Eliminating Illegal Settlements – Monday, 31.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“On Friday the Council of Ministers approved a circular for dealing with illegal settlements on state land.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said on Sunday, ‘The circular will help citizens and the government to eliminate anarchic settlements on state land in populated areas, in cities, and at public places [like parks, pedestrian lanes, etc.]. In the future we will eradicate illegal settlements at public places.’

“The circular aims at resolving problems at temporary settlements, also called anarchic constructions, that are built on state land, which results in the loss of road space for traveling, or there is no sanitation. The circular advises the local authorities to provide data about the actual number of such illegal settlements and the number of families, producing plans of these anarchic constructions in order to find solutions, to organize infrastructure and public services to support the life of the people.

“A legal expert of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions [which works in 20 different countries around the world], Mr. Pen Sithorn, said that the new circular is not bad, but it depends on whether or not the implementation will involve also non-government organizations and the affected communities. He said, ‘The circular says it depends on the government what kind of participation from different sides they will allow.’

Note:

Additional information from the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions:

“A senior official of the Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said on Sunday that the circular is good, but its enforcement is not as good as the contents stated in the circular, which makes people live in ever worse conditions. He added, ‘The government evicts people and accepts coordination from the authorities. They confiscate people’s land and deliver it to the rich and to companies, providing little compensation to people. Thousands of citizens have been affected by the policy of the government to force citizens to move to remote areas.’ He went on to say that even though citizens are living on state land, they have been living there for years before the land law was approved. Therefore, they should be offered solutions through the provision of new areas with proper living conditions.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 31 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #4, 30-31.5.2010

  • A Car Loaded with Paddy Rice Was Intercepted – there Were More Than 800 Kilogram of Turtles Hidden in It, to Be Exported to Vietnam [Kandal]
  • Disputes [through the exchange of statements quoted in the press] between [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit and [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Creates Political Tension in Siam [Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2262, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Thai Authorities Released [207] Khmer Citizens Who Had Been Accused of Possessing Explosive Materials
  • Construction Workers on the Bokor Mountain Had a Car Accident while Getting Ahead of another Car – Two Died and Twenty Eight Others Were Injured

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #773, 31.5.2010

  • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was arrested in late March 2010 over illegal wood trading and keeping some in storage. He was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #669, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Allows a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian to Visit Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea [jailed for uprooting Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6969, 31.5.2010

  • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested – Svay Rieng]
  • Cambodia Condemned the Persons Who Planted a Sea Mine [attacking a South Korean navy ship, killing 46 sailors] – They Cause Instability on the Korean Peninsular

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3893, 31.5.2010

  • Forced Evictions are against the Constitution and Cannot Be Legalized – Those Who Criticize This Should Not Be Stopped

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

  • Eliminating Illegal Settlements
  • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resident]
  • A US Company [Elixir Gaming Technologies] Received a License to Open a Casino in Takeo [this company plans to start constructing a casino late next year, spending US$8 to 10 million]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 30-31.5.2010

  • An Environmental Officials: The Sesan Hydro Electric Dam II [planned to be constructed late next year] Will Not Flood Ratanakiri [but it might affect only four communes in Stung Treng]
  • Police Arrested a Man Who Raped His Three Step Daughters over a long Time [aged from 12 to 17 – Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council – Wednesday, 10.2.2010

Posted on 11 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Cambodia has requested the United States of America to support the candidacy of Cambodia to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“During a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, and [the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to ASEAN] Mr. Scot Marciel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the morning of 9 February 2010, Mr. Hor Namhong requested the USA, through Mr. Scot Marciel, to support Cambodia’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2013 and 2014.

“Since Cambodia has become a member of the United Nations, it has never participated working in the framework of the UN Security Council.

“Mr. Hor Namhong pointed out to Cambodia’s qualifications to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, saying that Cambodia, with the help from the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), in 1993 organized free and fair elections for the first time in Cambodia after it had been freed from the Pol Pot genocidal regime.

“The next non-permanent Security Council Members of the United Nations will be elected in 2012.

“It should be noted that in recent years, Cambodia has sent its troops within the UN framework to help many developing countries and countries that have just recovered from war, such as Chad.

“During the meeting, Cambodia also requested America to cancel the debt that Cambodia owes America since the time of the Lon Nol regime time [the Khmer Republic, 1970 to 1975].

“Cambodia owes America more than US$300 million since the Lon Nol regime from 1970 to 1975.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 explains details of the loan with normal repayment obligations:

“Between 1972 and 1974, the US Department of Agriculture financed $274 million in purchases of US cotton, rice, and flour for Cambodia… with interest, the total had risen to $339 million by 2007.”

