Tuesday, 24.6.2008: Fuel Prices and Inflation Are Not Expected to Decline after the 2008 Election

Posted on 24 June 2008. Filed under: Week 566 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 566

“Phnom Penh: Civil society organizations mentioned that fuel prices seem to be higher and inflation remains stable nowadays, and it is assumed that after the coming fourth term parliamentary election, although a new government will be created, it will not be possible to solve these problems.

“Mr. Yang Saing Koma, Director of the Center for Studies and Development of Cambodian Agriculture, [CEDAC], told reporters at the Cambodiana Hotel on 19 June 2008 that food prices, which are steadily increasing and are a global phenomenon, push that in Cambodia the prices of all kinds of goods are increasing at the moment.

“He added that from August to September, the Cambodian rice price might continue to rise, because farmers might run out of paddy rice from the storage rooms while they at the same time want to sell it, because there is a lot of demand at the market, and domestic supplies are not enough; this will increase the price of rice to be higher, or at least it will remain at the present level.

“Ms. Chea Vannath, an independent analyst, she said that although after the forth term parliamentary election, and after a new government will have been created, still the price of fuel and inflation will not decline. Quite the opposite, ‘The situation will threaten the poverty alleviation strategy of the Royal Government.’

“Similarly, Mr. Chan Sophal, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said that the price of crude oil at the international market may further increase in the future. Therefore, the price of fuel in Cambodia is not expected to drop. He continued that inflation gets higher because of two factors – a domestic factor and an external factor. He explained that at the present time, the prices of all kinds of goods at the international market increase strongly because of the shortage of food. As for the domestic factor, there is a group of people who sell land, and they have income from this, but this group also needs domestic materials and food, and because the domestic products are not sufficiently available, the inflation grows higher.

“To solve the increase of fuel prices and of inflation, Cambodia could follow the model of Iran, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These countries have created systems to sell fuel or rice by setting two different pricing policies – to sell to the rich at higher, and to the poor at cheaper prices. The sale of fuel to the rich is established for those who drive luxury cars when they go to fill fuel at the gasoline stations. This example was raised by Ms. Chea Vannath; as for Mr. Chan Sophal, he added that the government can reduce the tax on oil imports, and this can reduce the price of fuel. As for inflation, the government has to increase the yields of cultivation, and handle land disputes better.

“Observers noticed that nowadays citizens in Cambodia sell land or leave their land unused while they have disputes; these are obstacles to increase the yield of rice in Cambodia.

“Regarding this issue, Mr. Ith Nody, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, told reporters at the Hotel Cambodiana on 19 June 2008 that the government knows these problems and has measures to deal with them. The government will provide social concession land to citizens with the support of the World Bank and a Japanese fund by using social land concessions in Kompong Cham, Kratie, and Kompong Thom, but he did not give any details about the size of those social land concessions.

“He added that merchants have bought land from citizens and left the land unused. The government, when necessary, will require those merchants to pay land taxes to the state.

“Last Friday, Khmer Sthapana had tried to phone to ask for some explanation about the continuing rising price of fuel from the Senior Minister of Economy and Finance, but could not reach him.

“However, Mr. Keat Chhon has told reporters a few days ago that the government has prepared approximately US$30 million to spend this year quietly and has tired to prevent inflation, which is a phenomenon in foreign countries, to keep the price of fuel from increasing further.

“According to a recent report of the Asian Development Bank, inflation in Asia is a threat to poverty alleviation strategies and affects investments and incomes, creating instability for several governments.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #21, 24.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1675, 24.6.2008

