Eliminating Illegal Settlements – Monday, 31.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“On Friday the Council of Ministers approved a circular for dealing with illegal settlements on state land.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said on Sunday, ‘The circular will help citizens and the government to eliminate anarchic settlements on state land in populated areas, in cities, and at public places [like parks, pedestrian lanes, etc.]. In the future we will eradicate illegal settlements at public places.’

“The circular aims at resolving problems at temporary settlements, also called anarchic constructions, that are built on state land, which results in the loss of road space for traveling, or there is no sanitation. The circular advises the local authorities to provide data about the actual number of such illegal settlements and the number of families, producing plans of these anarchic constructions in order to find solutions, to organize infrastructure and public services to support the life of the people.

“A legal expert of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions [which works in 20 different countries around the world], Mr. Pen Sithorn, said that the new circular is not bad, but it depends on whether or not the implementation will involve also non-government organizations and the affected communities. He said, ‘The circular says it depends on the government what kind of participation from different sides they will allow.’

Note:

Additional information from the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions:

“A senior official of the Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said on Sunday that the circular is good, but its enforcement is not as good as the contents stated in the circular, which makes people live in ever worse conditions. He added, ‘The government evicts people and accepts coordination from the authorities. They confiscate people’s land and deliver it to the rich and to companies, providing little compensation to people. Thousands of citizens have been affected by the policy of the government to force citizens to move to remote areas.’ He went on to say that even though citizens are living on state land, they have been living there for years before the land law was approved. Therefore, they should be offered solutions through the provision of new areas with proper living conditions.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 31 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #4, 30-31.5.2010

  • A Car Loaded with Paddy Rice Was Intercepted – there Were More Than 800 Kilogram of Turtles Hidden in It, to Be Exported to Vietnam [Kandal]
  • Disputes [through the exchange of statements quoted in the press] between [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit and [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Creates Political Tension in Siam [Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2262, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Thai Authorities Released [207] Khmer Citizens Who Had Been Accused of Possessing Explosive Materials
  • Construction Workers on the Bokor Mountain Had a Car Accident while Getting Ahead of another Car – Two Died and Twenty Eight Others Were Injured

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #773, 31.5.2010

  • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was arrested in late March 2010 over illegal wood trading and keeping some in storage. He was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #669, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Allows a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian to Visit Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea [jailed for uprooting Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6969, 31.5.2010

  • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested – Svay Rieng]
  • Cambodia Condemned the Persons Who Planted a Sea Mine [attacking a South Korean navy ship, killing 46 sailors] – They Cause Instability on the Korean Peninsular

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3893, 31.5.2010

  • Forced Evictions are against the Constitution and Cannot Be Legalized – Those Who Criticize This Should Not Be Stopped

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

  • Eliminating Illegal Settlements
  • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resident]
  • A US Company [Elixir Gaming Technologies] Received a License to Open a Casino in Takeo [this company plans to start constructing a casino late next year, spending US$8 to 10 million]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 30-31.5.2010

  • An Environmental Officials: The Sesan Hydro Electric Dam II [planned to be constructed late next year] Will Not Flood Ratanakiri [but it might affect only four communes in Stung Treng]
  • Police Arrested a Man Who Raped His Three Step Daughters over a long Time [aged from 12 to 17 – Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

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

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Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties – Monday, 26.4.2010

Posted on 27 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: Recently, Mr. Mam Sonando announced to create a new club – called ‘Democrats’ Club’ – to monitor the negotiations towards unification between the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties. This is the goal of the club, according to the president of the Human Rights Party.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, continued to express the intention to unite with the Sam Rainsy Party in order to be victorious in the upcoming elections, though the Sam Rainsy has not responded. Recently, Mr. Kem Sokha said that Mr. Mam Sonando has created a ‘Democrats’ Club’ to monitor the negations between representatives of the Human Rights Party and of the Sam Rainsy Party, to see which party is willing to unite, or if nobody intends to unite.

