relatives of [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Are Reported [by The Nation on 30 June 2010] to Be Entering Cambodia [bringing much money, millions of Baht, with them, but Cambodia denied it] (no more details are given)

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

  • Cholera Killed Six Prov Ethnic People [25 Others are hospitalized – Lum Phat district, Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [and five other officials] Recovered from A/H1N1 [Swine Flu]
  • Cambodia Sent a Diplomatic Note to Siam [Thailand] to Investigate the Fatal Shooting on a Khmer Citizen near a Border Crossing in Sampov Loun [Battambang, that had accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

  • The Transportation of Luxury Grade Wood Occurs Again in Siem Reap [two cars were intercepted with illegal wood, and four people were arrested]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy Plans to Create a Real-Estate Assessment Committee in Order to Start to Collect Taxes at the End of This Year [it will help increase the national income from US$3 million to US$9 million, after Cambodia experienced a drop of income due to the global financial crisis]
  • An Australian Company [OZ Minerals] Wants that the Authorities Provide Appropriate Compensation to Poor Citizens before Evicting Them, when Claiming Land for Exploring Gold Minerals [in Mondol Seima district, Mondolkiri – both the company and the government share the income from the exploitation of gold]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

  • People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture
  • [Eighty seven] TACFAT Factory Workers Protested in Front of the Ministry of Labor to Demand Their Salaries [from the owner of the factory]
  • Global Witness Welcomes the Clarification [by the Minister of the Council of Ministers] of Oil Issue [about the payment by the Total company to receive exploration right from the Cambodian government], Mr. Sok An, but suggested that the government should publish the full details of all agreements and of account balances, so that the Cambodian people can be confident that the deals are above board]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

  • Bank Systems in Cambodia Are Mostly Controlled by Foreigners [there are 27 commercial banks, where as many as 17 banks are completely controlled by foreigners, and among 6 specialized banks and 20 micro-finance institutions about 77% are controlled by foreigners]
  • The Users of the Banking System [those who deposit their money in banks] Increased to About One Million [in 2009; according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products – Monday, 10.5.2010

Posted on 11 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

“The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is paying a three-day official visit to Cambodia which started on Sunday; he will chair a meeting for the signing of six commercial agreements worth US$1 billion.

“Five commercial agreements will be signed by the private sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia, and another agreement will be signed between a Malaysian company and the Cambodian government.

“Also Mr. Hun Sen will attend the signing ceremony. The agreements to be signed focus on the educational sector, the technical field, security, the Halal food industry (food containing no pork, prepared according to Muslim regulations), agriculture, training, and the exchange of products.

“This is the first official visit of Mr. Razak since he became prime minister last year. This visit is considered important for the strengthening of bilateral ties with Cambodia. According to officials of the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, the entire commerce between both countries in 2009 amounted to just US$150 million. About 90% of the commerce was exports of textile products, palm oil, food, and drinks from Malaysia, while the other 10% was export of goods, rubber, textiles, and rice from Cambodia.

“The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia said that there are a lot of opportunities for Malaysian investors to come to invest in various sectors in Cambodia, such as education, health care, construction, the Halal food industry, tourism, oil, and gas. At present, Malaysia is the fourth biggest foreign investor in Cambodia after China, South Korea, and Yuon [Vietnam].

“The investments from Malaysia include sports infrastructure, hotels, education, banking, and fast food. Trade and investments between Cambodia and Malaysia are expected to double while the region is moving towards the ASEAN Economic Association in 2015, which will allow the free flow of goods, capital, and people. The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia stressed that Malaysian investors consider Cambodia as an important country for investments, as Cambodia is located in the Mekong River Basin, comprising of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, with a total population of 100 million.

“During this visit, 117 Malaysian investors will participate in the private sector conversation, and Mr. Razak and Mr. Hun Sen will chair the Cambodian-Malaysian commercial forum and a lunch reception. Also the leaders of the two countries will chair a meeting to sign six commercial agreements.

