Toll Plans to Import New Trains into Cambodia – Friday, 27.8.2010

Posted on 28 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Toll Royal Railway company [TRR] plans to spend US$81 million to bring in new trains to Cambodia.

“It is part of the project to improve the Cambodian railways and it will cost millions of dollars. It is an important transportation system for Cambodia.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Toch Chankosal, said, ‘The company plans to buy 11 locomotives, 111 railroad cars, and other parts of trains, in order to start operations at the end of this year or early next year.’

“He added that TRR is preparing the necessary documents to be submitted to the Council for the Development of Cambodia to ask for permission for the import of trains. However, he did not tell from which countries those trains will be bought. He said the repairing of the Cambodian railroad system continues, but the company expects that the presently available trains would not be enough.

“He said, ‘In fact, we have many locomotives that can be repaired, but they are still not enough so we need to import more.’

“The Senior Country Economist, Cambodia Resident Mission, of the Asian Development Bank [ADB], Mr. Peter Brimble, said that the important reason for the improvement of the Cambodian railroad system, partly funded by ADB, is to develop the transportation system to be cost effective. He said, ‘The cost of the transportation of agricultural products is a key factor, and if you do not have efficient transportation means, there will be difficulties with the export of those products. Also, I think the basic idea behind the project is relating to cost efficiency.’

“Mr. Toch Chankosal said that this is the first step to facilitate heavy-weight transport that can also help to reduce road destruction.

“ADB and AusAID has provided US$141 million aid to TRR to repair rail tracks of 254 kilometer from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and another line of about 388 kilometer from Phnom Penh to Poipet, as well as the third line of about 48 kilometer from Poipet to Sisophon [Banteay Meanchey].

“Mr. Brimble said that ADB has no plan to provide more aid for the construction of railroads in Cambodia in the future, but he thinks that the repair of the railroad to the Sihanoukville port in Sihanoukville will receive encouragement.

“The Chief Executive Officer of TRR, Mr. David Kerr, declined to comment on the information about the import of new trains, while an ADB senior economist, Mr. Peter Broch, said that he cannot give figures provided by the Ministry of Public Transport and Works regarding the transportation.

“TRR belongs to the Toll Holdings company of Australia that holds 55% of the shares, while the rest of 45% is controlled by the Royal Group of Oknha Kith Meng. Last year, these collaborative companies receive a 30 years concession to operate the railway network in Cambodia.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #246, 27.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2338, 27.8.2010

  • A [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarian Sued Three Police Officers at the Prosecutor of the Appeals Court [as they arrested a Sam Rainsy Party activist without an arrest warrant – Kompong Thom]
  • Police Arrested a Laotian Man Alleged to Smuggle 854.5 Gram of Drugs [Preah Vihear]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7045, 27.8.2010

  • While Three Men Were Riding a Motorbike to Sing Karaoke, Three Other Men Ambushed Them, Killing One Who Died after He Was Sent to a Hospital [police are investigating to arrest the perpetrators – Kompong Speu]
  • The Australian Embassy Donated [fifteen] Reading Books to the National Library of Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3969, 27.8.2010

  • An Active [Vietnamese] Drug Smuggler in Stung Treng Was Released Temporarily by the Stung Treng Municipal Court

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #41, 27.8.2010

  • An Asian Development Bank Delegation Supports the Anti-Corruption Law [of Cambodia]
  • A Russian Tycoon [Alexander Trofimov] Who Had Sexual Relationships with Nineteen Girls [some underage] Was Convicted to Serve Eight Years in Jail [his imprisonment was reduced from 17 years, after he wrote a letter confessing his guilt and apologizing]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #246, 27.8.2010

  • Toll Plans to Import New Trains into Cambodia
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Asian Development Bank to Help Build Irrigation Systems to Promote Agriculture

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5287, 27.8.2010

  • VSJMAXX Company [name may be wrong, though several Khmer publications have the same – or company may be fake, offering to handle US$2billion without having a web site] from the United States of America Has the Ambition to Invest US$2 Billion in Agriculture in Cambodia [to do farming and to create animal food factories and international level rice milling factories]
  • Disabled Veterans and Retiring Civil Servants Complained about Difficulties to Get Their Salaries [as they were told to wait from day to day – Kompong Thom]

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Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tensions with China – Wednesday, 11.8.2010

Posted on 12 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Vietnam shows new military relations with the United States of America this month amid more tensions with China, as both countries claim some territory in the South China sea as belonging to their respective countries.

“The USS John S. McCain warship [a guided-missile destroyer], that docked in the Danang city port, departed on Tuesday for a four days joint exercise with the Vietnamese navy.

“On Sunday, the USS Gorge Washington aircraft carrier, that had just attended an exercise with South Korea recently in South Korean sea territory, which had led to condemnations from the Beijing government, received a Vietnamese delegation.

“The visit by the US navy invites strong attention due to regional tensions lately.

“A Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, Mr. Carl Taylor, said, ‘The tensions between China and Vietnam grew worse since over a year ago. The USA is showing its military presence and Vietnam is taking the opportunity to show itself.’

“Normally, the Hanoi government has very careful relations with its ideological ally China, but the regional ambition of its bigger neighbor raised tensions in Vietnam to a certain level.

“The ties between Hanoi and Washington have come across a long way since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975; both countries’ diplomatic ties were normalized 20 years later.

“The USA became an important partner of Vietnam, not just in trade.

“According to a recent source from the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam, the Hanoi government grew more uneasy with the ambition of China. The presences of the US navy at a Vietnamese port is very important strategically for Vietnam to demonstrate regional balance in military issues.

“Mr. Taylor said, ‘I think that the USA can play a more important role in the region.’

“The South China Sea has been the reason for territorial disputes for a long time, especially regarding the Spratly and Paracel islands that Vietnam claims to be its territory. China also claims the Spratly islands like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam do also.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga [Nguyễn Phương Nga], last week condemned China for sending a ship to conduct seismic surveys in the Paracel region, violating Vietnam’s territorial integrity.

“Senior US commanders said that they are keeping a close eye over the stepping up of Chinese military presence there, particularly the presence of the navy in the South China Sea.

“Last week, China conducted a navy and airforce exercise in the South China Sea, a week after the Secretary of State of the US Department of State, Ms. Hilary Clinton, said solutions of territorial disputes are the core for regional stability.