“During a recent talk with activists of his party in Prey Veng, Mr. Kem Sokha stated that there had been negotiations between officials of the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties, but they did not lead to any agreement, as Sam Rainsy officials suspect that the Human Rights Party is demanding too many conditions that the Sam Rainsy Party could not accept, so that the process towards unification got stuck. Therefore, another group, called the Democrats’ Club, was now created to monitor the negotiations. This group aims to find out which party intends to unite, and which does not.

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that Mr. Mam Sonando created this group in order to monitor the process towards unification between the two parties. He said that he does not have any problems – if Sam Rainsy agrees, he will unite immediately. He stressed that his party wants to unite not because his party is weak, but to move together towards victory in the forthcoming elections.

“Mr. Kem Sokha went on to say that this move towards unity is not only for the parties that have seats in the National Assembly, but for all parties, even if they do not have any seats at present, as long as they want to unite with the Human Rights Party.

“Regarding Mr. Kem Sokha’s claim that Mr. Mam Sonando has created this Democrats’ Club to monitor the process towards unity between the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy parties, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach [the Director of Sombok Khmum Radio] Mr. Mam Sonando for comments, as his phone could not be reached on Saturday afternoon of 24 April 2010. Previously, Mr. Mam Sonando had announced that he would send a request to the Ministry of Interior to ask for the creation of a ‘Democrats’ Club for Uniting Democrats.’ Now it is not yet known how far these plans have been progressing, but according to a source, Mr. Mam Sonando has fulfilled all conditions to request the Ministry of Interior to recognize this organization.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #462, 25-26.4.2010

  • The United States of America [through the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley] Praised that Forestry Crimes Are Intercepted and the Remaining Resources in Cambodia Will Be Preserved
  • Rain, Wind, and Lightning Killed Two Boys and Made Three Houses to Collapse in Kompong Cham

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #102, 26-27.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Confederation Union Calls for Participation [from the general public, civil servants, teachers, and workers] to March to Celebrate the International Labor Day on 1 May 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

    Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Begins Enlarging National Road 6A [leading from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap] to Reduce Traffic Congestion
  • Three Hundred People Protest as Police Does Not Arrest a Perpetrator, but Held a Man Who Tried to Help [sending an assault victim to hospital, but that assaulted man died on the way, and the helper was arrested by police – Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6939, 26.4.2010

  • Police Raided a Drug Abusing Place and Arrested 38 Young People – Children of the Rich [Phnom Penh]
  • Siam [Thailand] Released Seven Khmers to Cambodia through the Choam Sragam Border Crossing after Holding Them Two Years in Jail [for entering Thai territory to illegally cut trees]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3863, 26.4.2010

  • The Opposition Party Wants to See that the World Bank Investigation Is Successful [about the development of the Boeng Kak lake area] so as to Provide Justice to Residents of the Boeng Kak Lake Community

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #155, 26.4.2010

  • Boeng Kak Residents Call for the Provision of Land Titles as the Master Plan [for the development of the area] Has Been Approved [by the Phnom Penh municipal governor – but not been published; it will be sent for approval by the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • Three People Died in Svay Rieng [because of diarrhea; the local authorities blamed them for eating unhygienic food]
  • A Suspect Was Arrested for Carrying a 6-Year-Old Girl to a Rice Field while She Was Asleep, and then He Raped Her [Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5181, 26.4.2010

  • China, Japan, Korea, India, and the ASEAN Countries Will Join to Perform Shows of the Buddha’s Life in Siem Reap [from 25 to 29 April 2010 to celebrate Visakh Bochea]
  • Laotian Soldiers Killed a Khmer Citizen and Arrested Two Others [accusing them of entering their territory illegally to cut trees]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked for the Dissolution of the Parliament within 30 Days, while the Government Ordered the Military to Crack Down on Them [no ultimatum date given]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia – Saturday, 24.4.2010

Posted on 25 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Imperial Government of Japan grants Yen 624 million, approx. US$6.5 million, for the establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the center will be held in the morning of 26 April 2010 in Tumnub Rolok commune, Sihanoukville, and will be chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, and by the Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Kuroki Masafumi.

