The Petrolimex Company of Vietnam Opens a Representative Office in Cambodia – Tuesday, 03.8.2010

Posted on 5 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“The National Oil Corporation of Vietnam, Petrolimex, launched its representative office in Phnom Penh on 2 August 2010.

“During the inauguration, the director of Petrolimex, Mr. Dui Ngoc Bao, said that the representative office has the role to promote the name of the company and to do market research as well as to find trade opportunities for oil, gas, and related products, and other services in Cambodia.

“He added, ‘It is a significant step in our strategy to expand our corporation and to promote our operation on the international market, especially also on the Cambodian market

.”The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Deputy Prime Minister. Pham Gia Khiem [Phạm Gia Khiêm], said that Petrolimex has been operating in Cambodia since 1990, and the oil products this company supply more than half of the oil demands in Cambodia, earning US$700 million each year.

“The Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that this company has supplied oil for local companies in Cambodia for nearly 20 years, and the oil of this company is competitive in quality and in price. He said, ‘Cambodia consumes about 1 million tonnes each year, and 80% of the oil is supplied by Petrolimex. We do not even need to check the quality of the oil, since we know well that the oil produced by the company is of high quality’.

“Mr. Cham Prasidh added, ‘Also Sokimex and Tela buy oil from Petrolimex.’ He went on to say that besides these two companies, Price Victory, Chevron, and Total might also buy oil from Petrolimex.

“He said, ‘The opening of the representative office of Petrolimex in Cambodia is a new step for the oil sector in Cambodia. I encourage the company to open its branch office in Cambodia soon, because it can help advertise the company, though agreements and contracts on operation cannot be signed.’

“The deputy director of Sokimex, which supplies 30% of the market in Cambodit, Mr. Hy Heng, said on 2 August 2010 that Sokimex has bought oil from Petrolimex since 1993, and the representative office to be opened will facilitate his company in contacting Petrolimex.

-“He said, ‘The oil market in Cambodia is very competitive – more than 10 oil companies are operating in Cambodia at present. The representative office of Petrolimex will offer information about the competitive oil market here.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #228, 3.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2317, 3.8.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Demanded Khmer Troops to Withdraw from the Veal Intry Area [near the Preah Vihear Temple. Siamese demonstrators warned to demonstrate in front of the Preah Vihear Temple on 7 August 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7024, 3.8.2010

  • The Minister of Health of Vietnam [Mr. Nguyen Quoc Trieu – Nguyễn Quốc Triệu] Met with Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [during his visit to strengthen cooperation in the health sector between both countries]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3948, 3.8.2010

  • Khmers Crossing the Border Illegally to Cut Illegally Trees in Siem [Thailand] Face Torture and Detention, while Yuons [Vietnamese] Coming to Cut Trees Illegally in Cambodia [in Mondolkiri] Were Freed after They Paid US$1,000 in Fines
  • Grade Quality Wood Trading to Yuon [Vietnam] Is Anarchically Active through the Chrey Thom Border Crossing

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #20, 3.8.2010

  • This Week, 43 People Were Infected with Swine Flu A/H1N1 [according to an official of the Ministry of Health]
  • In the First Six Months of 2010, More Than 100,000 Tonnes of Rice Were Exported [an increase by 2,356% compared with the corresponding period last year]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #228, 3.8.2010

  • Cambodia Warned Thailand That There Will Be Tension if Thailand Continues to Increase the Number of Troops along the Border
  • The Petrolimex Company of Vietnam Opens a Representative Office in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5266, 3.8.2010

  • Cambodia Announced that the Thai Objection Were Not Successful during the Meeting of UNESCO [see also the last Mirror editorial “Preah Vihear – Who Said What and Why” – you can click here]
  • The Ministry of Health of Cambodia and the City of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam Signed a Memorandum of Understanding [on cooperation to develop human resources and to conduct research]
  • Each Year 20,000 Cambodians Traveled to Receive Medical Treatments in Vietnam [according to the Ministry of Health of Vietnam]

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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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Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Write According to His Conscience as He Did Previously – Monday, 19.4.2010

Posted on 20 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“The editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, has just been released from Prey Sar prison on Tuesday last week, a day ahead of the Khmer New Year, and he vowed that he will continue to publish his paper according to his conscience, constructively also criticizing the government.

“Mr. Hang Chakra told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday, ‘I could not believe that I would be released a day ahead of the Khmer New Year. I am so happy that I can meet my family.’ Mr. Hang Chakra added that he will try to publish his Khmer Machas Srok papers again next week, after a suspension early this month due to financial reason, and he will continue to criticize the government with the attempt to constructively contribute to the nation and to fight corruption. He said, ‘I will continue to publish the paper with my conscience, to criticize corrupt people among government officials, to serve the readers and the society. I hope that the readers will still support me.’

“It should also be known that, before Hang Chakra had been released, he wrote a letter of apology to Prime Minister Hun Sen one month after he was convicted, and he promised that he will not write to accuse anyone of corruption without evidence, if he would be released.

“Mr. Hang Chakra is the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, a newspaper that has a tendency towards the Sam Rainsy Party. He was convicted to serve 12 months in prison, and he was fined to pay Riel 9 million (at present approx. US$2,200) on 26 June 2009, for defaming Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, after he had released several texts accusing cabinet officials of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of being involving in corruption without intervention.

“Mr. Hang Chakra denied he is related to the rumor that he is joining the Cambodian People’s Party and will stop criticizing the government. Mr. Hang Chakra clarified, ‘No institution can press me to change my conscience, as I spend my own money to publish my papers, and my paper is still alive because of our readers.’