“During a Southeast Asian regional security forum Ms. Hilary Clinton said that the Washington government is ready to cooperate in multilateral discussions over the islands and added that this is in the national interest of the USA, considering the respect for international law in the region.

“The Beijing government immediately condemned this intention to internationalize the dispute, saying that such an action could worsen the situation.

“That US warships often dock at Vietnamese ports irritates China. Mr. Taylor said, ‘Vietnam becomes more sensitive to the Chinese reactions. The docking of the US navy in Danang shows that Vietnam is prepared to confront the displeasure of China.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2324, 11.8.2010

  • Traders Are Transporting Wood into the Srae Noy Settlement Area Day and Night
  • Police Helped a Female Worker Returning from Malaysia [after she worked there for two years] Who Almost Lost Her Memory and Cannot Find the Way to Her Home [Siem Reap]
  • The Murderer Who Raped and Killed a Female Security Guard Was Sentenced to 20 Years Imprisonment [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7031, 11.8.2010

  • A Man Was Attacked with Acid, Poured on His Head around Midnight by Two Perpetrators [who escaped; the victim was seriously wounded – Phnom Penh]
  • There Will Be More Than 2,400,000 Foreign Tourists in 2010 [according to a prediction by the Ministry of Tourism; in the first six months of 2010, there were 1,221,156 tourist arrivals, an increase by 12.39% compared with the corresponding period in 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3955, 11.8.2010

  • Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Stated Their Confidence in Their Ability in Defending Their Client [by strongly opposing the use of the Joint Criminal Enterprise principle at the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #27, 11.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Put Blame on Journalists [for misquoting his words about the use of military means to solve border disputes with Cambodia]
  • A Medical Association from South Korea [with 50 staff members] Helps to Treat Khmer Patients in Kompong Speu

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #234, 11.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Families in the Russey Keo District [near the Cambodian Japanese Friendship or Chroy Chongva bridge] Will Be Asked to Remove Their Houses for the Claiming of Land to Create a Public Park [Phnom Penh]
  • The Deposit for the Production of [estimated] More Than 100 Million Tonnes of Titanium Discovered in Koh Kong – Its Exploitation Will Start Next Year [Titanium ore can be manufactured to 45% as Titanium slag, that can be sold for US$700 to US$2,500 per tonne based on market prices – other estimates for the price of slag is $400 per tonne]
  • Mr. Leonard Cohen [a famous singer throughout the world – “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history] Will Organize a Humanitarian Concert for Cambodia [at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on 27 November 2010; the concert tickets are available in this website: http://www.themekongsessions.com%5D
Leonard Cohen’s most famous song

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

  • Hearing of [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case over the [alleged] Faking of Public Documents and Disinformation Will Be Held on 8 September 2010
  • The Anniversary of the 2008 Registration of the Tuol Sleng [genocidal] Museum under the Memory of the World of UNESCO Was Organized [Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tension with China

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia – Thursday, 5.8.2010

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, called on and ordered the authorities and other relevant officials at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders to suspend importing pigs as they may have the blue ear pig disease which is spreading.


“He stated during the certificate granting ceremony to bachelor students of the Build Bright University at the Koh Pich conference hall in the morning of 4 August 2010 that the blue ear pig disease broke out in China in May 2010, in Vietnam and Laos in July 2010, and then in Thailand. Now it entered Cambodia, affecting pigs to die in farms in Kampot, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chnnang, Kandal, Prey Veng, and Takeo.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries has taken immediate action, because when such a disease happens in the country, even the transport of animals in our country is banned, but while there are such restrictions, the provinces along the borders still allow the massive import of pigs.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen called on the provincial authorities at the borders, especially at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders, to suspend the import of pigs in order to prevent the outbreak of this pig disease. He said, ‘All authorities, including customs and CamControl officials, must prevent it. It does not violate the principles of the World Trade Organization, but it is a measure to save the lives of animals from this disease that spreads from place to place. As for the pigs that have already been transported to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, they must be banned from being transported to Phnom Penh, as it can harm human and animal lives. Our problem now is not just to meet the demands of the consumers, but to guarantee the quality of lives of humans and of animals.’


The Prime Minister took the opportunity to issue a restrictive order, because when such a disease breaks out, there need to be emergency measures taken. Previously, there were infectious diseases like diarrhea and many children suffered from it. Now there comes the blue ear pig disease, but at the border such pigs are permitted to be imported.


He mentioned the Minister’s of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, H.E. Chan Sarun’s wordings, who had said that the illegal import of pigs through the provinces along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is more active and alarming. Samdech Hun Sen questioned [the official staff], ‘You work at border posts or at the provinces, do you care about public health or about our citizens’ health?’


“Together with the appeal and the restrictive order, the Prime Minister also called on local pork vendors not to increase the prices too much, while the import of pigs from Thailand and Vietnam is suspended. Before, there were many such cases where the traders marked their prices up, and the prices of other meat like beef, and fish, followed and so did the prices of other things. Some said that pigs imported from the west and from the east killed local pigs, while they themselves try to work for their own interests without caring about the consumers. Therefore, there should not be too much price increases and the outbreak of the disease must be prevented, as now veterinarians as well as the Departments of Animal Health and Production, both in the capital city and in the provinces, are dealing with this issue.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.9, #1450, 5-6.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia Tries to Avoid War even though Thailand Sends More Troops [to the border]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7026, 5.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Expressed His Position about the [World Heritage Committee] Meeting in Brazil and the Border Issue while the Siamese [Thai] Government Wants to Negotiate [he said there is no winning nor losing for Cambodia and Thailand regarding the meeting of UNESCO in Brazil. He wants the border issues to be solved with peace, respect, friendship, and cooperation]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Royal Government Respects the [Khmer Rouge] Court over [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Conviction [that sentenced him to 35 years in prison, but he will still serve around 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment for cooperation with the court investigations]
  • Grade Quality Wood Trading Still Occurs in Opposition to the Measures of the Government to Stop Illegal Logging [Kompong Chhnang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3950, 5.8.2010
  • Another Australian Company [the Southern Gold] Announced to Have Found Gold Ore in the Snuol District of Kratie

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #22, 5.8.2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen Wants a Bigger Cambodian Market Share Abroad [to export rice and other grains]
  • Within Three Hours, There Were Two Robberies in Phnom Penh [taking away some money and jewelry]


Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #230, 5.8.2010
  • Cambodia Is Open for Negotiations [over border issues] with Thailand, and the Prime Minister Guaranteed the Citizens that There Will Be No Armed Clash [along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • Cambodia Exports Fishery Products [of 10,000 tonnes] to International Markets [Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam] Amounting to US$20 Million within the First Six Months of 2010 [US$5 million more than during the same period last year]
  • Four Institutions Have Roles [as buying and selling representatives of stock exchange bonds] in the Cambodian Stock Exchange [the ACLEDA Bank, the Canadia Bank, the OSK Indochina Bank, the Tong Yang Bank from South Korea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5268, 5.8.2010
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Wants to Send Officials to Negotiate with Cambodia over Border Tensions
  • More Than 110,000 Victims Received Emergency Assistance from the Cambodian Red Cross during the Forth Term [from 2006 to 2010; according to the 5th convention of the Cambodian Red Cross presided over by the King]



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People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture – Thursday, 1.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“A report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund [UNCDF] released yesterday found that workers in rural areas in Cambodia are shifting to do different work besides agriculture, formerly the only source of their income. They are leading a change that can boost sustainable development in rural areas.

“The UNCDF report says that while about 80% of Cambodian citizens are mostly living as farmers, the economy in rural areas has extensive potential that is not yet used through the diversification of the economy.

“According to the above report, called Basic Development Outlook, that tries to support decentralization, two years ago, 91% of the poor people in Cambodia lived in rural areas.

This report says that even though agricultural development is crucial for Cambodia, also the diversification of the economy in rural areas, and strategies to reorganize basic policies might encourage the growth of the economy in rural areas, to move Cambodians out of poverty.

“The report says, ‘The current integrating policy strategy to develop rural areas in Cambodia focuses on agriculture and the provision of social and public services, and on the social safety network. These are necessary policies, but frequently they are not adequate for improving basic economic developments.’

“The main author of the report and Chief Technical Advisor of UNCDF, Mr. Nicola Crosta, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday, 30 June 2010, that workers in rural areas change to work in other sectors, like tourism, due to the increasing use of machinery in agriculture in Cambodia. Therefore, this sector needs less and less labor.

“Mr. Crosta added, ‘Must importantly the Cambodian government must anticipate the future (of rural development) and must not fall into the trap to think only of agriculture (that means there must be other sectors for citizens in rural areas in addition to agriculture).’

“A government official said to the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday that the government has decided to concentrate on basic developments, stressing that the increase of the yield of rice is a measure to improve the livelihood of people living in rural areas.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Iv Tong, welcomes ‘that machinery is used in cultivation, as it can increase productivity, and most importantly, improve the livelihood of farmers, and it contributes to economic growth in Cambodia.’

“He added that rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are a means to improve the living condition of farmers.

“But the above report warns, ‘While infrastructure is crucial, it should not be considered as enough for the development of the economy.’

“In the meantime, some economic advisors do not agree with the opinion that the improvement of agricultural techniques through the use of machinery leads to unemployment.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale businesses, Mr. Ut Ren, said that many laborers lose their jobs because of the replacement of human power by machinery, but they then seek jobs in food manufacturing factories.

“He added, ‘We should not be concerned that agricultural development would affect rural employment. What we have to be worried about is how much potential from this sector can be used more productively.’

“Nevertheless, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, believes that at present, there is too little industry in rural areas, so it cannot provide enough jobs for farmers.

“He said, ‘Farmers would seek jobs in new areas in agriculture such as in former forest areas, and they will travel to Thailand to seek jobs.’

“Without worrying too much about the challenges in rural areas in Cambodia, the UNCDF believes that the strengthening of decisions at the basic levels in Cambodia is an important way to boost economic growth.

“He added that at present, Cambodia is improving a 10-year plan that shows policies relating to these views.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #446, 1-2.7.2010

  • Eight Relatives of [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Are Reported [by The Nation on 30 June 2010] to Be Entering Cambodia [bringing much money, millions of Baht, with them, but Cambodia denied it] (no more details are given)

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

  • Cholera Killed Six Prov Ethnic People [25 Others are hospitalized – Lum Phat district, Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [and five other officials] Recovered from A/H1N1 [Swine Flu]
  • Cambodia Sent a Diplomatic Note to Siam [Thailand] to Investigate the Fatal Shooting on a Khmer Citizen near a Border Crossing in Sampov Loun [Battambang, that had accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

  • The Transportation of Luxury Grade Wood Occurs Again in Siem Reap [two cars were intercepted with illegal wood, and four people were arrested]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy Plans to Create a Real-Estate Assessment Committee in Order to Start to Collect Taxes at the End of This Year [it will help increase the national income from US$3 million to US$9 million, after Cambodia experienced a drop of income due to the global financial crisis]
  • An Australian Company [OZ Minerals] Wants that the Authorities Provide Appropriate Compensation to Poor Citizens before Evicting Them, when Claiming Land for Exploring Gold Minerals [in Mondol Seima district, Mondolkiri – both the company and the government share the income from the exploitation of gold]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

  • People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture
  • [Eighty seven] TACFAT Factory Workers Protested in Front of the Ministry of Labor to Demand Their Salaries [from the owner of the factory]
  • Global Witness Welcomes the Clarification [by the Minister of the Council of Ministers] of Oil Issue [about the payment by the Total company to receive exploration right from the Cambodian government], Mr. Sok An, but suggested that the government should publish the full details of all agreements and of account balances, so that the Cambodian people can be confident that the deals are above board]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

  • Bank Systems in Cambodia Are Mostly Controlled by Foreigners [there are 27 commercial banks, where as many as 17 banks are completely controlled by foreigners, and among 6 specialized banks and 20 micro-finance institutions about 77% are controlled by foreigners]
  • The Users of the Banking System [those who deposit their money in banks] Increased to About One Million [in 2009; according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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Cambodia Must Find Solutions to Encourage Faster Exports – Saturday, 5.6.2010

Posted on 6 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Phnom Penh: The encouragement for the faster export of Khmer products is still a big challenge, as the legal procedures to process export documentation are time consuming, as all documents have to go across too many desks in the administration, which results in delayed operations and high expenses, making Cambodia unable to compete on international markets with neighboring countries.