“An announcement of the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] dated 23 April 2010 says that the plan to construct a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia was initiated with the goal to promote maritime aquaculture in order to respond to the demands for sea-food from a growing number of fishermen, and to reduce the pressure on fishery, as well as to curtail the import of not healthy fish from abroad.

“The announcement adds that the new plan, funded by the Japanese government, will also provide equipment and material for research, and support also the construction of an administration building, a building to store fish eggs before they are hatched, a building for hatching, a breeding building, as well as materials for aquaculture research.

“In addition to research and the development of marine aquaculture, the plan also focuses on building up the capacity of the center to produce 400,000 young fish per year.

“There are three fresh water aquaculture development centers in Cambodia: in Bati district in Takeo, in Prey Veng, and in the Chrang Chamres commune in the Russey district, Phnom Penh.

“It should be remembered that aid from the Japanese government to support agriculture in Cambodia amounted to about US$10 million by 2008, and the total amount of aid from the Japanese government from 1992 to 2009 was US$1.8 billion.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #461, 24.4.2010

  • In 2010, More Than 64 Million People Live Under the Poverty Line, Encountering the Global Economic Crisis [according to the World Bank]

Note:

We were not able to verify these numbers, but share instead the following information, also based on World Bank data:

Poverty Around The World

by Anup Shah (This Page Was Last Updated Monday, 1 March 2010)

At a poverty line of $1.25 a day, the revised estimates find:

  • 1.4 billion people live at this poverty line or below.
  • This is more than the previous estimate of 984 million with the older measure of a $1 a day in 2004.
  • In 1981, the estimated number of poor was also revised upward, from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion.

The World Bank notes that “the incidence of poverty in the world is higher than past estimates have suggested. The main reason is that [previous data] had implicitly underestimated the cost of living in most developing countries.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2231, 24.4.2010

  • [Fifty eight] Non-Government Organizations and Associations Condemn the Intention [of some Thai extremists] to Remove Border Posts
  • A School Building Was Destroyed by a Tropical Storm, and a Lightning Killed a Person in Ek Phnom District [Battambang]
  • Within One Month [from 23 March to 23 April 2010], Thirteen People Were Killed and Forty Others Were Injured by traffic accidents in Phnom Penh

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6938, 24.4.2010

  • Some Countries [England, France, and Australia] Alert Their Citizens in Thailand to Stay Away from Bangkok [as violence might break out]

Note:

While finalizing this edition of The Mirror, there is a constant streem of news coming in from Bangkok over the Internet:

Late in the evening, some of the red-shirt leaders called on their followers to take off their red shirts (so that they cannot be identified by the authorities) and mix into the population as guerrilla, and “to finish the whole game” before the Thai King will speak on 26 April at 17:00 to 101 newly appointed judges – an event which had been announced today, for the first public statement of the King.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3862, 24-25.4.2010

  • The Eviction of Citizens and Land Disputes Lead to Food Insecurity and Poverty – the European Union Announced Food Aid [of US$2.6 million for Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

  • Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia
  • [Prek Kompeus] Commune Chief and Residents Appeal to the Public, Describing their Land Dispute with the Heng Development Company [Kandal]
  • [Takeyama Osamu – 竹山修] The Mayor of Sakai City [堺市市長] and His Delegation Comes from Japan to Study Tourism in Cambodia [very informative website Sakai City: For Foreign Residents and Visitors (in English, Chinese, and Korean)
  • A Tropical Storm Caused 17 Houses to Collapse and Inured Two People in Siem Reap

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The Passing of the Anti-Corruption Law, and Planned Changes in Telecommunications – Sunday, 14.3.2010

Posted on 15 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

As regular readers of The Mirror know, we often quote the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia to have a clear basis when trying to better understand certain actions and events. Today’s editorial is written hoping for discussions and explanations, and, if necessary, clarifications and corrections. Recently, there were actions and statements, which seem to call for explanations and clarifications, so that a common public understanding can be achieved. One issue is related to the Anti-Corruption Law, and the other to regulatory plans or decisions in the field of telecommunications.