“The head of the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pov Bunthouen told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday that Mr. Hang Chakra was one of the 42 prisoners who were released earlier than expected who were on the list to be released, while the punishment of 119 others on the list will be reduced. He said, ‘We are preparing to organize a Visakh Bochea ceremony (on 28 April 2010). I have not yet checked all documents, and I expect that all those documents in the lists that will be checked after the ceremony.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-151, 12-14.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #486, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] Set Up New Plans to Boost the Economy [ASEAN leaders promised to cooperate to restore the economic and financial sectors by eliminating commercial protectionism and to open free markets]
  • Robbers Robbed a Jewelry Seller at the Canadia Market, Taking Away Nearly US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2225-2226, 11-19-.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Offer Two Options for 257 Families Whose Houses Were Burnt Down in Boeng Kak [they will be allowed to reconstruct houses on a plot of 3.9 by 5 meters at the burnt area, but the authorities will not provide them with land titles – or they can settle on a plot of 5 by 12 meter in Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district where the authorities will provide them land title. So far, 165 agreed to take the 2nd option]
  • The Cambodian-Chinese Prek Kdam Bridge [across the Tonle Sap River in Kandal, constructed with a loan from China and US$28,783,644 from the Cambodian government] Was Opened for Traffic
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Letter of Condolence at the Occasion of the Death of the Polish President [who was killed in plane crash]
  • Cambodia Asked the Head of ASEAN to Immediately Convene a Meeting to Reduce the Tensions in Thailand [but Thailand rejected it as previously usual for all members: No interference into internal affairs!]
  • Nearly 60 Cubic Meters of Luxury Grade Wood Found in Dangkao District, belonging to a [Kompong Cham] Forestry Head [the authorities are seeking to arrest him – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6932-6932, 12-19.4.2010

  • 579 People Were Seriously and Slightly Injured or Killed in Traffic Accidents during the Khmer New Year [49 people were killed this year, compared to 2009, when 52 people were killed]
  • More Than US$87 Million Is Provided [by donors] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for 2010 and 2011 [ announced by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Clashes Broke Out in Bangkok, Killing 20 People and Injuring 842; and 28 Police and Soldiers Had Been Held as Hostage [by red-shirt demonstrators]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3856, 12-18.4.2010

  • The Constitutional Council Rejected a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians’ Request which Heng Samrin Had Rejected Before [for the government to temporarily suspend putting border posts]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-152, 12-19.4.2010

  • Cambodian and Thai Soldiers Clashed along the Border, when there Was an Invasion from Thailand [Thai soldiers demanded Khmer soldiers to remove a wooden house which has been constructed there over ten years, but Khmer soldiers disagreed; four Thai soldiers were injured while Khmer soldiers were not – Oddar Meanchey. In the meantime it was reported that the soldiers of both sides withdrew from the area, and also, that this information is not correct; we cannot just trust ONE information in such a situation, but be aware of frequent inconsistencies and changes – but we “mirror” them, not knowing if there will be coming more changes]
  • The United States of America Greeted Cambodia at the Khmer New Year, while the Cambodian Prime Minister Praised Troops [stationed along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • [Five representatives of] Amleang Commune Residents Came [to Phnom Penh] to Ask for an Intervention from Mr. Hun Sen [over a land dispute with Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in Kompong Speu]
  • The Ministry of Health Calls on Citizens to Stop Using [Kemlotlanhthomcaocap – Spelling/wording not sure] Cosmetic Foam Imported from Vietnam [after a woman in Banteay Meanchey died after she used it]
  • Prices of Petroleum at Big Fuel Stations in Cambodia Increased Also after Prices of Oil at the International Markets Rose [a liter of premium quality is US$1.12 and the normal quality is US$1.07]
  • Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Work According to His Conscience as He Did Previously

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5174-5175, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Top US Diplomat [Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State of the USA] Vowed to Strengthen Cambodian-American Ties [recalling good cooperation between the USA and Cambodia]
  • Luxury Grade Wood [about 100 cubic meters] Was Found in the Sambara Resort and Spa Hotel [in Siem Reap]
  • The President of Poland Is among the 132 People Who Were Killed in a Plane Crash in Russia
  • Within the First Two Months of 2010 Cambodia Attracted Investment of US$116.5 Million [for 15 projects in agriculture and the garment sector, from China, Singapore, and Vietnam]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Expects that 2010 Will Be the Year That Tourism Recovers and Grows by 10% [or to 2.4 million tourist arrivals]
  • The Army Commander-In-Chief Anupong Paochinda and Opposition Party President Chavalit Support the Dissolution of the Parliament, after a Clash Which Cost 21 Lives [Thailand – This headline shows also the need to follow developments carefully to verify what is going on; in the meantime it is reported that the military, under General Anupong Paochinda, has taken over the responsibility to maintain security in Bangkok, after the police had not been able to do so]

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Chevron Said that the Extraction of Oil in Cambodia Depends on the Success of the Exploration – Thursday, 8.4.2010

Posted on 9 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Phnom Penh: The head of the Cambodian government warned he might cancel the license of Chevron due to this company’s slowness in extracting oil, but the company said that the extraction project depends on the success of the exploration.

“The Prime Minister of the Cambodian government, Samdech Hun Sen, set a deadline for Chevron to produce oil in 2012, otherwise the license of this company will be revoked. This warning was made on 6 April 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen warned that if this company cannot produce oil by the end of 2012, the contract will be canceled.

