The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award – Tuesday, 8.6.2010

Posted on 9 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The judges of the international award of the Stockholm International Water Institute [‘The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is an independent policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis’] recently decided to give the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. The ceremony to deliver the award will be held in early September 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the third world-class award that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has won.

“The announcement about the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority receiving the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 shows what the judges for this award of the Stockholm International Water Institute assessed and wrote about the qualifications of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of four rivers arms that serve as an endless water source. But because the country had suffered from chronic civil war for decades, the water supply system became obsolete, and the supply of water did not start to improve before the 1990ies.

“In 1993, Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed by the government as the General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Department, and his team led officials and employees to do some basic work, like to totally repair the water supply system. He also initiated the creation of a new highly effective administrative system to issue invoices and receipts for payments. He also initiated international standard procedures to supply clean water to all residents of Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is successful in fighting corruption and has shown the world that the fight against corruption can be successful in a developing country through the use of simple but effective leadership, based on policies and commercial strategies that are recognized worldwide. At present, as an autonomous unit, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is supplying water 24 hours a day to 90% of Phnom Penh, which has about 1.3 million citizens, and effectively controls its revenue and expenses. In the meantime, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority continues to further develop the clean water supply system and to strengthens the internal control of the unit.

“Since 1998, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has set up a totally new supply system. The quantity of water lost as the result of broken and leaking pipes dropped from 72% in 1993 to only 6% in 2008, which is a very small quantity compared to that of other modern countries in the world. Nowadays, the collection of water bills recovers over 98% of the invoiced charges, which allows the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to get the necessary money back to cover its operational costs. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority reaches world standards due to its leading water supply system.

“The judges of the Stockholm International Water Institute added that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is strongly committed to act responsibly in social and environmental fields, showing to other developing countries that not only big countries can have regular access to clean water. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is a good model for all water supply institutions to improve their operations and to step up their care to provide good services to their clients. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has made effort to improve also the sanitation system in Phnom Penh, and the company is ready to be listed at the stock exchange in late 2010 [if it really starts to operate by that time].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan, appointed by the Royal government as General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, said during the conference, where the award of the Stockholm Water Industry Award was announced on 7 June 2009, that the judges for the provision of the international award to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority recognized the supply of water in Phnom Penh as having international standard quality. The duty of the unit is to continue to supply clean water for the sake of public health in large quantities any time, and this with cheap prices. The price of water in Phnom Penh is cheapest in the region. The unit could reach the above mentioned achievement because Samdech Akkak Moho Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen had chosen a leader who has the ability to identify many priorities, such as the use of loans, who can also encourage all consumers to pay their bills. Also the former Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Chea Sophara, who had worked with the Asian Development Bank and with the understanding from the Minister of Industry not to interfere into the autonomy of this unit, had enormously contributed to the present success, as well as the help from the current municipal governor. In addition, there is collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and other institutions that provided loans, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Agence Française de Développement [AFD], and the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan said about the award, ‘We did not request this award. Others decided it. There were 64 requests from different institutions for the award in 2010, but only one was selected.’ The Stockholm International Award was established in 2000. This award is considered to be a world-class water award, created to encourage the supply of clean water for public well being. It is a great award for the field of clean water supply. The award will be delivered at a building that had also been used to deliver the Nobel Prizes, and the Swedish King will deliver it. In the past, the award was delivered to clean water institutions in the following countries:

  • 2000 to England
  • 2001 to Mexico
  • 2002 to Norway
  • 2003 to Canada
  • 2004 to India
  • 2005 to the United States of America
  • 2006 to Australia
  • 2007 to Singapore
  • 2008 again to the United States of America
  • 2009 again to Canada, and
  • 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority of Cambodia

Most of the countries that won this award in the past are modern developed countries.

“It should be noted that the award won by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is the third world-class award for this unit: it had also received other awards, a first award in 2004 and a second award in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #498, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Will Take Strict Measures against Anybody Engaged in Football Betting [as the FIFA World Cup will start on 11 June 2010]
  • The United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] Called on Donors to Provide Aid for the Care of Cambodian Women and Girls [it is estimated that each day, at least five Cambodian women die while delivering babies, because of the lack of health services and medical facilities]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2269, 8.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The High Price of Capital in Commercial Operations Is a Challenge for Our Competitiveness [he said so during the World Economic Forum on East Asia]
  • The Authorities Asked for a Delay for One More Month from Citizens Whose Houses Were Burnt Down [on 8 March 2010 in the Boeng Kak II commune, Phnom Penh] before Relocating Them to a New Area [they live in temporary shelters, and the authorities are preventing those who wanted to reconstruct their housing from doing so]
  • 7,004 Hectares of Agro-Industrial Crops Were Totally Destroyed [by a tropical storm] in the Koulen District [Preah Vihear]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #676, 8.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Plan to Quietly Go to Visit and Monitor Border Markers at the Borders with Yuon [Vietnam and with Thailand; without informing the authorities – according to the Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6976, 8.6.2010

  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party That Had Frictions, Signed to Create an Alliance with Each Other
  • Disastrous Storm Made 23 Houses Collapse in the Thmor Koul District [of Battambang], and Lightnings Killed Two Persons in the Bakan District [of Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3900, 8.6.2010

  • Poor Citizens [from 80 families in the Boeng Kak II commune, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh] Victimized by Fire [that bunt down their houses on 8 March 2010] next to Wat Neakavon Protested [in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality] against their Evictions and Asked for in-Place Development

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #188, 8.6.2010

  • The Donors Pledged to Provide Development Aid of Up to US$2.8 Billion for Three Years [from 2010 to 2012]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award
  • The Tax Income of May 2010 Amounts to Nearly US$59 Million [an increase by 22% compared to April]

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Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International – Friday, 28.5.2010

Posted on 29 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“A government official rejected a report of Amnesty International on 27 May 2010. Amnesty International released its Amnesty International Report 2010 on human rights, saying that forced evictions affect the livelihood of thousands of families.

“The report mentions one case of the Group 78 in the Tonle Basak commune, Phnom Penh, and another case in the Chi Kraeng district, Siem Reap, where security forces used weapons to shoot at protesters injuring them. In conclusion, regarding forced evictions, Amnesty International wrote that there were at least 26 such cases, where 27,000 people, mostly the poor, were evicted.

“The report continues to say that police had arrested 149 people protesting against land grabbing. It says, ‘The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs.’

