Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money – Monday, 23.8.2010

Posted on 24 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: State income declines, because some members of the authorities and customs officers take monetary advantage from the import of contraband and they put the money into their own pockets. After they receive bribes, they allow merchants to import these goods smoothly.

“According to regular observations at the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point in Ou Chrov district in Banteay Meachey, merchants do not pay money to the state, but to a group of members from various authorities or to customs officers.

“It should be noted that many gas tubes of merchants, with no taxes paid to the state, are massively imported but those merchants pay money to illegal check points along the way where soldiers, police and customs officers collect money. Each truck loaded with gas tubes has to pay them from US$30 to US$50, depending on how big or small the trucks are, so that they are not held up by these officers.

“According to trustworthy information that Kampuchea Thmey received from the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point, many merchants pay money to officers along the way instead of paying taxes. Some gas companies complained that they cannot sell their gas gainfully, as other merchants import a lot of gas without paying taxes and sell it at cheaper prices. Therefore, it is really difficult at present for companies working legally to sell their goods.

“Regarding to the above cases, some legally operating gas companies ask the heads of custom offices to help crack down on such activities. Particularly, the Ministry of Commerce should help to normalize the problem, otherwise state income will certainly drop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon Is Already Prepared to Solve the Border Disputes between Cambodia and Thailand [according to the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Farhan Haq]

Note:

The Cambodian press report reads too much into the release by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING, FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, Friday, August 20, 2010, carry at the end a brief note:

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CAMBODIA AND THAILAND WILL RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE THROUGH DIALOGUE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue. He stands ready to help the parties.

On 20 August 2010 a publication in the region had reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, ‘The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.’”

The added explanation, “when both sides request him to do so” is almost a standard response – it is a polite, clear expression that no action will be taken if such a request comes only from one of the two sides.

But even this press report way rejected by Mr. Farhan Haq: he said that the report that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate. He said that all he sent out was that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon “stands ready to help.”

What counts until now is the brief final note at the end, after several elaborate reports about other world affairs, in the official release of the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING of 20 August 2010.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7041, 23.8.2010

  • There Are 454 Hotels with 23,349 Rooms in Cambodian, Where Eight Are Five-Star Hotels
  • Australia Provided aid [AUD 4 Million or approx. US$ 3.60 Million] for the Construction of Justice Police Buildings [in five provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3965, 23.8.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #37, 22-23.8.2010

  • The Royal Group [of Oknha Khit Meng] Plans to Invest US$2 Billion on Rung Island [the investment project of the Royal Group was approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in 2008, and the company is seeking additional investment capital. It aims at attracting high class tourists to visit the island. The first phase of the project will have been finished within five years from now, to create an international airport, port, hotels, a golf course, and other recreation facilities for tourism – according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuon Narong]
  • Police Intercepted [two] Robbers Allegedly Involved in Almost 20 Robberies in Phnom Penh
  • Two Male Construction Workers Were Attacked with Acid over an Alleged Love Affair [the second acid attach in Phnom Penh in four days]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #242, 23.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Is Ready to Negotiate with [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen over Border Disputes [during the Asia Europe Summit in Brussels in October 2010]
  • The Prime Minister Warned He Will Remove Officials Who Irregularly Intervene in the Process of Making Appointments and to Change Them
  • A Trade Union Criticized a Sub-Decree about the Employment for Handicapped People [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the government creates this policy just to make it look good, though many disabled people are victims of land grabbing – according to the sub-decree all state institutions and ministries have to recruit 2% of their staff from disabled people, and the private sector has to employ at the rate of 1%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5283, 22-23.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Nearly US$9 Million for the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Program [to help strengthen the capacity of the National Climate Control Committee and the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment, to coordinate the formation of national policies and strategic plans about climate change]
  • 183 Kilogram of Snakes [for export to Vietnam] Were Seized from Merchants and Were Released into the Vaiko River [three suspects were arrested – Svay Rieng]

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A Civil Society Group for Social Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials – Tuesday, 17.8.2010

Posted on 18 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: A Civil society group for social accountability and transparency demanded the Anti-Corruption Unit to take action against a section of the tax collecting system for taking more money than what the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance state.

“In the morning 16 August 2010, a civil society group for social accountability and transparency organized a press conference at the Baitong Restaurant in Phnom Penh about their fight against corruption in the form of excessive tax collection for vehicles.

“The president of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-Formal Economy, Mr. Von Pov, said during the conference that every year from July to October, a tax collection is implemented countrywide by tax officials of the Tax Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The collection is carried out in order to build up the national budget for the restoration and maintenance of public infrastructure, and all Cambodian citizens are obliged to pay tax on their vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes, though they suffer from the global economic crisis.

