Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia – Sunday, 15.11.2009

Posted on 18 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

Several mails I had received during the week requested what this week’s editorial should be about. Agreed. The visit of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to Cambodia has more than any other recent event received wide international attention – at the same time it resulted in bringing a range of different and opposing issues to the surface, beyond the straightforward political tensions.

The disparities start with the wording, how the visitor is called in national and international media: the possibilities extend from the fond description of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as an “eternal friend” by Prime Minister Hun Sen, to the more neutral description when referring to the “former Thai prime minister ousted by a military coup,” to the references – and this not only in part of the Thai press – to the “convicted fugitive, because of corruption, and who finally violated the bail requirements and fled the country to avoid going to prison.”

This is the first controversy.

The Cambodian government did not only refuse to live up to the Cambodian-Thai extradition agreement, “considering the prosecution and legal process against Thaksin Shinawatra as a politically motivated proceeding,” and therefore even handed back the Thai documents submitted to seek Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s extradition. On the other hand, the Thai government and part of the Thai media felt that already that extending an invitation and offering the function to be an adviser to the Cambodian government were an insult to the legal system of Thailand.

As a public reaction in Thailand, the popularity of the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, almost tripled, with appruval rates of 24% in September to 69% recently, according to a poll.

The interpretation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the present Cambodian-Thai dispute is basically a personal dispute between the two prime ministers, was not shared in the international press. More fundamental problems were touched upon: What does it mean for the international standing of a country when a search warrant by Interpol can be dismissed, after the fugitive, who is being sought under a “red alert” warrant, after a bail violation, and after a criminal conviction for corruption in dealing with the sale of valuable public property to a family member, up to the grotesque $60,000 event of the mysteriously mistaken box of chocolate.

How would such events be dealt with under a Cambodian anti-corruption law, due to be adopted by the National Assembly since a decade ago? If actions of corruption are committed in combination with political ones, are they then no longer subject to criminal prosecution?

There were several rumors and denials – that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra would fly together with the Cambodian Prime Minister to the APEC meetings in Singapore.

Surprising also, that the Cambodian Prime Minister compared him to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. In an interview with Times Online, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said: “There are some similarities there, but not really everything. The similarity is we won elections, we rule the countries. We’ve been ousted by the coup d’etat and we come from the people. We are democratically elected leaders and we come from the majority of the people – a big majority, not just a small majority. She’s under house arrest, I’ve been kicked out of the country.”

The Cambodian government has never found such strong critical words against the ruling military in Myanmar. Will the Cambodian government also accept such advice and change its position? The statement “I’ve been kicked out of the country” contrasts with the fact that the self imposed exile abroad started with breaking bail arrangements with the Thai law enforcement authorities, traveling abroad without the promised return.

But the invitation to Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser may lead to a second kind of controversies.

Press reports in Cambodia were not enthusiastic about his speech in front of 300 selected economists. The Cambodian Daily said that his address “primarily dealt in generalities and contained little that Cambodian economists will not already know.” Not only that: Some of his advice runs contrary to some of the traditional approaches of Cambodian economic practice.

Thakshin Sinawatra became the favorite politician among a majority of the rural population in Thailand because of his new policy of favoring them directly, with debt relief and village loan funds administered by the local communities themselves. The revenue of the public and the private sector should, first of all, be directed towards the poorest sector of society, is his advice. Large scale land leasings to big companies in favorable relation with the government, leading to considerable groups of the rural population losing their land, coming to demonstrate in Phnom Penh, asking for justice, as happens so frequently in Cambodia, are not compatible which the vision of Thaksin Shinawatra’s economic policies.