The Cambodian Daily further reports: “Mr. Maciel also said that the had reiterated in the meetings that the US was ‘very disappointed’ with Cambodia’s decision in December 2010 to deport 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers back to China over the objections of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees” [contrary to the Cambodian commitment to the relevant UN conventions].

“Cambodia suggested two ways the USA could cancel the debt. In the first choice, Mr. Hor Namhong suggested the USA could just cancel all the debt, but as an alternative choice, he asked the USA via Mr. Scot Marciel to cancel 70% of the debt of more than US$300 million in order to allow Cambodia to develop the country. Cambodia would pay back the rest of 30% to the USA later.

“Though he listened that there are these two modalities proposed by Cambodia, Mr. Scot Marciel could only say that he will bring Cambodia’s request about the canceling of debt to the US government when he returns back.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 adds the following further information:

Contrary to the explanation by Mr. Maciel, the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, claimed that the money was paid for the slaughter of Cambodians – “The debt was used for weaponry and the weaponry was used to destroy all things including the life in the country.”

“Mr. Scot Marciel stressed that in the USA there is no legal basis regarding the canceling of debts.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

  • Cambodia Will Appeal to the Court in The Hague and to the UN Security Council [to solve the border dispute with Thailand; according to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • US Wants Cambodia and Thailand to Peacefully Solve Border Disputes [according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2173, 10.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Siamese [Thai] Troops Can No Longer Remain at the Ta Moan Temple [claiming that it is in Khmer territory]
  • Thailand Increases Security Efforts before the Court Makes a Judgment over the Property of [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Cambodia and Italy Signed the First Agreement on Culture [about cooperation on development projects at the Angkor area, as well as about training for young experts in cultural preservation work at the Angkor area]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #733, 10.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Rejected Information that It Had Provided Khmer Citizenship to Thaksin Shinawatra

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #602, 10.2.2010

  • The Khmer King Is Listed as a Member of the Community of French Scholars [of the “Academie Française”; based on his contributions to pre-historical research in Cambodia, where he is appreciated for his efforts to maintain the Khmer cultural heritage, and especially, his support for a French training program for people in restoration techniques for the Khmer Angkor Wat Temples]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6880, 10.2.2010

  • A French Drug Addict Robbed the [Cambodia Asia] Bank; It Was the First Time that a Foreigner Committed Armed Robbery [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • The Anti-Corruption Draft Reached the National Assembly [but the content is not yet made known]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #108, 10.2.2010

  • America Does Not Plan to Cancel the Debt [of about US$300 million; according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • [The North Korean President] Mr. Kim Jong Il Told the Chinese Ambassador that the Korean Peninsula Should Be Free from Nuclear Weapons

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5122, 10.2.2010

  • [Four] Robbers Went into a House, Shot One Person to Death and Seriously and Lightly Injured Three Others, and Took Away US$15,000 [Pailin]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1873, 10.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Warned that If Negotiations [with Thailand] Do Not Bring Solutions, Armed Force Will Be Used

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Rice Export Is Still Difficult – Saturday, 16.1.2010

Posted on 17 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2009 there was a surplus of more than 3 million tonnes of paddy rice or more than 2 million tonnes of rice. In 2010, just the Philippines alone need to buy in 2 million tonnes of rice, and other African countries need to buy rice also. Is Cambodia ready for exporting rice abroad?

“Regarding this problem, an expert, who was involved in marketing to help export rice, said that Cambodia still cannot export rice on a large scale. Family-scale export is possible, as our country is not yet ready to do big rice businesses.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale business, Mr. Ut Ren, spoke to journalists in an interview on Wednesday [13 January 2010], saying that Cambodia is not yet able to export rice on a large scale, because Cambodia does not yet have an adequate rice export structure. He added that the country does not yet have large scale storehouses for paddy rice. A rice milling house can normally store 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes, but these too hardly exist in Phnom Penh. There has not yet been an effort to gather all forces together. Most small rice export associations operate to serve only their own interest and they do not cooperate and trust each other, and there is no coordination between the state and the private sector. Also the costs of transportation is still high, compared to neighboring countries. In Vietnam, it costs only US$7 to US$12 to transport one tonne of rice to the ports, but in our country, it costs up to US$40 to US$50. Transport is possible only in the dry season, but not in the rainy season. There is much more investment needed before smooth export procedures are possible. In addition, to get a container loaded with rice to be exported, one needs to pay unofficial expenses of at least US$55 to customs, US$55 to CamControl, and US$30 for one document to the Ministry of Agriculture. Besides, it is necessary to pay US$50 to the Ministry of Commerce for a license.