“A Royal Government advisor and a member of the Supreme National Economic Council, Mr. Sok Siphana, said early last week at the Phnom Penh Hotel, during a national workshop about the encouragement by the Rectangular Strategy for a better commercial operationalization, in order to improve business procedures for commerce, ‘We must find solutions that encourage faster commercial operations. This workshop will present many key measures, and we will discuss to find out how many stages there are to be passed, when rice is brought by farmers to be sold at a seaport, and then from the seaport to foreign countries, and what difficulties are encountered, so that they can be reduced, to improve and speed up commercial operations. We must know which steps should be eliminated or which steps could be adjusted.’

Note:

From The Mirror of Thursday, 29.4.2010: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held

“Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sector needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.”

“Mr. Sok Siphana added that it was a technical workshop, attended mainly by senior customs officials and officials from the Ministry of Commerce, while the Supreme National Economic Council as a researcher, provided the necessary backup. The emphasis was on the export of rice, cashew nuts, soy beans, corn, and cassava; the import items considered were mostly medicines.

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“Ms. Shamika Sirimanne, Chief, Socioeconomic Analysis Section at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), in Bangkok, said that the workshop will contribute to find key measures to encourage least developed countries to export products faster, in order to cut down time and expenses at different stages of the process. This problem affects exports abroad. She added, ‘According to our research, the export of products from Cambodia takes 50% more time than in other developing countries in this region. This shows that one cannot compete with other countries in the region in exports. Mr. Sok Siphana said, ‘Much rice is being exported. Also, our rice milling technology is advanced. The problem is that much of paddy rice produced by farmers is taken out to neighboring countries. This happens because we do not have trade credits to first buy much rice for storing and milling, and then to export it. As for the provision of credits, if the interest rates from banks are too high, farmers cannot ask for loans. Some banks boast that they have much money, but they do not dare to provide credits to farmers. Some banks do not have experts on agriculture working to provide loans to farmers. A large number of banks agree only to offer loans when clients have land or house titles for the bank’s security. This does not include big investors on agriculture, who can easily pay back the money they borrowed, or who can reduce their debt quickly.

“Mr. Sok Siphana said that about 20,000 tonnes of rice were exported in 2009. – This workshop was supported by UN ESCAP that had sent well-known experts from India and from the World Bank to share their experiences with Khmer officials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5216, 6.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 5 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #496, 6.6.2010

  • The Royal Government Decides to Change the Cambodia Post Services into a Public Enterprise
  • The Minister of Finance of Japan [Mr. Kan Naoto – 菅直人] Becomes Prime Minister

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2267, 6.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Announced to Cancel the Collection of Market Fees by the Roth Sensopheap Company [except for parking and toilet fees, but not on their sales turnover – Phnom Penh]
  • Traders Are Actively Transporting Wood from the Animal Habitat Forest in Snuol District [according to local citizens – Kratie]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #674, 5.6.2010

  • [The acting president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: We Asks the Government to Take 4 June as the Date to Commemorate the Loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Land [to Vietnam in 1994]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6974, 5-6.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Mine Action Center Shares Its Experience in Mine Clearance Internationally: with Colombia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5216, 6.6.2010

  • Cambodia Must Find Solutions to Encourage Faster Exports
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Plans to Go to the Philippines to Meet with Parliamentarians and Democrats in Asia [at the end of this month, to welcome the newly elected president of the Philippines when he takes office]
  • Only about 100,000 Motorbike Drivers among More Than 1,000,000 Have Driving Licenses
  • Two Lightnings Killed a Person and a Buffalo and Injured Another Person [Kompong Chhnang]

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About the Clear Separation of Functions and Responsibilities – Sunday, 30.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

According to the Preamble of the Constitution, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a multi-party liberal democracy. That different people make different observations and have different information and different opinions is natural – that these can also be expressed and discussed openly is legal under such a constitution, unless there is any criminal intent involved.

When putting the pieces for the Mirror together day by day, we encounter often confrontative news items which could be resolved easily by an open, mutual, clarifying consultation about facts and structural arrangements, which might overcome personal positions and feelings.

During the past week, we carried a report about a tragic event in India: “160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India.” But this is not just a tragedy – it is necessary to investigate what led to this problem, in order to avoid similar events to happen in future. Naturally, questions about safety procedures have to be clarified – and there were some press reports claiming that the accident was the result of a soft handling of air safety regulations. When this discussion started, the management of Air India claimed to make a thorough investigation by themselves – and prohibited its employees to discuss related questions with the press. This resulted in further protests: “The striking employees were upset over the management’s gag order prohibiting some of its leaders to speak out in public on the Mangalore crash.”

In the meantime, the Indian government has set up a Court of Inquiry headed by a former high court judge, and a Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council with persons with a background in aviation, and experts in engineering and operations. They will conduct the inquiry, not Air India. And the strike was called off.

Does this mean that the Indian government does not trust the management of Air India? Maybe or maybe not – the fundamentally important point is that Operations and Safety are to be handled by two separate, independent bodies, which have to cooperate mutually.

Some months ago, I had an experience in Malaysia where this separation obviously works. – We were about 250 passengers, waiting to board a long distance night flight. But instead of calling us to board the plane, we were told that the flight is canceled, buses would transport us to different hotels and collect us again in the morning. So it happened – connections lost and schedules not met. The explanation: When the plane was prepared for departure, the air safety controller discovered that the pilot had landed only 11 hours ago – but no pilot is allowed to fly again, if not 12 hours passed between two flights. Malaysia Airlines had to accept this ruling from the air safety institution, though it meant a disruption of many schedules and a considerable economic loss. The airline had assigned the pilot – “just one hour too short should be OK” – but the independent safety supervisor rejected this.

Not good personal relations of different actors, and group or institutional loyalties assure smooth an safe procedures, but clearly defined, different institutions – which all have to refer to objectively defined rules. And these rules have to be kept and followed.

When Mr. Om Yentieng was recently appointed as head of the newly created Anti-Corruption Unit, it was reported that some persons from the opposition parties raised critical questions about him – this is a case where different people may have different opinions. But we did not see any critical questions raised against the fact the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is also automatically a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, the body that is supervising the Anti-Corruption Unit. This is an objectively serious problem, whoever the person is. Everybody has to act responsibly in public offices – but this does not mean to be just responsible to oneself. Responsibility implies that one has to answer what is right and what is wrong to another institution. Where this is not structurally institutionalized, there is the danger that a conflict of interest may lead to wrong results.

