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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Monday, 19 April 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving – Monday, 29.3.2010

Posted on 30 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The US Ambassador to Cambodia said that the situation of women in Cambodia is improving.

“The US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mrs. Carol Rodley, said so at the US Embassy during an event at the occasion of the International Women of Courage Award on 26 March 2010, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia is improving and there is hope that the future will be good for women.’

Note:

“Washington, 10 March 2010. First lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored women human rights activists from around the world with this year’s Women of Courage awards at a special ceremony 10 March 2010 at the State Department

“The awardees this year are Shukria Asil of Afghanistan, Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan, Androula Henriques of Cyprus, Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran, Ann Njogu of Kenya, Dr. Lee Ae-Ran of South Korea, Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka, Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe.”

Ambassador Rodley has been the recipient of the Department’s Senior Performance Award, the State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Award, the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent, the James Clement Dunn Award for leadership, the Director of Central Intelligence Exceptional Humint Collector Award and an Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. Her foreign languages are Khmer, German, Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi.”

“Regarding the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on some entertainment night clubs, in an attempt to reduce rape and human trafficking, she said, ‘Recently, Cambodia has strengthened law enforcement against human trafficking, against drug smuggling, and against other places prone to crimes in Phnom Penh.’ She added that according to recent law enforcements activities, human trafficking has been found at places suspected to be brothels. When the authorities took legal action, victimized women who were sex workers were, in general, not arrested. In many cases, all victims were sent to rehabilitation centers.

“Ms. Carol Rodley stressed, ‘The important thing is to educate women, so they can change themselves, so that they can get proper jobs.’

“Relating to this case, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, said, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia in health, in their economic possibilities, and in the legal sector has improved.’ She added that the government has created many laws to protect women and their families.

“She went on to say that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs fully supports the policy of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, who had ordered the authorities in all provinces and in the capital city to shut down places operating illegal activities, as this is a problem that affects our Cambodian youth. Violence in society results from ethically problematic and unwelcome activities which happened and have a bad impact on society.

“Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi continued to say that the government had created a National Committee Against Trafficking in Women and Children. This committee focuses on four major fields in order to assist victims who suffer from trafficking and from violence against women: 1. Interception, 2. Conviction, 3. Protection, and 4. Rehabilitation and Integration.

“Also, the government has cooperated with development partners and civil society organizations and has achieved good results. The number of arrested perpetrators increased because of timely and effective interventions from police, which led to more convictions of perpetrators by the courts. The Ministries of Women’s Affairs, of Education, of Information, of Culture and other ministries have joined to publish information about human trafficking, so that citizens at the community level can better submit crime reports in time.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 29 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

  • The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving
  • The First Time a Cambodian Woman Had Been Nominated for the Women of Courage Award by the US Embassy [Ms. Chen Reaksmey, an advisor on information about AIDS, health, and drugs of the Kosang [“to build up”] Organization, who had been addicting to drugs for eight years, was nominated for her hard work to reduce the spread of HIV, drugs, and human trafficking in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Meanchey District Authorities Removed Light Black Plastic Foils from the Windows of 177 Cars within Two Hours [in response to a reminder by the Prime Minister – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #638, 28-29.3.2010

  • Based on [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Speech: Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap Considered as Betraying the Nation?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 29.3.2010

  • A One-Star General Got Angry with the Driver of Remorque-Moto Loaded with Ice, as the Driver Did Not Turn on the Turning Light, and He Shot and Injured the Driver with One Bullet [the general and his bodyguard were arrested – Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3844, 29.3.2010

  • It Is Clearly Criticized that Political Influence Makes the National Assembly of Cambodia Weak and Lose its Independence [according to a report for 2009 and 2010 of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute – Cambodia’s Leading Independent Development Policy Research Institute – presented to the public last week: parliamentarians did not have the possibility to implement their roles independently and effectively, as they have to face the power of the government and of their party, though they know their actual roles well]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #140, 29.3.2010

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized in the Campaign to Intercept Forestry Crimes [the opposition party welcomes this interception going on for over a week, but questions why the government does not take legal action against officials who were involved in those crimes – and just confiscates their wood]
  • The Pheapimex Company of [Ms. Cheung Sopheap and her husband, Senator Lao Meng Khin] Received the Right to Own Two Places and Buildings [the Renakse Hotel in front of the Royal Palace, and now in addition the adjacent plot with the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Thai Red Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Forced the Military to Return to Their Barracks and Some Burned Copies of the Constitution [the situation is getting worse]
  • The Number of People Having Symptoms which Look Like Cholera in Kratie Increased to 134; Six People Died [according to officials of the Health Department of Kratie]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1889, 29.3.2010

  • Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?