“The spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, blamed the writers of the report that they did not study the actual situation in Cambodia before they started writing the report. Mr. Tith Sothea commented, ‘This group just want to control Cambodia, but does not help Cambodia with anything. They just attack the Cambodian government without any basis.’

“Amnesty International claims that they had sent their delegations to Cambodia several times; they wrote in this report that accusations against perpetrators raping women and girls were not always made, due to the weakness of the implementation of anti-corruption legislation by the courts and the frequent use of monetary arrangements outside of the court system [without criminal investigations and convictions]. The report adds that such solutions are normally made by negotiations between law enforcement officials and victims, to make the victims withdraw their complaints. Quoting different publication, the report noticed that the number of cases of rape of women and girls in general, as well as violence against women sex workers, keeps increasing. And these cases happen to victims who are younger and younger [many are below the age of 10].” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

Note:

In order to facilitate the evaluation of the controversial Amnesty International Report 2010, we select here the section of the Cambodia Country Report.

Amnesty International Report 2010

Amnesty International Report 2010

Forced evictions continued to affect thousands of families across the country, predominantly people living in poverty. Activists from communities affected by forced evictions and other land confiscations mobilized to join forces in protests and appeals to the authorities. A wave of legal actions against housing rights defenders, journalists and other critical voices stifled freedom of expression. The first trial to address past Khmer Rouge atrocities took place. The defendant, Duch, pleaded guilty, but later asked to be acquitted.

Background

At least 45,000 garment factory workers lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis and a number of companies reduced salaries. Surveys indicated growing mass youth unemployment as some 300,000 young people faced joblessness after completing their high school and bachelor degrees. For the first time, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered Cambodia’s state report, which the authorities had delayed submitting for 14 years. The Committee identified serious shortcomings in the implementation of a number of treaty obligations, including those relating to the judicial system, housing, and gender inequalities. Cambodia’s human rights record was reviewed under the UN Universal Periodic Review in December.

Forced evictions

Forced evictions continued to affect the lives of thousands of Cambodians. At least 26 forced evictions displaced around 27,000 people, the vast majority from communities living in poverty. In July, a number of international donors called for an end to forced evictions “until a fair and transparent mechanism for resolving land disputes is in place and a comprehensive resettlement policy” is established.

On 16/17 July 2009, security forces forcibly evicted Group 78, a community group in Phnom Penh, after a deeply flawed legal process. The last 60 families had no choice but to dismantle their houses and accept compensation that prevented them from living near their former homes and workplaces. Most of the families were relocated outside the city with few work prospects.

After civil society criticism, the World Bank attempted to strengthen safeguards in a multi-donor supported Land Management and Administration Project to protect security of tenure for people in urban slums and other vulnerable areas. In early September, the government responded by terminating its contract with the Bank.

Human rights defenders

The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs. Police arrested at least 149 activists for their peaceful defense of the right to housing.

On 22 March 2009, security forces shot at unarmed villagers in Siem Reap province, injuring at least four people. The villagers, from Chikreng district, were protesting against the loss of farmland that had come under dispute. By the end of the year, no authority had investigated the shooting, but police had arrested at least 12 of the villagers, two of whom were subsequently convicted of robbery for attempting to harvest their rice on the disputed land. Seven were acquitted but remained in arbitrary detention pending a prosecutorial appeal.

Informal representatives from communities in most provinces increasingly formed grassroots networks,
jointly voicing concerns over forced evictions and intimidation.

International justice

In March, the historic first hearing of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC, Khmer Rouge Tribunal) took place with the trial of Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch). Duch was commander of the notorious security prison S-21. During the 72-day hearing, survivors and victims of Khmer Rouge atrocities heard for the first time evidence against “those most responsible.” Duch admitted responsibility for crimes committed at S-21, including killing about 15,000 people.

The trial of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders was in preparation, and the International Co-Prosecutor submitted requests to open investigations into an additional five suspects. The Cambodian government spoke out against additional investigations saying they could lead to unrest, apparently in an attempt to exert influence over the tribunal.

In July, co-investigating judges decided to allow “confessions” obtained by torture as evidence in the case of Ieng Thirith. This breached the “exclusionary rule” in Article 15 of the UN Convention against Torture which binds the ECCC.

Freedom of expression –

A series of prosecutions of people who criticized government policies had a stifling effect on freedom of expression.

Courts sentenced newspaper editor Hang Chakra, and the director of an NGO, both affiliated to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), to prison terms for peacefully expressing views.

The Phnom Penh Court convicted Mu Sochua, Secretary-General of the SRP, of defamation for filing a complaint – also for defamation – against the Prime Minister. She had no legal counsel because her lawyer had withdrawn from the case after receiving threats of legal action for speaking about the case at a press conference. Mu Sochua received a non-custodial sentence.

On 10 July 2009, one of the few remaining opposition-affiliated daily newspapers, Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience), stopped publishing. The editor, Dam Sith, issued a public apology for articles, over which the government had requested a criminal investigation for “incitement.”

By the end of the year, police had made no progress on the investigation into the murder of Moneaksekar Khmer reporter Khim Sambor. He had been killed by unknown assailants during the July 2008 elections.

Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

On 12 October 2009, the National Assembly passed the new Penal Code. This retained defamation as a criminal offense. Opposition parliamentarians and civil society groups criticized a new Law on non-violent demonstrations, passed by the National Assembly in October. Authorities routinely denied permission for demonstrations and the law, if adopted, risked codifying such restrictions.

Violence against women and girls

Prosecution of rapists remained rare, due to poor law enforcement, corruption in the courts and widespread use of out-of-court financial settlements. Settlements were typically arranged by law enforcement officials and stipulated that the victim withdraw any criminal complaint. Reports indicated that rapes of women and girls, including sex workers, continued to increase, with the age of victims falling.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Cambodia in March/May, September and October/December.
  • Cambodia: Urban development or relocating slums? (ASA 23/002/2009)
  • Cambodia: After 30 years Khmer Rouge crimes on trial (ASA 23/003/2009)
  • Cambodia: Briefing for the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: 42nd session, May 2009 (ASA 23/004/2009)
  • Cambodia: Borei Keila – Lives at risk (ASA 23/008/2009)

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 28 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #489, 28.5.2010

  • The Government Rejected the Criticism [by the Sam Rainsy Party] over the Setting of Border Markers in Takeo [government official said that the claim by the Sam Rainsy Party that the Border Marker 270 was put in a rice field of a Cambodian farmer is only based on the farmer’s claim]
  • A Group of Ten Robbers Was Arrested [in Kompong Speu]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2260, 28.5.2010