Malaysian Airlines had the well founded interest not to disrupt its intercontinental schedule, and not to organize and pay for 250 hotel guests. But the air safety agency hand a different, also well founded interest: that the strict working schedules of pilots have to be kept.

When the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] started to investigate the Australian mining company BHP Billiton, and links to the US$2.5 million which had been paid as tea money to “Cambodia,” this naturally triggered a public interest where and under whose authorities and according to which rules this money was used. Then an amount of US$20 million from the French oil company Total was added to the surprises, and additional millions from an Indonesian company.

Then allegations surfaced that the ban on sand export, imposed by the government, was not applied, and sand exports to Singapore continued.

Around the time when different partial answers related to payments were reported in the press (which could not be reconciled with each other) the Prime Minister tasked the Senior Ministers Sok An and Keat Chhon to present a consolidated answer to the National Assembly; then also the Ambassador of Cambodia in London offered to publicly discuss and refute such allegations, raised by the British NGO Global Witness.

But on 21 May 2010, the Cambodian Embassy in London withdrew the offer in a letter from which we quote:

On the issue you raised, I am pleased to advise that His Excellency Hor Nambora is no longer prepared
to enter into a public debate with Global Witness.

First, we believe it would be inappropriate to share a platform with representatives of your organisation
since it would appear you have a politically-motivated and hidden agenda to discredit the legitimately-
elected Government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Second, it seems clear that your group is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international
community, not least for the irresponsible and devious way in which you operate…

In short, as your group, leadership and campaigners certainly suffered from epilepsy and other mental disabilities, it would be more prudent for any Cambodian representatives or officials, not to take part in the debate.

Epilepsy is disease defined in medical terms as “a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions” – it is surprising that the Cambodian embassy claims to have such medical data on the staff of Global Witness, quite apart form the whole style of this official letter.

We do also not have any information that Global Witness “is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international community.” – Global Witness shares the list of their supporters publicly:

Trusts and foundations

  • Adessium Foundation
  • The Blue Moon Fund
  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • The DOEN Foundation
  • The Fledgling Fund
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The Jocarno Fund
  • The Joffe Charitable Trust
  • Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug)
  • The David and Elaine Potter Foundation
  • The RH Southern Trust
  • The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
  • The Roddick Foundation
  • The Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation
  • The Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • The Staples Trust
  • The Wallace Global Fund

Development organisations

  • Concern Worldwide
  • Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos)
  • Oxfam Novib
  • Trocaire

Governments

  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • DFID – Department for International Development (UK)
  • The European Commission
  • Irish Aid – Irish Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida)
  • Norad

To accuse Global Witness leadership of “epilepsy and other mental disabilities” is probably not making an impression on the supporters of the world wide activities of Global Witness. It will rather bring embarrassing questions, asking to explain how an embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia can act in such a non-professional way.

In Cambodia today, to make such a public statement, might this lead to a court case for disinformation and defamation.

Again: this is not first of all a question about the person who wrote this letter. It is a question in which way, in the diplomatic service where such a letter was written, responsibility is exercised – not only personally by oneself and for oneself – but in a way that one institution, or one part of the institution, has to submit itself to another institution, to clarify what is acceptable, and what is not, for the Kingdom of Cambodia.

During the week, the question has also been raised, whether somebody from outside tries “to teach” something to Cambodia. This may happen occasionally, but it is not as important as that the field, as described by the Constitution, is kept open to exercise the freedoms of expression and opinion. The article about Mr. Vann Molyvann, who has shaped the image of Phnom Penh and some other places in the contry, is such an example. In spite of his historical role and his achievements, he felt compelled to resign, when his professional judgment as an architect and as a long term protector of Khmer traditional culture was overruled for shot term economic gain. To listen to him is worth while. Not only because this previous warnings about the over-use of ground water in the Angkor area have now – finally – been seen as a real problem which may lead to the collapse of some of the old temples – similar to the destruction of more modern, but historical buildings in Phnom Penh and other cities, that are being destroyed and replaced by modern business buildings, for economic gain.

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Thai Goods Are Imported through the Cham Yeam Border Crossing without Checking – Wednesday, 26.5.2010

Posted on 27 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Koh Kong: At present, during the season to import fruits, hundreds of tonnes of Thai goods are imported at the Cham Yeam border crossing on cars, trucks, and carts each day, to be distributed in Koh Kong and other provinces and in Phnom Penh without proper checking on the quality of those goods by CamControl officials.

“According to information from the Cham Yeam border crossing, CamControl officials at the crossing do not care to check the quality of imported goods nowadays, but they just wait to collect money from the owners of the goods.

“A trader who imports goods on carts said that he has to pay CamControl officials stationed at the crossing Riel 10,000 to Riel 30,000 [approx. US$2.40 to US$7.10] per cart instead of checking, and there are no receipts for the payments. The above trader complained that he cannot protest against the requirement to pay money, otherwise they would block the goods from being imported by declaring that those goods are of no quality and that no tax had been paid. He added that besides goods loaded on carts, other goods are imported on cars and trucks without any checking, like the cars of traders that transport all types of sausages, and cars and trucks carrying small fish, drinks, and other goods.

“The above source added that on every single day, there are at least 100 to 150 carts that import Thai goods across the Cham Yeam border crossing. Because there is no proper checking, every day some prohibited and no-quality goods such as pork, chicken, eggs, vegetables, and fruits, that are considered to be garbage in Thailand, are now acquired by traders and imported for distribution at the markets anarchically.

“A CamControl official, Mr. Chea Ny, told Rasmei Kampuchea that recently, imported goods had been checked for their quality occasionally, and no chemicals [applied on those goods] were found.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5207, 26.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #487, 26.5.2010

  • ASEAN Police Will Step Up Cooperation and Strengthen Security and Economy in the Region
  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An Asked the Asian Development Bank to Continue to Cooperate with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP – according to a meeting with an ADB delegation]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2258, 26.5.2010

  • There Will Be a Vote [in the National Assembly] to Promote Eleven Officials [to positions of secretary of state and minister] on 27 May 2010 [but their names are not yet mentioned]
  • French Officials Plan to Come to Cambodia to Help Improve the Procedures for Exporting Products to International Markets [according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Mao Thora]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #771, 26.5.2010

  • The Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Naly Pilorge, Uses the Influence of Foreign Funds to Dismiss Staff [not respecting contracts and the labor law]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #665, 26.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked [Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng for Permission to Visit Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea [being jailed for uprooting Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6965, 26.5.2010