  • Political Parties React to the Prohibition of the [Phnom Penh] Municipality for the Election Campaign [which bans all political parties to march in important places in the city, such as Monivong Boulevard, Norodom Boulevard, and Mao Tse-Tung Boulevard, and all big markets]
  • Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Mr. Son Chhay] Called on the King to Be Concerned with the Case of Tim Sakhan [who has been defrocked on an accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he is accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia, now jailed in Vietnam] during His Visit to Vietnam [from 24 to 26 June 2008]
  • Workers Can Rest from One to Three Days to Travel to Vote [as announced by the National Election Committee, after getting this Information from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training]
  • The Cambodia Movement for Health [CMH] Shows that 98% of Cambodian Citizens Countrywide Support Prohibition of Tobacco Broadcast Advertising
  • Thai Official [of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs]: “The Preah Vihear Temple Is in Khmer Territory”
    Thai Prime Minister [Samak Sundaravej] Will Resign from His Position if the Assembly Passes a No-Confidence Vote

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #21, 24.6.2008

  • Fuel Prices and Inflation Are Not Expected to Decline after the 2008 Election
  • [The US ambassador to Cambodia] Mr. Joseph A. Mussomeli Predicted the Cambodian People’s Party Will Win the Election [speaking to reporters in Pailin on 23 June 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6379, 24.6.2008

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Stance: In Case Funcinpec Wins No Seat in the National Assembly, the Cambodian People’s Party Will Form the Government Alone [said Prime Minister Hun Sen in Pursat on 23 June 2008]
  • Grade 2 Teacher Is Accused of Raping Five [little girl] Students. When this Became Known, He Escaped from the School [Kratie]
  • Tropical Cyclone Fengshen [風神] Raises Number of Deaths up to 598, and 740 People Are Still Missing in the Philippines
  • Zimbabwe’s Opposition Leader [Morgan Tsvangirai] Announced to Withdraw form the Election

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3494, 24.6.2008

  • Ceremony to Burn Drugs Hold at the Time when [US presidential candidate from the Republican Party] John McCain’s Wife [Ms. Cindy McCain] Came to Cambodia [23 June 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4623, 24.6.2008

  • Cambodia Closed the Access to the Preah Vihear Temple Temporarily [on the evening of 22 June 2008]; the Thai Prime Minister Blamed the Protest [by the Thai Senate about the Thai government’s agreement to the Cambodian map, claiming it violates the Thai constitution] to Be Not Justified
  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Finished a Public Speech by Asking Not to Voice any Reactions against the Election Results [by the losing parities, and he said that after 23 June 2008, he will not make any speech on radio or television]

Have a look at the last editorial – it is almost frightening to see to which extent there are strong emotions, disregarding related legal documents.

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Saturday, 7.6.2008: German Government Offers Scholarships to Young Cambodian Entrepreneurs to Bridge Digital Divide

Posted on 8 June 2008. Filed under: Week 563 | Tags: , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 563

“With the aim to support developing countries in their efforts not to be excluded from important global processes and not to be hampered in the use of new and resource-saving technologies and products the German Government has decided to offer scholarships to bridge this digital divide.

“One of the possible negative results of the lack of information technology related knowledge is that productivity in developing countries is by international standards declining and the achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goals may be jeopardized.

“The programme is intended to enable young entrepreneurs from developing countries to successfully start up an information and communications technology (ICT) business in their home countries.

Konrad Zuse scholarships [named after the inventor of the world’s first functional program-controlled computer in 1941] are worth Euro 1.200 per month and granted for up to one year. This sum is intended to cover all expenses incurred in Germany for medical insurance, accommodation, food etc. In addition the German Government meets the cost of air travel for one return trip to Germany per beneficiary.

“For all beneficiaries individual training plans are drawn up tailored to their specific requirements as well as the sector in which they intend to start up their business.

“The training includes an academic component as well as internships in German companies active in the same sector as the prospective start-up.

“Further information is to be obtained on the website of the German Embassy Phnom Penh.