“The Malaysian Prime Minister will meet with the Cambodia side to discuss bilateral affairs at the Council of Ministers, and he will visit the Esata Operations Center, a Cambodian-Malaysian telecommunications company, the construction site of a new building for the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, and the Kunthak Bopha IV Hospital. On the last day, he will meet the Khmer King Norodom Sihamoni, the president of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, and the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 10 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #473, 9-10.5.2010

  • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister Rejected a Request for Intervention [from citizens] over a Land Dispute in Kandal Stung District [with the Heng Development company, Kandal. The PM had looked into the case already in 2009 and came to the conclusion that the 842 families involved have no right to own the disputed land of 200 hectares]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2244, 1-10.5.2010

  • The Film Who Killed Chea Vichea Cannot Be Played at Any Place as Long as There Is No Permission [according to Sub-Decree 63 of the government, Article 20 says that before the operation, playing, leasing, and selling of all types of films, it is necessary to ask for permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. A secretary of state of this ministry said that this film cannot be played publicly, but it can be played privately, for example in a room with a small audience]

Note:

It is surprising to observe that thousands of pornographic CDs and DVDs are being sold publicly all over town, and many of them are shown in some restaurants or coffee shops. Were they all legally imported and did they all first receive the permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fina Arts? Probably yes? Because they are being operated, played, leased, and sold in public – so the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is aware of this. But there are no reports that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is dealing with them with a similar intensity, comparable to the attention it is giving to Who Killed Chea Vichea.

  • The Number of People Suffering from Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 51 [there is no recent report whether there is testing also for Cholera being performed – as some medical practitioners claim that there is also Cholera in Cambodia. The assertion by some medical authorities that the treatment for Diarrhea and for Cholera is the same is wrong]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

  • Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6951, 10.5.2010

  • Robbers Continue to Commit Robberies in Battambang, Taking Away 100 Chi of Gold [approx. US$14,000] while the Authorities Have Not Identified the Robbers Who Took Away US$100,000

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3875, 10.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Education Should Eliminate Corrupt Nepotism in the Department of Education of Preah Vihear [it is claimed that some positions are controlled by leaders, their in-law, daughters, and their groups of friends]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #167, 10.5.2010

  • Cambodia and Malaysia Will Sign Commercial Agreements for US$1 Billion Today
  • [The Phnom Penh Sugar] Company Sends More Soldiers [more than 150] to Protect Its Land [provided by the government as concession land; Amleang commune, Thpong district, Kompong Speu. The company which is being protected by soldiers is one of the companies which “sponsors” military units]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5193, 9-10.5.2010

  • A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, a Member of FUNCINPEC [Mr. Hun Phoeung] Was Removed from His Position [Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of working for an opposition party]
  • More Than US$7 Million Was Collected [as charitable donations] during the Celebration of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Anniversary on 8 May
  • Two Died and Twelve Others Were Injured in New Shootings in Bangkok

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1892, 9.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Let’s See whether [the Phnom Penh municipal governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Dares to Remove [Chamkar Mon district governor] Lo Yuy over Corruption, as He Had Said, or Not [recently he warned to revoke the Chamkar Mon district governor for being inactive, not suppressing illegal activities in his district]

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Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake – Wednesday, 5.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, stated that Cambodia will be able to produce oil in 2012. He said so during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia in the morning of 4 May 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated on the occasion that he strongly believes in the project signed that day, because it enables to study whether or not to explore for oil and gas resources, especially to explore for oil in Block 17, adding, ‘I welcome and wish this Japanese company well for having decided to invest in Cambodia.’

“The deputy director of JOGMEC said that he cannot foresee the amount of money to be invested in this project, as today’s signing allows the company only to study the field, but it has not reached a stage to discuss mining explorations. According to the plan, the study might take around two years, and then, the company might conduct explorations as soon as possible.

“A spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ek Tha, said at that occasion, ‘This is an agreement that encourages joint industrial studies between two Asian countries, Cambodia and Japan.’ He added, ‘The area to be studied covers 6,500 square kilometers, and it is to the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in Kompong Thom.’ According to officials, the JOGMEC had already conducted magnetic and pressure studies between 1997 and 1999.

“Mr. Ek Tha went on to say that there are concerns raised by environmentalists in Cambodia about this project. But he said that Cambodia and the Japanese oil company are studying also the possible bad impacts on the environment in Block 17, in order to reduce or to avoid those impacts, since Japan is a country that strongly cares about the environment. Cambodia is also keenly caring about the environment in order to maintain the sustainability of resources in this long term project. The environment is also an important issue for the Cambodians of future generations.

“It should be noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on commercial cooperation on underground oil and gas resources was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Takahashi Chiaki [大臣政務官 高橋千秋], who said that his country is the second biggest donor to Cambodia, granting US$12 million each year.