“Mr. Von Pov added regarding the tax collected by tax officials, that civil society groups for social accountability and transparency noticed that most citizens, who own vehicles, were forced by tax officials to pay an excess amount over that stated on the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that at present, 1,391,565 cars and trucks, and 11,356,398 motorbikes [the number of motorbikes given is unrealistically high – that means that about 80% of all citizens, including babies and the whole rural population – own a registered motorcycle; we assume the number includes a mistype and may be 1,356,398 – Editor] have been registered and allowed to travel in Cambodia and they are required to pay tax. On average, if a vehicle is required to pay an additional amount of Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] to tax officials, that means Cambodian citizens waste about US$1 million each year. This is corruption resulting from public officials using their positions as public officials to gain personal gain, so that corruption does not refer only to the stealing of money.

“Mr. Von Pov went on to say that to contribute to achieve the second stage of the Rectangular Strategy and to promote good governance, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, especially the Tax Department, must supervise tax officials so that they work following the official calculations for the collection of taxes. Also, the Tax Department must punish officials who commit offenses, or collect administrative fines from them, if they collect amounts beyond the tax invoices, and the Anti-Corruption Unit must take measures in such cases.

“A Coordinator of the East Asia and Pacific Social Accountability Network, Mr. San Chey, said that even though invoices are issued by the Tax Department, still excess tax collection happens, particularly in the Ponhea Leu district in Kandal and Prey Veng. He added, ‘We will submit reports within one week to the Tax Department to take action.’

“After there had been such criticism about excess tax collections by tax officials, the Tax Department released an announcement on 10 August 2010, where the third point reads, ‘Before paying tax, please read the tax tables posted publicly and pay accordingly the amount set in these tables. If tax officials demand more, please report their names and ID Card number to the Tax Department.’

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, could not be reached for comments on Monday evening, but he used to say in a previous press conference that corruption relates not only to big money, but even 50 cents can also be considered as corruption.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

  • A Civil Society Group for Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials
  • The Minister of Agriculture Called On Citizens to Eat Pork Again [claiming that the ‘blue ear disease’ of pigs does not infect people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia Adheres to Peaceful Positions; while in Cambodia, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Be Patient [in solving their border disputes]

Meatophoum, Vol.54, #796, 16-21.8.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Help Solve the Border Dispute [with Thailand; according to a letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam – who is at present chairing ASEAN – to help either within the structure of ASEAN, or directly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

  • Which Tax Officials are Punished for Forcing Citizens to Pay Excessive Taxes?

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia and Iran Signed an Agreement to Create an Economic Committee in Order to Step Up Economic Cooperation [economic cooperation between Cambodia and Iran will focus on on tourism, the oil industry, investments, agriculture, industry, Iranian export of technical services and engineering, and the exchange of expert delegates]
  • Three People Were Killed and Three Others Were Injured by Lightning [Kompong Cham]
  • Police Burnt again Chicken Meat of No Quality, but Have Never Caught a Persons Who Owns It [Banteay Meanchey]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #238, 17.8.2010

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Appealed against the sentence of Duch, [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief, who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, but considering his past jail term and the reduction of punishment, he will have to serve only about 19 more years]
  • Thailand Arrested a Cambodian Man Accusing Him of Spying [as he walked near a Thai military base; according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, he might be released after there was investigation and a request for his release by Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

  • A Vietnamese General [Le Van Dung] Visits Cambodia to Consolidate the Military Cooperation between the Two Countries
  • Six People Were Killed and Ten Others Were Slightly Injured in Traffic Accidents [in Phnom Penh and Preah Vihear, on 15 August 2010]
  • The Club of Cambodia Journalists Reacted against the Detention of a Kampuchea Thmey Journalist [as he was detained just for a minor traffic accident; the Club of Cambodian Journalists expressed concern, and considers it as a violation of human rights, protected by the Constitution of Cambodia]

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Investments on Islands in the Cambodian Sea Are Full of Secrets and Corruption as They Are Not Put Up for Public Bidding – Friday, 13.8.2010

Posted on 14 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“A high ranking official of the Sam Rainsy Party demanded the government to clarify the investments by private companies on some islands in the Cambodian sea. People want to know which companies control those islands and the leasing prices, and for how long. A request was made after the Cambodian government handed over some islands to local and foreign companies for investment, but the investment opportunities were not put up to facilitate accurate and transparent public biddings.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that it is illegal that the government delivered these islands to private companies, and the income from these investments is not inserted into the national budget. The investment or concession arrangements for those islands are confidential and corrupt. Mr. Son Chhay, said, ‘Where will the income from the islands be taken? As a parliamentarian, we have to observe and monitor the national income, after the government had issued sub-decrees to hand those islands over to companies, but we have not seen any documents about the amount of income from these leasings and concessions.’

“Mr. Son Chhay added that islands in the sea have as high a potential for the Cambodian economy as the beaches near Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, because they attract national and international tourists. However, the government does not put them up for public bidding; this also affects the environment, and the background of the companies is not known. He said, ‘We have received information that several Khmer islands have been handed over by the government to powerful people or to relatives of government officials, and they then leased some islands to some foreign companies, exploiting for themselves the interests of the Khmer people.’