  • UNDP: Cambodia Has the Opportunity to Reduce Poverty and to Boost Development through Income from the Mineral Sector

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #667, 28.5.2010

  • Parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party Voted to Add More Members to the Council of Ministers [“the cabinet”], Which Makes this Institution to Have Too Many Members

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6967, 28.5.2010

  • The Owner of the Phnom Yat Cloth Shop Was Threatened at Gun Point by a General [the victim’s family filed a complaint against the general – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3819, 28.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Do Not Support the Nomination of More Government Members, Which Is Unnecessary, as Cambodia Is Poor

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #181, 28.5.2010

  • The National Assembly Voted to Nominate More Officials, as Requested by the Cambodian Government [one was appointed at the Prime Minister’s office, and ten others as secretaries of state at various ministries]
  • A New Elevated Road Will Be Constructed in the Disputed Boeng Kak Development Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International
  • The Opposition Party Asked for a Postponement of the Setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Posts in Takeo [as Border Post 270 was put in a rice field of Khmer farmer]
  • Kangwon Province of the Republic of Korea Donated Four Firefighter Trucks and Twelve Ambulances to Siem Reap

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A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue – Thursday, 3.12.2009

Posted on 4 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“An activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was shot dead by a village chief who lives in a different village, while the victim and his nephew were fishing at a canal; and police gave the victim’s wife US$900 so that she would not inform civil society and sue him at the court. This is according to the deputy director of the Sam Rainsy Party in Prey Veng, Mr. Pim Samnang, who received the information from the victim’s family.

“But the police chief of Sithor Kandal denied that he negotiated anything with the victim’s wife to stop suing him.

“Mr. Pim Samnang told Khmer Machas Srok in the morning of 2 December 2009 at the Sam Rainsy Headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the victim is Buo Boun, 28. He lived in Prasat village, Chrey Khmum commune, Sithor Kandal, Prey Veng. He added that at 7:00 p.m. on 28 November 2009, Buo Boun together with an 11-year-old boy was shot by Voeun, the chief of the Ta Nal village which is in the same commune, killing him immediately at the site while he and his nephew were fishing at the Anhchanh canal in his village.

“The perpetrator shot the victim three times, and once hit him in the back in the shoulder-blade.

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Prey Veng, Mr. Chea Pouch said, ‘I cannot assume that it is political, but we let police investigate it first with participation from civil society.’

“He added, ‘I condemn the murderer who was already known as a village chief from the Cambodian People’s Party.” Therefore, police must capture the murderer as the target is clearly identified already.’

“According to this report, at about 2:00 p.m. on 29 November 2009, his wife Din Then knew her husband died. The victim is a farmer and has a six-year-old daughter. His wife is now eight months pregnant.

“The report went on to say that on 1 December 2009, police officials of Sithor Kandal went to negotiate with the victim’s wife and family by offering US$900 to Buo Boun’s wife so there would be no complaint to the court and to civil society.

“The Sithor Kandal district police chief, Mr. Net, told Khmer Machas Srok via telephone yesterday evening [2 December 2009] that indeed there was a killing which resulted from an electric fishing shock. When asked whether police helped to negotiate to pay US$900 to stop any complaint, Mr. Net denied it and claimed that his role is to make a report and to send it to higher levels, and to try to arrest the perpetrator for prosecution.

“He added that the police has not yet arrested the perpetrator, but they know who he is.

“Though Mr. Net denied negotiating with the victim’s family, Ms. Din Then, villagers and the victim’s relatives claimed that the district police did negotiate to pay US$900 to the victims’ wife in order to stop her going to sue at the court.

“Buo Boun was an orphan and an outstanding activist of the Sam Rainsy Party. He used to be an agent of the Sam Rainsy Party at his village and also the one who was able to find most support for the Sam Rainsy Party for the national elections in 2008. His murder is considered as political, as he never had disputes with anyone.

“Mr. Pim Samnang called police to arrest the perpetrator, Voeun, the village chief, to be convicted according to the law.

“Yesterday evening, it was reported that the secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, Ms. Ke Sovannarath, wrote a letter to the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, requesting him to arrest the perpetrator to be prosecuted according to the law.

“It should be noted that last month, an activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was attacked and killed while the victim and his wife were sleeping in their cottage to guard their paddy rice in Basedth district, Kompong Speu.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1421, 3.12.2009

  • [The President of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin: Khmers Are Happy with the Nomination of Thaksin Shinawatra [Thai ousted prime minister — but also convicted to two years in prison for economic corruption, who fled the country breaking his bail promise — as an economic advisor]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #352, 3.12.2009

  • Lecturers and Students of the Royal University of Agriculture Stopped Striking after They Were Promised a Solution [related to corruption suspicions among the leadership of the university]
  • Nearly Two Tonnes of Snakes and Turtles Were Intercepted before They Were Trafficked Illegally to Vietnam through the Chrey Thom Border Crossing

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2114, 3.12.2009

  • The Minister of Commerce [Mr. Cham Prasidh], Said that Cambodia, like Other Countries in the World, Suffers from the Economic Crisis
  • Police Arrested More Than 100 Troublemaking Teens Who Stay at Guesthouses Together and Use Drugs [Phnom Penh]
  • A Perpetrator Who Raped and Killed a Woman Was Arrested [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

  • A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6821, 3.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute Does Not Cut Off Military Ties, and Cambodian and Thai Troops Play Friendship Sports on the Dangrek Mountains
  • A Grandson Is a Cruel Murderer Who Killed His Grandmother [and injured a servant seriously; it is assumed the murder is related to a conflict over family property – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #59, 3.12.2009

  • Hundreds of Vietnamese Women Were Trafficked to Cambodia [within 11 months of 2009, as many as 773 Vietnamese women were arrested by the government [and sent back to Vietnam], and also Cambodian citizens, including children, women, and men were trafficked; according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation]
  • The Cambodian-South Korean Commerce Declined by More Than 11% within 10 Months of 2009 [to only US$232.8 million], but It Might Recover Next Year
  • Obama Will Send 30,000 Soldiers More to Afghanistan

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5063, 3.12.2009

  • The European Union Grants More Than US$2 Million [Euro 2 million] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Thai Mother Came to Visit Her Son at the Prey Sar Prison for the Second Time Quietly [he was accused as a spy for coping the flight plan — flight plans in many countries are public information to strengthen air traffic safety by sharing information — of the Thai ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. – According to other sources, she was greeted at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who accompanied her to the prison]
  • Two New International Co-Prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [Mr. Andrew T. Cayley and Mr. Paul Coffey] Were Appointed [after having been nominated four month ago]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1825, 3.12.2009

  • Five Thousands People [from different organizations, associations, communities, trade unions, and ethnic minorities] Plan to March on 10th December – Human Rights Day – in Phnom Penh

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Cambodian Workers Lose Up to US$40 Million Due to the Economic Crisis – Thursday, 26.11.2009

Posted on 27 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian families lose between US$35 and US$40 million because of the global economic crisis, resulting in unemployment for 20% to 30% of the workers in the garment and construction sectors, and in tourism. As it is mainly the poor who are facing the impact, the United Nations released a report offering suggestions that can help reduce those impacts.