“Mr. Ren added that in addition, our country does not have marketing experts at international markets. Vietnam has rice market advertising offices in the Philippines and in Africa. Thailand has more than 40 market advertising offices worldwide.

“He went on to say that therefore, to become a rice exporting country, first, Cambodia needs to have a rice export support structure. Rice export has its special criteria, unlike the export of other products. The government should create a separate high level authority to guide the export of rice. The government should implement a integrated structure policy, that means that customs, CamControl, the agriculture and the commerce related authorities have to work jointly. At present, when a rice exporter has received a license from the Ministry of Commerce, they need to go next to customs, then to CamControl, and then to those in the agricultural areas having rice to sell – this takes much time.

“He said that because of existing difficulties, high costs, and much time needed to run from place to place [to satisfy the related bureaucratic necessities], owners of rice mills still prefer their traditional family-scale businesses.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5101, 16.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #389, 16.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister [Mr. Hun Sen] Sent Condolences for the Large Number of [ earthquake] Deaths in Haiti

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2152, 16.1.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep’s Accusation that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Takes Cambodia as a Basis for Activities against Thailand
  • Cambodian Citizens Can Have Visas-on-Arrival to Enter Kuwait Directly at Kuwait Airports [according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]

Link:

On 14 January 2010, many international media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again. “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month,” reported Radio Australia News.

On 15 January 2010, the Bangkok Post quoted Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a former Thai minister of foreign affairs and at present a legal adviser to the Shinawatra family, saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has dropped his plan to visit Cambodia.

“Previously, Thaksin had planned to visit Cambodia from Jan 15 to 17, but he has scrapped the plan. He will visit another country in Asia instead,” Mr Noppadon said.

Asked about the Cambodian foreign minister’s statement that Thaksin would visit Phnom Penh this month, Mr Noppadon said he had no idea.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #581, 16.1.2010

  • [High ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party] Cheam Yeap Admitted that Cambodia Is in Trouble with Its Debt to Russia [Cambodia owes about US$1 billion; and Russia has not responded to Cambodia’s request to cancel it]

Link:

In addition to the US$1 billion debt to Russia there is a smaller debt of US$300 million which Cambodia owes to the USA.

It should be noted that reports about new financial assistance from China often do not state clearly what is aid, and what is repayable loans. We do not know of any comprehensive listing of the total amount of money at present owed by Cambodia to China, and when how much will have to be repaid.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6859, 16-17.1.2010

  • A Nine-Year-Old Girl Was Raped and Killed in a Forest [the perpetrator is not known – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5001, 16.1.2010

  • Rice Export Is Still Difficult
  • In 2010 Cambodia Will Have Three More Labor Export Markets [accepting Khmer workers: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates]

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

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Positions of Judges, of Prosecutors, and of Clerks Are Reformed on a Large Scale – Wednesday, 14.1.2009

Posted on 15 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Monday, 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Phnom Penh: The fourth term Royal Government starts to implement reform strategies for the court system as the first priority by beginning to change the positions of judges, of prosecutors, and of clerks countrywide on a large scale.

“The Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang Vong Vathana, told the Kampuchea Thmey that the Royal Government plans to reshuffle court leaders countrywide, but not depending on wrongdoing as the only reason.

“He said that the reform of the court system was made the first priority in order to be in line with the political mechanisms of the new term Royal Government in the second phase of the Rectangular Strategy.

“He went on to say that as the basis of good governance it is necessary to build the legal basis; if the resources of those who implement the law at the basis are not strong and fair, good governance will not function smoothly as it is needed.

“Mr. Ang Vong Vathana said also that reforms of court officials will be made by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy in this morning on 14 January 2009. Reshuffles of court officials are not made only with judges, with prosecutors, and with clerks, but also with court presidents. However, Mr. Ang Vong Vathana did not mention the names of those who will be reshuffled, but just told primarily that a prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Ouk Savuth, will be replaced by Mr. Yen Chakriya. Mr. Ouk Savuth will be appointed to work as deputy prosecutor of the Appeals Court.

Note: Article 21 of the Cambodian Constitution:

Upon proposals by the Council of Ministers, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or ending the mission of high civil and military officials, ambassadors and Envoys Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Upon proposals by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or removing judges.

“Mr. Ang Vong Vathana stressed that these reappointments are normal, but some court officials are replaced also due to wrongdoings, and some hold their positions already four years and must be reshuffled. Nevertheless, most of these reforms, as they relate to court officials, are only a change from one place to another place.