Surprising is also his emphasis on the need of reconciliation and good neighborliness between Cambodia and Thailand, in order to foster Cambodia’s economic development, including the promotion of Thailand and Cambodia together for international tourism, presenting themselves as a “joint destination.” This runs against many recent antagonistic trends: the Thai government had proposed to submit Preah Vihear together with the Cambodian government to the World Heritage Committee, which was flatly rejected by the Cambodian side. During the last year there were even plans discussed in Cambodia to create an international airport 500 meters below the mountain range where Preah Vihear is situated, which is conveniently accessible from the north, from Thailand. This plan, to exclude the natural access to Preah Vihear – and therefore tourism via Thailand, was soon given up again as economically completely unreal. The public outcry some years ago, when Bangkok Airways had named one of its airplanes Angkor Wat – while other planes are named according to other international destinations, promoting tourism to these places – has no place in this context. The Cambodian Daily reported his emphasis on the need for cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia, as the two countries’ economic fortunes are inextricably linked – adding: “Of course, not all my compatriots see it that way right now.” Those who see it differently in Thailand are assumed to suffer from being shortsighted, driven by false patriotism.

One may ask whether the anti-Thai actions of 2003, when the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh was ransacked because of a baseless rumor, resulting in further arson so that the hardware damage alone of that night was estimated at US$56 million, and the tensions before and after the designation of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site, would also fall under a similar verdict by Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that a false patriotism is in the way also in some of the Cambodian attitudes and actions.

It is surprising to consider how future suggestions of the new economic adviser of the Cambodian government will be handled, while land conflicts in rural areas continue, further large scale leasings of land are under consideration inviting countries from the Middle East to start agro-business ventures, and Japanese companies are considering to create new large tree planting schemes in Cambodia.

Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s suggestions may not only be unwelcome in his own country. They run counter to major trends of present day Cambodian big business.

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Petro Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – Saturday, 14.11.2009

Posted on 16 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

Apologies for the delays, which may continue into the coming week, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation, which is part of the Vietnam Oil And Gas Group, signed an agreement on oil exploration in Block 15 (XV) in the evening of 12 November 2009 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh.

“The ceremony was organized under the presidency of the Minister of the Council of Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, by the head of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and by a Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Hoàng Trung Hải [Hoang Trung Hai].

“This agreement was signed by Mr. Sok An and by director of the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation General Director of Petro Vietnam Exploration and Production Corporation Nguyễn Vũ Trường Sơn [Nguyen Vu Truong Son].

“The deputy director of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, Mr. Ho Vichet, said that the oil sector in Cambodia attracts the attention from many international oil companies to invest in it. Practically, some companies have been offered the right to study and to explore oil in Cambodia both in the sea and on land. Positive results of oil exploration in the Cambodian sea in Block A resulted in trust about the existence of oil resources both in the sea and on land in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“Mr. Ho Vichet added that so far, the government has offered oil companies the right to study and explore all oil blocks, and each company is fulfilling their tasks at their respective blocks, following the agreements. Also, there are some companies signing agreements on inland oil on with the Royal Government of Cambodia and others are continually following up to invest also in the fields at those blocks that still remain unexplored.

“The head of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, Mr. Đinh La Thăng [Dinh La Thang], said that this is a new breaking of a record regarding cooperation in the field of oil exploration between the two countries. Block 15 is located at the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in the Cambodian inland, where oil availability is estimated for 30 years, and gas availability for 35 years, and the exploration will take 7 years.

“As for Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, he said that the signing of an oil agreement for Block 15 is the fist cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam in the oil sector, which is being considered by the Vietnamese government as potential sector to encourage economic development, and to ensure energy stability in the country. ‘The signing today marks a better cooperation between the two countries.’

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said that this agreement will provide a lot of benefits, like human resources development, exchange of experience in the oil sector, creation of new jobs, income which contributes to achieving success for the goals of the Royal Government to develop the economy and the society, as well to reduce poverty. ‘I consider the event today as a new testimony which clearly demonstrates a long term development of traditional, historical, and strategic relations inherited between the people of Cambodia and the people of Vietnam, especially by strengthening economic cooperation and of investment in the private sector.’