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Samdech Dekchor Told a Story about Two Buddhist Elders Who Were Friends – Thursday, 4.2.2010

Posted on 4 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, told a story as a reminder for greedy persons. He told this story while presiding over the graduation ceremony of 1,266 master degree, bachelor degree, or associate degree graduates of the Vanda Institute in the morning of 3 February 2010 at the National Institute of Education [associate degrees are for people who do not have a high school certificates; they cannot earn a bachelor degree, unless they first spend one year to earn an associate degree].

“Samdech Hun Sen told a story about two Buddhist elders who were friends. One was a good person and the other was a bad person who did only evil things. When they died, the good Buddhist elder was born as Indra [the head of angels] and another became a leper. One day, Indra saw his friend, the former evil Buddhist elder, begging. He decided to help him by using his magic powers to make him again a normal person, as requested by his Buddhist elder friend. After he became a normal person, he got angry with a commune chief, for whom he worked, and he asked Indra to make him a commune chief. Then, he got angry with the district governor, and he asked Indra to make him a district governor… until he became a king. One day, Indra invited his friend to visit him at his place. There, he saw that Indra’s place was beautiful, and Indra had many beautiful girls serving him. The former Buddhist elder, who was now already a king, asked Indra to share half of his place with him. Seeing that his friend was greedy, Indra decided to make him again a leper what he had previously been.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered the idea of this story as a symbol of the endless desires of human beings, but he linked it also to those who become officials through the help of their partisans, but not through testing their own ability, and this is a problem about which also the Royal Government must be careful. He added that officials who are endlessly greedy will be demoted to return to their previous positions, or they will even be imprisoned.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered this graduation ceremony as a success of higher education institutions, such as they exist both as state and as private institutions. Such institutions can measure the capacity and the quality of the students’ knowledge and of the institutional education, based on the large number of students who graduated and get jobs in society. This can be considered a success in education, especially for those graduates who can create their own jobs; moreover, they have the ability to create jobs also for other citizens.

“The director of the Vanda Institute, Mr. Heng Vanda, said that besides the graduates here, 8,122 students are earning accounting and audit degrees. By now, there have been 3,845 students who have graduated [from his institute]. He added that by 2010, the institute has already constructed five buildings with 5 stories and 79 rooms on a piece of land of 3,000 square meters, and they plan to build a 7-story building with 77 rooms on another piece of land of 1,200 square meters next to the old main building.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5117, 4.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 4 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1430, 4-5.2.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Starts Collecting Land and House Taxes in 2010, though the Ownership of some Land Is Contested or the Land is Left Unused

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #404, 4.2.2010

  • Officials Said that Income from Tourism in 2009 Amounted US$1,560 Million [it declined by 1% compared to 2008]
  • The European Union Gives Euro 2 Million More for Cambodian Food Security [by 2010, the total fund is Euro 5.3 Million, approx. US$7.4 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2168, 4.2.2010

  • A Former American Teacher Was Sentenced to Serve Six Months in Prison and then Willa Be Expelled from Cambodia [for debauchery with three underage girls – Phnom Penh]
  • Obama Maintains a Firm Position to Meet with the Dalai Lama though China Warned against such a Meeting

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6875, 4.2.2010

  • Bird Flu [H5N1] Is Spreading and Killed Tens of Thousands of Ducks in Koh Andaet District [in Takeo]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #104, 4.2.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Warned that Nobody Should Nominate Relatives and Partisans as Officials
  • 250,000 Children [between the ages of 12 and 17] Are Suffering from Labor Exploitation [in agricultural and industrial sectors, and in other sectors; according to an estimate by the Ministry of Interior]
  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Began to Demonstrate against the Thai Government.