  • Three Persons, a Man and His Two Children, Died in the Forest [of diarrhea]; Diarrhea Killed Sixteen People among 543 Patients in Ratanakiri [Yesterday, Dr. Beat Richner announced in a full page ad in The Cambodia Daily that the hospitals to which he relates have diagnosed 290 cases with the germ “Vibrio cholerae” – Cholera – among 1300 patients treated, and informed the Cambodian authorities since several months, but the Cambodian authorities continue to deny that it is Cholera and wrongly claim that the treatment for Cholera and for diarrhea is the same]
  • Thma Koul Police Intercepted 22 Pieces of Luxury Grade Wood to Be Transported to Siam [Thailand – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #179, 26.5.2010

  • Brick Producers: The Price of Bricks Doubles because of the Increase of Demand for Construction Materials [at present, 10,000 bricks cost US$400]
  • Thai Court Released Warrant to Arrest [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as Terrorist

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5207, 26.5.2010

  • Thai Goods Are Imported through the Cham Yeam Border Crossing without Checking
  • New Ambassadors of Malaysia and of Laos Met and Greeted Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen

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Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign – Thursday, 6.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party had expressed their concerns before, that the non-transparent management of the rich natural resources of Cambodia, as well as corruption, make citizens – the owners of those important resources – become poor, so that they cannot receive the benefits from the present anarchic exploitations of natural resources.

“Officials from 16 countries met in Phnom Penh for two days, on 4 and 5 May 2010, to discuss about the control of forestry resources and the trade of forestry products. Cambodian high ranking officials welcomed and chaired the discussion meetings to step up effective controls on forest resources. Asian and European officials came from Burma, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Siam [Thailand], the United States of America, and Yuon [Vietnam], to discuss how to promote forestry exploitation that follows legal standards.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä, the Director of Directorate G – Sustainable Development and Integration – in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, said that forestry trading is an important sector that boosts economic growth in Asian and European countries, and forestry products have significantly and enormously contributed to development of the economies of Asian and European countries. It is stressed that forestry products are essential for a national economy.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä said that good management of forestry resource will help prevent forestry destructions in any country, though forests can provide substantial national income. Cambodia used to export forestry products to some countries such as the former Soviet Union. But since Cambodia introduced reforms in 2001, the export of [unprocessed] forestry products abroad was halted [but illegal export continued].

“The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia, Mr. Chan Sarun, who was also present at the discussions, said that people from the countries that attend the meeting can jointly create plans to strengthen forestry management and legislation. ‘We can create joint planning to improve forestry control and to strength fundamental laws, as well as cut down illegal forestry productions.’

“Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore.

“Ebony, Thnong, and Beng are most wanted luxury grade woods to produce furniture in some countries, and most illegal exports from Cambodia are of these kinds of wood. Most luxury grade wood confiscated was found in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Kratie. The destinations for its export are known to be China and Yuon, where millions of cubic meters are needed.

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees.

Global Witness said in a statement early April 2010, ‘The idea that Ty Sokhun has been removed from his post because of a failure to crack down on illegal logging is laughable.’ The organization thinks that to tolerate Mr. Ty Sokun after 15 years of forestry crimes originating from his office shows that the past spreading of forestry crimes seems to be forgotten.

Note – From the text of the Global Witness statement:

Sacking of Cambodia’s forest chief unconvincing as move against illegal logging

Press Release – 7.4.2010

Global Witness today welcomed the removal from his post of the Director General of Cambodia’s Forest Administration, Ty Sokhun, but warned that much more needed to be done to guarantee the survival of the country’s remaining forests and the fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s other natural resources for the benefit of the many not the few.

Global Witness’s 2007 report, Cambodia’s Family Trees, documented how Ty Sokhun and the Ministry of Agriculture Director, Chan Sarun, sold off 500 or more jobs in the Forest Administration. The report also revealed that Ty Sokhun’s father-in-law was a key member of Cambodia’s biggest illegal logging syndicate.

“Ty Sokhun’s reign as Cambodia’s forest chief was a disaster for Cambodia’s forests”, said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. “On his watch we saw Cambodia’s forests shrink dramatically, largely due to illegal or ill-managed logging operations. It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen says he sacked Ty Sokhun because he had no confidence in his ability to crack down on illegal logging but Global Witness questions why it has taken so long to act…

Taylor: “Ty Sokhun was not the only one responsible for the destruction of Cambodia’s forests. Our investigations have proven the complicity of officials and elites at the highest levels, including members of the Prime Minister’s own family. If Hun Sen genuinely wants closure on the destruction of Cambodia’s forests, he should commission a full independent enquiry into what has happened, publish the findings and punish the perpetrators.”

“At the occasion of the change of head of the Forestry Administration and the appointment of Mr. Chheng Kimson it was seen that some high ranking officials such as [Minister of Agriculture] Mr. Chan Sarun were spared to be called to account for their wrongdoings by the head of the Cambodian government, while in fact Mr. Chan Sarun and Mr. Ty Sokun are the most important persons responsible for forestry crimes for years. This way of suppressing illegal wood trading makes international donors to think that Cambodia does it just to satisfy them to get aid, while the Cambodian government is not really willing to intercept illegal wood trading. [[see also The Mirror of 7.4.2010]]

Note – from a historical Global Witness statement from December 2004

Resign or be sacked

Press Release – 3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honourable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterised the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” However, according to the ADB so many people, companies, institutions and countries were responsible for the fiasco that no one should be made accountable. Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted. Yet as recently as April 2004 the Independent Forest Sector Review referred to “high levels of institutionalised corruption.” Still, no one is being held to account.

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.”

Good governance is at the core of the new “Rectangular Strategy,” of the third legislature of the National Assembly, but the government has been talking tough on corruption and doing nothing for years, as has the donor community. At the 1996 CG meeting, then First Prime Minister H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia was committed to “implement appropriate measures,” to amongst other things “effectively combat corruption.” More recently at the 2001 CG the ADB’s Urooj Malik “respectfully urged” the Royal Government “to move forward with the finalization of legislation on Anti-corruption…”. The donors then pledged US$ 615 million, US$ 115 million more than the Cambodian government had actually asked for. In 2002 “the adoption of a new Anti-Corruption Law” was, according to the World Bank, by now “of particular and most urgent importance.” The donors pledged US$ 635 million.