As for the Anti-Corruption Law, this is not an attempt to analyze its content. It is only to share some observations, some of which seem to have implications related to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The first observation is related to formalities, as this is the Cambodian law which has been drafted for the longest time compared to other laws – since 1994, and with active support for this process by the United Nations since 2004. Then, in December 2009, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers announced that the draft is now ready, but he disclosed only one point: that also the heads of NGOs would have to declare their assets, adding that the text would be available for consideration as soon as it would be at the National Assembly. This too took a surprisingly long time; because of timing problems, the parliamentarians of the Human Rights Party declared not to take part in the parliamentary deliberations of this draft, as they did not have enough time to review this important text, which was actually distributed only on 5 March 2010, while a session of the National Assembly was scheduled to be held already on 10 March 2010. And then the draft, under deliberation since 1994, was adopted very fast, without any amendments, in just one and a half days.

An Anti-Corruption Law had been awaited eagerly since years, as Cambodia was ranked 158 out of 180 countries on the latest list of the corruption perception index of Transparency International, and it was ranked the second most corrupt Southeast Asian country after Indonesia, in an annual poll by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.

The UN country team in Cambodia, made up of 23 specialized agencies, had expressed its concern that an extra-ordinary session was convened only days after the draft had been shared with the members of the National Assembly. But the Cambodian government considered the call by the UN country team for “a transparent and participatory” process to be “flagrantly interfering in the internal affairs of a UN member state,” and to be a statement outside of its mandate, though “good governance and the promotion and protection of human rights” is one of the four fields of the agreed UN Development Assistance Framework, on which the work of the UN country team is based.

But not only the timing gives cause to questions. The UN country team was also advised by the Cambodian government to “refrain from acting as if it were the spokesperson of the opposition parties.” We are not aware that this had been the case, but the press had also quoted the Prime Minister as saying, “if somebody wants this law to be amended, they have to wait until they win the elections.” We cannot verify that the Prime Minister said so, but these words seem to indicate that the constitutional principle, stated in Article 51, “The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate” is not considered to be applicable. In normal parliamentary proceedings under the separation of the three powers of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial, no executive can know – before the deliberations in the legislative – if a draft will be amended or not. This is not only something which may happen because of efforts of opposition party members, but also any active member of the parliamentary majority may scrutinize drafts and propose amendments, before voting on a draft.

Besides, the Senate, and the Constitutional Council, are additional important stages to consider legislation passed by the National Assembly – irrespective of party allegiances of their members – which may result in amendments, before a law is presented to the King. Such considerations may not only come from opposition parties, but they are foreseen as possible in the Constitution itself. The Senate and the Constitutional Council were not created just to rubber-stamp what the National Assembly has decided.

There is a second issue, which seems to be of a more technical nature – but it has fundamental implications for the free flow of information, and for the basic principles for the management of the economy of the country, as laid out in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The Articles 56 and 63 of the Constitution say: “The Kingdom of Cambodia shall adopt the market economy system” and “The State shall respect market management in order to guarantee a better standard of living for the people.”

Two weeks ago, under the 28.2.2010, The Mirror had presented, in more detail, considerations under the headline of “Internet Governance, Censorship, and the UN Multi-Stakeholder Approach” about plans to force all Internet communication between e-mail users of different Internet Service Providers in the country through only one Internet Exchange Point [IXP]. A deputy director of Telecom Cambodia – the organization to operate the IXP – had said that a Web site that attacks the government could then be blocked. As the Minister of Information said: there is no legal basis for this.

In the meantime additional information appeared and is discussed: Telecom Cambodia might get the right to operate a monopoly by becoming the only company in Cambodia with the right to internationally buy Internet connection, and all other Internet Service Providers would have to buy their international access from Telecom Cambodia, one of their competitors. Such interference into economic affairs is difficult to understand in view of the legal framework defined in the Constitution, where the state is ordered – rather than to interfere into the marked – to guarantee that the market can operate freely “in order to guarantee a better standard of living for the people” according to the forces of competition in the market.