“The Deputy Prime Minister added that to successfully develop the oil and gas sectors, Cambodia necessarily needs joint cooperation in investment with highly experienced and successful companies. He said, ‘In this sense, I would like to highly assess the right decision of the Petro Vietnam, and I would like to express my appreciation towards the Vietnamese leader and government for encouraging and supporting investment projects in Cambodia. The ceremony today is not only a sign of a new success in good cooperation between the two countries, but I think it is also the opening in a broader sense for further investments between Cambodia and Vietnam. The Royal Government of Cambodia always supports and encourages different companies in Vietnam that are operating and plan to invest in Cambodia.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

  • Petr Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Summit on Food Security [from 16 to 17 November 2009 in Rome, Italy]
  • [Head of the Cambodia Red-Cross and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Bun Rany Will Receive an HIV/AIDS Leadership Award from UNAIDS [on 17 November 2009 for her noticeable leadership in the battle against HIV in Cambodia and in the region]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2098, 14.11.2009

  • The Special Paratrooper Brigade 911 Was Withdrawn from the Preah Vihear Border Region
  • On 17 November 2009, There Will Be an ASEAN-Japan Security Exercise at the Sihanoukville Port
    The A/H1N1 Flu Killed Already 3,900 US Citizens

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #529, 14.11.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Cambodian Authorities Listen to Yuon [Vietnam] to Suspend His Immunity
  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Has Not Been Seen to Go to Meet with the Khmer King [after he was named advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of the government]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Said that the [Thai] Embassy in Cambodia Is Not Closed, and He Does Not React against the Expulsion of the First Secretary [of the Thai Embassy] from Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6805, 14-15.11.2009

  • Puea Thai [opposition] Party Delegation Came through the Poipet Border Crossing to Meet Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Siem Reap
  • Thaksin Shinawatra: In Order to Have Further Development, the Focus Must Be on Agriculture and Tourism, for Which a Clean Environment is important, and High Security Is Required for Tourists [speaking to Cambodian economists]
  • Cambodia and Laos Signed an Agreement to Exchange International Telecommunication Services [to connect international phone services directly to each other, as well as to other countries in the region]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5047, 14.11.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [other ASEAN countries] Not to Raise the Cambodian-Thai Dispute during the ASEAN-US Summit
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asked for a Delay of the Session to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [on 16 November on the ground that the complaint of the Svay Rieng Court over his participation to remove temporary border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is not a civil case, but a territorial complaint]

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The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict – Friday, 16.10.2009

Posted on 18 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634

“Mobile phone businesses in Cambodia, working under unclear regulations, seem to encounter unexpectedly a stormy and disorderly time. For the morning of 16 October 2009, the Minister of Post and Telecommunications plans to organize a special meeting with representatives of mobile phone companies to intervene in the existing conflict, but it is expected that proper results cannot be found from just one coordination meeting.

“Mobile phone service providers said that the circular of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, administered by Minister Keat Chhon, from 29 September 2009, says to require all mobile phone companies to pay taxes for all types of calls by their clients [calls-in and calls-out]. But it is said that tax officials do not join now to work on taxes, which must always be settled at the end of every year.

“Mobile phone service providers note that the circular of Mr. Keat Chhon seems to bring a new restriction for mobile phone companies, as calls within the same system, which at some companies cost zero cents, will have to change soon. The free calls within the Beeline and the Smart Mobile systems will no longer be allowed to continue, while the Ministry of Economy starts to collect taxes from these call by their clients.

“It is noted that the initiative for a clear set of taxes on call led to this intervention, requiring all mobile phone companies to limit all call to be cost charged, in order to eliminate dishonest competition at the market, for which the Beeline company had been accused by the Mobitel company.

“The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications agreed to issue a license for a data management center to control the data of telecommunication and of information technology services, based on Decree 135, dated 15 September 2008. Through the plan to create a center to control data of telecommunication and information technology services, the government, represented by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, will cooperate with the private data management center as stated in the cooperation deal.