“In the statement, the UN said that what Cambodia can do to reduce the impacts of the global economic downturn becomes more an emergency topic, as the basis of fast economic growth in the past in the garment industry and in tourism is suffering from the recession of the global economy. 20% to 30% of the workers in the garment and construction sectors and in the tourism industry lost their jobs since late 2008, making them lose between US$35 and US$40 million to be sent to their homes. Impoverished people, mostly women in the garment sector, suffer from the declining economy.

“From a small village in Kompong Cham, 30% to 40% of the people had left their village to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to find jobs, but now they gradually return home. After two years in Phnom Penh, Mr. Chun Phon and Rany, his wife, lost their jobs at a construction site. They had earned about US$150 per month and could send about US$100 back home to support their children in the village. Rany said, ‘The money that we can now find is just enough only to survive.’

“Such cases are occurring all over the country, while foreign investment for construction projects is decreasing, buying orders for garment products drop, and the number of tourists is declining also. This downturn is not only a challenge for individuals, but also for the growth of Cambodia to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

“The most serious impact from the economic downturn is happening to poor people and to people living near the poverty line, especially those having debts to repay face more difficulties. Such cases happen mostly in rural areas, from where many vulnerable people migrate to the cities to seek employment. Women are among the most vulnerable people, suffering from the impact of this crisis. After they lose their jobs in garment factories or in the construction sector, because of the lack of other professional skills, most women who continue to live in the city have no choice but to work in the entertainment service industry. The report pointed out that also the children of those women suffer under the burden of the impact of the economic downturn.

“The UN had conducted a study to learn more about the impact of the global economic downturn in Cambodia, as well as to identify different measures to reduce the impact on human development already achieved, and to restart development to alleviate poverty, and to be prepared for the future. This report estimated the impact caused by this crisis at the national level as well as the impact on individual Cambodians. The report mentioned policy choices that can help to minimize the impact, including equal rights to receive incentives through lower taxes, structural reforms to improve the competitiveness of the country in the world, and reforms to develop mixed systems for national social protection, to lessen the impact of the economic downturn in the short term, and to bring sustainable and equitable growth back in the long term.

“The UN Resident Representative for Cambodia, Mr Douglas Broderick, noticed, ‘A social safety network is no longer considered as a luxury, as before, where only rich countries had the ability to maintain such networks. Such networks are also related to the success of not-so developed countries.’ However, he remarked, ‘On average, the expenses for safety networks in developing countries are from 1% to 2% of the GDP, but the resources allocated at present in Cambodia are less than 1%.’

“The global economic downturn creates also opportunities to accelerate reforms to prepare for the future, and to improve the competitiveness of Cambodia in the world. Recent events encourage such reforms. The UN vows to cooperate with the Royal Government of Cambodia to accomplish the country’s development goals. The global economic downturn poses new obstacles and political challenges, but provides also opportunities that cannot be overlooked.

“Phon and Rany are so worried about what to do in the future. Rany said, ‘We do not have rice fields, and now we only have little money… we need it for everyday expenses and for our children.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5057, 26.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 November 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1420, 26-27.11.2009

  • Cambodia and Laos Signed a Border Agreement [during the visit of the Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, both sides decided to consider many temporary border markers as final border markers]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #346, 26.11.2009

  • [Twenty one] Japanese Investors Visit Cambodia [to study the potential of the economy and of investments in Cambodia]
  • Corruption of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Disclosed at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture [lecturers, civil servants, and staff of this university had came to the headquarter of Deum Ampil to discribe the corruption of the rector, Mr. Chan Nareth, accusing him of being involved in corruption, taking US$300,000 to US$400,000 each year]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2108, 26.11.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Lawyers Suggested to Include Armed Conflict [between Cambodia and Vietnam] into the Case 002 [but not in Duch’s case, claiming that Duch was not involved in war crimes]
  • [Philippine President] Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Promised to Find Justice for the Victims of the Massacre of 52 People [related to elections]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #1820, 26.11.2009

  • [Chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit of the National Assembly] Cheam Yeap: The Government Is Preparing a Law to Collect House and Land Taxes
  • The Government Should Reduce Advisers, but Should Keep Contracted Teachers [according to the Sam Rainsy Party and the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association – the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports ordered to reduce the number of contracted teachers by 50%, more than 10,000 teachers, in 2009 and 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6815, 26.11.2009

  • The Court Hearing of the Tiger Head Group That Planted a Bomb in Front of the Ministry of Defense Is Delayed until 3 December 2009
  • During a Two-Days Crackdown on Hectic Wood Transports, Three Cubic Meters of Wood and an Old Car Were Seized [Kompong Chhnang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #54, 26.11.2009

  • Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Asked to Jail [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch for 40 Years for His Serious Crimes [where 15,000 people were killed]
  • The Kompong Thom Authorities Delay Using Force to Evict Disabled People from the Kraya Commune [to take the land for a Vietnamese company]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5057, 26.11.2009

  • Cambodian Workers Lose Up to US$40 Million Due to the Economic Crisis
  • Five Foreigners [three Thais and two Chinese] Are in Debt because of Losing while Gambling in a Casino – They Were Detained in a House in Poipet [three suspects were apprehended and two others escaped]
  • The President of the National Assembly, Samdech Heng Samrin, Asked Luxembourg to Expand Investments in Cambodia [the export of Cambodia to Luxembourg amounted to more than US$10 million in 2008 while the import was only about US$7 million]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1820, 26.11.2009

  • A Committee Demands the Release of [11] Villagers [arrested in a land dispute in Kraya commune in Kompong Thom; while local authorities plan to arrest 20 more villagers]

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Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam – Tuesday, 17.11.2009

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

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

Norbert Klein

“According to a broadcast of a radio station based in Washington D.C. in the United States yesterday, about strong illegal logging of luxury wood in protected forested areas in a national park in Ratanakiri, bordering on Yuon [Vietnam], carried out by merchants colluding with some persons in the local authorities, an official, who asked not to be named, claimed there is collusion to open a Khmer-Yuon [Cambodian-Vietnamese] border crossing illegally to export luxury wood from Cambodia to be sold to Yuon merchants.