It should be remembered that Telecom Cambodia was created in order to disengage the regulatory and the operational functions which formerly had been both combined in the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

The second term government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, starting from 1998, had adopted as its key orientation a “three pronged strategy” – the second prong was the re-integration of Cambodia into the international community – the UN, ASEAN, and the World Trade Organization. The other two elements were “establishing peace and security,” and “promoting administrative and judicial reforms.”

In a speech of the Prime Minister to welcome the Third Asian-German Editor’s Forum on 31 January 2000, he referred to this principle, “I think it is best to give everyone of you the role as an evaluator for your judgment to be made on the current situation of Cambodia. What I can share in this efforts is the three pronged strategy which I have put out… Essentially, one needs to have a clear and correct vision before one can develop Cambodia as a process.” This orientation led also to extensive consultations with advisors of the World Bank about the situation of the telecommunication sector in the country, which the Prime Minister had identified on several occasions as a crucial field for the future of Cambodia, in a situation, where the costs of using the telephone and the Internet was – and still is – high in Cambodia, compared to neighboring countries.

The International Telecommunication Union [ITU] is about 100 years older than the United Nations, but it is now part of the UN system. In the ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Report of 1998 it is stated that previously, investment in the “telecommunication services sector have been limited by the fact that most countries had state-owned monopoly carriers. This era is now coming to an end. Since 1984, 44 Public Telecommunication Operators have been privatized… telecommunications has a dual role as both a traded product and service, and as a facilitator of trade in other products and services… What are the benefits of trade liberalization? Freer trade in telecommunications promises to deliver at least three economic gains: new and improved products and services, lower prices, and additional investment. Open trade in telecommunication services should result in more competition, lowering prices for most businesses and for many consumers and providing both with a choice of different service providers.”

The World Bank advice, at that time, for Cambodia, showed the direction. The following direct quotes are from the final report and presentation of its “Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility.”

  • World Bank project to strengthening the Cambodian Telecommunications regulatory framework with rules for fair competition – interconnection regime
  • Aims at cost effective communications – Doing nothing in not an option, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication – MPTC – as it is cannot long survive
  • Mobile vs. Fixed Phones: THE BIG DIFFERENCE:
    • fixed: state sector, no money, no autonomy, slow progress
    • mobile: private money, growing fast, light handed regulation
    • competition in mobiles has produced, good services
    • state management has produced poor service, stagnation and lost opportunities
  • Principal Institutional Problem:
  • MPTC is an integrated, policy, regulatory, operational and asset management agency
  • Expert advice is unanimous that this leads to
    • conflicts of interest
    • poor asset management
    • business decisions suffer from political intervention
    • political priorities suffer from a preoccupation with business issues
  • All Advisers Recommend
  • MPTC should have its current functions located in separate agencies:
    • policy – the correct function for MPTC is regulation, an independent function
    • business operations – Telecom Cambodia a commercial entity with operational autonomy, eventually private

The present intentions, to re-establish, a monopolistic role for Telecom Cambodia, would revert what has been achieved under the Prime Minister’s guidance, related to the second of his three-pronged objectives: to place the policies of the Cambodian government, after decades of international isolation, into the present international context. Telecom Cambodia was created as an operator under the rules of the market, to have competition among other operators, and to establish the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications as a technical regulator. To give a mandatory monopolistic role to Telecom Cambodia is contrary to the efforts of a decade, and is contrary to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

I have observed these developments during the last two weeks form abroad, participating in the meetings of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN – the institution coordinating the assigning and the functioning of the Internet addresses, which was held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

In a reception by the Communications Commission of Kenya – the main telecommunications regulator of the country – we received the following bag to carry our documents. It is inscribed with the words which show that the monopolies have been abolished in the telecommunication sector, and the results ensure fairness for all – and much lower costs than in Cambodia:

Fairness

Fairness


Ensuring fair play

Kenyan Broadband Pricing

Kenyan Broadband Pricing

.

The public is invited to sign up for Internet connections in this developing country in East Africa at a fair, low price:

1499 Kenyan Shilling per month, that is US$20 for unlimited broadband Internet access at a speed of 256 Kilobit per Second – how long will this remain a distant dream in Cambodia?