“Deadline for applications is 25 July 2008.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6365, 7-8.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 June 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1661, 7.6.2008

  • Samdech Euv [the Father King Norodom Sihanouk] Predicted the Fate of the Khmer Monarchy [that it will be dissolved again]
  • Children Living at Garbage Dump Site Face Health Problems and Illiteracy

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #171, 7.6.2008

  • LICADHO Asks the Ministry of Information to Allow the FM-105.25 Radio Station in Kratie to Be Reopened
  • Observers and Opinion Leaders of Cambodia [such as the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Voice Concerns over the Issue of the Preah Vihear Temple [with Thailand]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #26, 7-10.6.2008

  • Forrest Land in the National Angkor Park Has Been Enclosed by Merchants to Be Claimed and Owned

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6365, 7-8.6.2008

  • Cambodia Benefits from the Rice Price Increase; the IMF said the Cambodian Economy Remains Strong [6 June 2008]
  • Russey Keo Authorities Arranges Places to Build Prek Pnov Bridge Crossing the Tonle Sap River
  • German Government offers scholarships to young Cambodian entrepreneurs to bridge digital divide

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3480, 7-8.6.2008

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Does Not Allow Ms. So Socheat to Take [her husband] Khiev Samphan to Their Home in Pailin

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4609, 7.6.2008

Samleng Kamkor, Vol.1, #4, 7.6.2008

  • US$300 Million Planned to Be Spent to Subsidize Fuel Price in Cambodia in 2008 [according to a government estimate]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3327, 7.6.2008

  • During One Whole Term, Prime Minister Hun Sen Never Answered Any Question Orally in the National Assembly

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #674, 7-8.6.2008

  • The US and Vietnam Discussed Human Rights Problems [Vietnam promised to respect human rights and religious rights]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: Setting priorities – what to do to remove some dangerous obstacles, to get safer roads

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Thursday, 3.4.2008: Water Should Not Be Stirred up to Be Dirty; Demonstration against Increasing Prices of Goods Is Not a Solution

Posted on 4 April 2008. Filed under: Week 554 | Tags: |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 554

“Phnom Penh: Social turmoil might be created due to a demonstration led by political parties which will compete in the 27 July 2008 election, even though they demand that the government decrease the price of goods or to increase the salary for government officials and workers, commensurate with the inflation of the price of goods. Observers said that this is not a solution, because it just like muddying the water or to pollute a pond to make the fish die.

“On 1 April 2008, the Sam Rainsy Party issued a letter, calling for the participation in a non-violent mass demonstration led Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers on 6 April 2008. Actually, this call indicates an intention to conduct demagogy by taking advantage of the current situation, when the increase in the price of goods is a global phenomenon. What is the use of such activities which attempt to pollute the social environment, while the government has been trying to solve the problems step by step? What is the point for which these people are trying to cause social instability? Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen has rejected criticism concerning the request that the government should fix the price of goods. Responding to some ideas about setting the price of goods, Samdech Dekchor said that in order to set fixed prices for goods, ‘first of all, political measures would have to be taken to dissolve all political parties and non-governmental organizations, so that they will not protest, and to arrest all demonstrators. Secondly, Cambodia would have to cut off relation with ASEAN. Then, Cambodia would have to withdraw itself from the World Trade Organization, and cut off its relations with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asia Development Bank; only after that, we could fix the price of goods. Is this possible? If anyone would dare to do so, they would die, because it is contrary to the law of the progress of human society. Therefore, it is time for those who lie to stop telling lies, and it is also time for those who got cheated to stop accepting to get being cheated.’

“‘Mr. Sam Rainsy is not stupid, he boasted that he is an economist. For the time being, no one knows on what ground he relies as he declares to conduct a mass demonstration, besides sating that corruption and incapacity are the reason behind the problem. All these points sound beautiful, but they do not have a clear basis for making any accusations. If they accuse the government of incapacity, under what conditions would they considering the government to have capacity? The government makes progresses in many respects in terms of social infrastructure and development. The price of land is skyrocketing. Increasing land prices indicate that investments arrive, while the progress of the construction sector clearly indicates that the living standard of people have improved, not like in times of war. Corruption is nothing new, but they try to accuse the government. Why is it so important for them to try to make the society suffer by such acts of incitement, to obtain political gains?’