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5117, 4.2.2010

  • While Parents Were Busy Helping to Take a Woman to Hospital, Their Three Children Drowned and Died [Pursat]
  • Samdech Dekchor Told a Story about Two Buddhist Elders Who Were Friends

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1869, 4.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Warned that if Siam Dares to Invade, Cambodia Will Fight Back

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Building Confidence Requires Transparent Application of the Law – Sunday, 10.1.2010

Posted on 11 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

Drafts for an anti-corruption law have been under consideration since 14 years, but now a draft was finalized by the Council of Ministers in December and sent to the National Assembly. The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers had declared – in response to expressed public interest its content – that it is still secret until it reaches the National Assembly.

This did not prevent him to disclose what we reported in the Mirror in our New Year’s comment:

The only details of the anti-corruption law that have been made public on Friday is the fact that the staff of NGOs are required to disclose their personal assets. Under the law, NGO workers are defined as public servants, and side-by-side with officials who are paid by the government, they must disclose their assets. ‘It is an obligation to do so, if you don’t do it, you are jailed,’ Mr. Phay Siphan is quoted to have said.

A New Year’s surprise is the news that – though the draft sent in December must have reached the National Assembly by now – it will not be debated until April at the earliest. The promise, that this draft will be made public after sending it to the National Assembly, is now added to the long list of not kept promises which led do the past delays.

And it has to be remembered that in the past, drafts of laws were available for public consideration during the often long processes of their preparation. Why not also now?

Such delays give only rise to rumors and speculations. For example, one voice claimed to know that the requirement to disclose personal assets will not apply to every low level public servant at the local level, but only to those elected into public functions, or higher level public servants appointed by sub-decree and decree. But as the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers said that also NGO workers will be considered to be public servants required to disclose their personal assets – at which level will this apply?

Whatever the reason for this promise of disclosure after transmission to the National Assembly not fulfilled, it does not build trust among the public.

A state of law is a situation where everybody – both law enforcement and the citizens – know the rules and what can be expected. The rule of law does not have much flexibility – like to apply or not to apply the law under specific circumstances. It is not a question of convenience when to apply it, or on whom not to apply it. Trust in the rule of law – trust that justice will prevail in society – is based on the confidence that the law is applied equally on every person, without any difference of social status of economic power.

This week brought some complex problems to the public.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia were established, after long and complicated negotiations between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, as an independent court to clarify what had happened during a clearly defined and limited time of the Khmer Rouge regime, and to find justice for crimes committed.

After similar warnings by the Prime Minister, now the President of the Senate and of the Cambodian Peoples Party stated that he is concerned that war might break out, if more than the five people presently facing the court would be indicted. This gives not only the impression that highest level leaders of the state do not have confidence that the law enforcement agents, the courts and the police, and in addition other armed elements of the state are able to control and maintain public order. It raises the question whether the decision to establish the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as an independent court, by agreement with the United Nations, is valid or can be conveniently be revoked.

Of course legal agreements can be revoked – with good reasons when they do not serve justice: the Mondolkiri provincial authorities canceled the concessions of 50 companies that did not do for what they had been contracted.

The removal of markers at the border with Vietnam by the president of the Sam Rainsy Party – in response to claims by Cambodian farmers that these border markers cut them off from some of their farming land – leads almost day-by-day to new levels of conflict. He committed what he says was a symbolic act to point to the loss of land. A court and leaders of the government point out that this was – whatever the motivation behind – an illegal act for which the courts find a response based on the law. The fact that most recently Mr. Sam Rainsy is quoted with a statement that he will agree to let the court convict him, if the arrested farmers are released and their land is returned, offers a deal. But as in the case of suggested restrictions on the independence of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, it is not easy to see how a deal could be made, which would allow the course of the law to be deviated. Present appeals to the King, asking for his intervention, do not show how this could legally happen; a Royal Pardon can be contemplated only after somebody is convicted.

The disclosures by publicly known persons, children in their twenties of high ranking parents, about the tremendous wealth at their disposal – a residence of US$500,000 and another residence of US$200,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares – Porsches, Bentleys and Humvees, and a US$500,000 Mercedes McLaren SLR – automatic assault rifles, Glock pistols and a sniper’s rifle – provide an interesting field for the new anti-corruption law, once it is in place – plus the question whether all these weapons are legally licensed, and on what grounds. There were, over time, repeated shooting incidents reportedly by children of high ranking parents, who used firearms, but not for self-defense or protection against violence.