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There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour – Tuesday, 26.1.2010

Posted on 27 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The price of electricity supplied by Electricité du Cambodge in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham of Riel 390 [approx. US$0.09] per kilowatt-hour for households will no longer exist. The cost for household costumers, who consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, is Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour [approx. US$0.15]. The change of electricity costs and prices was discussed during a roundtable meeting organized by the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, at the Hotel Cambodiana on 25 January 2010, and officials involved from the 6 cities and provinces attended the meeting.

“A secretary of state of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the meeting, organized to release a list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham, that the [old] list of electricity prices had been approved and used since 2006, because during that period, a barrel of oil was only US$50, whereas at present, it costs US$80; and the expense for electricity production is regularly higher than the income in the six cities and provinces. The increased expenses, which exceed the income collected, based on the set selling rates, made Electricité du Cambodge to lose as much as US$27 million in 2008 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu, requiring the government to review the list of electricity prices set in 2006 to be in line with the present situation.

“He added that according to the list of electricity costs in 2006 for household customers, if they consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, they were charged only Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour which is half of the original production cost, making Electricité du Cambodge to face a continual loss, while the state does not pay for that loss. Now, the price of Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour was canceled for Phnom Penh and Kandal, but there is now a price of Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour if the citizens consume below 50 kilowatt-hours per month. A list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, and its selling rates for household customers will be adjusted.

“As for the supply of electricity by Electricité du Cambodge in Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham, Mr. Ith Prang said that the selling prices were also lower than the original production costs, but from 2010 on, the prices in the two provinces will be also be adjusted. The electricity prices for customers in the commercial and industrial sectors will be the same as those implemented in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu. The electricity prices for commerce and industry are adjusted because the state stopped subsidizing valued-added tax payments (VAT) for Electricité du Cambodge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #397, 26.1.2010

  • The Border Situation Is Normal after a Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers]
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Prepares to Form a Government-in-Exile if There Is Another Coup [in Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2160, 26.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Combat Corruption [he said so during an audience with the King at the Royal Palace]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #725, 26.1.2010

  • The Government Warned that It Will Further Sue the [opposition party] Party President for Disinformation and Incitement, Creating Social Instability [as he said that the setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers leads to the loss of Cambodian territory]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #589, 26.1.2010

  • The Pursat Authorities Close Their Eyes, Not Seeing the Strong Logging Activities for Luxury Wood in the Forest

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6867, 26.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory Was Inaugurated by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [in Koh Kong], and the Government Still Maintains the Position to Welcome Investment Projects
  • A Widow, a Mother of One Child, Was Raped and Killed in Order to Shut Her Mouth; Police Suspect that the Murderer Is an Acquaintance [Kampot]

Meatohoum, Vol.54, #758, 26.1.20010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Do Not Take Action against Overloaded Trucks [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #97, 26.1.2010

  • Khmer Military Official [General Srey Dek] Said that Three Thai Soldiers Died in a Clash in the Choam Tae Area
  • The Number of Women Diagnosed Having Breast Cancer Increased in Cambodia [to 1,548 cases in 2009, while in 2008, there were only 1,280 cases; according to a report of the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, more than 18,000 Cambodian women have breast cancer, and 40% of them died]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

  • There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour
  • Bangkok [actually Thai Region 2 army commander] Apologized to Cambodia after an Armed Clash, Resulting in the Death of Three Thai Soldiers
  • Two Traffic Accidents in Stung Treng Killed Three People and Injured Five

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1863, 26.1.2010

  • The World Bank Said that the Recovery of [the Cambodian] Economy Depends on [international] Loans [this bank forecast that Cambodia will achieve 4.2% growth in 2010]

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Cambodian Export in 2009 Dropped by 18.2%; Cambodian Economy in 2010 Might Achieve Growth – Wednesday, 20.1.2010

Posted on 21 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“According to statistics of the National Bank of Cambodia, total export products of Cambodia to foreign markets in 2009 amounted to US$3,619 million, showing a decline by 18% or US$804.7 million, compared to 2008.

“The garment sector, the biggest source of income for Cambodia, dropped to only US$716.2 million, and other products dropped to only US$88.4 million.

