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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Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by 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”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

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The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

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“Cambodian Officials Need Education About Press Freedom” – Monday, 12.4.2010

Posted on 13 April 2010. Filed under: Week 660 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Because of the Khmer New Year holidays 14 to 16 April 2010, life during this whole week is different; actually, already since Friday last week, music and the voices of people playing special New Year games, and of groups of friends going out together, indicated that the festive season began already.

This affects also publications, and some offices – also the Open Institute – are closed for a week. Our regular publications will therefore start only on Monday, 19 April. But we will supply our readers with some information also during this week.

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 660

Concerned with the situation of journalists in Cambodia, Mr. Moeun Chhean Nariddh, the Director of the Cambodia Institute for Media Studies, Phnom Penh, wrote the following statement, which was published in The Cambodia Daily in the edition of Saturday-Sunday, 10-11 April 2010, from which we quote:

“As media professionals, we are very disappointed at the continued use of the court by Cambodian officials to sue journalists for defamation and disinformation.

“The recent lawsuits respectively brought by police officers in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey provinces against Koh Santepheap newspaper reporters have indicated officials’ lack of understanding of the press freedom enshrined in the Cambodian Constitution.

Article 31 of the Constitution states: ‘The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights…’

Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly says: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’

“Similarly, Article 19 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:

  1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; the right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of choice.

“To assert Cambodia’s obligation under these international treaties, Cambodia adopted the Khmer Press Law in 1995.

Article 4 of the Press Law states: ‘Publication of official information such as statements, meetings, meeting minutes or reports etc. may not be penalized if such publication is fully true or an accurate summary of the truth.’

“This is what the reporter in Siem Reap did by quoting a police officer’s report for his story.

“It’s sad that the two reporters in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey have been arrested and may face criminal charges of defamation and disinformation, though Article 20 of the Press Law says: ‘…No person shall be arrested or subject to criminal charges as a result of expression of opinion.’

“Of course, journalists may make innocent mistakes in doing their professional work to meet the public’s right to know.

“However, courts need to find two sets of evidence to find journalists guilty of defamation or disinformation.

  • “First, it needs to prove that an article reported is false and defamatory due to a journalist’s negligence or lack of information.
  • “Second, the court must show that the journalist has produced the defamatory article out of his or her malicious intent.

Yet, most journalists are just fulfilling their professional obligation to keep the public informed of what happened, whether it is good or bad news. They do not intend to harm anybody’s reputation though some stories turn out to be false.

“Meanwhile, journalists are bound by the professional code of ethics to balance their reporting as far as a controversial story is concerned.

. . .

“In a separate but related lawsuit, we highly commend the Takeo Provincial Court for acquitting a reporter of Radio Free Asia of criminal defamation and disinformation.

“We hope that the Siem Reap Court officials will follow this good example. We also hope that the Cambodian officials will study journalist’s rights and freedoms enshrined in the laws before another similar lawsuit is brought against another media professional.”

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A Too Quick Reaction from the Government – Thursday, 25.3.2010

Posted on 26 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“The anti-corruption law has already been adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate of Cambodia. Therefore, after the King would have signed it, it will become valid. But what has to be remembered is that local civil society officials as well as officials of the United Nations had mentioned many shortages of the new law and criticized that the two institutions too quickly adopted the law. One problem they see is that the law requires high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially.

“UN officials in Cambodia criticized specifically the very quick adoption process of the crucial anti-corruption draft law. The government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen did not accept the recommendations suggested by UN officials, but warned to expel them from Cambodia. This results in a loss of trust in the general public whether the elimination of corruption in Cambodia can be achieved effectively.