“In his response, a Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian and chairperson of the Commission of Economy, Finance Banking, and Audit, Mr. Cheam Yeap, acknowledged that the government did not put the investment on those islands for public auction, because the government does not have detailed plans, to show them to the clients for bidding. Since the government was not able to create detailed plans, putting them for public bidding is impossible. This recognition by such a high ranking official from the Cambodian People’s Party shows that the investment or leasing of the islands to some companies is mysterious and can be plagued by corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that he requested the government in writing since 2006 to clarify investments and leasing of islands to some companies without transparent public bidding, but he has not received any response from the government. Now, he is collecting documents to be used as evidence about the impact and the corruption, in order to submit them to the government and ask for clarification again. The intention is to summon ministers or other government representatives to clarify these investment on some islands that are being developed – their shares were sold in Hong Kong – in order to know whether such activity is legal or not, and whether it conforms with basic procedures. If there is no clarification, it can be concluded that what was done before was the illegal sale of some islands of the country.

“In July 2010, the Ministry of Tourism cooperated with UNESCO towards the registration of some beaches of Cambodia among the world most beautiful beaches [Reference not clear, maybe the UNESCO Environment and development in coastal regions and in small islands program, concerned with ‘environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, culturally respectful and economically viable development’]. It is expected that there will be strong support from national and international tourism. Also, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, said that after Cambodian beaches will have been noted, the Ministry of Tourism is trying to make some Cambodian beaches to be fully listed among the world’s most beautiful beaches during the nomination next year.

“Nevertheless, non-government officials watching the environment in Cambodia noticed that some companies taking charge of island developments do not study the effects on the environment. Like on Puos Island, while there is yet no result from the developments by a Russian company, there is mysterious information and it might be related to corruption. Obviously, the Puos Island development plan has not been provided any benefit to the nation, besides environmental deterioration and impacts on the living conditions of citizens who used to do fishing near the island.

“According to expert officials, there are about 40 islands in the Khmer sea with investment potential where some have already been developed, while some others are being developed by companies such as Rong Island, P’Oun Island, Bang Island, and Puos Island. Recently, the Cambodian government provided licenses to private companies to invest on four more islands in Koh Kong, such as Sameth, Putsa, Chhan, and Toteung islands. Among those companies, there are also Yuon [Vietnamese] companies, and the development periods are up to 90 years. This might lead of the loss of Cambodian territory, as the Cambodian government does not present investment contract documents for those companies.

“A non-government organization official in Kampot said that some years ago, a Yuon company, Try Pheap, developed Tonsay Island in Kep and evicted the Khmer citizens living there from that island. At present, that Yuon company has not continued its developments. After it obtained the license, it stopped its activities. Such a problem emerged, as previously the government did not conduct public biddings and did not set clear conditions publicly before offering a license to that private company. Therefore, from now on, the government must conduct public biddings before providing licenses to companies to develop and operate on islands in the Cambodian sea, in order to avoid secret and strongly corrupt practices as in the past.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3957, 13.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2326, 13.8.2010

  • The Head of the Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Called for Participation [from all relevant institutions and authorities] to Save the Tonle Sap Lake That Is Suffering Various Dangers
  • The CamActive Company Was Checked [following a complaint from the Monument Books and The United Knowledge companies that have legal contracts with the Cambodian authorities with exclusive rights to import and distribute English books from the Oxford University Press – according to the police of the Ministry of the Interior], and [6,465 English] Books of the Oxford University Press Imported Illegally Were Seized [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7033, 13.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Pieces of Ebony Wood Were Found Hidden in a Site in Ang Snuol District [nobody responsible for the site has been arrested – Kratie]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3957, 13.8.2010

  • Investments on Islands in the Cambodian Sea Is Full of Secrets and Corruption as They Are Not Put UP for Public Bidding

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #29, 13.8.2010

  • [The Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Welcomed to Find Border Solutions [by the government that intends to bring the Cambodian-Thai border issues to the UN Security Council]
  • 100 Years Ago Misery for Korean People Started [resulting from the invasion by Japan] – It Has Just Received an Apology from Japan [through the Japanese Prime Minister]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #236, 13.8.2010

  • Taiwan Reacts against a Comment of Mr. Hun Sen [who recently stated Cambodian adherence to the One-China Policy, stating that Taiwan is just a province of China; Taiwan claims that it is an independent state]
  • The Government Will Raise Border Issues [with Thailand] when the UN Secretary General Comes to Cambodia [in October 2010 – according to the Prime Minister Hun Sen – a plan for such a visit has not been confirmed by the UN offices in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5275, 13.8.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Asked Thailand Not to Be Afraid of the International Organizations [like ASEAN, UN, UN special representatives, or any dignitaries like the Indonesian president – if they participate in the negotiations with Cambodia and Thailand over border issues] China Will Provide US$8 Million to Construct a Road to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • More Than 300 Hectares of Rubber Plantation Were Expropriated from the Tai Seng Company to Be Delivered to the Samaki Group [temporarily, who had controlled it since 1980s – Ratanakiri]
  • The United States of America Praised the Mine Clearance Skills of Cambodian Troops [based on the achievements of Cambodian deminers sent to Sudan under the framework of the United Nations]

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An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.7.2010

Posted on 29 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, returned to Cambodia in the evening of 27 July 2010, after paying an official visit to the Republic of Singapore for three days.

