Royal Railway Workers Protest over Salaries, after the Royal Railways of Cambodia Have Been Contracted over to a Private Company – Wednesday, 18.11.2009

Posted on 19 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue for some days, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and then raveling back to Cambodia. I try to produce in time as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian government had signed an agreement to hand over the railway to the Toll Cambodia company to conduct the rail transportation operations for 30 years; the transport operations on the Cambodian railways as a public enterprise was terminated at the end of October 2009.

“The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, said that of the more than 1,000 railway staff and officials, only 670 are accepted by the company to continue working, while some of the others remain under the control of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

“An employee responsible for transport operations, Mr. Nguon Chan Hon, told Deum Ampil in anger, ‘Already 47 days have passed, but the company has not released the salaries of the workers; we do not cause any trouble, but we just want our salaries paid, because no one seems to responsible for it, after some were changed back from being on an autonomous enterprise, back to be under the state again.’ He added, ‘Development at the Royal Railways of Cambodia totally stopped, trains run at speeds of 40km/h down to 5km/h. What I tried to do all is lost.’

“A train driver, Mr. Nou Navy, said, ‘We do not want to trouble the leaders, but we want to ask about our salaries since October, and in November it is the 15th day. When the door is closed like this, we do not know the day set for the salaries to be paid. I met the head of accounting, and they said that a date has not yet been set, and we have to wait, because at present, there are four train lines operated: the Sokimex line, two coal train lines, and the Touk Meas line. A date cannot be specified yet, therefore you have to wait.’

“He added, ‘Even while it is a public workplace, it is not known where the specially designated money from the government, Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] has gone. We have received nothing since the day Samdech Hun Sen announced to designate some money. At present, I only earn a salary of Riel 116,000 [approx. U$29] per month, and I have been working as a train driver for 28 years. Other workers shouted annoyingly, ‘Even nobody is promoted to new positions, and nobody knows when the salaries will be paid; if there are promotions, this happens only to their partisans.’

“Another driver, Mr. Sam Yan, said, ‘I would like to ask the Royal Government to pay attention to the workers, because for many years, they earned Riel 60,000 to Riel 70,000 [US$15 to US$17] and the highest level is Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30], for people in leadership positions only. Therefore, you people on the higher levels, please help to check this, so that staff workers stay calm.’

“A train engine mechanic, Mr. Soy Sambath, said, ‘More than 20 years ago, when I entered to work here in 1979, 80% of the railway infrastructure was left undestroyed, but today, by this hour, it is zero. It has to be rebuilt again from zero to 100%; most of the land had been leased away, and there is not even the necessary money to pay the salaries for the workers. If the money received for leasing land, formerly belonging to the railway, would be made know to the workers, and the money would be offered to the workers for their salaries, they would be satisfied.’

“Another worked, a lathe mechanic, Ms. Sokhim, said, ‘During 1979 and 1980, when the country just woke up from war, the railways managed to earn profit, but now when the country has peace, things have disintegrated, and there have been frequent derailings and other train accidents.’

“[Royal Railways of Cambodia Director-General] Sokhom Pheakavanmony told Deum Ampil, ‘I had already received the report and they are justified to worry, because as we all know, since 15 November 2009, the Royal Government decided, announced through Decrees 163 and 164, to hand over the Royal Railways of Cambodia to the Toll Cambodia company. Normally, when a cooperation is terminated by such an immediate transfer, the workers did not get any information, making them think that they lost their salaries. But actually, it is not so. Their salaries are guaranteed by clear contracts from the Ministry as well as from the Royal Railways of Cambodia. Their salaries are not lost, but it is just because they did not receive any clear information.’ He added that soon they will get information, which can reach only 40% to 50% of them, as some staff do not stay in one place, and some workers stay at far away provinces, so time is needed to access the information. ‘Therefore, there is no problem, We solved it already and today, we have just finished discussing it.’ He went on to say ‘Railways are a public enterprise, controlled by the public enterprise law, and the management of staff is based on regulations… . Normally, it is like this, when the railways is handed over to a new company. There could be some struggle between different opinions, and the management must follow the decisions of the government.’