“Some observers said that the reason is that Mr. Sam Rainsy is running out of supporters – from top to low-ranking officials – as many defected to join the Cambodian People’s Party. Regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s panic, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the government spokesperson, warned that Mr. Sam Rainsy would be held responsible if the demonstration became violent. Observers said that Mr. Sam Rainsy should not try to take political advantage from this situation. This is not a good way, because to demonstrate does not lead to a solution to decrease the price of goods. In fact, the government is not interested to see such things happening during its mandate, but this is a global issue that has serious effects on everyone.

“They should not kindle a fire to satisfy their political ambition, while Cambodian citizens are looking forward to celebrating the Khmer New Year soon.

“During the inaugural ceremony of Seila Nimith Temple, known as Wat Da, in Kriel, Baray, on 25 March 2008, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen criticized such psychological warfare, which will fail by itself. On the Cambodian markets, there is an increase in the price of rice, fuel, utility items, and particularly construction materials. What is the cause of these increasing prices? One must review the common context of the whole world to reflect what the situation in Cambodia is. Some of the factors that the world is facing are global issues. First of all, concerning the US economy, the engine of global economic growth, is suffering from serious deficits and this seriously affects the economies of Cambodia, Europe, and Japan. These points should be taken into consideration.

“Concerning the increasing oil price, the USA can not control such a situation, even though the US is a country which has many oil reserves. Some regions in the USA do not do business in oil, but the USA does business overseas.

“As for the increasing oil price, the global demand is increasing on a large scale. Particularly in Cambodia, the oil consumption demand is increasing, as there is an increase in the number of cars and motorbikes. The global demand relates also to energy security, as some countries use fuel to produce electricity. Oil producing countries do not increase their oil production, sometimes they even reduced production. This leads to an increase in the price of oil, and it makes other goods follow. The enormous global needs of all kinds are interconnected.

“As for the rising price of rice, Samdech Dekchor said that the rice price should have risen in 2000 and 2001, because then there were big floods. However, at that time, the price of rice in the markets remained stable, and the state did not intervene in the market. Thailand and Vietnam bought rice from Cambodia, because the rice price level in Thailand and in Vietnam is higher than in Cambodia. If Cambodian rice were more expensive than Vietnamese and Thai rice, they would not buy rice from Cambodia, and we would import rice back to Cambodia.

“Final Information: According to a report, officials of the Sam Rainsy Party went to distribute leaflets to call people to participate in the demonstration. A lawmaker from the Sam Rainsy Party, stated that they would conduct the demonstration, and it is just enough to inform the municipality. ‘Therefore, there is not need to wait for a permission.’” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6313, 3.4.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 April 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #77, 3.4.2008

  • If Yuon [Vietnam] Would Agree to Send Troops to Maintain Security during Khmer [Cambodian] Election Day, It Would Be an Abuse of Sovereignty
  • [Former Phnom Penh Police Commissioner] Criminal Heng Pov Asks for Intervention from [Hun Sen’s Advisor] Om Yentieng to Withdraw US$200,000 from Canadia Bank

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1609, 3.4.2008

  • [Minister of Meteorology and Water Resources] Lim Kean Hor: Collapse of River Embankment in Russey Keo Not because of Sand Dredging [Phnom Penh]
  • Phnom Penh Municipality Prepares to Use More Than 4,000 Armed Forces to Protect the Fourth Term Parliamentary Elections

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6313, 3.4.2008

  • Water Should Not Be Stirred up to Be Dirty; Demonstration against Increasing Prices of Goods Is Not a Solution
  • Ministry of Defense Rejects Rumor about Request for Vietnam to Help Protect Security during Elections
  • Man Beat His Seven-Months-Pregnant Wife; Police Surrounded and Arrested Him while Villagers Were Astonished [Ba Phnom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3429, 3.4.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party Announces that There Will Be 5,000 People Attending Non-Violent Demonstration

Have a look at last week’s editorial: “using an iron fist to administer justice”

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