“According to the Council of Ministers, commercial ties between Cambodia and Japan are progressing, amounting to US$105.18 million between 1994 and 2009. Cambodia exported products to Japan worth US$69.6 million in 2008, but only US$6.8 million within 8 months of 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Set Up a Democracy Compound for Non-Violent Protesters [which is not far from the National Assembly – a law relating to this creation will become valid in June 2010]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2240, 5.5.2010

  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Wants All Journalists Associations to Unite into One [to facilitate the organization of training events and to strengthen international trust, and to better protect journalists’ rights; at present there are 23 different journalists’ associations]
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister [Tun Abdul Razak] Will Visit Cambodia Officially for Three Days [from 9 to 11 May 2010 in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #647, 5.5.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6947, 5.5.2010

  • A Man Coming from Pailin to Buy a Car Bringing More Than US$15,000 with Him Was Robbed [by four robbers] and Wounded by One Shot [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3871, 5.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Demands the Government to Explain to the National Assembly about ‘Tea Money’ and Payments from the BHP Billiton and the Total Petroleum Companies, as Well as about Payments for the Provision of Mobile Phone Licenses

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #164, 5.5.2010

  • Official [Mr. Chheng Kimson, head of the Forestry Administration]: 6,000 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized and 100 Suspects Were Accused [during the present campaign]
  • The Ministry of Health Will Provide Logos to Be Displayed at Restaurants That Serve Food According to Good Sanitation Standards

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5189, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Tells Thailand that the Ta Krabei Temple and the Cable Lift to the Mountain Is On Khmer Territory [this response was made after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had sent a diplomatic note to Cambodia, claiming that the temple and the construction site for a cable lift are on Thai territory]
  • A Trade Union and the Opposition Party Plan to Present the Documentary Film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea’ [while the authorities had warned they would take legal action against this]
  • Court Detains Fourteen Villagers for Destroying State Forest [Banteay Srey, Siem Reap]
  • The National Television of Cambodia Spends US$600,000 to US$700,000 Each Year [for hiring a satellite link] to Send Television Programs to the United States of America [now, the Ministry of Information wants to send them through standard Internet procedures which is cheaper]

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On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists – Tuesday, 4.5.2010

Posted on 5 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“At least 11 journalists are reported to have been killed unjustly [since 1992 in Cambodia], and the perpetrators who killed them were not convicted according to the law. On the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010, journalists and civil society organizations in Cambodia appealed for the elimination of restrictions on the freedom of expression of Cambodian journalists, which until now result in suffering just because they write and express their opinions.

“Cambodian Journalists met to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010 to assess the situation of journalists in the previous year, and to point to various difficulties they are encountering in Cambodia. The most noticeable issue is the creation of new Penal Code, where observers and especially legal experts consider that it contains several points which may newly define crimes of journalists.

“The president of the Press Council of Cambodia, which has 15 major press associations as members, Mr. Sok Sovann, said that the World Press Freedom Day is an occasion where Cambodian journalists can gather to commemorate national and international journalists who lost their lives, were arrested, or are jailed because of their work as journalists. Mr. Sok Sovann added that the Press Council of Cambodia used 3 May 2010 as the date to inaugurate its headquarters, and there will be a commemoration for the Japanese journalist who recently was killed in Siam [Thailand]. Also, there will be a celebration for the creation of a memorial monument to commemorate former leading journalists.

“The Director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Research, Mr. Moeun Chhean Narith, monitored the progress of the press in Cambodia and noticed that the freedom of expression in Cambodia in 2009 dropped, compared to 2008. He added that some journalists were arrested and some were intimidated while they were covering events.

“Also, Reporters without Borders issued a report in February 2010, saying that freedom of expression in Cambodia remains difficult, as many journalists had to face accusations at courts, and some others are in detention or in prison. Fulfilling the work of a journalist in Cambodia is difficult due to the restrictions on press freedom.

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party noticed that the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Cambodia were restricted, narrowing the space of democracy. It is recalled that journalists with a tendency towards the opposition party had frequently received threats. Even the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy had the expression of his ideas restricted during the sessions of the National Assembly, making some parliamentarians to wear masks as a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“Also the Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a statement for immediate publication, saying that the International Press Freedom Day is celebrated this year to mark the downturn of press freedom in Cambodia. Since Cambodia has practiced democracy since 1992, at least 11 journalists and those working related to journalism who criticized the Cambodian government are reported to have been murdered.

“The statement continues to say that at present, journalists and those working related to journalism are challenged with mistreatments through accusations embedded with politics and criticism. This violates the fundamental rights for expressing ideas as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are included in and protected by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The statement adds that the overuse of laws to intimidate and to suppress the media through torture, criminal charges, and mistreatment, blocks the open development of journalism in Cambodia and forces journalists to use self-censorship when expressing their opinions, so that they do not irritate the rich and the powerful. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights asked the government to promote and to protect press freedom and the freedom of expression in Cambodia.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights supports journalists, as some have faced mistreatment, violence, and intimidation when they received complaints for trying to report truth, justice, and responsibility, and the report praised journalists who had sacrificed their lives, struggling to promote the basic principles of the freedom of expression and of democracy.