“According to this source, a Ratanakiri official, anonymly spoke about collusion to open an international crossing between the Ou Ya Dav district in Cambodia and a province’s district on the Yuon [Vietnamese] side of the border, during the first six months of 2009, leading to estimation that over 400 trucks transported trees, cut the Khmer natural forest, were transported by merchants and illegal business networks, to be sold to Yuon merchants who wait at the border.

“As an example of continuing loggings of luxury wood, a case was mentioned where merchants hired villagers to cut trees in Taveng district in Ratanakiri.

“The Phav village chief in Taveng Krom commune, Taveng district, Mr. Pel Hin, was quoted as saying that he noticed that merchants came to villages and hired poor villagers to cut valuable trees in the forest, and they then bought them from villagers. The village chief expressed concern about forest destruction, forests being resources of the state, and that the destruction might spread to the Vireakchey National Park, established by Royal Decree at the Kantuy Neak [dragon tail] region, bordering on Laos and on Yuon.

“The village chief said, ‘I am really concerned. When I attended some meetings, I told the meetings that there are companies buying and selling wood in my village.’

“The secretary of thhe Taveng Krom commune, Mr. Boeung, recognized that there are illegal loggings and then the transport of luxury wood, but he claimed that this had happened only during the last few months. He said, ‘I saw much luxury wood at Taveng Krom commune brought from Taveng Leu commune. Merchants brought it here to sell it.’

“The Taveng district’s military police chief, Mr. Keo Vichet, expressed regrets, as he has very few forces, and therefore he does not know such cases.

“However, according to direct monitoring by Radio Free Asia late last week in Phav village about illegal wood transactions, workers were seen transporting luxury wood; some had 10 cm by 15 cm width bars, 1 meter long, being transported from the village to the river, to be loaded in motor boats of merchants for exports.

“A worker said that he was hired by a local Chinese merchant in Vern Sai district, Nhok Thong, an illegal luxury wood merchant who hires poor villagers to enter to cut trees in the forest.

“The Taveng district governor, Mr. Kim Toeu, recognized that there are illegal wood businesses.

“Regarding this issue, Taveng Forestry Administration official in Ratanakiri recognized that there are such activities, involving merchants and some evil officials. He said about the loss of trees, ‘As for the activities and crimes in any specific district, those districts have to be responsible respectively.’

“Poor villagers from different villages, like Sieng Soy, Taveng Leu, Dambouk villages… have been contacted by merchants who have relations with some evil officials, using money to hire them to cut valuable trees in the forest and sell them to those merchants who go to buy trees in villages, such illegal activities happened repeatedly during recent months, as they are not afraid of the law.

“Those sources said also that many cubic meters of luxury wood were found, piled up at many places in areas near the Yuon border, in order to facilitate the transport in order to sell the wood to Yuon merchants who wait near the border crossing.

“The official of the province, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying that the illegal transport of wood is most actively done during the night. According to his estimation since June 2009, the luxury wood cut by hired poor villagers was loaded onto more than 400 trucks, to be transported for sale to Yuon merchants.

“They cannot understand why forest crimes destroying state resources still exist, even though Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised in 2001, with words like swearing an oath, that he would give up leading the government, if his government was not able to crack down on illegal logging and illegal transport starting from 1 January 2002.

“This seems difficult to understand, and observers notice that even Oknha Try Pheap, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, had been frequently accused by people in communities at different provinces, such as Pursat, of hiring poor people to cut valuable trees to be transported and sold to merchants from outside of the country.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #338, 17.11.2009

  • The Head of the Government Shook Hands for the First Time with President Obama in Singapore [both leaders agreed to intensify relations in order to promote economic and social development in Cambodia]
  • China Has Invested More Than US$6 Billion in Cambodia within 15 Years

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2100, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Troops at the Border Move towards Friendship [Thai army commanders had told the Khmer army commanders that they will be seek confrontation with the Cambodian troops]
  • Cambodia Has Received Investments Amounting to More Than US$1.5 Billion from Vietnam [in aviation, banking, oil, gas, agriculture, and tourism – according to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Tram Bac Ha]
  • UN Commissioner [Dr. Nafis Sadis]: Other Countries Should Learn from Cambodia about the Fight against AIDS [Cambodia reduced the occurence of AIDS from 2% in 1998 to 0.9% in 2006]
  • ASEAN-US Ties Become Closer with the Historic Summit [the USA promised to step up its cooperation with ASEAN, described as one of its important partners, to promote peace and security in the region]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #676, 17.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Fly from India to Cambodia on 19 October 2009 Crossing Siamese [Thai] Airspace, while Bangkok Prepared to Arrest Him

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

  • Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam
  • Protesters against the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [by 24 Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians and supporters] Marched in Front of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Residence [in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Considers Dissolving the Parliament to Hold New Elections while Yellow Shirt Demonstrators Are Accusing Thaksin Shinawatra as a Traitor, Selling National Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6807, 17.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Suspended Mr. Sam Rainsy Immunity over the Removal of Border Markers at Chantrea District [in Svay Rieng]
  • A M79 Shell Exploded among Yellow Shirt Demonstrators [government supporters], Injuring Twelve People [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #47, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodia Allowed a Thai Official to Meet the [Thai] Man Accused of Spying [by copying documents about the flight schedules of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be sent to Thailand] while There Is Still No Solution for the Diplomatic Disputes
  • Mr. Obama Stated that the United State and China Do Not Need to Be Adversaries [during their political history, they had been, but then got on with each other. They got on in some sectors, but not in all]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5049, 17.11.2009

  • Thailand Rejected Indonesia’s Role to Solve the Dispute with Cambodia
  • Cambodia Is Worried about Khmer Workers in Thailand, but the Thai Ambassador Said that There Is No Problem
  • Mr. Obama Encouraged Myanmar to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

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Japan Plans to Invest to Plant Trees in Cambodia – Monday, 16.11.2009

Posted on 18 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

“Phnom Penh: A high ranking official of the Japanese Embassy to Cambodia told the Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries that some Japanese big companies plan to invest in Cambodia to plant trees, and one company has already conducted a study for such an investment.