“At the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, held a press conference, saying that the visit to Singapore was essential for Cambodia as it benefits Cambodia, since Singapore has a vigorous economic growth. Practically, within the first six months of 2010, Singapore achieved a 17% economic growth. Because Singapore is an important economic partner of Cambodia, both countries’ trade increased within these six months. Trade increased up to 62%, amounting to more than US$1 billion. Also, investments from Singapore are rising.

“During the visit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had discussions with the Singaporean prime minister, and both sides agreed to concentrate on mutual economic development and the exchange of their perspective on regional issues.

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, made a speech during a business meal, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Singapore in the National University of Singapore in the morning of 26 July 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen invited Singaporean businesspeople, who have never visited Cambodia, to come to study the Cambodian reality, take up investment opportunities, and meet with Cambodian commercial associations to seek partners and to cooperate to contribute to successful results together. He added, ‘You have capital, knowledge, and experience, and with the extensive potential of Cambodia, there are many places and opportunities where both countries’ economies can benefit from each other.’ Samdech Dekchor promised Singaporean investors and businesspeople to facilitate a favorable and friendly business atmosphere, to be widely open for Singaporean investments and businesses.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked Singaporean investors to establish rice milling factories in Cambodia, because Cambodia harvests lots of paddy rice each year, but the export of unprocessed paddy rice makes Cambodia to lose a lot of profits.

“It should be noted that both countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, but severed them in 1975. They were then reestablished in 1992.

“The trade from Singapore to Cambodia in 2009 amounted to more than US$208 million, while the Cambodian export to Singapore was more than US$481 million.

“From 1994 to 2010, the amount of investments from Singapore was more than US$570 million, concentrated in several sectors, such as tourism, industry, agriculture, and infrastructure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2312, 28.7.2010

  • According to the Opinion of His Excellency Hor Namhong [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] the Sentence of Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Is Too Light [he was sentenced for 35 years in jail, but considering his prior imprisonment and a reduction of the penalty, he will serve only up to 19 years]
  • Twelve Foreigners and Two Khmers Were Seriously and Lightly Injured after a Bus Hit a Cow and Overturned [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7019, 28.7.2010

  • Duch’s Verdict Seems to Be Surprisingly Tolerant [based on the impression of Cambodian citizens; according to The New York Times] while the Cambodian Center for Human Rights Said It Is a Model for the Cambodian Courts
  • Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory Strike and Blocked the Russian Federation Boulevard [to demand the factory to re-employ a worker’s representative], but the Authorities Used Force to Disperse Them [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3943, 28.7.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL] ((Note: if an Internet access brings up “http://www.comfrel.org/khm/index.php” – by deleting “khm/index.php” the English version of the COMFREL site should appear)) in Cambodia Criticized the Government for Using the Courts to Push the Opposition Party Away from Competition for the Upcoming Elections
  • A US Senator [Mr. John Kerry] and the Sam Rainsy Party Encouraged that an Independent Court Systems Be Established in Order to Eliminate Impunity in Cambodia

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #15, 28.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Praised [the head of the Cambodian Red Cross] Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [for her effort to protect the honor of Khmer women]
  • The Royal Government Invests in the Improvement of National Road 5 [377 km from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey; responsible for this is the Chamroen Industrial Development company of Cambodia to spend US$500 million; and the width of the road will be enlarged to 15 meters]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #224, 28.7.2010

  • Duch Will Appeal against the Sentence [that convicted him to 35 years in prison] while the World [France, Japan, the USA, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] Welcome the Sentence
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Accepted Money from the Women Movement [collected for her, to compensate Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]
  • The Ministry of Education Warned Dishonest Invigilators [who get bribes from students and allow them to cheat during the Grade 12 exams]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

  • An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia
  • Regarding Duch’s Verdict, Cambodia Says It Is Not Appropriate while a Foreign Country [France] Says It Is Good
  • [About 1,000] Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators [who protested in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok] Demanded that the Preah Vihear Temple Is Excluded from the World Heritage List [it is related to the unilateral development plan of Cambodia in the Preah Vihear temple region]

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Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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Cambodia Promises to Use the Money from Mineral Resources Transparently – Thursday, 27.5.2010

Posted on 28 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“International experts who attended the international conference about mineral exploration that was held for the first time in Cambodia on Wednesday, 26 May 2010, said that mineral exploration in Cambodia, which has not provided any yield so far, is like a blank project that can get benefits from the experience in other countries so as to avoid any possible mistakes.

“The conference was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh with 300 participants from all around the world to discuss transparency and development for the mineral exploration sector which has just started to be developed in Cambodia.

“This conference was organized also in view of the internal investigation about the accusation against the BHP Billiton company that is known in the public with the allegation that it had bribed [the government] to gain exploration rights in Mondolkiri.

“UNDP Resident Representative Douglas Broderick said during his speech that the start to develop the mineral exploration sector in Cambodia is part of the start to develop these resources. He said, ‘Minerals are under the ground. And it depends on our cooperation to ensure that the Cambodian people can get their benefits from the huge income from the exploitation of these natural resources.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen considers the natural resources of the country as a new treasure that can contribute to the potential of the economy. He added that natural resources as well as agriculture, the garment and the construction sectors, and tourism can contribute to the development of the economy of the country.