“The names of the 11 murdered journalists are given by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights as

  1. Mr. Thou Thormongkol murdered on 11 June 1994
  2. Mr. Non Chan murdered on 7 September 1994
  3. Mr. Chan Dara on 8 December 1994
  4. Mr. Thun Bunly on 18 May 1996
  5. Mr. Chet Duongdara on 30 March 1997
  6. Mr. Pich Em on 4 May 1997
  7. Mr. Michael Sokhan Sinea on 7 July 1997
  8. Mr. Ou Saroeun on 15 October 1997
  9. Mr. Chour Chetharith on 18 October 2003
  10. Mr. Pov Sam Ath on 26 April 2007
  11. Mr. Khim Sambou on 11 July 2008

“The Ministry of Information of Cambodia published in its 2009 report that in Cambodia there are 385 newspapers, 50 newsletters, 172 magazines, 21 journalists associations, and several radio and television stations. Frequently, the Minister of Information called on journalists to closely adhere to their journalistic and moral codes, so that they can avoid complaints and mistreatment.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #466-468, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Attempt to Present the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [killed in 2004 – the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Failed [as the police took the projection screen away – as there was no permission given by the Phnom Penh municipality]
  • China Announced to Provide Aid of Yuan 100 Million [approx. US$15 Million; plus 257 new military trucks and 50,000 soldiers’ uniforms] to Cambodia, and Continues to Support Cambodia
  • The Resulting Omen from the Royal Ploughing Ceremony: Corn Will Provide Good Yields, and Beans Offer Fairly Good Yields [there is no prediction about paddy rice yield, as the royal oxen ate little paddy rice]
  • One Day Before the International Labor Day, the Director and Staff of the Deum Ampil News Center Received a Letter with Death Threats from an Anonymous Sender

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2237-2239, 1-4.5.2010

  • Within One Year [from 3 April 2009 to 3 April 2010], Twenty Four Journalists Were Arrested [compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, when there were only two] and There Were Ten Complaints against Journalists [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Every Year Cambodia Imports Fruits from Thailand Amounting to About Baht 1 Billion [approx. US$31 Million]
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: The Opposition Party Still Uses Chea Vichea for Political Gain [as it implies that the government was behind his murder]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #271, 3.5.2010

  • Most Wood Traders Are Oknhas – Is It Therefore that [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Does Not Dare to Bring Them to Court?

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #644-646, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Right to Know Remains a Problem, if the Government Is Not Open to Support Press Freedom [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Chea Vichea’s Daughter, Chea Vichita, Asked Her Mom, ‘Why Was Dad Murdered while He Did Such Good Things?’

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6944-6946, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Government Starts to Conduct a New Census on Civil Servants to Control Their Real Number
  • An Anti-Drug Police Colonel Is under Arrest for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • While Gold Sellers Were Preparing Themselves in the Morning to Travel from Their Home to the Market, They Were Robed by [three] Robbers Who Took Away Jewelry Worth More Than US$100,000 [Battambang]
  • [The Mega] Night Club Was Raided by Police at Midnight, Arresting 109 Men and Women [Phnom Penh]
  • Seven Died and Thirteen Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident When a Car Hit Cows Crossing the Road [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

  • On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #162-163, 3-4.5.2010

  • China Promised to Support Cambodia in the Fields of Military, Investments, and the Economy
  • Cambodia and Japan Will Sign an Oil Exploration Agreement Today [for the Tonle Sap area]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Claims that there Is Torture in the Prisons
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: New Elections Can Be Held on 14 November 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5186-5188, 1-4.5.2010

  • On the International Labor Day on 1 May Trade Unions Demanded that their Salaries Should Be Increased, and the Rules for Their Work Conditions Should Be Respected
  • The Prime Minister Called on Institutions Involved to Strengthen the Observation of the Labor Law
  • 10 Out of 1,000 Children in Cambodia Have Heart Diseases [according to Dr. Hav Rathneary, a Cambodia child heart disease expert]
  • The Preah Vihear Court Led Armed Forces to Confiscate More Than 100 Cubic Meters of [illegally cut] Wood
  • The Biggest Fertilizer Companies in Vietnam [PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Joint Stock Company] Enter into the Cambodian Market [by establishing an office in Cambodia]

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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