“Officials of some non-government organizations said that UN officials just wanted the anti-corruption law of Cambodia to be more transparent, so that the Cambodian government can combat corruption successfully. Therefore, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government should not have expressed an angry reaction with the UN official’s criticism, but should take into account what they mentioned. In addition, the requirement for high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially seems to help hide the assets of corrupt officials rather than to uncover corruption.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that before, the Cambodian government had offered the opportunity for local civil society officials and for international organization officials to provide ideas toward the creation of the anti-corruption draft. But the anti-corruption draft, with 9 chapters and 57 articles, recently adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate, does not include their recommendations. Moreover, both the National Assembly and the Senate used a very short time to adopt this important law, a process quite unlike the adoption of other laws which takes much time for reviewing and discussing.

“Cambodia had been ranked by Transparency International among the countries in the world where there exists very serious corruption [What is the Corruption Perceptions Index?Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 – Cambodia is on position 158 of 180 countries; this number is calculated based on 8 different suveys]. Even the US Ambassador to Cambodia had criticized that corruption leads to the loss hundreds of millions of dollars of national resources every year. That means corruption in Cambodia is a serious concern, starting from high levels to the lower, where even traffic police commit offensive acts. Thus, based on the content of the anti-corruption draft recently approved by the National Assembly and by the Senate, elimination of corruption seems impossible.

“Non-government organization officials observing corruption in Cambodia said that the 9-chapters-and-57-articles draft does not have explicit content as similar laws in Yuon [Vietnam] and in China have. Even the point about the declaration of assets of high ranking officials does not state the details clearly, and thereby does not explain how corrupt officials can be identified. The government led by Prime Hun Sen should reconsider the critical remarks by UN officials, but should not react against them too fast which does not help.

“It should be noted that the government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen had created an anti-corruption unit administered by Om Yentieng; soon it will create another anti-corruption committee. Creating two institutions that have similar roles does not explain what kind of power will be provided to which institution. With a vague anti-corruption law which does not comply with international standards, corruption might occur more seriously.

“All in all, the anti-corruption draft approved by the National Assembly, presided over by Mr. Heng Samrin, and by the Senate, headed by Mr. Chea Sim, is not praised by the general public, as the content of the law does not show its real value. Actually, the opposition party parliamentarians did not raise their hands to support its adoption. Only the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party raised their hands to support it. Under such circumstances, the government, led by the Cambodian People’s Party, should consider the content of that law again, but should not react by warning to expel UN officials just because they pointed out deficiencies of that important law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1434, 25-26.3.2010

  • The Thai Parliament Began to Meet, though the Puea Thai Party Members Boycotted It

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #443, 25.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Health Launched a Campaign of A/H1N1 Vaccinations [for citizens in Phnom Penh; so far in Cambodia, there were 566 cases of infections, and six people died]
  • [About forty] War Journalists [from the 1970s] Will Have a Reunion in Cambodia Next Month [from 20 to 23 April 2010; according to the former Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, Mr. Chhang Song]

Note:

Mr. Chhang Song had been the last Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, which came to an end with the end of the Lon Nol government in 1975. Mr. Chhang Song went, like many others, as a refugee to the USA and became a US citizen. But in 1989, he returned to Cambodia and was among the few returnees who joined the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] – offering his experience to act as a communicator between the political leadership of the CPP and the Western world.

During the time, when the majority of the governments of the world – and the whole “Western world” continued to consider the Khmer Rouge seat in the General Assembly of the United Nations legitimate, while not recognizing the Cambodian government in Phnom Penh during the 1980ies, he testified in the Congress of the USA, speaking against support for the fighting factions of FUNCINPEC, the Khmer Rouge, and the Khmer People’s Liberation Front against the State of Cambodia from their positions at the Cambodian-Thai border. And he helped to organize an interview for Prime Minister Hun Sen with the US National Public Radio, to provide an interpretation to the US public about the Cambodian situation from inside of Cambodia, and not from the prevalent news outlets on behalf of the border camps of the three resistance factions.

Later he became a member of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia – but in 2001, he – together with Mr. Phay Siphan and Mr. Pou Savath – was expelled from the CPP and also from his position as a senator. Details are in a document of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

After six years, Mr. Chhang Song was called back into public service, as an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia with the rank of a minister.