“Previously, the court system was strongly criticized for being corrupt, and most victims were poor people while most people who won court cases were the powerful.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1846, 14.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #3, 14.1.2009

  • The President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights [Mr. Ou Virak]: Freedom of Expression and Press Freedom in Cambodia Are Limited [in 2008, because journalists were threatened to be sued at courts, jailed, and murdered, while the authorities have not found murderers or those who support them for prosecution]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #106, 14-15.1.2009

  • The Embassy of Nepal Asks to Build of Pagodas in the Nepalese Style in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #16, .1.2009

  • Positions of Judges, of Prosecutors, and of Clerks Are Reformed on a Large Scale
  • A Canadian Man Was Arrested for Debauchery [with four underage children, two boys and two girls – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #323, 14.1.2009

  • The United States of America Decides to Grant Military Aid of More Than US$600,000 [to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6551, 14.1.2009

  • In 2008, There Were 268 Crimes of Rape Committed [with 285 victims – among them 165 were underage – and 340 perpetrators were involved, compared to 2007, there were 301 cases]; This Inhuman Act Is Still an Extremely Serious Issue
  • Eclipse of the Sun Will Occur on 26 January 2009 and Cambodia Can See This Natural Phenomenon on Chinese New Year
  • [Around 300] Students and Villagers Block a Road to Stop the Transporting of [ about 50] Trucks Loaded with Stone [the transportation damages the road, causes dust, and creates disturbing noise – Siam Reap]
  • Nearly 200 Million People Start to Travel to Their Home Towns [to celebrate the Chinese New Year on 26 January 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3665, 14.1.2009

  • Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea Said that They Are Being Intimidated by Judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [who prepare to sue them back for filling request for the clarification of corruption allegation, considered to be a defamation, and a disgrace for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1402, 14.1.2009

  • A Korean Man Shot by Another Korean Man Died at the Calmette Hospital [two other perpetrators are not yet found]
  • A Man Who had Killed a [three-year-old] Girl and Her Grandmother with Acid Was Arrested [in Kampot]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4794, 14.1.2009

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Starts an Official Visit to Kuwait
  • Dey Krahom Dispute: The Municipality Offers US$20,000 [to 91 families still not prepared to move away], but he Residents Disagree
  • World Bank Grants a Loan of US$10 Million to Develop the Agriculture
  • The Royal Government Provides a Loan of US$15 Million to the Cambodian Rice Millers Association to Buy Paddy Rice for Stock
  • Ms. In Soklida Wants to Withdraw Nearly US$30,000 from the [Cambodian] Canadia Bank [from a joint bank account with Ms. Chea Ratha, with whom she had an affair and who is now hiding in a foreign country being accused of involvement in an acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Prevented a Khmer Company to Continue Constructing Fences [for building a casino] at the Cham Border Crossing [Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey]

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

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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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World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food – Saturday, 18.10.2008

Posted on 19 October 2008. Filed under: Week 582 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 582

“Phnom Penh: At present, starving people are more numerous than before – around 150 million people. This is according to a statement of the co-chair of the People’s Coalition on Food Security, Mr. Antonio Tujan, during a World Food Day celebration on 16 October 2008.

“Dr. Yang Saing Koma, the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture – CEDAC – said during a press conference on 16 October 2008 at the organization’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, that around 100,000 families in Cambodia, corresponding to half a million people, lack food. In 2008, Cambodia faces the challenge of a food crisis because of the high price of food in the world. Mr. Yang Saing Koma added that CEDAC works with farmers from 2,000 villages countrywide and had discovered that 50%, or half of farmers who do rice farming, could not produce sufficient food during the year. Among 1.8 million farmers’ families doing rice farming, 500,000 to 600,000 families could not produce enough food. 800,00 families could afford to buy rice themselves over one month during the late rainy season.

“CEDAC found that this is because land to produce food does not increase. Although the agriculturally usable land of the whole country is six million hectares, but food can only be produced from more than three million hectares at the present time. Another factor is the lack of rain or that the rain comes late, and the irrigation system can serve only 40% of the total land. In Takeo and Kompong Chhnang, 80% of the farmers own rice fields smaller than one hectare per family.

“The executive director of the Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific [“- Empowering People for Change -”] Ms. Sarojini Rengam, said during the World Food Day on 16 October 2008 that this was a message to show the people’s strategies to solve the food crisis. This anniversary builds up public understanding about major factors that result in food crisis [chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides], and it acts to increase the people’s voice against new policies and their effects.