“The Prime Minister stressed, ‘If Cambodia has the opportunity to explore its mineral treasures, Cambodia will use the income from it responsibly for the sake of the nation.’

“In his speech, that strongly criticized Global Witness, Mr. Hun Sen called on the participants to share their knowledge in order to help the government to maximize the financial benefits from this sector, to develop the country and to reduce poverty.

“A senior expert in mineral exploration of the World Bank, Mr. Craig Andrews, told the Phnom Penh Post that this sector will provide benefits to the country if related regulations and taxes are properly enforced, and correctly aimed at the important points, before the exploration begins.

“He suggested that Cambodia should not follow Australia regarding the collection of high taxes from the profits of the exploration, saying that the exploration in Australia and in Cambodia requires policies that are different.

“Mr. Craig Andrew said that a policy to collect low taxes from the exploration, and the stability of the country, will help Cambodia to attract foreign investors.

“According to the economic and mineral exploration expert Roderick Eggert, the developing exploration sector that can be taken as models of international success are that of Chile and of Botswana.

“He said, ‘Cambodian is starting as a blank project. The country has the chance to do the right things to get benefits from other countries. He added that mineral exploration companies are paying attention to transparency and openness.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #180, .275.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 27 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #488, 27.5.2010

  • Cambodia Does Not Depend on Mineral Resources Alone for Its National Economic Development
  • India Promised to Send Back Eight Khmer Citizens Who Were Trafficked to India [eight Khmer Citizens phoned their families in Cambodia to seek help from human rights organizations and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2259, 27.5.2010

  • The Government Will Cancel the Exploration and Exploitation Rights of Any Company That Commits Crimes [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #666, 27.5.2010

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Does Not Allow the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community to Organize a Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Loss of [Khmer Kampuchea Krom] Land [to Vietnam] in Front of Wat Botum [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6966, 27.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Strongly Reacted against Global Witness, Calling this Organization a Group of Thieves in London [over their criticism of the lack of transparency related to the management of payments received from natural resources exploration companies]
  • Each Year Ratanakiri Loses 2,000 Hectares of Forest Land [because of the clearance of land by forestry criminals to claim land for selling, and by ethnic minority people to claim farmland – according to the Ratanakiri governor]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3890, 27.5.2010

  • Civil Society Encourages Donors to Press the Government over Human Rights Issues and Democracy during a Meeting planned for 2 June 2010 [between Cambodia and development partners]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #180, .275.2010

  • [UN Meeting] in the United States of America: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Receives US$16.9 Million New Funds for 2010 [promised by donors]
  • Cambodia Promises to Use the Money from Mineral Resources Transparently

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5208, 27.5.2010

  • The UN Secretary General Called for Funds for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [funds needed in 2010 are more than US$21 million]
  • An Investigating Judge Issued a Warrant to Bring [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy to Court [for questioning over the accusation of having faked public documents, and having spread misinformation]
  • The Government Has a Plan to Give 133,145 Hectares of Social Concession Land for 4,000 Families of Soldiers and Members of the Police [in sixteen provinces]

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The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America – Monday, 24.5.2010

Posted on 25 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the US Embassy on 21 May 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Scot Marciel, and a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Ouch Borith, chaired the third annual discussion between Cambodia and the United States of America. Both delegations discussed many topics, such as US aid to Cambodia, food security, climate change, security cooperation, and general issues in the region.

“US aid to Cambodia aims to assist the priority sectors of the Royal Government of Cambodia as stated in the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of the Cambodia to help develop Cambodia in the upcoming decades. Those sectors are poverty alleviation, agriculture, good governance, and capacity building. The US aid for those priority sectors is the same as that provided by the USA 60 years ago when the aid program of the United States of America began in 1955.

“Both sides discussed also different strategies where both countries can cooperate, like in military relations, when the US medical ship USS Mercy will arrival at the Sihanoukville sea port on 15 June 2010. Mr. Marciel also talked about the US aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and listened to the description of Secretary of State Ouch Borith about the achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia in reducing poverty, promoting education and the health sector, strengthening basic infrastructure, and addressing some challenges from the global economic crisis. The Cambodian side informed Mr. Marciel also about the efforts of Cambodia to fight corruption and to reform the court system.