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2210, 25.3.2010

  • A Popular Member of the Amleang Commune Council [from the Cambodian People’s Party] and a Villager Were Detained [for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company, while about 500 villagers are protesting – Kompong Speu]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan Has Been Transferred to [Calmette] Hospital since Ten Days [he receives medical treatment for hypertension]
  • Two Chinese and one Khmer Man Were Brought to a Court for Smuggling Drugs Worth US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #635, 25.3.2010

  • Two Villagers among Five Victimized by a Land Dispute Were Detained when They Had Been Summoned by a Court for Questioning [Kompong Speu]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6917, 25.3.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Started a Big Operation to Crack Down on [ten] Massage Shops and Karaoke Parlors Offering Sex Services – among Them also the Yang Chou Massage Shop Was Closed [a Chinese man who administered the place and 37 sex workers were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

  • A Too Quick Reaction from the Government

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #138, 25.3.2010

  • Cambodia Said that 88 Thai Soldiers Died during Armed Clashes in 2008 and 2009 [and also two Khmer soldiers died; according to a Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces, General Chea Dara]
  • Cambodia Has Produced Enough Salt for the Local Demand for This Year [now 80,000 tonnes have been produced already within five months while the total demand is 90,000 tonnes]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5159, 25.3.2010

  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • A Son of Two-Star General Chea Mon [military commander of Region 4] Was Arrested over a [robbery] Case Five Years Ago [Siem Reap]

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The Number of Clients of Electricité du Cambodge Increased to 338,567 and the Power Sold Is 1,643 Gigawatt-Hours – Tuesday, 23.3.2010

Posted on 23 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“Phnom Penh: A high ranking official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said that in 2009, according to a source from Electricité du Cambodge,338,567 houses or offices were supplied with the power of 1,643 gigawatt-hours in Cambodia.

“The deputy secretary-general of the National Economic Council and a high ranking official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hav Ratanak, said during a conference about the prospects for Cambodian in 2010, organized on 17 March 2010, that, according to the documents of Electricité du Cambodge, the amount of energy that this institution received and distributed, rose up to 1,643 gigawatt-hours, increasing by 192 gigawatt-hours, while the number of clients increased to 338,567, going up by 23,034, compared with 2008.

“He added that in 2009, 306,898 houses of citizens, 2,184 clients who are foreigners, 26,543 businesses, 1,094 industrial sites, and 1,848 government offices were supplied with electricity.

“According to Mr. Ratanak, in order to promote the plan to develop electricity in Cambodia, Electricité du Cambodge set up a three-year strategic plan, starting from 2010 to 2013. He said that between 2010 and 2013, Cambodia plans to import electricity of up to 5,108 gigawatt-hours from Vietnam and 625 gigawatt-hours from Thailand. Besides, other possible sources of electricity are from Kirirom I, Kirirom II, Kamchay, and the A Tai river hydro-electricity dams, and from electricity plants using coal to generate electricity.

“So far, it is believed that only 17% to 18% of Cambodians have access to electricity. Based on these projections, 70% of Cambodians will have access to electricity by 2030.

“In the region, the electricity prices in Cambodia were considered to be the highest, and Cambodia is also the country with least supply of electricity.

“The prices of electricity being supplied in Cambodia by Electricité du Cambodge are about Riel 610 [approx. US$0.14] per kilowatt-hour, if the consumption is between 0 to 50 kilowatt-hours per month, but if it is 0 to 100 kilowatt-hours or beyond, prices range from Riel 720 [approx. US$0.17] to Riel 940 [approx. US$0.22]. And for citizens, who use privately generated electricity, it is more expensive.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5157, 23.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #441, 23.3.2010

  • Cambodia Is at the 21st Position among 22 Countries with Serious Tuberculosis, 13,000 People Died in a Year