“A farmer, Bouen Sophal, who is the community representative of Dang Tung district of Kampot, who also attended this anniversary celebration, reported that some farmers in Kampot face difficulties to buy chemical fertilizer from Vietnam which is expensive. After the paddy rice is cultivated, the paddy rice is sold, but it is not enough just to repay the money for the chemical fertilizer. Farmers buy chemical fertilizer from different companies and merchants, and most of them borrow money from other people or are in dept, and after they sold their paddy rice, what they get is almost insufficient to repay the dept. During each cultivation reason, farmers sell tens of thousands of tonnes of paddy rice to Vietnam. When they run out of paddy rice to eat, they buy rice from Vietnam. Vietnamese rice is expensive and contains lots of chemical substances. This seriously affects their health. Nowadays, the farmers’ community at Dang Tung have organized a cooperative and have created twenty paddy rice banks to help any farmer who lacks food during the latter part of the rainy season, to rescue them from not being able to have food.

“Dr. Koma called on the government to expand more social cultivating concession land, rather than expanding economic concessions, to encourage farmers not to continue to sell their rice fields, to expand more community markets to facilitate the sale of the farmers’ products, and to increase and enlarge the farmers’ ability to produce and to keep seeds at their communities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 18 October 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1771, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen Rejects the Intention to Send the Border Dispute Problem to the [24-25 October 2008] Asia-Europe Meeting [in Beijing, China]
  • In Five to Ten Years, Phnom Penh Will Have Grown [from 375] to 758 Square Kilometers [according to the Phnom Penh governor Mr. Kep Chuktema]
  • The UN Secretary General Calls on the World to Response to Starvation and Poverty


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #266, 18.10.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: I Still Hope that the Sam Rainsy Party Will Receive Positions in the National Assembly Commissions

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #120, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Situation Turns Normal and Cambodia Continues to Be Patient to Solve the Problem Peacefully, Not Needing an Intervention from Other Countries
  • The Cambodian Government [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Reacts against the Bangkok Post of Siam [Thailand] Which Made a Publication with No Basis in Reality [Cambodia Is accused of setting new mines]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Continues to Detain Ieng Sary [a former Khmer Rouge leader] until the Day of His Trial

Note:

Actually, the Cambodian chargé d’affaires at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok was given a document – an aide mémoire – with the request to respond after the Cambodian government would have compared notes – it is no an accusation against the Cambodian authorities, but a request “to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines” – describing also in detail some of the background for this request being presented in this way.

The following is quoted from the Bangkok Post:

“The Thai government viewed this incident [in which two Thai soldiers stepped on mines and lost limbs] with great alarm, as it indicated a violation of the 1997 Ottawa Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines as well as a threat to international peace,” said the deputy director-general of the Information Department, Thani Tongpakdi.

“The Thai Mines Action Centre and other non-governmental organisations found the PMN2-type mines at Phu Ma Khua…

“The mines that were retrieved by the team also appear to be newly-planted as no rust was found on them,” said Mr Thani.

“The government wants Cambodian authorities to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines.”

“The Phnom Penh government submitted a report to the United Nations secretary-general in 2002 noting that 240 PMN2-type landmines from a total of 3,405 were transferred from its Interior Ministry to the Cambodian Mine Action Center for development and training.

“Thailand would like the Cambodian government to verify where the remaining mines are.”


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6476, 18-19.10.2008

  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign of Cambodia: Unilateral Mine Clearing [by Thailand at Veal Intry] Is a Violation
  • The Budget for the Military Will Be Increased during This Fourth Term, the National Assembly Plans to Permit Samdech Hun Sen to Use Expenditures for the Military
  • Fuel Prices in New York – US$69.85 – and in London – US$66.32 – Drop to Almost the Price Level before the Increases
  • A Fax from Samdech Euv [the Father King] to the Minister of the Royal Palace Samdech Kong Som Ol [to grant US$1,000 to the wives or families of the compatriots who died because of the confrontation with Thailand, or who die from accidents at the Preah Vihear Temple, the Ta Moan Temple, and the Ta Krabei Temple; for those who are injured, US$500 will be provided]
  • Old Mother [78] and [57] Daughter Were Robbed and Killed Cruelly [with a cleaver and an ax – the robbers are not yet identified – Koh Soutin, Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3591, 18.10.2008

  • Khieu Kanharith Criticizes a Siamese Parliamentarian [Sukhumbhand Paripatra – สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร – Member of Parliament with the Democrat Party; former Deputy Foreign Minister] Who Made the Accusation that There Might Be Forces of a Third Country Coming to Cambodia
  • International Community Expresses Concern over the Khmer-Siamese Border Dispute that Could Lead to Serious Armed Conflict [China, Malaysia, Singapore, the European Union, and the United States of America request Cambodian and Thailand to solve the dispute peacefully]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

  • World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food
  • Thai Army Commander-in-Chief [Anupong Paochinda] Tells the Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] to Resign


Have a look at the last editorial: If the alternative is peace or war, the option can only be peace.