Will there be questions by some agencies – nothing is know yet – to investigate how such riches could be collected, while the modest salaries of the parents are known and cannot account for such extreme wealth. One of the children interviewed said: “Your parents give you all these things. You can’t say no. If someone gives you cake, you eat it.” A anti-corruption commission will not be satisfied with such an answer.

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The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom – Monday, 4.1.2010

Posted on 5 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“A son of a high ranking military officer of the Cambodian government told a foreign newspaper that corruption in Cambodia occurs at present at every section of the society from top to bottom. An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewed a youth whose name is Meas Sophearith, a son of Four-Star-General Meas Sophea, a deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Army of Cambodia, regarding his view about corruption in the Cambodian society.

“According to an article in this newspaper, written by Mr. Andrew Marshall, the young Meas Sophearith, who is studying political science at the University in Alabama in the United States, who has also a place for military studies at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, a son of Mr. Meas Sophea, was quoted as criticizing the present corruption in Cambodian society, saying that corruption exists from top to bottom.

“According to the same source, Meas Sophearith described the situation of corruption in the Cambodian society nowadays, saying that most leaders are corrupt.

“Also, a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia was quoted, to have said for publication in the paper, that a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia owns a most expensive car priced at US$500,000 a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

“Besides the publication about the description of corruption by the young Meas Sophearith, another young man, Ouch Vichet, called Richard, 28, who used to study in New Zealand, spoke in the Australian newspaper about the present show-off culture among the children of the powerful and of the rich in Cambodia.

“The young Vichet was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that if anybody want that the others pay respect, they have to own luxuries and expensive cars, big diamonds, and expensive mobile phones. This young man added that his parents provided him with a residence of US$500,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares as his inheritance, while his parents-in-law gave him US$100,000 and another residence of US$200,000.

“The abundant wealth of high ranking officials, noticed by foreign observers as well as international journalists, where they compete with each other, showing off their luxury cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, helps to form the stereotypes of rich and high ranking officials of present day Cambodia.

“Mr. Andrew Marshall wrote in that Australian newspaper about Ouch Vichet, who said that people of his parents’ generation always kept money under their mattresses, but the children of the next generation keep money in safes in their houses.

“He said they usually keep a lot of money in safes at home, because they do not trust the banks, believing that if they keep their money in the banks, it will be known how much money their families have.

[…]

“The Tuol Kork area of Phnom Penh is compared to the Beverly Hills area of Hollywood in the United States, where there are, in Phnom Penh, many modern residences of high ranking officials, including of children of the prime minister, surrounded by high and sharp razor wire fencing.

“The same paper wrote that the residence of young Meas Sophearith, a son of General Meas Sophea, is carefully guarded by special forces soldiers.

“The young Meas Sophearith as well as Ouch Vichet, a businessman, who haves relations with the powerful and the rich of the country, are among the three sources that Mr. Andrew Marshall relied on for the article ‘Khmer Riche.’ The third person, Sophy, a child of a Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Mr. Hun Sen, is another source that Mr. Andrew Marshall depended upon to write about the showing off of luxury livelihood of children of high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia, while millions of Khmer common citizens live under the poverty line, though hundreds of millions of dollars of aid have been provided each year.

“The young Meas Sophearith told the Australian newspaper that he has a plan to create a foundation to help children of the poor to have a chance to study abroad, like the children of the powerful and of the rich. However, he stressed that they have to wait until their parents grow old.

[…]

“The young Meas Sophearith is not the only person who wants to see changes from what happens at present, but needs to wait until their parents grow old, or people from the old generation retire. Whether he can fulfill his intention to create a foundation to help the poor or not is another problem. [The original source is quoted here.]

[…]

“The account by a son of a high ranking official about corruption, which occurs from top to bottom, and by Mr. Ouch Vichet about how money is normally kept by high ranking officials and by the rich, is another source of information related to the question why the government is very late in adopting an anti-corruption law.