“As the export of Cambodia declined in 2009, the import declined also to only $5,208 million which dropped by 17% or US$1,063 million, compared to the previous year.

“The governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Chanto, stated that the downturn of the Cambodian export resulted from the economic crisis. But Mr. Chea Chanto rejected forecasts by international financial institutions over the impacts of the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“Mr. Chea Chanto stressed that the growth for 2009 declined from 6.6% to only 2.1%, and the growth for 2010 is expected to achieve 3%.

“Previously, the International Monitory Fund forecast that Cambodia can achieve only 2.7% growth, the World Bank forecast 2.5%, and the Asian Development Bank forecast 1.5%.

“The forecast given by Mr. Chea Chanto is different from Mr. Hun Sen’s, who predicted that the economic growth for 2010 is only 2%. Mr. Hun Sen recognized the bad impact from the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“An economist of the World Bank office in Phnom Penh, Ms. Stephanie Simmonds [? – phonetic], predicted that the Cambodian economy will not achieve an accelerating growth in 2010.

“The forecast about economic growth in 2009 is being discussed but has not yet been finished. The economic growth estimated by the International Monitory was only 2.7%, by the World Bank 2.5%, by the Asian Development Bank 1.5%, and by the Royal Government of Cambodia 2%.

“The year 2009 is considered as an abnormal year. Cambodia had experienced a stable economic growth of almost 10% for 10 consecutive years, but this ended in 2009.

“The economist Ms. Stephanie stated that the major problem is that many citizens and investors had expected an continuing and fast growth, but this expectation was not true for 2009.

“Migrant workers who had planned to send their money back home could not do it. Also those who planned to sell their land for profit could not do it either.

“The same economist said that the import of cars decreased, and there is a somewhat bad trend related to debts owned to banks.

“The financial and economic downturn puts a burden on several sectors, but it heavily affects the garment and the tourism sectors.

“Some special groups suffer from this economic impact, such as tuk-tuk drivers, small restaurants, and other parts of the service sector. Only agriculture had a stable income, though it was partly affected by the typhoon Ketsana.

“As for 2010, there is a question: Is an economic recovering on the way for Cambodian workers and entrepreneurs or not? […]

“The export of products from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2009 dropped by more than 20%, compared to 2008. The total export of Yuon [Vietnamese] products to Cambodia amounted to about US$1,7 billion in 2009, and it is expected to rise higher in 2010 to about US$2 billion.

“Facing this situation, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Vietnam called for a meeting with investors who export products to Cambodia, to seek solutions for the problems they encounter. In 2010, the Vietnamese government will negotiate with the Cambodian government to ease the difficulties of Vietnamese investors.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #721, 20.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #392, 20.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister Agreed with the Request of [UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur] Surya Subedi Saying that NGOs Need to Elect Their Representatives to Talk with the Government
  • [Three] Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Successfully Visited [two] Villagers in Svay Rieng [detained over the removal of border markers]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2155, 20.1.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Israel to Assist in Agriculture [according to a meeting between a secretary state of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ouch Borith, and the Israeli Ambassador, Mr. Itzhak Shoham]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #721, 20.1.2010

  • Cambodian Export in 2009 Dropped by 18.2%; Cambodian Economy in 2010 Might Achieve Growth

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #584, 20.1.2010

  • The Ratanakiri Authorities Seized a Car Loaded with Kranhoung Wood When the Car Had a Flat Tyre [after the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association and local citizens informed them]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6862, 20.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Border Police Blocked Cars of Siamese [Thai] Patrol Soldiers on Khmer Territory; Then the Patrol Soldiers Set Thai Flags on Their Cars and Withdrew [Oddar Meanchey]
  • A Khmer-Australian Man and Two Accomplices Smuggling [498 grams of] Drugs Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #93, 20.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Government and the United Nations Vowed to Strengthen Good Cooperation in Human Rights
  • A Court Sent a Swedish Man for Six Years to Prison for Debauchery [with a child – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5104, 20.1.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Asked the UN Envoy to Have a Broad View on Seeing Human Rights Issues [in Cambodia – the report does not elaborate what this broader view would include, only saying that human rights means more than freedom of expression]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Rejected to Help Mr. Sam Rainsy [he is accused of removing border markers and is now abroad]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1859, 20.1.2010

  • Samdech Sihanouk [the former King]: Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case Is Political so He Cannot Help

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Within the Last 15 Years, Chinese Investors Control Projects Worth Up to US$6,511 Million – Wednesday, 13.1.2010

Posted on 14 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: Statistics over a course of 15 years show that Chinese investors invested the largest amount among all foreign investors in Cambodia.