“This center for the control of data of telecommunication and of information technology services will be responsible for:

  1. Directly control all data of telecommunication and information technology services, and update them, based on the advance of technology in this sector;
  2. Control and monitor all activities of the center;
  3. Regularly report about the traffic and the figures of income, in order to facilitate the calculation of taxes, and the distribution of income between the state. and the telecommunication and information technology service providers and operators, who are partners;
  4. Provide accurate data for income forecasts, to analyze the economic potential, and for development projects in telecommunication and information technology.
  5. Broaden and control the inter-network connections, in order to ensure calls between different system to work smoothly to avoid traffic congestion between all operating networks;
  6. Support small operators to operate through the opening of special networks outside of the system;
  7. Disconnect illegal traffic exchanges, following the authorities’ orders and the telecommunication regulations;
  8. Regularly review the system at set times for all operating networks.

“Some mobile phone operators are not satisfied with this, because probably the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication lacks the capital and the technicians, and therefore will cooperate with private companies to control telecommunication and information technology services, leading to conflicts of interest among mobile phone companies. Actually, the state already has the a structure within Post and Telecommunications that can control telecommunication data, and it is not necessary to cooperate with a private data management center, a private company.

“Also the circular that restricts certain system call of the clients, according to mobile phone service providers, will create work for the private data management center and encourage this company to begin collecting call taxes. This might ease the tax collection of the Ministry of Economy, but it leads to conflicts of interest, as the state does not have the ability to work on this by itself, but offers this opportunity to a private company to easily take benefits.

“[The Minister for Post and Telecommunications] Mr. So Khun had tried to intervene to solve the conflicts between mobile phone companies which are competing with each other dishonestly, including the fact that some stopped to connect inter-system traffic, but it seemed to create problems between mobile phone businesspeople in Cambodia. These might be the result of uncertain laws and regulations for the operation of mobile phone businesses in Cambodia.

“There is one proper solution to end the conflicts among mobile phone operators, that is the suggestion to the government, especially to Prime Ministry Hun Sen, to cancel the license for a data management cente with full rights to control the telecommunication and the information technology data in Cambodia, and to encourage the state to administer this itself, because by doing so, at least some of the profits do not fall into the hands of a private company.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #312, 16.10.2009

  • Gold Sellers and Currency Exchangers Were Robed Again, Taking Away More Than US$50,000 [Phnom Penh]
  • Cotton Will Have Markets Again after There Is Investment for Export to International Markets
  • There Are Positive Signs of Recovering at Micro-Finance Institutions [Sthapana Limited, Amarith, and Prasak micro-credit-institutions claim that they are again giving out more loans]
  • Cambodia Asked for Financial Support from the United Arab Emirates to Develop Some Projects [in infrastructure and agriculture – no information stated if these were requests for loans or for grants]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2073, 16.10.2009

  • Cambodia Might Not Bring the Border Dispute to the ASEAN Summit [after the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs sent an official response, to deny the intention to create a neutral unit in ASEAN to solve border disputes, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia – according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Three Chinese Men Were Arrested for Questioning after Assaulting and Injuring Two Police Seriously [Kampot]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #661, 16.10.2009

  • The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Are Seeking Solutions in the Mobile Phone Business Conflict
  • Russia Will Intensify Cultural Ties with Cambodia to Open a New Historical Page [by showing Russian films about the victory of Russia in World War II, from 20 to 24 October 2009, at the Russian Center of Science and Culture along the Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh; and Cambodia and Russia will cooperate in film production in 2010]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #510, 16.10.2009

  • Within the Last Four Months More Than 400 Trucks Loaded Wood from Ratanakiri to Carry to Yuon [Vietnam – according to a Ratanakiri official who reported it anonymously]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6780, 16.10.2009

  • Houses [of 28 families] Constructed on a Pedestrian Area at the Roundabout of the Chroy Chongva Bridge Were Removed [and destroyed, to widen the road – Phnom Penh]
  • [The head of the Directorate of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts] Mr. Sin Chanchhaya [son of the well-known signer Sin Sisamut]: The Reason Why Khmer Films Cannot Progress, Is that Film Productions Are Made by Non-Professional People
  • Because of Losing Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15], a Cruel Man Got Angry with His Wife and Hit Her to Death [he was arrested – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5022, 16.10.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Decided to End the [defamation] Case against the Prime Minister [saying that she will not appeal to the Supreme Court]
  • Queensland Police [of Australia] Donates [five] Speed Checking Devices and [thirty] Alcohol Checking Devices to the Cambodian Police