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2208, 23.3.2010

  • The South Korean President Requested to Recruit More Workers from Cambodia Than from Other Countries [this is in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request – the Ministry of Labor of South Korea is recruiting 700 agricultural workers]
  • More Than Fifteen Cubic Meters of Kronhoung Wood Was Confiscated in Choam Ksant District [Preah Vihear]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #633, 23.3.2010

  • The Kompong Speu Court Summoned [five] Citizens, Victimized by the Use of Machinery of [Senator and Oknha] Ly Yong Phat to Clear Their Land
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Those Who Oppose the United Nations Protect Corrupt People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6915, 23.3.2010

  • Hundreds of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Intercepted at the Memut Border Crossing [after the recent order by Prime Minister Hun Sen to control forestry crimes – Kompong Cham]
  • 180 Pieces of Luxury Wood Were Intercepted and Delivered to the Forestry Administration [Ratanakiri]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Printing of Riel Notes

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3839, 23.3.2010

  • Authorities Send the Case of the Boeng Kak Lake Residents Back and Forth and Do Not Have the Real Intention to Address It [on 22 March 2010, about 200 Boeng Kak Lake residents protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality to demand ownership documents for their land where they lived already for years]

Meatophoum, Vol.54, #764, 22-27.3.2010

  • In Mondolkiri, in One Tonne of Earth, 2.3 Grams of Gold Can Be Extracted [according to the OZ Minerals Company that has discovered four places in the province where gold can be extracted]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #136, 23.3.2010

  • Draft: Acid Attackers Might Stay for the Rest of Their Lives in Prison
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Will Commemorate the 13th Anniversary of the Grenade Attack of 30 March 1997 [where at least ten people were killed]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5157, 23.3.2010

  • The Number of Clients of Electricité du Cambodge Increased to 338,567 and the Power Sold Is 1,643 Gigawatt-Hours
  • Cambodia Rejected Information about Any Involvement with the B41 Grenade Explosions in Thailand [after Thai Television 3 broadcast that B41 grenades could have been imported from Cambodia]

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Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans – Monday, 22.3.2010

Posted on 23 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia sent a diplomatic note to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea on 5 March 2010, informing the embassy that the Cambodian government decided to suspend the licensing of marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Rasmei Kampuchea, saying that the Phnom Penh government made this decision after the authorities arrested a female matchmaker who took 25 Khmer women at the end of 2009 to be sold to marry South Korean men, and on 3 March 2010, court sentenced the woman to serve 10 years in prison for trafficking these women.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, ‘It is just a temporary suspension, but not a permanent one. We do so only with South Korea. We need to review the procedures in order to curb trafficking more effectively.’

“In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia had already once decided to suspend the right of Khmer citizens to marry foreigners. At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Khmer citizens, who planned to get married with foreigners, to directly contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but not to contact matchmakers or brokers. That was a new measure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to prevent possible human trafficking.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added that he did know when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lift the suspension of the right of Cambodian citizens to marry South Koreans.

“The Korean news agency Yonhap had reported that the number of Cambodian women getting married with Korean men had doubled in 2009, compared with 2008. It reported that in 2008, there were 551 marriages, but in 2009, the number rose to 1,372.

Yonhap quoted an official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia as saying that the decision of the Cambodian government applied only for marriages with persons of Korean nationality, because – among all marriages between Khmers (women) and foreign men, 60% were with Korean men, and most marriages were arranged through matchmakers.

“The official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia told Yonhap that the Korean Embassy will try to encourage the Cambodian government to think that marriages with Korean men are not human trafficking, adding that most Khmer women [in Korea] are successful in their lives being married in Korea.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #440, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Information from The Nation Which Said that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is in Siem Reap to Give Orders [to his supporters, the] Red-Shirt Groups [to demonstrate in Thailand]
  • Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam Will Increase to US$7 Billion by 2015 [or about US$1 billion to US$2 billion each year; according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)]