“Corruption is recognized, and the wealth of the high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia are kept in the safes at their houses, rather than at local and foreign banks. Therefore, can an anti-corruption law be adopted and can it be efficient to uncover the faces of corrupt officials, or expropriate wealth stolen from the nation, to become money to benefits the nation?”
[…]Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #376-278, 1-4.1.2010

  • [The Cambodian] Ambassador in Thailand Called the Editor of the The Nation Stupid [after the newspaper’s editor criticized the Cambodian Prime Minister in an article Hun Sen’s Vanity is a Danger to Regional Solidarity published on 29 December 2009, which said, “Hun Sen should know for a fact that the person who is really capable of toppling him is his recently appointed economic adviser – Thaksin Shinawatra. In the early 1990s, everybody knew that Thaksin, as a business tycoon, was involved in a short-lived plot to dislodge Hun Sen because of a conflict of interest over mobile telephone contracts.”]
  • During the Whole Year [of 2009] Cambodia Implemented 1,191 Projects to Develop the Country [reference is to cooperation with development partners like the UN, the EU, Japan, etc.]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2139-2141, 1-4.1.2010

  • The National Election Committee Published the Results of the Election Name List Checking in 2009 [there were 8,331,906 voters listed]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Vowed to Vigorously Protect the Throne [after the King promoted him to the rank of a five-star-general]
  • A Thai Army Commander Confirmed in Front of the Cambodian Army Commander to Let the Border Issues Be Solved by Both Countries’ Governments

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom
  • [The Opposition Party parliamentarian] Mr. Sam Rainsy: Those Who Were Behind the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1999 Are Those Who Are at Present Controlling the Power

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6846-6848, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Welcome for the Universal New Year 2010 in Cambodia This Year Was Different from the Previous Year as It Was Celebrated by More People in More Places [in Cambodia]
  • The [Svay Rieng] Municipal Court Dropped Questioning Three Suspects over the Removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [they are no longer under arrest]
  • In 2009 There Were 44 Fires in Phnom Penh Which Killed 2 People
  • Seventy Six Journalists Were Murdered in 2009 [compared to 2008, when 60 were murdered worldwide, according to the Reporters without Borders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #80-81, 1-4.1.2010

  • A Military Chief Who Was Involved in Illegal Wood Transport Was Released [by just paying a fine of US$1,500; he had been arrested for blocking the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports – Battambang]
  • The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Starts Operations Today [1 January 2010] – What Will Cambodia Get?
  • The Court Ordered the Arrest of Three More Citizens over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers in Svay Rieng
  • Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia Increased by 2% in 2009 [to 2.18 million, while in 2008, there were 2.12 million]

Note:

The China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.

“The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of traded goods is expected to extend between China and four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.” [Source]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5088-5090, 1-4.1.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Rejected to Enter Politics but Wants to Serve the Nation More [he said he could serve as a diplomat, as an adviser to the prime minister, as a lecturer on law, or related to cultural affairs]
  • An Old Man [69 years old] Raped Three Girls [10, 11, and 14 years old sisters] – He Was Arrested by Military Police to Be Sent to Court [Battambang]
  • Forty Two Packages of Heroin Worth Half a Million Dollar Were Seized [in Phnom Penh, but the ring leader of the smugglers is not yet found; Cambodia was removed from a drug black list of the international community]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1846, 1.2.1.2010

  • Mr. Rong Chhun Was Elected [again] as President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association

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Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women” – Saturday, 7.3.2009

Posted on 11 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, drew the attention of the participants in the Women’s Day 8 March celebration, in the morning of 6 March 2009 at the Chaktomuk conference hall, to the different problems faced by women, by looking at the apparent conditions of women.

“Samdech said that when speaking of the investments for women, this does not refer to the small budget of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs [the full website of the Ministry – http://www.mwva.gov.kh – was not available at the time of the writing]. This means that investments in society include, as a part of such investments also a part for the benefit for women, because every achievement, such as most roads, schools, hospitals, and professional training centers provide advantages also for women. But there are other, separate measures and investments for women, such as legal protection and education for women, for which special investments are needed. Investments for women are also investment for the whole society. To say it simply: to help women is to help ourselves.

“Samdech Hun Sen noticed that recently, Cambodian social morality dropped dramatically and needs urgent actions to be restored and improved, where one action taken by the Cambodian government that is welcomed by women is the closure of gambling sites, as this leads to reduce domestic violence. Some other challenging problems for women is that the number of boys receiving education is higher than that of girls at the high school level of education and at the next higher level of education; the rate of girls dropping out from school is still high, many women are illiterate or have limited access to education, women still encounter obstacles in accessing health care, big gaps between the income of women and men still exist, few women participate in politics in the Royal Government or in private institutions. In addition, actions taken to punish sexual abuses, trafficking of women and children, actions against women’s exploitation and domestic violence are still limited.