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1809, 16-18.10.2009

  • The Opposition Parties and a Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Said that if a New Demonstration Law [limiting the number of people to less than 200 to assemble at a public place with permission from the authorities, to be applied for at least 12 hours before] Is Not Corrected, It Would Be Just a Tool to Cheat about the Implementation of Democracy in Cambodia

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The Use of Agricultural Chemical Pesticides Is Still Popular despite Knowing that They Are Dangerous – Friday, 13.2.2009

Posted on 14 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror

“Phnom Penh: Even though there are reminders from officials of the Ministry of Agriculture to be careful when using agricultural chemical pesticides, at present, many farmers at different places said that they still cannot give it up. Farmers in Kandal said that the use of agricultural chemical pesticides is still a crucial method that cannot be given up so that their crops provide good yields to meet the markets and their needs. In the meantime, experts found that there are up to 147 types of agricultural chemical pesticides sold on markets, and among them between 40 and 50 types strongly harm the health of consumers.

“Mr. Nob (name provided by the writer), 48, a farmer in a commune of Kandal S’ang district, said that so far, he still uses agricultural chemical pesticides, although he knows that they can affect his health and that of the consumers, because there is no choice.

“Kandal borders on Phnom Penh, and it is a province which supplies agricultural products, such as vegetables and fruits to the markets in Phnom Penh and in other provinces. Some districts along the lower Mekong and Basak rivers are also sources of vegetables.

“Mr. Nob is a farmer growing many kinds of crops, such as cabbage, salad, and [edible] Khatna flowers in his village, in order to supply them to the markets in Phnom Penh. The method he uses to take care of his crops until they provide yields is to use agricultural chemical pesticides that he can buy easily from different places in his locality.

“He said, ‘I must use them so that my crops grow well, and if I do not use them, worms will eat all the crops.’ According to his description, he and his villagers have so far not seen any official experts in agriculture coming to instruct them and to explain the impact of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides, and to start to produce natural poison or natural fertilizer, although nowadays, the Minister of Agriculture and some organizations are encouraging citizens to cut down on the use of agricultural poison or chemical fertilizers, saying one can change to natural fertilizer and natural methods of pest control.

“Responding to this problem, the Svay Prateal commune chief in S’ang, Kandal, Mr. Nuon Soeun, said that agricultural officials did never come to explain the impact of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer, but previously, there were organizations coming to help educate farmers some time, but the farmers seemed not interested in it. He added that natural pesticides are likely more difficult to produce and more tiring than to use chemical pesticides.

“He went on to say, ‘I also used to produce poison to prevent insects from destroying some types of crops, it takes half a month at least to find the resources and to mix them. As for chemical pesticides, I just go to the market to buy them, mix them with water, and apply it on crops; that’s all.’

“According to his experience, to produce natural poison to prevent insects, farmers need to find many different resources such as the bark of the Sdao tree, the poisonous fruit of the Sleng tree, and the poisonous bark of the Kantuot tree, and soak them in water that is then used to apply to the crops. He said that doing so is complicated and can make farmers get tired of it. According to information from him, among more than 3,000 families, most of them take up cropping, and up to 90% of them use agricultural chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizer.

“At present, the Ministry of Agriculture, especially the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, who always goes directly to different localities countrywide, appeals to farmers to change their habits from using agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer to using natural poison and natural fertilizer. The change, that the Ministry of Agriculture wants, is to ensure the health of the farmers themselves and also of the consumers; that is to care for the quality of soil and water – without any poison. Many hazards might happen because farmers use chemical pesticides without proper instruction from experts. Also, the ministry encourages its officials to go to educate farmers at their localities about these problems.