“The Cambodian government must find the whole CG process absolutely hilarious. Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and each year the donors give them more money.” said Buckrell.

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” During Monday’s CG, the donors must hold the entire government to account for their failure to put anti-corruption rhetoric into practice. The donors should insist on rapid enactment of an effective Anti-Corruption law and a register of business interests for politicians, officers in the military, and senior officials.

“Dismissing the Director of the Forest Administration is an absolute minimum first step any donor really interested in Cambodia’s development should expect from a government committed to reform and addressing corruption,” said Global Witness Director, Simon Taylor. “Our recent report, Taking a Cut, provides a number of other key minimum steps we would expect the Cambodian Government to undertake to clean up its act. Some years ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that his Premiership depended on his success in delivering improvements in the forestry sector. By any standards, he has thus far failed. The challenge is now to the donors and the Prime Minister to deliver.”

“According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the trade in forestry products with markets in Asian countries, North America, and the European Union in 2001 amounted to about US$140 billion, while in 1999, it had been less than that. A report about the fight against illegal forestry crimes of the World Bank, from 2006, showed that the forest destructions in the world siphoned off more than US$10 billion each year.

“A well known opposition party leader in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, had said that corruption leads to the devastation of natural resources of Cambodia. He said that if there were a proper and transparent management of those resources, Cambodia were able to earn huge amounts of money for national construction and for some important infrastructure developments to serve the needs of the citizens.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy recalled that the exploitation of national resources does so far not contribute proper benefits for the nation and for poor citizens, due to corruption. If there were an accurate management, Cambodia could find sufficient income without depending on foreign aid or loans, as the government does at present.

“The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that the improper management of the national budget, especially the collection of income from the exploitations of natural resources without transparency and without following the laws of control, make Cambodia lose its benefits. Mr. Yim Sovann suggests that the government should create effective laws to control the natural resources and to ensure that income from the exploitation of natural resources is not lost to corruption.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 6 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.17, #1438, 6.5.2010

  • Sweden Plans to Establish an Embassy in Cambodia [no exact date specified]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #470, 6.5.2010

  • A 30-Year-Old Woman Was Attacked with Acid over a Suspected Love Affair [the perpetrators are not yet arrested – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2241, 6.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Met with the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense [Mr. Shimba Kazuya [防衛副大臣 榛葉賀津也], discussing about bilateral and regional cooperation]
  • Jointly Stepping Up the Fight against Human Trafficking
  • A Workshop about the Results from a Consultation to Cooperate Implementing the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women Was Held [Ms. Chim Manavy, the director of the Open Institute: priorities and strategies to achieve the same goals together cooperating between civil society organizations and institutions of the government, to effectively implement the action plan, had been discussed and set up, including Information and Communication Technology as a means to promote gender equality and to empower women, as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #648, 6.5.2010

  • Journalists Publish a Declaration on Freedom of Information, Demanding that the Government Creates a Law about the Right to Know Soon [the government is drafting this law without open participation of journalists’ associations]
  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Norodom Sihanouk and Siamese [Thai] King Sent Each Other Good Wishes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6948, 6.5.2010

  • Nearly 100,000 Hectares of Economic Concession Land in Kompong Thom Are Delivered to Twenty One Companies for Growing Agro-Industrial Crops
  • A Woman Was Raped and Killed and a Few Hours Later, the Perpetrator Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • A Statement by Cambodian Journalists Published on the World Press Freedom Day Suggests that “The Right to Know Must Be Guaranteed for Cambodian Citizens by the Government”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

  • Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #165, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Claimed Again that the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Is on Khmer Territory [while Thailand claimed it is on Thai territory. – Actually, it is on territory declared by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Joint Communique on 18 June 2008, signed together with UNESCO and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a “buffer zone” not claimed by Cambodia in the context of the World Heritage Site designation plans]
  • [More than 100] Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protested in Front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC – to oppose the submission of a Master Plan for the development of the area from the Municipality to the CDC, but officials said that the Master Plan has not yet been delivered to the CDC – but people have already been evicted before the plan was accepted]
  • The Minister of Finance of Indonesia [Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati] Receives the Top Position in the World Bank [as its Managing Director]
  • Cambodia Railway Station Is Starting with New Life because of Continuing Investment [it is now controlled by the Toll Royal Railways; the whole Cambodian railway system is being repaired under US$141,1 million aid and credits from the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and OPEC]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5190, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Imports Fuel Amounting to US$450 Million Each Year [according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce]
  • 199 Pieces of Ebony [loaded on a boat] Prepared to Be Imported to Vietnam, Were Seized on the High Sea [Kampot]

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The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held – Thursday, 29.4.2010

Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum was held in the morning of 27 April 2010 at the seat of the Council of Ministers. The forum was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen; other leaders of the Royal Government, from the private sector, and many other development partners, and diplomats attended the forum.

“Like at the previous time, the aim of the meeting, considered to be a kind of open ministerial session, is to jointly monitor the practical progress and improvements achieved, to see how problems, which were raised during the 14th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum had been addressed, and to know what other problems investors face in Cambodia.

“The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said during his speech opening the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum that the Royal Government had led the Cambodian economy to get across a most difficult stage of the economic crisis, where the Royal Government managed to ensure financial stability as well as macro-economic and social stability, established a more favorable environment for economic and business activities, and strengthened social safety for the citizens.

“He added that encountering the global economic crisis, the Royal Government had continually intervened in the taxation system for garment and shoe factories as well as for other industries supporting these fields. Reduced tax payments on income of the garment and shoe factories was extended until the end of 2012, resulting in monthly losses for the state of about Riel 4,000,000,000 [approx. US$940,000]. To reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 0% during that time resulted in additional losses for the state of about Riel 4,300,000,000 [approx US$1 million] per month in 2008 and it increased to as much as approx. Riel 9,300,000,000 [approx. US$2.2 million] in 2010.

“The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, chaired the event and waited to address all problems after they had been raised by the eight private sector groups. Then he dealt with the problems of the working teams for agriculture and for industry, relating to the export of agricultural products, even though it is recognized that there has been improvement in the commercial sector. Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sectors needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.

“Regarding these issues, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that such type of unimportant checkpoints should be abolished at all levels, especially when such activities are carried out by institutions which are not authorized for this, and he called to abolish such licenses required by unnecessary institutions, so that export business becomes more competitive exporting agricultural products of Cambodia.