“Chevron is an oil exploring company that is licensed to explore the availability of oil in Block A [The green spot in the middle of the map under the previous link is Block A]. At present, this company is exploring oil in an area of about 4,709 square kilometers. In 2007, the company announced that it already made 15 test drillings. Besides exploring oil, the company is supplying fuel under the trademark Caltex, running 24 fuel stations countrywide.

Rasmei Kampuchea could not reach this company in Cambodia for comments, but according to the Associated Press which quoted a statement of this company on 7 April 2009, the goals of this company are in line with those of the Cambodian government: to see a quick start of oil production in Block A to satisfy economic demands. The company added that the start of oil production depends on the success of the exploration, and on some other key factors.

“So far, oil in Cambodia is being explored in six blocks offshore, ranging from Block A to Block F. Three companies are exploring oil in Block A: Chevron (USA – Cambodia operations) (55%), MOECO [Mitsui Oil Exploration – Japan ] (30%), and GS Caltex [Korean] (15%). Block B is being explored by four companies: PTTEP [Thailand] (30%), SPC [Singapore Petroleum Company – A Member of PetroChina] (30%), Resourceful Petroleum [Thailand] (30%), and Cooper Energy [Australia] (10%). Block C is being explored by Polytec and Block D by China Petrotech [China]. Block E is explored by three companies: Medco [Indonesia] (60%), Kuwait Energy (30%), and JHL [J H L Oil & Gas Ltd (USA)] (10%). Block F is controlled by CNOOC [CNOOC Limited, Hong Kong].

“Last year, the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia predicted that Cambodia will be able to produce its own oil by 2011, while the oil resource of Cambodia are estimated to amount to as much as 2,000 million barrels.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5171, 8.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1435, 8-9.4.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Travels to Attend the [16th] ASEAN Summit [in Hanoi] after Dealing with the Forestry Administration Heads

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2222, 8.4.2010

  • The Dangkao District Authorities Found a Wood Processing Workshop [run illegally] in the Piphup Thmey Block of Buildings in Dangkao district of Oknha Hong Piv [and discovered hundreds of cubic meters of luxury grade wood – Phnom Penh]
  • The Supreme Court Delayed the Hearing of Ms. Mu Sochua’s Case with Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen [who sued her for defaming him]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6929, 8.4.2010

  • End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia [ECPAT-Cambodia] Shows that Within Three Months of 2010, There Were 80 Cases of Rape [happening to 81 victims; there were 91 perpetrators where 75 of them were detained and 48 cases were sent to courts; 50 of the victims are under the age of 15 or 16]
  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Surrounded the Parliament and Parliamentarians Climbed Over the Wall to Flee [Bangkok]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3853, 8.4.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Plans to Visit North America after He Announced Success over the Removal of [temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers [Some reports say that representatives of the Cambodian government accepted his findings that some border markers were actually about 500 m inside Cambodian territory – this newspaper does not mention this]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #148, 8.4.2010

  • World Bank Forecasts that Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.4% This Year [2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5171, 8.4.2010

  • Chevron Said that the Extraction of Oil in Cambodia Depends on the Success of the Exploration
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Hor Namhong]: When Thailand Sends Their Ambassador Back to Cambodia, then It Is the Time That Cambodia Sends Our Ambassador to Thailand
  • The Siem Reap Court Retried [military commander of Region 4] Chea Man’s Son [he was convicted to serve 5 years and 6 months in prison for robbing a telephone and one more year for illegal use of weapon [No reference in this article that his father and Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of involvement in illegal logging.]

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The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators – Tuesday, 30.3.2010

Posted on 31 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“When the new demonstration law of Cambodia, adopted by the National Assembly in 2009, was published on Monday 29 March 2010 at the Sunway Hotel through a workshop at national level by the Ministry of Interior, officials of civil society organizations said that this new law is more difficult than the previous one.

“A senior investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, spoke to journalists after the workshop, saying that the limitation of the number of people to participate in a demonstration or in a strike, limited to 200, is too tight, because at each factory there are thousands of workers.

“Nevertheless, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, stressed that for all demonstrations, there must be letters sent to inform the Ministry of Interior in advance, so that it can take measures for security and protection. He added that any group of persons that want to demonstrate must write a letter to their municipal authorities, where the demonstration is to happen, five days before the event, and the number of people allowed to join in a demonstration is only 200.

“Another point that is seen as a threat against those who intend to demonstrate is that the new non-violent demonstration law requires at least three representatives to attach their photos and addresses with the proposed letters. Regarding this point, civil society organization officials said that this makes it probably difficult for those who suffer from injustice or disagree with something to decide to stand as representatives, because those who were targeted in a demonstration can use tricks to put the blame on the leaders of demonstrations. They can be arrested easily as their names, photos, and addresses have already been attached to the papers to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.

“Mr. Chan Soveth thinks that this new demonstration law imposes more difficult conditions for demonstrators and strikers than that of 1991. The law of 1991 also required to submit request letters to get a permission for a demonstration, but it did not limit the number of people who could participate. Also, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association [Mr. Rong Chhun], who frequently appears in demonstrations, said that most articles of the new demonstration law inhibit demonstrators from acting freely. The Constitution, the basic law of the country, clearly states that Khmer citizens have ample rights to enter politics, to demonstrate, to strike, or to assemble.