“The S’ang district governor, Mr. Khim Chankiri, and the director of the Kandal Agricultural Department, Mr. Bun Tuon Simona, denied what residents had mentioned: that expert officials never reach out to them to instruct them about the impact of chemical pesticides, and they said that these problems are what they actually are focusing on.

“Mr. Chankiri added that before, district officials went to instruct them about these problems, and moreover, the department had sent officials. He continued to say, ‘Most of them thought it was wasting their time, instead of working on cropping, but they did take part. This is why they said that there was never any official going to educate them regularly.’ As for Mr. Tuon Simona, he said that so far, the agricultural department went to educate them regularly about how to create natural fertilizer and many different measures to protect crops and prevent impacts of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

“However, according to another farmer in another province and some other people, they said the same about the presence of agricultural officials. They said that they rarely saw agricultural officials going to meet farmers, except when there were ceremonies to accompany their higher officials. Actually, relating to this problem, obviously there should be more active outreach by experts than before, rather than pointing to the statements of higher officials. They often assume that lower officials are inactive for different reasons, or they create just project expenses about non existing tasks. Therefore, farmers cannot receive what the Minister wants.

“Regarding this problem, the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC], Dr. Yang Saing Koma, said that generally, the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer has become already a habit of the farmers. Thus, to change them, takes time and needs participation.

“He added, ‘If the use of chemical products has already become their habit, it is most difficult to change.’

“By now, there are hundreds of types of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer on the local markets – according to a study by the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture .

“The project coordinator of CEDAC, Mr. Keam Makarady said that in 2008, the center found there were up to 147 types of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer at the markets all over Cambodia, among which 53% were imported from Vietnam and 37% from Thailand. Among them, from 40 to 50 types can enter into vegetables and fruit, when pesticides are administered on them.

“He emphasized, ‘Talking about chemical substances, we found 147 types, but talking about commercial names of pesticides, there are up to 606 types.’

“According to the findings of the center in 2007, there were only 132 agricultural chemical pesticides on the market, and 472 commercial names. Therefore, within one year, all his increased greatly.

“He said that that those kinds of pesticides are harmful to the health of users, particularly farmers, who use and touch them directly.

“Based on Mr. Makarady words, those pesticides can directly affect farmers, for example they cause getting dizzy and having to vomit, they can damage the stomach and the bladder, cause skin diseases, and weaken the health. They indirectly affect also consumers who eat their products, especially chemical pesticides that can enter into vegetables and fruit.

“Relating to the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer, a farmer in Kandal, who grows banana, said (by not mentioning his name), that – in order to meet their demands – farmers use those chemical pesticides. He added that if they grow and their products depend only on the nature, farmers cannot harvest enough to meet the demands of the market.

“He emphasized, ‘After a banana tree loses its flowers, it takes three months for bananas to ripe. But if chemicals are applied, they can make it ripe within two months. Just apply chemicals one or two times, and small bananas grow really big, and they look as if they had been pumped up like a balloon.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4820, 13.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 February 2009

Cheat Khmer. Vol.1, #17, 13-15.2.2009

  • The International Monetary Fund – IMF – Warns about Serious Effects on the Cambodian Economy [if the government does not have proper measures to prevent the effects of the global economic slowdown]
  • The United Nations and the Ministry of Interior Join to Fight Torture

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1872, 13.2.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Still Supports [the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party and prime minister] Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [he said that the Cambodian People’s Party is still strong and has no internal splits, and that he still supports Mr. Hun Sen to be the prime ministerial candidate of the party]
  • More Than 40 Families Protest in Front of the Municipality with Accusations that Their Land Is Violated [Oddar Meanchey]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #341, 13.2.2009

  • The Opposition Parties Asks Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Explain the Global Witness Report and to Arrest the Perpetrators to Be Convicted