“The under-secretary of state in charge of the Royal Railways of Cambodia, Mr. Touch Chankosal, told Deum Ampil, ‘I did not know that the workers had protested.'” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #339, 18.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #339, 18.11.2009

  • Royal Railway Workers Protest over Salaries, after the Royal Railways of Cambodia Have Been Handed over to a Private Company
  • Civil Organizations and the Government Hold a Social Accountability Seminar [under the theme of working together for social accountability]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2001, 18.11.2009

  • Cambodia Has No Plan to Negotiate with Siam [Thailand] to Solve the Diplomatic Disputes [according to the spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #532, 18.11.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Brings the His Protest over the Suspension of His Immunity to the European Union Parliament and World Parliaments of the World
  • Thai Deputy Prime Minister Sutheb Thaugsuban Warned to Use the Airforce to Destroy [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra’s Plane if it Crosses Siamese [Thai] Airspace

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6808, 18.11.2009

  • The Koh Kong Authorities Prepare 30,000 Hectares of land for a Chinese Company [“Union Development”] to Develop [to construct hotels, casinos, golf courses, and tourist areas]
  • Punishment over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border]: [head of the National Border Committee] Va Kimhong: At the West There Is [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Who Does Not Recognize the Border, at the East There Is Sam Rainsy

Krong Long Vek, Vol.7, #164, 18.11.2009

  • Flooded Mangrove Forest in Siem Reap Is Being Destroyed by Evil Merchants

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #48, 18.11.2009

  • Japan Plans to Provide Nearly US$2 Million to Strengthen Tourism [in Cambodia, through a road traffic safety project from 2010 to 2013]
  • Cambodia and the Philippines Will Start Direct Flights between the Two Countries [in 2010 – according to the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]
  • The United Nations Delivered an Award to the Head of the Cambodian Red Cross [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Ms. Bun Rany, for her successful leadership in fighting against AIDS and HIV, and in reducing discrimination against people infected with AIDS]
  • Three Wheel Motorbikes [Tuk-Tuk or Romorque Motos] Are Free from Fines for a While [until the end of 2009 for not having number plates]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5050, 18.11.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Hopes that the Thai Man Suspected of Spying Will Be Released, but Cambodia Said It Depends on the Courts
  • Police Solve the Murder Case at the Tay Tay Restaurant [where a police official was shot dead; four suspects have been arrested, but the chief perpetrator is not identified yet – Phnom Penh]

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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The Government Will Control the Financial System and Money Laundering at Banks – Thursday, 12.2.2009

Posted on 13 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Government officials said on Wednesday that the government will take measures to control all financial transactions which could, at present, be related to money laundering through banks, to prevent financial problems so that everything is up to international standards.

“A senior official of the Cambodian People’s Party and chairperson of the Commission on Finance, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly said, ‘If there is money laundering and we do not have related legislation, it might create difficulties when international countries observe everything.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap added, ‘If there is money laundering, this might trouble us when everything that happens is internationally observed, because it is absolutely prohibited that such money is spent in any other country, and we also will prohibit it, when we have related legislation. Therefore, the Royal Government will control everything well to avoid any activities against international laws, and if there are clear laws, nothing will be allowed to happen in future.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap, a high ranking CPP official, made this statement as Cambodia plans to launch a stock exchange market this year, while Cambodia cannot avoid being affected by the global crisis.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap told Deum Ampil, ‘Money laundering has little effect, but corruption has strong effects. Therefore, after a criminal code will have been drafted, we will include all articles regarding corruption into the anti-corruption regulations of Cambodia.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap went on to say, ‘This is not new, and the government took it up to draft a law to clearly organize structures how to act, because investors will come to deposit their assets in Cambodia.’

“Regarding the opening of a stock exchange market during this year, Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘Before investors in Cambodia cooperate with foreign countries such as Korea and Japan, they do whatever is possible for those who have money, to buy stakes even if it is a risky investment, at a time when international countries face a downturn and there will be some losses.’ [Note: original is difficult to interpret].

“Cambodian officials still assure the plan to open a stock exchange market in the city this year, while the global economy is facing a crisis and economic meltdown, even though there was some plan late last year to delay the stock exchange market. [Note: it seems that the Korea based construction activities for a 42 stories Double Gold Tower building, at the intersection between Sihanouk and Monivong Boulevards in Phnom Penh, are at present suspended].