“Many people are aware that these statements exist only on the paper where the Constitution is printed. Some of those who dare [with reference to the Constitution] to demonstrate when they are not satisfied with the situation in a company, or with actions of the government, have been cruelly confronted by armed forces, when the authorities dispatched them arguing that this is done for public security reasons. Some non-government organization officials say that – because government officials in charge do not have the courage to address problems by meeting protesting citizens face-to-face – they use violent measures to suppress the citizens who act based on the Constitution. Furthermore, because the government is afraid it may get a bad reputation because of demonstrations, it decided to rather violate democratic policy.

“It is natural that people compare the actual situation of different countries implementing democratic principles, like Cambodia and Siam [Thailand]. At present, tens of thousands of red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are all over Bangkok and are shouting their slogans freely to demand the dissolution of the parliament, and of the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva, but the armed forces did not harass them. That means that the demonstrators are allowed to express their opinions as they like. This indicates that the democratic space in Siam is wide, and citizens who oppose the government have sufficient rights to express their intentions and their positions toward their government – this is much different compared with Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #447, 30.3.2010

  • Mr. Sar Kheng Asked for Understanding for the Non-Violent Demonstration Law, while Civil Society Is Not So Satisfied with It
  • More Than 10,000 Citizens in Kompong Speu Received A/H1N1 Vaccine Injections

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2214, 30.3.2010

  • An Amleang Commune Counselor and Another Villager [representatives of the Amleang Commune residents] Were Released from Temporary Detention [they were arrested for having been in a crowd that burned down the on-site office of Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company over a land dispute]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #639, 30.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Asked the Supreme Court to Delay Her Hearing until after 17 April 2010 [over a defamation court case, initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen against her, as she is in the USA and cannot appear on 7 April 2010 as summoned by the Supreme Court]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6921, 30.3.2010

  • The Minister of Industry Launched the Construction Site of the A Tai River Hydro-Electric Dam [which will generate 246 megawatts; it might cost about US$540 million, to be invested by a Chinese company, and it is expected to be operating by 2014 – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

  • The [Kompong Speu] Court Must Punish the Brigadier General Who Shot a Citizen [in the head], Wounding Him Seriously [just because of a minor driving mistake]
  • The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #141, 30.3.2010

  • About 3,000 Cubic Meter of Wood Were Seized [the head of the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ty Sokun, said that about 100 loggers, including powerful people and traders, will have to face legal actions after the authorities found that they store illegally cut wood]
  • The Malaysian Petronas Petroleum Company Will Withdraw Its Investments from Cambodia [to develop petroleum resources] Next Month [it is the second company, after Shell, that withdrew in 2007 – no reason given]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5163, 30.3.2010

  • A Man Was Convicted to Serve Fifteen Years in Prison and a Woman to Twenty Years for Trafficking People to Be Prostitutes in Malaysia
  • Bangkok: Negotiations Failed [to achieve the protesters’ goal, as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva declined to dissolve the parliament immediately as demanded by the red shirt groups, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] – and Gun Fire and Bomb Explosion Continue to Be Heard

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The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders – Wednesday, 24.3.2010

Posted on 24 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“After the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, ordered to crack down on forestry crimes, the logging seems to continue even stronger, and some perpetrators drove luxury cars loaded with luxury wood in a procession of cars of high ranking officials to deceive the authorities.

“The authorities, including forestry administration officials, police, military police, and committees from the agencies from military and other units charged with suppressing forestry crimes and forestry criminals, intercepted cars and trucks loaded with wood and checked wood storehouses of some powerful people. But by now, the authorities have not arrested any traders to show their accomplishment to the Khmer public on television.

“According to a report from Siem Reap, on 22 and 23 March 2010, the military in Siem Reap deployed forces to intercept two trucks that were loaded with wood from different areas across Siem Reap, to be sold to Yuon [Vietnamese] traders who wait to buy it at a border crossing in Memut district, Kompong Cham.

“The report says that there is a well-known company that continues illegal wood trading by transporting wood by trucks every night.

“The report adds that a company that transports wood on trucks uses a license left from previous times and transports wood daily. This company had received a license to cut trees in Srae Nouy district. But now, there are no more trees there, and it continues to cut trees in the Prey S’ak region illegally.

“The same company also had the right to control the rubber plantation of Ta Mok [a former Khmer Rouge leader who has already died], but it did not plant any rubber trees – it chopped down all trees and then withdrew. Nowadays, it is operating at the Prum Teb Koulen Mountain conservation area.

“It is reported that the company, backed by some powerful people, regularly cuts trees and transports wood. After the trees have been cut, they will transport them on trucks across Siem Reap, Kompong Thom, and Kompong Cham, to be sold to Yuon traders through border crossing along the Yuon [Vietnamese] border.

“On Monday, the military intercepted about 100 cubic meters of wood in the Trapeang Prasat region. It is suspected that this wood is related to regional military official in Siem Reap.

“In the morning of 22 March 2010, mixed armed and other units’ authorities in Kompong Cham province, governed by Mr. Hun Sen’s brother, Mr. Hun Neng, checked seven different storehouses for wood. The authorities were composed of nearly 100 military police of the province and of the Memut district, soldiers from Region 4, forestry chiefs, forestry administration officials, and court officials.

“The seven storehouses are in Changkom Spean village, Tunloung commune, Memut district, Kompong Cham. Those storehouses are owned by different persons such as the well-known wood traders in Kompong Cham: Son Sam Ol and Chae Muoy.