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #99, 22-23.3.2010

  • In 2009, Fifty Nine Cambodian Millionaires Were Appointed as Oknhas

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2207, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Warned the United Nations Team [in Cambodia] to Stop Interfering with Internal Affairs of Cambodia [pointing to the statement of the UN team relating to the procedure of the handling of the anti-corruption law]
  • A Tragedy Occurred in a Traffic Accident Where Six Cars Hit Each Other, Killing Three People and Injuring Eight Others Seriously [Kompong Speu]
  • Twenty Five Percent of the Cambodian Citizens Have Hypertension [according to the head of the Cambodian Medical Association, Dr. Khuon Pichet]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #632, 21-22.3.2010

  • The Members of an European Union Delegates Said that the Presence of Mr. Sam Rainsy in Cambodia [for the elections] Is Very Important [to reflect democracy in Cambodia; they will make efforts to encourage the Cambodian government to permit Mr. Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6914, 22.3.2010

  • Officials of the European Union Assessed that Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia Are at an Acceptable Level
  • Generals Led Armed Forces to Control Cutting of Luxury Wood, and Seized Cut Wood along the Dangrek Mountains [about 400 cubic meters of wood and thirteen cars were confiscated – Oddar Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3838, 22.3.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Municipal Court Allowed Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit Two Persons Jailed over the Border Issue

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 22.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance Summoned 60 Real Estate Companies to Discuss the Application for Licenses [so far, only 10 companies had applied for licenses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1888, 22.3.2010

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarians Plan to Visit [two] Farmers Jailed [for two years] for Uprooting Border Markers [Svay Rieng]

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Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeng Kak Lake Area Withdraw – Thursday, 18.3.2010

Posted on 18 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“An official of a party having seats in the National Assembly said that some foreign companies that cooperate with the Shukaku Inc. company to develop the Boeng Kak lake area have withdrawn their stakes, because the development in the area involves forced evictions of citizens which might bring a bad reputation for their companies on the international level.

“The Shukaku Inc. company of Mr. Lao Meng Khin, a senator and husband of Ms. Chhoeung Sopheap, known as Yeay Phou, who are very close to Prime Minister Hun Sen, had received the right from the Cambodian government to develop the area with a 99 years contract, which resulted in criticism from national and international organizations and from Sam Rainsy Party officials, as the authorities forcedly evicted citizens from the area.

“A government official told Khmer Machas Srok that foreign companies did withdrew their stakes in the Shukaku Inc. company. But this official did not disclose the identities of the foreign companies. The official added that also the government suspended the development plan for the Boeng Kak Lake for a while.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and an active activist who assists Boeng Kak Lake residents, Mr. Son Chhay, said that he also got the information, and he welcomes it. He added that he does not oppose the development plan of the government, but he wants a transparent solution for the citizens.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that he received the information over two months ago, and government leaders knew the real story relating to the Shukaku Inc. company that is dredging sand to fill the Boeng Kak Lake by colluding with officials of the Phnom Penh Municipality, while citizens were forced and threatened to remove their houses and leave the area. These activities are cruel and unjust.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘They evicted citizens by force and cruelly to grab the land for the construction of buildings for the profit of their company, and there are many irregularities that the leaders knew and then blamed on others. The company might be stopped from filling the lake and evicting common citizens.’

“However, Mr. Son Chhay could not make sure whether the information is true or not. ‘But we hope that it would be good information for the Boeng Kak residents, if the leader know about the exploitation and the mistreatment of the residents in the area, and ordered to stop these activities.’ He totally supports this.

“Mr. Son Chhay continued to say that he will encourage the government to offer ownership to the residents of the Boeng Kak community where some of them have been living over ten years.

“In 2009, national and international organizations and leaders of the Sam Rainsy Party seriously condemned the authorities’ action to evict the Boeng Kak residents, offering them US$8,000 [per family] as compensation in exchange. Some citizens did not want to suffer violence from the authorities and decided to leave with tears.

“A senior economist said that big international companies with a good reputation worldwide do not want to invest millions of dollars in a country where transparent solutions have not been offered to citizens. The solutions for the Boeng Kak residents came with force and intimidation, and such activities were known publicly.