“As for the tourism working team, Mr. Ho Vandy asked the government to reduce the price of plane tickets of Cambodia Angkor Air from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, to allow flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and to add another flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and to begin local flights between Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville.

“In response, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that Cambodia adheres to a free market economy. Thus, the government cannot set prices of flights as it is done in a planned economy. In relation to the request to begin flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, he said that the government does not provide exclusive rights to Cambodia Angkor Air, and other companies can operate direct flights. He encouraged Mr. Ho Vandy – if he could make any airline to start direct flights to Sihanoukville he will request that Mr. Vandy should get a medal for this incentive.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen also addressed issues in other sectors, mostly concentrating on the lowering of tax for the import of raw materials and for means of transport, and the lowering of VAT. At the same time, he addressed also problems relating to trade unions and workers. In addition, he clarified some cases, where the private sector had called to strengthen the competition of the garment sector by considering that the expensive prices of telecommunication, transportation, and electricity are a burden.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Was Nominated as a Member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #463-464, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Government Encourages the Private Sector to Export Agricultural Products
  • Two Murderers Were Arrested for Killing a Woman to Rob Her Lexus Car to Sell it in Vietnam [Phnom Penh]
  • The Prime Minister Reminded the Authorities to Crack Down on Illegal Check Points

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22-342235, 28-29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The BHP Billiton Mining Company Did Not Give Illegal Money to Cambodia [to get a mining exploration concession from the government]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Ambassadors in Cambodia Not to Interfere in the Internal Affairs of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Decide on Bail Requests of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan on 30 April 2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and To Demonstrate [on 1 May 2010, the International Labor Day] Is Their Right
  • The Australian Embassy Provides Scholarships to 40 Cambodian Students Every Year
  • The National Children’s Hospital Receives Medical Equipment Donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA, worth about US$200,000]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [COMFREL]: The Power of the National Assembly Is in the Hands of Only One Party, and Complaints against Mr. Sam Rainsy [filed by the government] Are Dangerous for Democracy
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked the Minister of Justice to Confirm the Conditions Under Which Courts Can Detain Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #159-160, 28-29.4.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: The Money from the [Australian] BHP Company Is Not Corrupt Money [he confirmed that the government was not involved in corruption with the BHP company in providing mining exploitation rights in Cambodia, but he said that this company did provide more than US$2 million for social development projects]
  • Tourists Arrivals Increased by Almost 10% in the First Quarter of 2010 [there were more than 680,000 tourists, mostly from Korea, China, and Japan]
  • Visakh Bochea Was Internationally Celebrated in the Angkor Area in Siem Reap [with an international “Trail of Civilization and Performance” with participation from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam]
  • Cambodia Lifts the Ban on Marriages between Khmer Women and South Korean Men
  • The International Monetary Fund: Cambodia Should Improve Investment Atmosphere [in order to attract big investors: maintaining the macro-economic environment stable, improving the physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, and electricity supply, ensure a high level judicial system that is independent, and keep a well educated labor force]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

  • The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticized Big Institutions of the World [the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different [independent] forecasts about the Cambodian economy]
  • 88% of Garment Factories Were Affected by the Economic Crisis while 12% Were Not [according to the International Labor Organization]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems – Monday, 8.2.2010

Posted on 9 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Phnom Penh: Mondolkiri is a province with potential for eco-tourism everywhere. Its natural environment is better than in other northeastern provinces. But a tourism official of this province said in a recent meeting that this province has not yet created tourism communities following legislation related to tourism to comply with proper tourism community standards like those in Koh Kong or in other provinces.

“The head of the Department of Tourism of Mondolkiri, Mr. Ngin Sovimean, said, ‘We cannot establish tourism communities, because the provincial forestry administration opposes it, and thus, we need to wait until forestry communities have been created.’ The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, commented, ‘If we wait until the forestry administration has formed its communities first so that tourism communities can be created, that will be very slow.’

“An official of the Ministry of Tourism in charge of tourism communities, Mr. Thok Sokhom, said that previously, the creation of forestry and fishery communities did not work. But tourism communities could operate at other provinces as the provincial authorities cooperate and especially, local people voluntarily and willingly participate.

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the creation of tourism communities cannot be made successful by the tourism sector alone, but it needs cooperation from private partners. If there are no transportation agencies to carry tourists to various sites, tourism communities cannot get active.

“In the meantime, if transportation agencies do not help to advertise tourism communities, those communities will not function.

“Relating to the Bu Sra waterfall resort, the best tourism site of the province, Mr. Ngin Sovimean said that by 2010, after it had been handed over to a private company for investment already more than one year ago, the company did nothing, but just improved only the road from the provincial capital to the site and collects money from tourists every day [but does not do anything for the community].

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the report about Bu Sra resort sent to the Ministry seems accurate. Now, he assigned a secretary of state to take charge of this case, because the related investment plan is among Samdech Hun Sen’s recommendations.

“By now, there are 29 eco-tourism communities countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 8 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #408, 8.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Advised Troops and Police to Use the 097 Mobile Phone System [of the Vietnamese Metfone company to ease communication]
  • Cambodia Can Import Garments to the European Union without Paying Taxes [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2171, 7-8.2.2010

  • Three People Were Arrested for Being Involved in Weapons Trafficking [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #600, 7-8.2.2010

  • Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Support the Prime Minister’s Commitment to Protect the Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6878, 8.2.2010

  • National Military Police Cooperated to Seize Nearly 10 Cubic Meters of Wood Suspected to Belong to a Military Police Official [Kratie]
  • Diarrhea Spreads in Samraong Tong and Basedth Districts [in Kompong Speu, killing three people and infecting many others]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3806, 8.2.2010

  • The Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union to Cambodia Wants Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case [over the removal of border markers] to Be Solved outside the Court System [as a political issue]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #106, 8.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: Tanks, Rifles, and Artillery Are to Be Used to Withstand Those Who Invade Khmer Territory
  • The Prime Minister Warned Soldiers at the Border Not to Use Their Positions to Cut Trees
  • Cambodia to Establish Flight Connections with Indonesia and Brunei [to facilitate and attract tourists from these countries – according of an official of the Ministry of Tourism]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

  • Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems
  • Representatives of Fishermen [of 102 families] Protested at the Fishery Administration Office as the Complaint They Lodged Is Not Solved [requesting for suppression on fishery crimes – Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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