“This information was shared by the Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Kuroki Masafumi, when he met with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, in the evening of 12 November 2009. The chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hong Narith, told Rasmei Kampuchea on 13 November 2009, during the cordial meeting, that Mr. Masafumi told the minister that following the results from the first Mekong-Japan meeting in Japan recently, where the Action 63 projects, includes the Green Mekong project, had been mentioned, some big investment companies of Japan are interested in investing in tree plantations, and one company had already studied this in three provinces – Kompong Chhnang, Kampot, and Ratanakiri. The study was finished, and implementation will follow soon. The ambassador asked for support from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in this field.

“The chief of cabinet said that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries had expressed full support for this crucial project. Also, he said that there is no problem with land in Kompong Chhnang, as it is state land. In the meantime, the minister asked the ambassador to help attract investors to invest in manufacturing agricultural products for export, as there are not many investments in that sector.

“During the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries expressed his gratitude towards Japan for assisting Cambodia so far, also a lot in the field of agriculture. Practically, at present, Japan is creating an aquaculture development center in Sihanoukville, amounting US$10 million.

“A project of capacity building to monitor agricultural quality standards is very important for addressing food security, and for attracting other projects that help to deal with Cambodian agricultural market problems and to promote public health.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 15-16.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #3, 15-16.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Left Cambodia Safely while [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Failed to Get Him Arrested
  • US$11 Million Is Provided to the National Disaster Committee for Three Years [2009-2011; aid from the Japanese government, the European Union, and the World Bank]
  • The Director of a Water Filter Company Was Shot Dead by [anonymous] Gunmen [police concluded it is a case of rancor and seeks to arrest the perpetrators – Phnom Penh]
  • A Foreign [Swedish] Man Was Assaulted and Killed, and His Body Was Found in Kandal Stung District [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Kandal]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #20, 15-16.11.2009

  • Three Big Banks [the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia (BIDC), the Canadia Bank, and the Foreign Trade Bank] Joined to Provide US$33 Million in Loans to the Rural Development Bank for Paddy Rice Purchasing in 2009-2010
  • Cambodian and Laotian Deputy Prime Ministers [Mr. Hor Namhong and Mr. Thoung Loun Sisoulith] Had a Friendly Meeting to Talk about the Setting of Border Markers [both countries want to make the 121 temporary border markers already set – covering to 86% of the border, officially designated border markers]
  • A Cambodia Youth [Mr. Em Chanmakara] Won the Southeast Asian Awards for 2009 for Producing a Television Program with the Topic ‘Everybody Supports Children’
  • Because His Father Got Drunk [and committed domestic violence], a Son Attacked Him [together with two cousins] with a Knife with a Long Handle [and killed him – the son was arrested – Pursat]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #675, 16.11.2009

  • Some Businesspeople in Phnom Penh Live with Fear because [Phnom Penh police chief] Touch Naruth Is Incompetent [to prevent murder crimes against businesspeople]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #530, 15-16.11.2009

  • [The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Yim Sovann: Thaksin Shinawatra Has Nothing New to Say [about economic reforms for Cambodia, like the organizing of an investment atmosphere with competitors that obey the law]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6803, 16.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Rejected The Request [of the Sam Rainsy Party] to Delay the Meeting to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [to make way for the Svay Rieng Municipal Court to open an investigation regarding his participation in the removal of six temporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]
  • The Apsara Authority Removed More Than 600 Big and Small Buildings, Accusing Them of Violating the Angkor Resorts Area [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #46, 16.11.2009

  • The Cambodian Stock Market Building Will Be Opened on a Small Scale in Early 2010 [according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • Now Cambodia Should Be Included as a Member of APEC [a news source from Singapore said that Cambodia will become a member of APEC, if delaying measures by other members are not allowed]
  • ASEAN and the USA Asked Burma to Conduct Free Elections

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 15-16.11.2009

  • Japan Plans to Invest to Plant Trees in Cambodia
  • The Thai Embassy Is Worried about Security, but Cambodia Said It Should Not Worry about That [Cambodia will fulfill its obligation to protect the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh]
  • Embassy Delegation of the “ASEAN plus 3” [India and Australia] Who Came to Play Golf Were Warmly Welcomed at the Poipet Border Crossing
  • [Forty two] Cambodian Security Forces Set to Move to Fulfill a UN Mission [as peace keepers] to Chad and to the Republic of Central Africa

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

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

Norbert Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2098, 14.11.2009

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5047, 14.11.2009

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

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Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time – Thursday, 12.11.2009

Posted on 13 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638 – Thursday, 12.11.2009

“Phnom Penh: The first Cambodian-Indian commercial and investment exhibition in Phnom Penh is being organized with the participation of 20 Indian companies.

“The Minister of Commerce, Senior Minister Cham Prasidh, stated during the launching of the exhibition on 11 November 2009 that it is the first time that both countries organize an exhibition to help investors and businesspeople from both countries to understand each other better.

“He said, ‘This is the greatest opportunity for Indian investors and businesspeople to seek investment opportunities and markets in Cambodia.’

“According to Mr. Cham Prasidh, the trade between Cambodia and India amounts to about US$56.32 million, where Indian imports of products from Cambodia is only US$2.87 million, while the exports of India to Cambodia are US$56.32 million.

“Based on these figures, Mr. Cham Prasidh said that the amount of this commercial relation is still low, and he encouraged both countries to try to study further market exchange possibilities, in order to strengthen and improve the commercial ties.

“The Indian Ambassador to Cambodia said that Indian investors from 21 companies attend this exhibition. Most companies are companies from the fields of information technology, medicine, industry and mines, machinery, agriculture, engineering, and infrastructure.

“He added that this exhibition will be held for two days from 11 to 12 November 2009.