“The Boeng Kak region extends to more than 130 hectares and was a reservoir for the water in the center of Phnom Penh when there was heavy rain, so that the city did not get flooded.

“The Shukaku Inc. company is dredging sand from the river to fill the lake and it is already almost filled 100% at the time when the new information became available that foreign companies revoked their stakes.

“However, despite the information that two foreign companies have withdrawn, after related problems had been published in newspapers, it is seen that the sand dredging continues sometimes.

“Last year, Boeng Kak Lake residents gathered in front of a foreign embassy when it was assumed that persons with the nationality of that embassy had invested in the Shukaku Inc. company. Consequently, the protest made the investors take out their stakes for the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.

“Nevertheless, there is no public clarification from the Shukaku Inc. company and from officials of the government about the suspension of the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #437, 18.3.2010

  • 615 Drug Perpetrators Were Sent to the Courts in 2009 [according to the head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan]
  • Military Intercepted Seven Luxury Cars That Were Loaded with Kronhoung Wood, Following Officers’ Cars, to Pretend that They Are Part of the Officers Convoy [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2204, 18.3.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People: The Provision of Concession Land Seriously Affects Them
  • The British Embassy Organized a Debate about Climate Change [according to the Asian Development Bank report in 2009, the temperature will rise by about 4.8 Celsius in 2011, the level of the sea will rise by 8 millimeter within a decade, and the rice yield will drop by 50% in Southeast Asia]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Wants to Negotiate with [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [according to the Bangkok Post]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

  • Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeung Kak Lake Area Withdraw
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Called for a Reduction of Expenses for Those Accompanying Delegates Going Abroad [ some officials take several support staff and their wives with them – getting expenses covered for plane tickets, food, and hotels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6911, 18.3.2010

  • The Khmer Teachers Association Asked the Ministry of Education to Take Action against Female Students so that They Stop Wearing Short Skirts [the skirts should cover the knees]
  • Drug Criminals Intend to Use Cambodia as a Drug Production Place

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #133, 18.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister: The Cambodian Economy Will Grow by 5% in 2010 [saying that agricultural reform programs, foreign investment, and political stability can be factors contributing to growth in Cambodia]
  • 18 March 2010 Is the 40th Anniversary of the Coup [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] to Oust Samdech Euv [the former King]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5153, 18.3.2010

  • The United Nations Asked the Government Not to Provide Forest and Mountainous Land as Concessions to Companies [which affects ethnic minority people – request related to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Cambodia is a signatory]
  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party [the former Norodom Ranariddh Party] Will Unite [before the next elections]

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Violence against Women Becomes More Cruel – Saturday, 13.3.2010

Posted on 13 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“Reports presented by women’s organizations show that violence against women appears more cruel, where even fathers rape their daughters.

“In the morning of 12 March 2010, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, in collaboration with the Open Institute, organized a consultative meeting about wider participation to develop the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and many women’s organizations attended the meeting, presided over by a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define.

“According to the representatives of the organizations that participated in the discussions, violence against women, especially rape, domestic violence, and the trafficking of women and children, continue. Worst of all, even fathers rape their daughters. This shows that violence against women appears in more and more cruel forms.

“The executive director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, said that this important meeting was organized with the aim to reflect about violence against women, to show how to use Information and Telecommunication Technology (ICT) in relation to violence against women, and to discuss the roles and strategies of women’s organizations, and the ways how to cooperate with the Royal Government, to implement the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women in cooperation together.

“During a former, the first, meeting, there had been discussions about violence against women and the intersection between violence against women and ICT, so as to encourage the publication of information about violence against women through the media.

“Ms. Sy Define said during the meeting that the strategies promoting a wider participation between state institutions and civil society organizations to collaboratively implement the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women needs further deliberations, while the importance and the efficiency of the use of ICT to prevent violence against women and children is recognized.