“In view of the global economic crisis, and the stability of the Cambodian economy, economists voiced the concern that a stock exchange market in Phnom Penh might become a source of money laundering, involving banks which at present lack clear control according to international standard. [Note: The Cambodia Daily reports on the same day: “IMF Criticizes Bank of Cambodia for Its Weak Supervision”]

“However, officials of the Royal Government said that the government will not let such bad problems happen. Previously, there were distorted reports about money laundering committed by dishonest groups, but they had been denied by senior officials of the government.

“According to a plan by the South Korean government [Note: actually, this seems to be a misunderstanding – this was not a ‘government’ plan], the stock exchange of Seoul will help [interested business groups in] Cambodia to prepare a stock exchange market in Phnom Penh, to become a place for gathering sources of capital for developing the country. According of figures from the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, the Cambodian economy grew in 2008 with a higher rate than during the year before [Note: Various sources mention 2007 10.2%, 2008 6.5%, 2009 4.8% or less predicted], which is a new strong boost to encourage the creation of a stock exchange market in Cambodia, assuming it will proceed smoothly. Due to the financial crisis, starting from America, banks in Korea are directly affected, and this causes the suspension of investment loans in foreign countries, and resulted in large-scale projects in Cambodia to be changed since mid and late 2008.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #115, 12.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #16, 12.2.2009

  • [The former Phnom Penh Police chief, now is detained in Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Begs for Intervention from Mr. Hun Sen [to allow him to take out money from his blocked bank account]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #115, 12.2.2009

  • The Government Will Control the Financial System and Money Laundering at Banks
  • [Spokesperson of the Council of Ministers] Phay Siphan: The Opening of the Border Crossing near the Preah Vihear Temple Will Wait until the Setting of Border Markers Has Been Finished
  • The United Nations Environment Program – UNEP – Encourages the Promotion of Environmental Protection in Phnom Penh
  • New US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Praises Development in Phnom Penh

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1871, 12.2.2009

  • Japan Plans to Create a National Level University in Cambodia
  • Paddy Rice and Rice at Border Regions Is Stuck, because Siam [Thailand] Blocks the Import [Battambang]
  • Olympic Market Vendors Protest and Ask the [Thai Boon Rong] Company to Reduce Stall Prices by 50% and Make 20-Year Contracts

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #340, 12.2.2009

  • [The Minister of Information] H.E. Khieu Kanharith Denied Closure of Any [Global Witness] Website

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #201, 12.2.2009

  • America Adopts US$800 Billion Package to Counter the Global Financial Crisis

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6576, 12.2.2009

  • More Than 200 Villagers at the Preah Vihear Temple Call for Food Aid while Some Families Are Facing Severe Difficulties
  • Australia Provides Distance Learning Program [through the Internet] about Skills to Treat Child Diseases in Cambodia
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality and the Ministry of Health Cooperate to Strengthen Transportation Services of Victims
  • Vietnam Ranks Second in Exporting Rice [after Thailand] while [6.7% of] Its People Lack Food [no comparative figures for Cambodia given]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3685, 12.2.2009

  • Official of the Untied Nations [Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen] Plans Clarifying Discussion about Corruption Problems at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Said that He Will Pay [Riel 10 million, approx US$2,500] to the National Election Committee, but Asked for the Right to Sue at the Supreme Court First

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4819, 12.2.2009

  • US$2.2 Billion Tonle Sap Projects Achieve Little Results [the Tonle Sap basin authorities showed that 339 projects being implemented or are to be implemented in the Tonle Sap basin region – aiming to help protect the environment, control the nature, and alleviate poverty – accomplished very little, because there is no cooperation in the project implementation]
  • A Boy Rescued from the Tuol Sleng Prison [in 1979 as seen in videos provided by Vietnam recently] Is Identified Before the Hearing of Duch [Mr. Nong Chanphal went to the Documentation Center of Cambodia to prepare a complaint, and he agreed to be a witness if the tribunal needs him]

Wat Phnom, Vol. 16, #8006, 13-15.2.2009

  • The Mobitel Company Gives a Simple Explanation about a Surprised Event in Phnom Penh [it released a statement explaining that on 6 February 2009, the company asked the municipal police to control security at its headquarters, while the company was investigating a possible hazard from outside of the technical system]
  • Australia and Denmark Continue Assisting the Reform of the Criminal and Justice Sector in Cambodia [according to a secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior and president of the National Board of Directors for Monitoring the Criminal and Justice Sector, Mr. Prum Sokha]

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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