“By now, the products Cambodia imports from India are agricultural products, medicines, and some raw chemicals, and Cambodia exports also some raw materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #334, 12.11.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [newly named personal adviser of Prime Minister Hun Sen] Will Attend the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [with the participation of US President Obama on 15 November 2009]
  • The Downgrading of the Cambodian-Siamese [Thai] Diplomatic Relations Does Not Affect Cambodian Tourism
  • Jackie Chan [The Chinese and Hollywood superstar] Will Return to Cambodia for Filming [he arrived at Cambodia as a UNICEF/UNAIDS goodwill ambassador on 10 November 2009, and promised he will come back again]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2096, 12.11.2009

  • The Thai Embassy Sent a Letter to Request for Extradition of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and Khmer Officials Sent the Diplomatic Note Back to Reject This [the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, reacted to this by ordering a review of all agreements with Cambodia]
  • Cambodia Welcomes Negotiations with Thailand [to solve border and other diplomatic disputes], but Thaksin Shinawatra’s Case Should Not Be on the Agenda [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Raped a Woman Who Suffers from Mental Disorder [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #673, 12.11.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Hold a Meeting Immediately and Confidentially This Morning about the Suspension of the Immunity of Sam Rainsy [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party; as the Svay Rieng Municipal Court filed a complaint against him because of his participation in the removal of six temporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #527, 12.11.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Asked Cambodia to Arrest Thaksin Shinawatra Temporarily, but [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Rejected It

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6803, 12.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: From Now on Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Can Come to Cambodia Anytime Openly
  • Extradition Rejection: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Rejected the Request from the Thai Embassy to Arrest Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra [considering Mr. Thaksin’s case to be political
  • The Municipal Court Decided to Detain a Jordanian Woman and Two Turkish Women for Stealing and Collusion [in a restaurant in Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

  • Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time
  • There Might Not Be an Opportunity of a Meeting between Hun Sen and Abhisit Vijjajiva during the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [Prime Minister Hun Sen said he will go there only to attend the summit]
  • The Situation at the Cambodian-Thai Border Is Quiet
  • The Acid Attack on [the former actress] In Soklida’s Aunt [where the Municipal Court had ruled to dropt the charges against the former national military police officer, Ms. Chea Ratha and her accomplices] Will Be Brought for another Hearing to the Court of Appeals Again on 27 November 2009
  • A Motorbike Hit a Truck Transporting Cows, Resulting in Two Deaths and One Injury under the Prek Tnot Bridge [Phnom Penh]

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Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law – Wednesday, 11.11.2009

Posted on 12 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: A Source from the Thai News Agency (TNA) said on Tuesday that the Thai parliament decided to cancel a Cambodian-Thai memorandum of understanding, but senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia consider this as only a dream of people who do not know the law.

“According to a report from TNA published on Tuesday, 10 November 2009, the [Thai] parliament decided to terminate a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, signed in 2001. This decision was made after the Kingdom of Cambodia recently decided [by Prime Minister Hun Sen and a Royal decree] to appoint the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, as an economic adviser of the Royal Government and of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

TNA said that the Thai parliament decided to officially cancel the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Thai former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Surakiart Sathirathai, and the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, on 14 June 2001, though there has be no improvement at all within the eight years since it became valid.

“The head of the National Border Committee, Senior Minister Va Kimhong, spoke during a press conference held in the morning of 10 November 2009 at the Council of Ministers, where he said that the Memorandum of Understanding was agreed upon between the Royal Governments of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia about the overlapping zones at the seabed of the two countries in 2001. He added that the aims of this 2001 Memorandum of Understanding are:

  1. To seek an agreement for a treaty about overlapping zones; and
  2. To explicitly demarcate the sea border between Cambodia and Thailand.

“The Senior Minister explained the cause how these overlapping emerged, saying that because Cambodia drew a line in 1972, while Thailand also designated its seabed in 1973, so this overlapping zones emerged. The government had sought to negotiate since 1970 and 1971 to find a solution at the region of the later overlapping zones. He went on to say, ‘In fact, we again started negotiations since 1995 with a Deputy Prime Minister as the head of the negotiations at that time, during the first term of the Royal Government, but the talks failed, and only in 1999, 2000, and 2001, there came a situation to sign that Memorandum of Understanding. Its major goal was to agree to develop those overlapping zones, as well as to clearly demarcate the sea border.’

“A Source from [the Thai well known newspaper] The Nation said that recently, yellow shirt demonstrators [supporters of the current Thai government] of the Thai People’s Alliance for Democracy had submitted 11 documents, detailing the agreement between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, asking their Royal Government to check, and to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding. On Tuesday, the parliament of the Kingdom of Thailand decided to send this request to cancel this Memorandum of Understanding into the parliament for discussion and approval.

“Responding to questions of journalists about the intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, Senior Minister Va Kimhong said that this canceling is only a dream of a group of people who do not know the law, and if Thailand had people with knowledge about the law, it would have been impossible to decide as they did.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #333, 11.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia, and [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Welcomed Him with Most Friendly Greeting, as Gestures for an Eternal Friend
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Sent [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Letter to Three Samdechs [Samdech Hun Sen, Samdech Heng Samrin – the president of the National Assembly, and Samdech Chea Sim – the president of the Senate], related to the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [Mr. Sam Rainsy’s letter claimed there were irregularities when the border markers were set]
  • An Exclusive Rice Import Company from Singapore [“ALM”] Comes to Cooperate with the Golden Rice Association of Cambodia [to invest in rice cultivation in Cambodia for export to Singapore]
  • The Russian Government Is Considering to Cancel the US$1.5 Billion Debt That Cambodia Owes [according to high ranking officials of the National Assembly that have just returned from a visit to Russia which Mr. Heng Samrin led]
  • Typhoon Ketsana Caused a Loss of US$140 Million [there were 43 deaths, 67 serious injuries, and 22,800 families lost their homes – according to the National Disaster Management Committee]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

  • Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law
  • In one Week Indonesia Will Exhibit Its Products in Cambodia [at the Mondial Center in Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #672, 11.11.2009

  • Nine Types of Special Food Was Prepared to Welcome Thaksin Shinawatra, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Eternal Friend, when He Arrived in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 11.11.2009

  • Only Now the Government Discovers that Many Appointments Did Not Create Any Tasks to Do, and Waste National Resources

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6802, 11.11.2009

  • The Thai Parliament Meeting Had Disputes and Disagreements during the Discussion about the Intention to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about [maritime] Borders
  • Cambodia Welcomes Thaksin Shinawatra, while the Thai Deputy Prime Minister Announced that There Is No Plan to Close the Cambodian-Thai Border Crossings
  • Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [a Burmese elected democracy leader] Might Be Released for the 2010 Elections [according to the general director of the Ministry of Interior of Burma, Mr. Min Lwin]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #43, 11.11.2009

  • Cambodian-Thai Relations Became Tenser when Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia; Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Said, “I Do Not Come Here to Help Cambodia against Thailand”
  • The Authorities Prevented [24] Students [from different universities in Phnom Penh and in Svay Rieng] to Visit the Border in Svay Rieng [at the point where Mr. Sam Rainsy was accused of removing border markers; they claimed they had received high-level officials’ order]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5044, 11.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra [and former Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat] Landed in Cambodia in His Own Plane, and He Will Stay in Cambodia Two to Three Days;
  • Reactions Were Expressed against the Presence of Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Human Rights Party claimed that the presence of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia does not help the government with anything, but it will step up further tension between the Cambodian and Thai governments; however, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed it will help Cambodia’s economy]
  • POSCO E&C [a leading construction company from South Korea] Inaugurated an Occupational Safety Section for the Construction of High Rise Buildings along the River [it plans to construct one 45-storey building and two 42-storey buildings behind the Russian Embassy along the Basak River, worth about US$300 million – Phnom Penh]

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The Government Cuts Salaries of Advisers – Tuesday, 10.11.2009

Posted on 11 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: According to a circular of the Royal Government, the government decided to cut the salaries of all newly and continually appointed advisers who earn high salaries, advisers to high ranking officials, to receive only the normal amount in order to save state resources.