“Ms. Sy Define added that this conference is to open the view of different actors with the same goal of cooperation and of proper strategies, so that separate strategies of civil society organizations become cross-field participation, especially in the review of the usefulness and the potential of the use of technological information infrastructure.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2200, 13.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 13 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #433, 13.3.2010

  • The Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany [Mr. Dirk Niebel] Asked the President of the National Assembly of Cambodia Why There Are No Members from the Sam Rainsy Party in the Nine Commissions [Mr. Heng Samrin responded that this is because the Sam Rainsy Party did not send their candidates during the elections to choose members for the commissions; also, Mr. Dirk Niebel suggested that Cambodia should not solve some criminal cases out of the court system, like rape and child labor abuse]
  • Military Officials in Kratie Continue to Do Wood Trading, Not Afraid of the Recommendation of the Head of the Royal Government [ordering them to stop being involved in such activities]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2200, 13.3.2010

  • Violence against Women Becomes More Cruel
  • Mr. Serey Kosal [a former FUNCINPEC soldier, now a member of the Royal Government with a position equal to a Senior Minister] Was Promoted to the Rank of a Four Star General

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #625, 13.3.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party, Donors, the United Nations, and Civil Society Organizations Are Concerned that the Anti-Corruption Law May Become a Law That Hides Corruption

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6907, 13-14.3.2010

  • The Spokesperson of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Released a Statement Rejecting the Interference of the UN Country Team [as it officially requested the National Assembly of Cambodia to delay the adoption, permitting to discuss the anti-corruption draft law, so that it could be reviewed by the opposition parties and civil society organizations]
  • The United States Granted US$10 Million for Education Programs [to improve the quality of education and to increase school attendance for all children, especially for those from families that lack access, like ethnic minority people, as well as girls, and children from very impoverished families]
  • More Than 200 Citizens Gathered [at the office of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] to Report Their Lost Land in Thpong, Oral, and Odongk Districts [taken over by some companies – Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5149, 13.3.2010

  • Human Rights Report of the US Department of State [for 2009]: Cambodia Progresses in the Rights of the Disabled, but Restricts Freedom of Expression [according to the report released on 11 March 2010]
  • There Are 643 US Companies Listed in Cambodia [with a total capital of US$71 million] but Only 71 Are Investment Companies
  • Thailand Pretended that Thaksin Arrived in Siem Reap while Bangkok Starts to Be in Turmoil because of Demonstrations [Cambodia denied that Mr. Thaksin arrived in Cambodia]
  • Laos Asked Cambodia to Assist with Sending Teachers for Monks [as there is a lack in Laos]

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The Anti-Corruption Law Was Adopted with 100% of the Votes in Support – Friday, 12.3.2010

Posted on 13 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

Note:

Apologies for the delay – I am still at an ICANN conference – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global coordination for the Internet name space – in Nairobi/Kenya. I hope to be back in Phnom Penh Monday. I try to avoid delays – but I am kept busy at the conference and do not always have Internet access when I would like to have it.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: An anti-corruption law was discussed and adopted by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the morning of 11 March 2010 with 82 votes in favor from the 82 voters present.

“In the morning of 11 March 2010, the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia held its session to discuss and to adopt an anti-corruption draft law, and the proceedings were completed despite objections and a boycott by opposition party parliamentarians. According to information available, after Chapter 4 of the anti-corruption draft had been discussed and adopted, during a break, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians decided to walk out of the session, saying that the anti-corruption draft does not protect the interests of the citizens but rather the interests of corrupt people.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, said during the discussion in the morning of 11 March 2010 that if the government creates a law in such a way, it is not necessary to have an anti-corruption law. He criticized that the draft law has many problems.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kompong Cham, Mr. Cheam Channy, said that if they want an active participation [against corruption] by the citizens, there should be no punishment against those who provide information [about corruption], otherwise no one dares to participate. As for Mr. Yim Sovann, he said he could not accept this draft law because it protects corrupt people. In addition, the budget of the Anti-Corruption Unit is to be part of the budget of the Council of Ministers. Therefore, he does not believe corruption can be prevented. He said that most corrupt people are working in the government. Thus, if the Anti-Corruption Unit is not independent, it is hard to trust it.