“It is reported that the seven storehouses store more than 2,000 pieces of luxury wood, such as Beng and Neang Nuon, and those traders had prepared it to be transported to Yuon [Vietnam], but now the authorities took it to the forestry administration to wait for a solution according to the law. During checking everything, all the owners were able to flee.

“Nevertheless, in spite of the recent strong actions to intercept illegal wood trading, the authorities did never arrest any of the leaders of such trading. The persons who were arrested are mostly workers handling the wood on the trucks and the truck drivers. Organizers of the illegal trade have never been arrested, like the owners of the seven storehouses in Memut district raided by the mixed authorities on Monday, 22 March 2010.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #442, 24.3.2010

  • The State Deleted the Names of More Than 20,000 Civil Servants from the Public Servants’ Salary Lists [“ghost names” of fake, or no longer eligible persons; it will save national resources and strengthen the monitoring of civil servants]
  • Yeay Mab, a Big Wood Trader along the Border [in Oddar Meanchey], Was Arrested while Other Wood Traders in Memut District [in Kompong Cham] Are Finding Powerful People to Help Them

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2209, 24.3.2010

  • Australia Grants More Than US$1 Million to Nineteen Organizations [working on agriculture, in the health sector, and on legal reforms] in Cambodia for 2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

  • The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6916, 24.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Attend the First Mekong River Summit Following [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Invitation [from 4 to 5 April 2010]
  • The Authorities Intercepted 757 Pieces of Luxury Wood Hidden by Traders [following the recent order of the Prime Minister to crack down on forestry crimes – Kratie]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3840, 24.3.2010

  • [Opposition Party president] Sam Rainsy Plans to Show Document Maps Kept in France since 1920 to Counter the Accusation by a Court [for removing temporary Cambodian Vietnamese border markers where he was convicted to serve two years in prison – as he claimed the border markers were on Cambodian territory]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #137, 24.3.2010

  • 2,000 Citizens Will Protest in Front of the Kompong Speu Court Today [if the court detains their representatives over the burning of the on-site office of the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat – Kompong Speu]
  • Two Oil Companies [Petro Vietnam and Total] Signed Agreements to Provide More Than US$20 Million to the Cambodian Government [for oil exploration – according to an official of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority who asked not to be named]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5158, 24.3.2010

  • Civil Society Encourage the Government to Create an Acid Law [to control the access to battery acid, often used for personal attacks]
  • Private Sectors Encourage the Government to Promote and Expand Direct Flights from Russia to Cambodia [to boost tourism]
  • The Minister of Finance of Singapore [Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam] Visits Cambodia [to strengthen bilateral cooperation]

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Within 10 Months Cambodian-Vietnamese Trade Amounted to US$1.04 Billion – Friday, 18.12.2009

Posted on 18 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“A high ranking official of the Vietnamese government said that within 10 months of 2009, the Cambodian-Vietnamese trade rose to US$1.04 billion, and the most import from Vietnam to Cambodia is petroleum, and the most export to Vietnam is rubber.

“The deputy director of the Asia – Pacific Market Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Mr. Dao Ngoc Chuong [phonetic], said on 16 December 2009 while he attended a business and an investment forum in Cambodia that within 10 months of 2009, the Cambodian-Vietnamese trade increased to US$1.04 billion.

“According to Mr. Chuong, much of the trade is export from Vietnam to Cambodia, while imports of goods from Cambodia to Vietnam did not amount to much.

“He added that goods exported from Vietnam to Cambodia include petroleum, US$362 million; iron, US$104 million; machines and motor vehicle spare parts, US$32 million; plastic, US$31 million; food, US$30 million; textiles, US$25 million; sea food, US$14 million; paper, US$10 million; screws, US$8 million; ceramic, US$6.7 million; electric cables, US$6.2 million, and other products.

“The products that Cambodia exports to Vietnam are rubber, US$52 million; wood and wood products, US$31 million; tobacco, US$7.2 million; and scrap metal and products, US$1.5 million.

“The amount of the trade exchange between Cambodia and Vietnam increases every year. Practically, the figures show that it amounted to as much as US$1.64 billion in 2008, US$1.2 billion in 2007, and only US$935 million in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5076, 18.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 18 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #365, 18.12.2009

  • The Confirmed Cases of A/H1N1 Increased to 513, and the Number of Deaths Rose to Six [in Cambodia]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Signed Two Agreements [during the visit of the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam – one agreement about cooperation in energy, industry, and mineral resources, and another about water way transport]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2127, 18.12.2009

  • [Svay Rieng] The Court Summoned [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy over the Removal of Temporary [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers [on 28 December 2009]
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister: Relations with the Thai Government Cannot Be Normalized [unless Bangkok’s current government is voted out of office]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #699, 18.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Dared Not Ask [the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam] Nông Đức Mạnh [Nong Duc Manh] to Solve the Human Rights Violations against the Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #558, 18.12.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Asked the Khmer and the Siamese [Thai] Kings to Pardon Journalists [jailed in Cambodia] and Workers [imprisoned in Thailand]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6834, 18.12.2009

  • The First Secretary of the Thai Embassy Will Appear to Clarify Notes about Thaksin’s Plane [two or three days later – according to the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayakon]
  • Twenty New Chain Saws Were Hidden in Second Hand Clothes [but were intercepted – Banteay Meanchey]
  • A Hundred and Six Cambodian Students Will Continue Their Studies in the Kingdom of Thailand in 2010 [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the scholarships are granted by the Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a generous person, not from the Thai government]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #70, 18.12.2009