“This bilateral discussion provided also the opportunity for both sides to review the planning to organize the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties. The anniversary will be celebrated by organizing some events in July. The bilateral ties between Cambodia and the United States of America have progressed much by now, especially during the last 10 years. Even though there had been some unavoidable disagreements, both sides believe that the depth and extent of the relations will continue to grow stronger in the future.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 24 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #485, 23-24.5.2010

  • The King Returns from the Visit to Japan
  • 160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2256, 23-24.5.2010

  • Cambodia Dismissed the Information that Khmers Joined to Burn Down the Krung Thep Bank [Bangkok]
  • A Military Truck Loaded with 63 Pieces of Ebony Was Intercepted, Showing Some Irregularities [it is suspected that the material belongs to a powerful military official in Kompong Speu]
  • Seven Garment Workers Died and 32 Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident [in Takeo]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #770, 24.5.2010

  • USAID Says that Cambodia Loses US$45 Million, but [Oknha] Mong Riththy Said Cambodia Loses US$146 Million over the Import of Pigs without Paying Tax

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

  • The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America
  • A Reporter of Voice of America Reporting in Khmer [Mr. Sok Povkhemara] Received an Award [of Mr. David Burke for covering special information about Khmer Rouge leaders: he went directly to the northwest of Cambodia to interview five former Khmer Rouge leaders, questioning them a lot about their role in the genocidal regime]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3887, 24.5.2010

  • There Are No Discussions to Happen to Cancel the US$315 Million Dept [that Cambodia owes the United State of America] during the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Cambodia-America Diplomatic Ties
  • The Number of Tourists Increased [by 10% compared with four months last year], so that the Siem Reap Authorities Force Sites Trading Recyclable Items [discarded bottles, carton, scrap metal, plastic] to Move Out from the City [these sites look messy, affecting the beauty of the city]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #177, 24.5.2010

  • The Authorities Prohibit Villagers [in the Amleang commune] to Cultivate Rice, but They Allow a [Phnom Penh Sugar] Company [of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] to Clear Disputed Land [Kompong Speu]
  • Cambodia Asked Thailand to Release a Khmer Worker Accused of Having Been Involved in Demonstrations

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5205, 23-24.5.2010

  • An American Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with [underage] Girls [in Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Will Host the 30th ASEANPOL [ASEAN Chiefs of Police] Conference [from 24 to 28 May 2010 in Phnom Penh]

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Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam – Wednesday, 12.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“In recent months, the import of live pigs from Vietnam into Cambodia on motorbikes – small scale trading, where a motorbike can transport two to four pigs – seems to increase from day to day, while veterinarians do not care to check the pig’s health before they are allowed to be brought in.

“The deputy head of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association that protects the local pig raisers, Mr. Srun Pov, complained that the collusion to import live pigs from Vietnam to Cambodia through various border crossings, avoiding tax payments and appropriate health checks, is increasing recently.

“Mr. Srun Pov said that obviously, on 10 May 2010, representatives of the association went to check some border crossings in the Ponhea Kraek district, Kompong Cham, and found that hundreds of pigs were imported on that day by traders without proper health checks from expert officials. Just on that morning, the representatives of the associations could see more than 40 motorbikes carrying 3 to 4 pigs each and they gathered those pigs to be delivered into trucks to send them to Phnom Penh.

“He added that to allow the trafficking of live pigs into Cambodia without proper health checks affects the health of citizens who eat pork and harms local pig raisers, as at present, the association is trying to encourage more local citizens to raise pigs.

“On behalf of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association, Mr. Srun Pov called on the authorities, especially Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to take measures to prevent and to eliminate such anarchic import of pigs, because just at the boarder crossings in Kompong Cham, more than 100 pigs were imported each day. What about at other border crossings in Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, and Takeo? How many thousands of pigs are being imported illegally?

“Citizens living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border ask veterinarians to carefully check the pig’s health before allowing their import. If the present situation continues, local pig raisers will be affected more seriously.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #475, 12.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Encourages Railroad Construction Companies to Repair the Damaged Railroad [the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, recognized that some private companies repair the railroad with low quality or without proper technical standards, making it to become damaged again soon]
  • Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 83 Cases [six cases are serious]
  • Within Two Months of 2010, There Were More Than 100,000 Cases of Pneumonia and Twenty Four People Died

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2246, 12.5.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Denied the Information that He Enters Politics [recently, there had been rumors that he will return to lead FUNCINPEC]
  • Traffic Police Was Accused of Hitting a Man on His Head so that He Was Bleeding, as He Did Not Wear a Helmet [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #652, 12.5.2010

  • The Dredging of Millions of Tonnes of Sand to Be Exported to Singapore Seriously Affects the Environment of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

  • Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3877, 12.5.2010

  • [Oknhas] Mong Riththy and Ly Yong Phat Confidentially Received Licenses to Export Sand, Resulting in the Loss of National Income [according to Global Witness] and This Is a Bad Model of Corruption Committed by People in Leadership in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #169, 12.5.2010

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Will Visit Preah Vihear Today [to inaugurate a new school building and other achievements in this province – but he will not visit the temple area]
  • Sand War between Cambodia and Global Witness Continues, while Singapore Rejected the Report [saying that the sand dredging trade with Cambodia is operated without caring about the bad impacts on the society and the environment, as this has to be controlled by Cambodia]
  • Benigno Aquino Wins the Elections and Prepares to Become the New President of the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5195, 12.5.2010

  • Officials of the Cambodian Government and Investors Reject a Report by Global Witness over the Dredging of Sand for Export Abroad
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister Is Grateful as the Investment in Cambodian Has Increased to US$1.8 Billion and He Promises to Encourage Investment in Rice Milling
  • France Plans to Provide Loans without Guarantee [by the Cambodian government] on Four Projects [for the rice milling associations to produce standard rice for export to Europe, for public lighting in Phnom Penh, for training for workers, and for the creation of a vocational training center on tourism and hotel services; but the amounts of the loans are not mentioned]

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Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products – Monday, 10.5.2010

Posted on 11 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

“The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is paying a three-day official visit to Cambodia which started on Sunday; he will chair a meeting for the signing of six commercial agreements worth US$1 billion.