“Mr. Yim Sovann also mentioned that the declaration of assets must be made to be known publicly. If it is made only by a confidential letter, it is not a declaration. ‘We need to let our people know the assets of their leaders.’ At that time, he announced not to attend the session which was to start at 10:30.

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, the representative of the Royal Government to defend the draft, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, said that the points raised by opposition party parliamentarians seem to imply that the law is useless. He said, however, that this draft law is crucial, and aims at combating corruption and some vicious people effectively. Also, this law involves various units and institutions to implement it cooperatively. In addition, even a good law is not always observed.

“Relating to the discussion and the adoption of the anti-corruption draft law, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights had sent a letter to the president of the National Assembly, saying that the draft law is prepared in a secretive way and it is not discussed with civil society organizations, and the Center asked the Royal Government to urgently deal with the concern that the goal of this law lacks political independency, it does not involve public participation, and it fails to protect informants disclosing cases of corruption.

“The United Nations released a statement welcoming the discussion and the adoption of the anti-corruption law by the National Assembly, saying that the anti-corruption law has been long awaited. The statement adds that the United Nations country team in Cambodia has been actively supporting the adoption of this important law since 2004. The draft law should be made available for public discussion with transparency and public participation, in order to ensure that it complies with international standard, as required by the Constitution, and to guarantee the protection of the rights and duties of the Cambodian citizens who are to benefit most from this law.

“The United Nations hopes that it is not too late to encourage the National Assembly to allow enough time for parliamentarians, civil society, donors, and the United Nations to study this law, and, if it is necessary, to amend some points. The United Nations in Cambodia hopes and encourages the National Assembly and the Senate to discuss this law in view of the possibility to amend it if it is necessary.

“The United Nations said that this statement is a contribution of the efforts to reorganize the law to make it more effective at present and in the future.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2199, 12.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 12 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #432, 12.3.2010

  • Japan Grants More Than US$670,000 to the Cambodian Mine Action Center [to clear mines in the northern regions of Cambodia]
  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Encourages the Protection of Wild Elephants [in Cambodia, as they are threatened by human activities and by climate change; the Cambodian side claimed that there are more than 270 elephants in the country while the WWF found that there are only 170]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2199, 12.3.2010

  • The Anti-Corruption Law Was Adopted with 100% of the Votes in Support
  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Announced that He Would Resign and Allow the Parliament to be Dissolved if Public Security Would Develop into Chaos
  • One Chinese and one Khmer Man Were Arrested for Storing and Distributing Nearly 20 Tonnes of Fake Medicines [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #743, 12.3.2010

  • The Fate of [the Burmese elected democracy leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and of [the Cambodian opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Are the Same, as They Are Imprisoned and Lose the Right to Participate in Elections

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #624, 12.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The National Assembly Adopted a Law That Is an Iron Net to Defend Those Who Commit Corruption

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6906, 12.3.2010

  • The One-Star Navy General Who Surprisingly Caused Trouble in a School and Committed Violence at the Seashore Province [of Sihanoukville] Was Arrested

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3830, 12.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy: The Anti-Corruption Law Is a Tool Used to Protect and to Hide Corruption, and to Punish Common Civil Servants

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #129, 12.3.2010

  • A Conflictive Anti-Corruption Law Was Approved by the National Assembly, but Concerns Remain [observers were astonished when the National Assembly approved that anti-corruption draft law consisting of 59 chapters within just one day and a half]
  • Sudan Is Interested to Invest in Agriculture in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5148, 12.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted an Anti-Corruption Law after Opposition Party Parliamentarians Walked Out [of the session]
  • A Man [a gold seller and currency exchanger] Was Fatally Shot and His Wife Was Seriously Wounded in a Robbery in Front of Their House, and Property Worth About US$10,000 Was Taken Away [the two robbers are not yet identified – Meanchey]

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