  • A Khmer Citizen Shot by Thai Soldiers [when he went to cut trees illegally in Thai territory] Is Waiting for His Death [in his home because he has no money for hospitalization – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Ministry of Land Management Is Building 118 Offices Countrywide [spending $20,000 to $30,000 each to promote and ease the construction and real estate sectors]
  • Rich Countries Promised to Grant US$22 Billion in Copenhagen

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5076, 18.12.2009

  • Within 10 Months Cambodian-Vietnamese Trade Amounted to US$1.04 Billion
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Announced to Open Trade Crossings Facilities at the Mekong River
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Promised to Attract Foreign Investors to Develop Tourism in Cambodia
  • Two Motorbikes Collided with Each Other while Overtaking a Car, Resulting in Three Deaths and Two Injured People [Kompong Cham]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1836, 18-20.12.2009

  • More Than 100 Countries [at UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva] Appealed to Cambodia to Implement Global Human Rights Policies

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The Prime Minister Warned Environmental Experts in Relation to the Construction of Hydro-Electric Dams – Tuesday, 8.12.2009

Posted on 9 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

“On 7 December 2009, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia warned some environmental experts who frequently criticized and mentioned endless impacts from the construction of hydro-electric dams. At this point, the Prime Minister stressed that environmental impacts from hydro-electric dams really exist, but there are also much benefits from them, and the construction plans have been studied thoroughly.

“During his visiting to check the construction process of the hydro-electric dam at the Kamchay river in Teuk Chhou district, in Kampot on Monday morning, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘The construction of the hydro-electric dam at Kamchay really creats floods in the upper areas, but it helps us with some points, including:

  1. It helps create power of 193 megawatts;
  2. It helps to control floods; and
  3. It ensures that our Teuk Chhou [natural resort] has water both in the rainy and in the dry season.’

“It should be noted that this hydro-electric dam in Kampot will be finished in 2012, 112 meters high. By 7 December 2009, 47 meters have been constructed. The Royal Government contracted the construction to a Chinese company. After that, the company can sell the electricity and this will last for 30 years.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen spoke about the site for this electric dam, saying, ‘If there had been no coup to oust King Norodom Sihanouk [in 1970], His Majesty would have created hydro-electric dams, and the burden would not have been left for us at present – but there was a political disturbance.’ In the meantime, according to the head of the Royal Government, more hydro-electric dams will be built in the future to supply power to the Cambodian people countrywide, and reduce petroleum consumption.

“At this time, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen emphasized, ‘Ten hydro-electric dams are being studied and being planned. Now we construct this hydro-electric dam in Kamchay, and we are building four other dams in Pursat, including the hydro-electric dams at the Atai river with 120 megawatts, at the Tatai river with 246 megawatts, at the Russey Chrum river with 338 megawatts, and at the Cheay Aren river with 108 megawatts. These hydro-electric dams will generate power for the citizens at the provinces along the Siamese [Thai] border.’

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that the government spends about US$20 million per year to ensure the electricity supply for the citizens in Phnom Penh [the government spends US$20 million every year on generating electricity so that it is not too expensive]. To have [affordable] electricity for consumption generated from petroleum, the Royal Government has to cover the expenses.

“There are some ideas that the consumption costs of electricity in Cambodia will be cheaper through the use of the power from hydro-electric dams that were and are being constructed in Cambodia; the government contracted the construction of most dams to Chinese investment companies. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that just 200-300 megawatts or 400-500 megawatts are very small amounts of power for Chinese investment companies, because they have built already hydro-electric dams with the power of thousands of megawatts.

“To conclude, the construction of hydro-electric dams, to some extent, helps prevent environmental impacts as it reduces the emission of polluting smoke from the use of petroleum.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #356, 8.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #356, 8.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned Environmental Experts in Relation to the Construction of Hydro-Electric Dams
  • The Electricity Cost Will Drop to US$0.10 per kw/h [after the Kamchay hydro-electric dam will be finished in 2012, said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The Asian Development Bank Has Provided Loans of US$1.000,14 Million for Development in Cambodia [since 1992]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2118, 8.12.2009

  • The Vice President of China Will Visit Cambodia Officially Late This Month [following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation, and some agreements will be signed]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #549, 8.12.2009

  • The Opposition Parties and the Ruling Party Have the Same Position as the Civil Society: to Organize the Anti-Corruption Day [in Phnom Penh and in eight provinces on 9 December 2009]
  • The Lawyer of the Siamese [Thai alleged] Spy Will Ask for Pardon from the [Khmer] King if He Is Found Guilty

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6825, 8.12.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot Dead a Person at the Dangrek Mountains, Injured One, and Arrested Eight Others [they went to cut trees illegally]
  • The Municipal Court Will Open the Hearing on the Thai Alleged Spy under the Eyes of Bangkok [on 8 December 2009 – Phnom Penh]
  • Three Died and One Was Seriously Injured by Four Different Accidents [three traffic accidents and one drowning – Kompong Thom]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #62, 8.12.2009

  • Kompong Thom Police Arrested Seven More Representatives of Citizens over a Land Dispute with a Vietnamese Company [Tan Bien Company]
  • [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Mr. Chea Sim’s Heath Recovers [in Singapore, from hypertension – according to Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5067, 8.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister: China Is Constructing a Big Battery for Cambodia [referring to five hydro-electric dams which can generate nearly 1,000 megawatt]
  • Phnom Penh-Stung Treng Bus Burnt, after Hitting a Motorbike Rider to Death [Stung Treng]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1828, 8.12.2009

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarians Will Go to Check the Border at the Disputed Point on 14 December 2009 [Svay Rieng]
  • The Government Agrees to Receive a Small Amount of Money by Allowing Siamese [Thai] Fishermen to Destroy Khmer Sea Fish

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The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010 – Saturday, 21.11.2009

Posted on 22 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

“According to a recent notification from the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government decided to suspend all promotions for government positions in 2010. If a promotion in any position is planned, it has to wait until 2011.