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #343, 13.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Orders the Council of Ministers, Administered by Sok An, to Take Action against [the former commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces recently removed] Ke Kim Yan according to the System of Laws [seizing all his machineries, and recalling all soldiers defending his land, to return to their barracks]
  • The Organization World Education Reminds [Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport] Im Sethy to Reinstate Mr. Sun Thun at His Previous Place [Mr. Sun Thun was removed from a high-school to teach at a lower-secondary school, accused of defaming government leaders during his teaching]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #202, 13.2.2009

  • Plan to Collect Taxes in 2009 Might Yield Up to US$500 Million [no figures for 2008 provided for comparison]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #63, .2.2009

  • Minister of Information [Khieu Kanharith] Asks the Region Marketing Director of the Voice of America [Mr. Neal Lavon] to Help Officials of the National Television [by sending them to receive training in the United States of America]
  • The Ministry of Interior Does Not Allow to Hold an Extraordinary Congress of the Norodom Ranariddh Party on 15 February 2009 [because the acting president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party did not legally give the right to Mr. Em Sitha, with his signature, indicating that he is the representative of the party]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3686, 13.2.2009

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Still Ban Khmers to Build a Pagoda Fence Near the Border in Kompong Cham’s Memut District [even though it is not in Vietnamese territory; the district governor, Mr. Chek Sa On, the person who signed the permission for the construction is also the person who came to prohibit it, said that it is a problem on the national level]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4820, 13.2.2009

  • The Use of Agricultural Chemical Pesticides Is Still Popular despite Knowing that They Are Dangerous
  • In Ten More Years the Cambodian Economy May Have a Stronger Competitive Position [according to a leading institution in organizing conferences]
  • Note (from the announcement):

    Economist Conferences

    Siem Reap, 16 February 2009

    Fees: US$990 Earlybird fee (register by 9 January 2009) – US$1,250 Standard fee

    Business Roundtable with the government of Cambodia – On the verge of a breakthrough?

    “His Excellency Prime Minister Hun Sen has confirmed his support and will deliver the opening keynote address at the event.

    …Cambodia’s prospects as both a tourist destination and a center for enterprise and investment – on paper at least – appear bright.

    …Cambodia will continue to struggle to reassure the international community that the political system itself is sound and fair… How the new government responds to stabilize the economy, and address pressing issues such as poverty and public-sector corruption, will have a significant bearing on the country’s attractiveness to foreign direct investment.

    Key issues to be discussed include:

    • In light of recent oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Thailand, what is the government doing to settle border claims with its neighbors?
    • With predictions that oil could start flowing by as early as 2011, how will the government manage Cambodia’s newfound wealth?
    • In evaluating the investment climate, are private equity firms being overly optimistic?
    • What new business opportunities are there for investment in Cambodia’s much needed infrastructure?
    • Given the recent boom in property development and construction, is greater regulation of the industry necessary and if so, what impact will this have on property investors?
    • How will Cambodia’s garment industry deal with greater competition from China and Vietnam? What is being done to boost efficiency in this important industry?
    • With a recession hitting the US, what is Cambodia doing to diversify its export markets?
    • How will the government offset growing inflation and an increase in commodity prices, particularly of oil?
    • Is Cambodia’s economy ready to move away from de facto ‘dollarization’ to the riel and what will this mean for business?”
  • The UN World Food Program Will Grant US$25 Million for Project Implementations in Cambodia
  • The Economic Policy Committee Asks the Government Four Points in order to Reduce Taxes to Help the Garment Sector [the four measures are: 1. Reducing burdens of taxes, and other expenses. 2. Improving commerce, especially garment export. 3.Commercial financing, and 4. Improving professional relations and responsibility by all sides in the frame of law]
  • Leaders of Different Religions from 16 Countries Meet in Cambodia [they are from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, England, India, Italy, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Uganda, United State of America, and Vietnam]
  • The Financial Crisis Makes Cambodia to Loose US$676 Million, and 44,600 Workers to Loose Employment

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3484, 13.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Prohibits Rohingya Refugees to Enter Siam [Thailand]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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