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Monday, 8.9.2008: Inflation Affects the Livelihood of the Poor

Posted on 9 September 2008. Filed under: Week 577 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 577

“Phnom Penh: While the price of fuel increases, everything increases also, but when thr price of fuel in the world declines much, the prices of goods in Cambodia do not seem to go down, affecting the livelihood of the citizens, especially of the poor. High ranking officials of the National Bank of Cambodia have recognized signs of inflation in Cambodia.

“According to a report of the first six months of 2008, issued by the National Bank of Cambodia, inflation in Cambodia increased to 37.2%, which seriously affects the everyday life of the citizens.

“Mr. Chea Chanto, the governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, said that the major issue is the remarkably rising inflation during the early part of 2008. There was increasing inflation, because Cambodia faced the world economic situation which was bleak, and this resulted from a combinatiion of factors, such as the turmoil in the financial and credit markets of industrialized countries, as well as the rising prices of fuel and of food worldwide, particularly the increase of the price of rice.

“It is not known whether what is mentioned here is appropriate or not, but according to observations at the markets in Cambodia, it seems to be almost a habit that when prices of all types of goods increase, they later hardly decline, and if there is a decline, it is small.

“The price of fuel rose dramatically in the world from US$100 to US$147 per barrel in July 2008, and in August, the price of fuel in Cambodia increased also considerably to Riel 5,650 [approx. US$1.40] per liter. However, when prices of fuel in the world declined to US$112 (a US$35 drop), fuel prices in Cambodia declined to Riel 5,400 [approx. US$1.33] only, which seems not to be equivalent to the world influence.

“As for the prices of goods at the markets in Cambodia, they do not decline much, making people to say that when prices rise, they later hardly decline. Prices of goods seem to remain stable – Somaly rice costs Riel 4,000 [approx. US$0.99]/kg, Phka Malis rice Riel 3,100 [approx. US$0.77]/kg, Neang Menh Riel 2,500 [approx. US$0.62]/kg, pork Riel 20,000 [approx. US$4.95]/kg, beef Riel 23,000 [approx. US$5.68]/kg, chicken Riel 18,000 [approx. US$4.45], fresh pike fish Riel 15,000 [approx. US$3.70]/kg, dry salty pile fish Riel 32,000 [approx. US$7.90]/kg, and sugar Riel 2,200 [approx. US$0.54]/kg.

“Now, not only the prices of goods of daily consumption increase, but also the prices for bicycle and motorbike parking at different markets increased also.

“Ms. Srey Sitha, 49, whose husband is a civil servant with a salary of Riel 200,000 [approx. US$49.43], has four children. She was carrying a basket and went with not much hope to do the shopping. She said that she lives in Boeng Salang and was heading to the Phsar Deumkor Market to do the shopping. Before, she spent only Riel 5,000 [approx. US$1.24] when she did the shopping, but now, although having Riel 20,000 to Riel 30,000 [approx. US$7.41], she could not manage to buy delicious food.

“She added that according to her husband’s salary, more than Riel 6,000 [approx. US$1.48] can be spent per day, and as for her, the state offers her [a dependent’s allowance of] Riel 6,000 per month (before it had been Riel 3,000); how can the money be managed? At least Riel 40,000 [approx. US$9.89] to Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.36] is needed to be spent per day (Riel 20,000 for food, Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.47] for fuel for her children’s and her husband’s motorbikes, and Riel 10,000 for her children for additional tutoring classes) – and this does not yet include rice for breakfast.

“A teacher of a high school in Phnom Penh, who uses his free time to work as a moto taxi driver, said that his salary is Riel 300,000 [approx. US$74,15], but it is not enough for his family, because even calculating the amount of fuel and of rice for breakfast, already Riel 10,000 is gone. If he would not drive a moto taxi to earn more money, how could the life of the family be supported? He added a Khmer saying, ‘The teacher has a good wife, but when he is poor, she complains’ [mocking the teaching profession, known to receive low salaries]. ‘I don’t know whether my students want to follow me to become a teacher who is poor like this.’

“As for workers, they complain similarly. Srey Oun, 29, from Kompong Thom, works in a factory in Tuek Thla, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh. She earns between US$60 and US$70 per month, and she complained that everyday, she works like a slave of the Chinese owner, and she does not know clearly whom her work feeds more [her or her boss]. She earns US$60, out of which US$10 is paid for the rent where she stays, US$5 for utilities, US$20 per month for her meals, US$1 for rice as breakfast – corresponding to US$30 per month – and US$10 for traveling to visit her hometown every month. So there is no money left to feed herself and her parents. She said, ‘I do not want to work in the factory very much, but if I stay at home, there is nothing to do, so I just bear it until I die.’