“Five commercial agreements will be signed by the private sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia, and another agreement will be signed between a Malaysian company and the Cambodian government.

“Also Mr. Hun Sen will attend the signing ceremony. The agreements to be signed focus on the educational sector, the technical field, security, the Halal food industry (food containing no pork, prepared according to Muslim regulations), agriculture, training, and the exchange of products.

“This is the first official visit of Mr. Razak since he became prime minister last year. This visit is considered important for the strengthening of bilateral ties with Cambodia. According to officials of the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, the entire commerce between both countries in 2009 amounted to just US$150 million. About 90% of the commerce was exports of textile products, palm oil, food, and drinks from Malaysia, while the other 10% was export of goods, rubber, textiles, and rice from Cambodia.

“The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia said that there are a lot of opportunities for Malaysian investors to come to invest in various sectors in Cambodia, such as education, health care, construction, the Halal food industry, tourism, oil, and gas. At present, Malaysia is the fourth biggest foreign investor in Cambodia after China, South Korea, and Yuon [Vietnam].

“The investments from Malaysia include sports infrastructure, hotels, education, banking, and fast food. Trade and investments between Cambodia and Malaysia are expected to double while the region is moving towards the ASEAN Economic Association in 2015, which will allow the free flow of goods, capital, and people. The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia stressed that Malaysian investors consider Cambodia as an important country for investments, as Cambodia is located in the Mekong River Basin, comprising of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, with a total population of 100 million.

“During this visit, 117 Malaysian investors will participate in the private sector conversation, and Mr. Razak and Mr. Hun Sen will chair the Cambodian-Malaysian commercial forum and a lunch reception. Also the leaders of the two countries will chair a meeting to sign six commercial agreements.

“The Malaysian Prime Minister will meet with the Cambodia side to discuss bilateral affairs at the Council of Ministers, and he will visit the Esata Operations Center, a Cambodian-Malaysian telecommunications company, the construction site of a new building for the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, and the Kunthak Bopha IV Hospital. On the last day, he will meet the Khmer King Norodom Sihamoni, the president of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, and the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 10 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #473, 9-10.5.2010

  • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister Rejected a Request for Intervention [from citizens] over a Land Dispute in Kandal Stung District [with the Heng Development company, Kandal. The PM had looked into the case already in 2009 and came to the conclusion that the 842 families involved have no right to own the disputed land of 200 hectares]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2244, 1-10.5.2010

  • The Film Who Killed Chea Vichea Cannot Be Played at Any Place as Long as There Is No Permission [according to Sub-Decree 63 of the government, Article 20 says that before the operation, playing, leasing, and selling of all types of films, it is necessary to ask for permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. A secretary of state of this ministry said that this film cannot be played publicly, but it can be played privately, for example in a room with a small audience]

Note:

It is surprising to observe that thousands of pornographic CDs and DVDs are being sold publicly all over town, and many of them are shown in some restaurants or coffee shops. Were they all legally imported and did they all first receive the permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fina Arts? Probably yes? Because they are being operated, played, leased, and sold in public – so the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is aware of this. But there are no reports that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is dealing with them with a similar intensity, comparable to the attention it is giving to Who Killed Chea Vichea.

  • The Number of People Suffering from Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 51 [there is no recent report whether there is testing also for Cholera being performed – as some medical practitioners claim that there is also Cholera in Cambodia. The assertion by some medical authorities that the treatment for Diarrhea and for Cholera is the same is wrong]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

  • Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6951, 10.5.2010

  • Robbers Continue to Commit Robberies in Battambang, Taking Away 100 Chi of Gold [approx. US$14,000] while the Authorities Have Not Identified the Robbers Who Took Away US$100,000

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3875, 10.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Education Should Eliminate Corrupt Nepotism in the Department of Education of Preah Vihear [it is claimed that some positions are controlled by leaders, their in-law, daughters, and their groups of friends]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #167, 10.5.2010

  • Cambodia and Malaysia Will Sign Commercial Agreements for US$1 Billion Today
  • [The Phnom Penh Sugar] Company Sends More Soldiers [more than 150] to Protect Its Land [provided by the government as concession land; Amleang commune, Thpong district, Kompong Speu. The company which is being protected by soldiers is one of the companies which “sponsors” military units]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5193, 9-10.5.2010

  • A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, a Member of FUNCINPEC [Mr. Hun Phoeung] Was Removed from His Position [Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of working for an opposition party]
  • More Than US$7 Million Was Collected [as charitable donations] during the Celebration of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Anniversary on 8 May
  • Two Died and Twelve Others Were Injured in New Shootings in Bangkok

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1892, 9.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Let’s See whether [the Phnom Penh municipal governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Dares to Remove [Chamkar Mon district governor] Lo Yuy over Corruption, as He Had Said, or Not [recently he warned to revoke the Chamkar Mon district governor for being inactive, not suppressing illegal activities in his district]

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National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

Posted on 3 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

While the time runs and runs evenly, the different calendars – related to the year of the sun, or related to the phases of the moon, or related to cultural history and social-political events – have their own ways. And sometimes they lead to interesting crossings.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, roughly at the beginning of the rainy season, marks the start of the planting time. And royal astrologers will observe the preferences of the drought animals during the ceremony, which food they prefer – offered to them on seven trays, with beans, corn, grass, rice, sesame seeds, water, and wine – to predict the coming season’s harvest.