“The circular signed by the Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, on 27 October 2009, said that the Royal Government instructed all ministries and institutions to reorganize salaries for all advisers who have been offered equivalent positions, starting from under secretary of state upwards, to earn only the normal salaries of their current main positions.

“In the circular, the government noticed that previously, the Royal Government has nominated some officials as personal advisors of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, of deputy prime ministers, or of the Royal Government of Cambodia… by providing them with equivalent positions besides their current positions, and those officials situations are administered so that they earn salaries through their new, additional positions an additional higher amount than they continue to get already in their current positions. The circular added that the current economy, which is encountering difficulties due to the impact from the global economic crisis, requires the government to take measure to save state resources, and therefore, it is necessary to cut the salaries of those advisers, so that all receive normal salaries.

“According to an informed source, there are at least 30 to 40 officials continually appointed as advisers of high ranking officials at each ministry. Some have only a position as head of an office, or deputy head of a department, or as head of a department, but they have also been nominated as advisors with positions equivalent to an under-secretary of state, or as secretary of state. Some ministers even hold also positions as senior ministers. Through such appointments, those officials receive also salaries from those new, additional positions, for example: an under-secretary of state receives a salary of about Riel 1.04 million [approx. US$260], and a minister Riel 1.5 million [approx. US$375]. Now, the Royal Government changes this so as to save state resources.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #332, 10.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Show Up for the First Time in Cambodia after He Has Been Named Adviser [he plans to give a lecture to 300 economists on 12 November 2009]
  • Economists: Siam [Thailand] Will Experience Great Loss if It Tries to Close Border Crossing with Cambodia [because Thai exports to Cambodia amounted US$2 billion in 2008, while Cambodian exports was only US$90 million]
  • The Khmer King Will Go to Japan in 2010 [following an invitation of the Japanese emperor to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cambodian-Japanese friendship; and the Japanese Prime Minister invited also Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, General Hun Manet, to visit Japan]
  • China Provides US$10 Billion in Loans to Africa

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2093-2094, 8-10.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodian-Thai Dispute Is a Dispute between [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [but not between nation and nation]
  • ASEAN Friends Are Worried about the Cambodian-Thai Diplomatic Dispute [the ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, appealed to both countries to be patient and to address the dispute peacefully]
  • Construction Workers Demand Legal Protection through Legislation on Working Conditions [some workers working at present at various construction sites have not been provided with health and safety protection]
  • A Man Infected His Wife with AIDS Who Then Died, but He then Raped His Eldest Daughter, Infecting Her with AIDS Also [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A 14-Year-Old Boy Rapped a 4-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Kandal]
  • Germany Celebrated the [20th] Anniversary of the Breakdown of the Berlin Wall [on 9 November 2009]

 
Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #670-671, 9-10.11.2009

  • Cambodia Celebrated the 56th Independence Day Anniversary [on 9 November 2009] while the [Director General of National Police] Hok Lundy’s Family [on 8 November 2009] Celebrated the One-Year Ceremony of His Death [in a helicopter crash]
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Withdrawal of Some Troops from Preah Vihear, as Thaksin Shinawatra Plans to Come to Cambodia on 12 November 2009

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 9.11.2009

  • A Parliamentarian [from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay] Asked [the president of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin to Create a Special Committee for Khmer Border Affairs

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6800-6801, 9-10.11.2009

  • The 56th National Independence Day Anniversary is Celebrated during the Era of the Second Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive at Cambodia on 12 November; Samdech Dekchor: If Thailand Closes Border Crossing, Cambodia Will Announce to Stop Importing Thai Products [Mr. Thaksin arrived already on 9.11.2009 in a private jet at the Phnom Penh Air Force Base]
  • Result from the Mekong-Japan Summit [in Tokyo]: Japan Continues to Help to Develop Sihanoukville Port and to Construct Neak Loeang Bridge [in Prey Veng, on the way to Vietnam]
  • The Garment Sector, Which Depends Much on Export, Declined by 24.5% due to the Economic Crisis [60,000 workers lost their jobs – according to the Ministry of Commerce]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #41-42, 9-10.11.2009

  • The Opposition Party Asked the Government to Explain the Tense Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand at the National Assembly
  • Cambodia Will Receive A/H1N1 Vaccines at the End of This Year [from the World Health Organization]
  • Cambodia Is a Place where Freedom of All Religions Is Freely Practiced without Discrimination [according to the 2009 assessment report of the US Department of State; 93% of the Khmer citizens adhere to Buddhism, 500,000 to 700,000 citizens adhere to Islam, and more than 282,000 adhere to Christianity]
  • The Demand of Energy [from coal, natural, gas, fosil fuel, and oil] Increases by 3.7% Each Year [from 2005 to 2030; according to the Asian Development Bank and APEC, the demand of energy of Cambodia will increase from 4.8 million tonnes in 2015 to 12 million tonnes in 2030; at present, only 20% of the Cambodian families have access to public electricity]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

  • The Government Cuts the Salaries of Advisers
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive in Cambodia Today as Thailand Warned to Take More Serious Actions
  • Japan Pledged to Provide US$5.5 Billion [in loans and grant aid] to the Mekong River Countries [to save them from the impacts of the global economic crisis]
  • Three Suspects Were Arrested for Kidnapping a Boy for US$3,000 [Kratie]
  • The Number of Deaths Worldwide by the A/H1N1 Flu Has Increased to 6,000

.

I will be departing Phnom Penh in the evening of 10 November 2009 to
participate in the UN Internet Govenrnance Forum in Sharm-el-Sheikh in
Egypt.

Apologies ahead of time – there will be some delays in the
publications, while I travel and are busy in a different time zone.

Norbert Klein – editor of the Mirror

.

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