“A retired civil servant said that if one considers the prices of goods at the current markets, there is only suffering; for him, like for other civil servants, if he would not work hard to find part-time jobs, he could not expect to survive; his stomach will shrink and the whole family will die. At present, approximately 34% of the citizens earn less than US$1 per day. However, the number of officials of the government increases, and they are wasting the state’s resoources, because too many positions and roles have been created.

“Mr. Kouy Sarun showed the gap between the rich and the poor through a poem, ‘The rich is rich with much wealth, while the poor lacks everything forever; the rich buy beef for their dogs, while the farmers who feed the cows eat Prahok.’ [preserved fish]” Amnach Reas, Vol.1, #21, 8-14.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 8 September 2008


Amnach Reas [the title is written in Khmer, then in Roman letters trascribed, and then in English translation: The

    People’s Power], Vol.1, #21, 8-14.9.2008
    Inflation Affects the Livelihood of the Poor


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1740, 7-8.9.2008

  • [Cambodian National Research Organization director] Dr. Heang Rithy: If Sam Rainsy Wants to Protest [against election results], He Should Not Be Stupid Like This [but he has to create a clear policy plan for the elections]
  • Man, Who Loses Court Case [over land issue], Is Ordered by Court to Unearth His Wife’s Body from the Tomb [located on the contestedland – Baribour, Kampong Chhnang]
  • Makeshift Truck Sets Off Anti-Tank Mine, Killing Five People in Koun Kriel Commune [Samraong, Oddar Meanchey on 5 September 2008]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #239, 7-9.9.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Son Chhay: Cambodia Might Have a New Revolution if the Cambodian People’s Party Does Not Reform the Leadership System Following Democratic Principles
  • Illegal Logging Continues Seriously in Ratanakiri


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #93, 7-8.9.2008

  • Trees in Oral Mountain Are Illegally Cut in Great Numbers [Kompong Speu]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #64, .9.2008

  • Are Neighbor’s Acts Good or Bad? At the Cham Yeam Border Crossing [in Koh Kong], Siamese [Thai border protection officials] Have Dogs Sniff Khmers from Head to Foot [checking for drugs]; at the Choam Border Crossing [in Oddar Meanchey], the Palms of Their Hands and All Ten Fingers Have to Be Fingerprinted [by the Thai immigration police] before they allowed Cambodians to enter Thailand]
  • Oral District Military Police Burned [illegal] Sawmill in the Jungle [5 September 2008 – Kompong Speu]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4688, 7-8.9.2008

  • A Bodyguard’s Gun Went Off by Itself, Killing a [27-year-old] Woman; He Was Released by the Police, but Not Sent to Court [Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • Approximately 450 to 500 Dogs Are Needed for Dog Meat Restaurants saain Phnom Penh per Day [according to a Municipal veterinary]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – how to evaluate them: which realities do they really represent?

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Thursday, 24.7.2008: Develop Jobs and Provide Vocational Training to Reduce Poverty

Posted on 25 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Phnom Penh: In order to help the citizens from poverty, strategies of the government have to emphasize the provision of jobs which promote productivity and increase family income – this means that jobs and work are important ways to free the citizens from poverty.

“During the third terms (2003 to 2007) of the Cambodian government led by Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, work and vocational training have significantly contributed to develop the national economy and to alleviate poverty of the citizens.

“The labor market is very broad and complicated, covering from work at small villages to work at big enterprises, with workers of different races. Nowadays, Cambodia’s main labor force reserve is in rural areas, so we should not overlook the need of our citizens who need the most basic and simple skills to improve the livelihood of their families.

“According to a report of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, in 2004, the agricultural sector used up to 60% of the total labor force, but this sector contributed only 32% to the GDP. This showed that agricultural productivity was still low, so that citizens working in this sector earned low incomes.

“Mr. Chea Sophoan, secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said recently in an intervention during a national conference about the improvement of the life of citizens through different accomplishments – implementing the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government from 2004 to 2007 – that as a result of training and other activities, the number of trainees in the technical and in the vocational sectors increased steadily, in 2005 there were 27,894; in 2006 there were 47,987; and in 2007 there were 88,367.

“In 2006, the number of students studying for university degrees was 94,310, where 92% studied skills related to the service sector, 5% studied related to the industrial sector, and 3% studied agriculture. As for students who studied in vocational technical schools (for ‘associate degrees’), the number was 16,912, equal to only 15%. So the supply of new members of the labor force did not responded to the needs of the labor market.