“Samdech Dekchor considers these problems to be major concerns of the Royal Government and of all of us, which need to be solved in time.

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen instructed all relevant ministries to strengthen law enforcement, especially the laws to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, to prevent domestic violence, and to protect victims. This work needs urgent decisions, because recently, there were rapes together with cruel murders in some provinces and cities, where the relevant ministers and the local authorities must strengthen law enforcement, and they have the obligation to prevent and to eliminate the culture of violence, particularly violence against women and children, more efficiently, in order to implement the policies of the Royal Government, which is committed to protect the rights and benefits of the citizens and to promote their health and that of the whole society.

“During that occasion, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen fully supported the policies, strategies, and programs of the third term Neary Ratanak program of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the strategic plan for gender mainstreaming at all relevant ministries and institutions, to encourage the equal participation of women in politics with potential, effectiveness, equity, and justice.

Note:

The program Neary Ratanak – Women are precious jewels was initiated by Ms. Mu Sochua, while she was Minister of Women’s Affairs (1998-2004), as a program to promote gender equality. An old Cambodian proverb says, “Man are gold; women are a piece of cloth [if it gets stained, it can never be cleaned” – this is to be changed to “Men are gold. Women are precious jewels.”

“The present Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, presented the Third Neary Ratanak program as a five-year strategic plan, which includes: 1. Strategic plan to enhance women’s confidence to participate in the economy, to promote women to make decisions towards good governance, and to change social attitudes and behaviors, to combat violence against women, to reduce maternal mortality, and to promote the health of girls and women. 2. To monitor and report gender distribution in national policies. 3. To monitor and observe the development of gender indicators to be included in policy processes and in national programs, and in different sectors.

“During this year’s 8 March, the United Nations chose a topic about the equality between women and men, responsible for social work including taking care of those who contracted AIDS [actually, the UN slogan for the International Women’s Day for 2009 is Unite to End Violence against Women]. As for Cambodia, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs decided to choose a different topic: Women Involved in Developing Economy and Society.

Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi added that choosing this topic aims to strengthen the participation of women dedicated in 2009 toward the promotion of women’s involvement in the economy and in social task, where women cooperate actively, a key factor affecting the improvement of living conditions, general well being, the status of women, their roles, and the reduction of all types of discrimination against women, which leads to domestic violence, as well as efforts to change social attitudes, to improve social morality, women’s value, and the Khmer family structure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #133, 7.3.2009

  • The Government Warns It Will Revoke the Operational License of Daily Lotteries If They Are Not Obeying the Law
  • The Prime Minister Suggests to Organize Classical and Traditional Song Contests while Some Television Stations Almost Forgot Them
  • America Warns It Will Shoot Down North Korean Missiles

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #359, 7.3.2009

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian]: If There Had Not Been Struggles to Fight the Yuon [Vietnamese] Troops Which Had Invaded Cambodia [to topple the Khmer Rouge regime], There Would Not Have Been a Paris Peace Agreement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1891, 7.3.2009

  • Conference [at the Ministry of Interior]: Police Found That in One Year [2008], There Were More Than 10,000 People Jailed
  • A Customs Official Was Shoot with Many Bullets while He Was Sitting in a Park, Waiting for His Lover [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3705, 7.3.2009

  • The Plan to Abolish the National Congress [by Prime Minister Hun Sen], though It Is Defined in the Constitution, Leads to Criticism that It Is an Act of Elimination of Democracy

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women”
  • Women from Civil Society: Participation of Women in the Society Is Improving
  • Siem Reap Military Police Commander’s Daughter Is Kidnapped during the Day [kidnappers wanted the police to release one of their member who was arrested during the operation, in exchange for the release of the girl – there is no information about money paid]
  • Foreign Investment in Cambodia Is Worth US$11.47 Billion
  • Prison Officials Want Their Salaries to Be Raised and Their Rank Signs to Be Like Those of the Police
  • Thai Investors [from fifteen companies] Seek Markets to Sell Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Cambodia]

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

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