“Formerly the Royal Government, in addition to having already a heavy overhead apparatus with many officials, had nominated countless advisors at ministries and at other institutions, and ministers and heads of institutions had appointed their officials to hold many positions. In any ministry, there are many directors and deputy directors. In a department, there are at least 10 deputy directors, while in the police, the military, and the military police, there are also many who are nominated as deputy directors… This makes the government to carry a burden of ever increasing expenses.

“According to the notification signed by a secretary of state of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Prak Sokhon, on 21 October 2009 and sent to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and to the Council of Administrative Reform, the Royal Government decided to delay all promotions for positions of government positions, and all promotions of ranks [for police and the military], and it will not increase any allowances [like retirement benefits] etc. for the one year of 2010, and it will reconsider these cases again in 2011. According to the same notification, the Royal Government ordered also to stop the implementation of decisions for the ‘priority cluster’ [formerly identified as important areas in the administration to receive special financial support], and additional incentives based on work achievements for 2010.

“The notification added that the above plan is a measure to implement the budget implementation draft for the management of financial resources in 2010, aiming to save state resources in 2010.

“It should be noted that the Royal Government decided recently also to cut and to reduce the salaries of many advisers who had been appointed in a continuing process. and who had received high salaries [in addition to their normal salaries], to get again only their normal salaries based on their current positions, in order to save resources for 2010.

“A government official said on Friday that the decision of the Royal Government to suspend promotions for government positions, and the promotions in rank, is a proper measure, because previously, the Royal Government, different ministers, and heads of institutions, had appointed too many officials. At some institutions, there are 10 to 20 deputy directors, until there is no room and space for them to sit. Such nominations only added more expenses for the state, both for salaries and for other materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #342, 21.11.2009

  • [Senior Minister and adviser to the Prime Minister] Om Yentieng: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Becomes Spokesperson of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit [Mr. Sam Rainsy said that Prime Minister Hun Sen is playing a dangerous game for Cambodia, as the biased foreign politics of Prime Minister Hun Sen makes Cambodia lose territory to Vietnam and lose good relations with Thailand]
  • [More than 30 officers of] Mixed Forces Were Sent to Destroy Drugs [ecstasy] Worth More Than US$100 Million on the Kravanh Mountain [more information about the crack-down will be released two to three days later – Pursat]
  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Sutheb: If [fugitive former Thai prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Wants to End Problems [of the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand], He Must Resign from the Position of Economic Advisor to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2104, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Open Hearing to Sentence [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch on 23 November 2009
  • A Drunken Woman and Gang Member Drove a Car and Hit a Policeman so that He Almost Died [she was arrested – Battambang]
  • Kandal Police Got Hold of a Group of People Who Had Used Death Threats via Telephone to Extort Money from Leaders and from Businesspeople [a suspect was arrested]
  • Within One Week, There Were 50 New People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Flu [increasing the number to 444 in total – Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #535, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Authorities Have Already Arrested Seven Villagers Who Resisted a Yuon [Vietnamese] Company from Grabbing Their Land [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6811, 21-22.11.2009

  • Result from the Council of Ministers’ Meeting: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Decided to Approve the Anti-Corruption Draft on 11 December 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

  • The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010
  • The Cambodian and Thai Defense Ministers Plan to Meet to Negotiate about the Border in Pattaya [on 27 November 2009]
  • Cambodia Controls the Cambodia Air Traffic Services – CATS – Company Temporarily, and Thai Personnel Is Required to Work from Outside Their Offices [Cambodia just does not allow them to go near the radar system room, but they are not dismissed – according to the Council of Ministers]
  • Cambodia Is Preparing a Petroleum Law [including regulations for petroleum exploring, and a decree for petroleum related contracts] while the First Drop of Oil Will Be Extracted in 2013 [according to government officials]
  • The Cambodian Banking System Is Recognized on the International Arena and in the ASEAN Framework [because of its stability and noticeable improvements – according to the 39th ASEAN banking council, meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh]

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Links and Lessons from Far Away Africa – Sunday, 28.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 592

When we mirrored, on 26 December 2008, that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara had declared himself president of Guinea, after a coup following the death of President Lansana Conte, 74, I first did not think that this deserved much attention in the Mirror.

Then I remembered some connections: on 19 June 2008 we had mirrored that the Cambodian Prime Minister had decided to sell 120,000 tonnes of rice and to send agricultural experts to Guinea, responding to a request by the prime minister of Guinea. At that time I had wondered what kind of link might exist to this small country in Africa – hardly anybody knows where it is located.

But already in 2001 an ambassador of Guinea had presented his credentials and diplomatic relations were established – though Cambodia does not have an embassy anywhere in Africa, while having diplomatic relations with 17 countries in Africa.

In March 2008, 15 artists from the circus school in Guinea “Centre d’Art Acrobatique Keïta Fodéba” were in Cambodia for 3 months.