We do not keep a record for The Mirror to compare the predictions with the actual results of the harvest several months later. But we just assume that there is some margin of error in the predictions, according to the different animals involved.

During the week, the Prime Minister criticized the big Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different predictions for the performance of the Cambodian economy by the end of the year. While the different economic benchmarks monitor and evaluate probably hundreds of data – every institution working independently – is it not surprising that their predictions, depending on so many factors not under their control – are still fairly similar?

The international financial turmoil has brought also a lot of unforeseeable changes for the Cambodian workers in the export and tourism industries, who create a major share of international income for Cambodia. Their work in the textile and shoe factories, and their work to serve foreign tourists visiting the country, is commemorated during Labor Day.

While some international tourist advisories advertise the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as an event worthwhile to visit and observe, some embassies advise tourists to avoiding meetings and events of the organized workers unions, as these may be related to conflicts in society.

One important, positive statement had been reported during the week. The Prime Minister was reported to have said, “Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and to Demonstrate Is Their Right.” Though Article 36 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions,” also the notion can be found often assuming that there is a fundamental conflict between the government and the labor unions. Industry and labor have, by their very nature, different interests. But the experience of economically strong democratic countries with a market economy system – like France or Germany of Japan – shows that their strength grew from a political system which allowed for both strong unions and strong associations of industrialists.

In spite of this statement by the Prime Minister, tensions between the authorities and organized labor were building up before the Labor Day, because of the unresolved murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chea Vichea, who was killed in January 2004. Two people were apprehended at that time; when they were presented to court with the claim that they had confessed to have committed the murder, they revoked, but though there were no witnesses testifying against them, and no evidence beyond their confessions in prison presented, they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Because of these publicly discussed irregularities, also the former King Sihanouk expressed his doubt that the real murderers were in prison. In 2007, the Appeals Court upheld their conviction, in spite of several witnesses assuring that one of the accused was not in Phnom Penh on the day of the killing, but 60 km away. After nearly five years in prison, the Supreme Court cited unclear evidence and called for a new investigation in December 2008; since that time, the two accused are provisionally out of prison. By now, there is no public information about what happened since.

When Chea Vichea was killed, Bradley Cox, who had made a documentary “Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election,” happened to be not far away, and he arrived some minutes after the killing. He was able to document the murder scene, and later follow the story further – the funeral, and the subsequent police and court actions.

Now the brother of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony, is the president of the Free Trade Union, and they had the plan to publicly show this documentary, “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [a trailer is available here]. The Khmer media had reported during the week various reasons why the authorities will not allow this documentary to be shown – the film would have to be first presented to the Ministry of Culture with a request to get it approved, or: this documentary has been imported illegally – while the Union intended to show it anyway near the place where Chea Vichea has been gunned down, while he was reading a newspaper.

This is a report from 1 May 2010 on the Internet:

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

Cambodian workers who hoped to see Who Killed Chea Vichea? on Saturday didn’t get so much as a bite of popcorn before police intervened and tore down the screen.

Here’s what we’ve got so far, from witnesses on the scene:

The workers’ march arrived at the screening site, in front of the newsstand where Vichea was killed, around 5:00 p.m.

They were met by a force of some 100 police, many in riot gear, as well as local officials and a large group of other men not in uniform, presumably plainclothes security forces.

The organizers went ahead and erected the screen, which was made out of sheets. The police immediately told the main organizer, Rong Chhun of the Union Confederation, to take it down as he did not have a permit. When he refused, they pushed in and pulled it down.

Mr. Chhun returned with a second screen, accompanied by opposition members of parliament, but that screen too was seized.

The workers resisted only briefly. “We did not want to have a big scene as we were outnumbered,” said one participant. “They were there to break down anything and for sure it would have been real force had we resisted and shown the movie.”

So far there are no reports of any arrests or injuries.

So the film was not shown publicly – in Cambodia. But the events of 1 May 2010 will probably contribute to get much more attention for it internationally, where it is scheduled to be shown at the following film festivals:

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

The demonstrations on 1 May 2010 of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia were not focused on the past. The ILO report in The Mirror from last Friday, 30.4.2010, “More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents” shows more problems ahead, in addition to the demands to raise the minimal wages – while facing the consequences of the international economic crisis, including an increasing competition for garment exports from other big exporters in the region – from China and from Vietnam.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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