“At the same time when addressing problems in the agricultural sector, as seen above, also the garment sector faces problems.

“At the time when Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization [January 2007], quota for the export of garments came to an end.

“Barriers put up by the United States and by the European Community against garment imports from the People’s Republic of China will expire on 1 January 2009.

“The Generalized System of Preferences [GSP – a system under which industrialized countries grant trade preferences to developing countries] of the United States will continue until 2010.

“The economy of the United States is declining.

“The above factors provide the starting point for the competition of the Cambodian garment industry.

“Based on recent studies, the production efficiency is very low – around only 30% to 40% – but Cambodia should have reached the level of 60% to 70%. The increase in productivity is an important factor to bring success in international competition.

“Generally speaking, the quality and the level of education of the labor force are still low. Studies about the labor market show that the development of capacity and of skills of the labor force are an important factor to increase productivity, increase family income, and reduce poverty.

“To find adequate jobs for young people and to provide the labor market with a labor force that has enough capacity and skills requires to develop a realistic vocational and technical education system as a priority that cannot be disregarded.

“It should be noted that previously, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training had set certain policy goals: 1. To provide services for those who seek jobs at private enterprises and institutions, and 2. To contribute to create more jobs, to reduce unemployment, and to increase income.

“It is therefore important to assist in training basic skills for citizens in rural areas. Such training not only helps to improve the livelihood of poor citizens, but it also provides opportunities for them to continually promote their levels of knowledge and skills through training, organized from low to higher levels, and the levels move up steadily. Vocational and technical educational systems are the second provider of an opportunity for young people who had lost the possibility for general studies when they were children in the general education system [from grade 1 to grade 12]. To help change the social situation of poor people is an important factor to gain social stability, and this could also bring harmony into the Kingdom of Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4649, 24.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 July 2008


Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #16, 24-25.7.2008

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Eldest Son [Hun Manet] Was Assigned to a Position in the National Committee on Counter-Terrorism [with the rank of captain, by sub-decree #75, dated 29 January 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1701, 24.7.2008

  • Price of Fuel and Khmer Riel Remain Stable in July 2008 [fuel is Riel 5,750 per liter, and Riel 4,160 is equal to US$1.-]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #205, 24.7.2008

  • The Complaint of Cambodia Is Not Yet Included in the July Agenda of the UN Security Council; Giovanni Boccardi, Chief, World Heritage Committee, Asia/Pacific Unit, Said That They Cannot Intervene in a Border Dispute
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asked the National Assembly [on 22 July 2008] to Consider the Joint Communique between [Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers] Sok An and [former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Nappadon Pattama to Be Invalid
  • Khmer Troops Have Sent Weapons to the Disputed Region to Fight Air Force Planes and to Fight Tanks
  • The Cambodian Confederation of Unions [on 23 July 2008] Called All Taxi Drivers and Bus Companies to Keep Prices of Transportation Normal during the Traveling Period [of workers] to Vote

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #57, 24.7.2008

  • A Very Well-Known Pharmaceutical Company [P.P.M] in Cambodia Calls for the Use of Local Medicines [because most of Cambodian people prefer medicines imported from foreign countries]
  • The UN Considers the Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand as a Hot Agenda


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4649, 24.7.2008

  • Develop Jobs and Provide Vocational Training to Reduce Poverty
  • The UN Will Hold a Meeting on Thursday Morning about the Preah Vihear Dispute
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: Cambodia Takes a High Moral Stand to Solve the Border Issue [by depending on international regulations as policy]
  • An Indian Rice Millionaire [who is a close friend of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan] Has Asked to Buy 100,000 Tonnes of Rice per Year from Banteay Meanchey [according to Ung Ouen, Banteay Meanchey governor]
  • Son Killed Father Using a Sickle to Cut His Throat [because his father often caused domestic violence, Prey Chhor, Kompong Cham]
  • A US General [General Norton Schwartz] Warned Russia about Basing Nuclear Weapons Capable Bombers in Cuba [22 July 2008]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3367, 24.7.2008

  • The Second Negotiation of ASEAN about the Khmer-Siam [Thailand] Disputed Region Failed [23 July 2008]
  • There Are Nearly 90,000 National, International, and Political Observers for the Election [on 27 July 2008]

Click here – and have a look at the last editorial – The Cambodian-Thai border crisis develops while the Khmer public is not aware what the Cambodian government representatives had agreed upon, to get the Preah Vihear Temple listed as a World Heritage Site, on a most narrowly defined piece of land.

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