In November 2008, during the opening of the Least Developed Countries Ministerial Conference in Siem Reap, the Prime Minister spoke about new possibilities of cooperation at a time of rising prices for rice: “I have looked at the list of participants and it reminds me of a number of countries in Africa that I visited in the times when I was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs [1979 to 1990]. Recently Guinea contacted Cambodia to purchase some agricultural products. This has made me think that in time of crisis there are always opportunities as at the time of fuel and food crisis, Cambodia could see the opportunity of expanding production to provide food for both local and the world.”

Research brought to light more and more facts that seem worthwhile to consider in relation to Cambodia. Guinea is obviously a country which has had a lot of problems. The death of the president was considered by a group of younger military leaders as a chance to act They seem to have seen no other possibility to rectify the situation but a coup d’etat – against the constitution and the laws of their country, though completely without bloodshed or using force.

What had happened?

Guinea is in West Africa, about one third bigger than Cambodia, but with only 10 million people compared to Cambodia’s 14 million. It is rich in minerals and has the world’s biggest reserves of bauxite, which is the basis to create aluminum. At present it is fourth in the world in bauxite production, after Australia, Brazil and China. It has also diamonds, gold, iron, nickel, and uranium.

Since its independence from France in 1958 – five years after Cambodia – it has had only two presidents: Sékou Touré until 1984, and General Lansana Conte, who seized power after the death of his predecessor; the support of the armed forces was essential for his power throughout the years. During these years, multi-party elections were held for the first time in 1993 when General Conte, as head of the military government, was elected president of a civilian government – this was the same year that the elections organized by UNTAC were held in Cambodia. Conte was reelected in 1998 and in 2003, but all three elections were said to have had irregularities. In the meantime, an electoral term was extended from 5 to 7 years, after the president’s party had won 91 of the 114 seats. It is said that “he ruled the country with an iron fist for 24 years.”

Guinea’s immense riches have attracted the major mining companies from different countries: AngloGold Ashanti (from South Africa), Billiton (the world’s largest mining company, from Australia – since 2006, Billiton is also conducting bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri, with “the exclusive rights to negotiate a mining agreement with the government” at the end of their study, and there is also a Billiton Petroleum office in Phnom Penh), Global Alumina (from the USA), Rio Tinto (UK and Australia), and RusAl (from Russia). Some pictures show how the bauxite is collected by big machines, and then transported to be shipped out of the country. A major contractor on the Guinean side says:

“In collaboration with the Government and people of Guinea, Guinea Alumina Corporation will develop a world class alumina business that provides value to shareholders, sustained economic and social benefits to the people of Guinea, and a quality supply of alumina to the world.”

But in spite of such lofty declarations and the riches of the country, Guinea is listed in position 202 when comparing the per capita income in different countries – lower than Cambodia. Cambodia is in position 180 on the same list of 225 countries.

A lack of transparency about how “the people of Guinea” benefit from these riches, compared to the share taken by the international companies, led to dissatisfaction, accusations of high level corruption, and strikes in 2006 and 2007, and violent protests.

When Captain Moussa Dadis Camara declared himself president and suspended the constitution, he stated as the justification the mismanagement and corruption of the former government. He created a 32-member National Council for Democracy and Development – replacing the ministers with 26 military officers and 6 civilians – and promised to hold elections in two years. There had been tensions in the military since several months, when younger officers had expressed their opposition to the corrupt practices of some of the higher level officers.

During the coup nobody was arrested, but the members of government were dismissed, as well as 22 generals close to the former political powers. It is reported that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara met with politicians, religious leaders, trade union representatives, and members of civil society, declaring that the main motive for taking power is to fight corruption and to secure the interests of the country: all contracts with international companies, which had invested billions of dollars, will be canceled for review, to root out corruption; whoever has misappropriated state assets or personally benefited from public resources will be punished.

The international reaction? A voice representing the international companies said: “It is very likely that the new regime may seek to extort monies from current operators and prospectors and that a new democratic regime may try to impose heavier royalties and taxes,” even calling it “extortionary pressure” if the new government would try to negotiate more balanced agreements about their own resources being sold abroad.

It is interesting that voices from the international community, which had not questioned the corruption involved in the arrangements of “exporting” the mineral wealth of the country without transparency and without benefits for the people, is now raising mainly the concern about having violated the results of the electoral system of the country.

It is remarkable, however, that President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, one of the neighboring countries, is calling to recognize and to support the new government, because of its positive goals.



Considering this history of Guinea – allegations of corruption based on bad governance and misuse of resources, which finally led to an effort for a radical new beginning – it is appropriate to remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly spoken about his concerns of a similar situation for Cambodia: growing dissatisfaction by people who do not see that the society provides them justice, who might resort to attempts to bring about a radical change. On the other hand, he has also raised concerns that people who see their chances of illegal enrichment too much controlled by the government might attempt to grab power in order to exercise their greed without restraint. These statements shall not be forgotten.

In 1999, the Prime Minister had said: “Should we not manage the land issue in a good manner, we might have to face a farmers’ revolution.” He mentioned this again in 2004, addressing the National Forum on Land Management in the presence of national and international representatives.

In 2002, opening the Consultative Group Meeting between representatives of the Cambodian Government and representatives of cooperating countries and international institutions, he said:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of the government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti -Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In February 2007, the Chinese People’s Daily Online quoted the Cambodian Prime Minister:

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop… The land grabbers are not simple people, they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

What happened in Guinea should not happen in Cambodia. The political action necessary has been pointed out by the Prime Minister clearly enough.

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