“According to figures received from the Council for the Development of Cambodia late last week, China invested from 1994 to September 2009 as much as US$6,511 million in Cambodia.

“The same source added that after the Chinese investment, South Korea stands at the second position with total investments of about US$2,856 million; the third is Malaysia with US$2,199 million; the fourth [?] the European Union more than US$1,135 million; fifth [?] is the USA with US$1,179 million; sixth, Thailand with about US$748 million; seventh, Taiwan with about US$654 million; eighth, Singapore with about US$519 million; ninth, Hong Kong with about US$278 million; and tenth, Japan with about US$148 million.

“Most of the investment projects of the 10 investors focus on tourism and on industry.

“The same source went on to say that tourism received up to 48% of the investments, followed by 23% for the industry, and also 23% for services. However, there is little investment in agriculture, which received only 6%.

“Based on the above figures, within 15 years, it is noticed that in 2008 alone, foreign investment in Cambodia grew up to US$10,891 million, followed by 2006 with US$4,415 million; 2007 had about US$2,673 million, and by September 2009 it was only US$1,610 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5098, 13.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #386, 13.1.2010

  • The World Bank Offers to Establish a Foundation to Increase Education Outreach at Schools for Cambodia [for poor children who are vulnerable and are living in remote areas; each of 36,000 students can receive between US$45 to US$60 annually from the World Bank to support their continued schooling]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2149, 13.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: This Government [the current Thai government] Will Not Last Long!
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned the Eight District Governors of Phnom Penh to Look at Gambling Sites [to stop them – otherwise those district governors will have problems]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #716, 13.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Criticized Inactive Officials Who Try to Seek Much Money to Put into Their Pockets, but Send any Problems in Their Work to Higher Levels Asking for Help to Solve Them [being incompetent; he warned that such officials, if they reach retiring age, they should be retired, others should be reappointed to positions suiting their capacity]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #578, 13.1.2010

  • [Eighteen] Parliamentarians and Senators from the Sam Rainsy Party Asked [Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng to Allow Them to Visit Two Villagers in Detention [over the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6856, 13.1.2010

  • A New Survey of the [US] International Republican Institute Shows that 79% [of Cambodian citizens] Said the Government’s Performance Is Right [about the government led by the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Head of the Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Reacted against a Claim [by a Thai official of Foreign Affairs quoted in the Thai newspaper The Nation] that the Preah Vihear Temple, the Khmer Pagoda [Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda], and the Area around the Temple Belong to Siam [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #88, 13.1.2010

  • [The Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen: [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya Is a Terrorist [because he was involved in demonstrating at the airports in Thailand]; He Waits for a New Government to Reconnect Diplomatic Ties
  • [Local] Citizens Claimed that Drugs Are Sold like Candy in Sampov Lun District [and asked the local authorities to suppress drug dealers and abusers – Battambang]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5098, 13.1.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the special border protection units] Shot a Khmer Man and His Son to Death [when they went to cut trees] and Came to a Prohibited Border Point [buffer zone, but withdrew later on]
  • Within the Last 15 Years, Chinese Investors Control Projects Worth Up to US$6,511 Million
  • A Passenger Car Came off the Road, Killing Three People and Injuring Fourteen [Siem Reap]

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The Sereypheap Market Is Totally Demolished to Take the Land to Construct Flats for Sale; Market Vendors Can Just Cry – Thursday, 31.12.2009

Posted on 31 December 2009. Filed under: Week 645 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 645

“Phnom Penh: There was a protest by the Sereypheap Market vendors in the Veal Vong commune, Prampi Makara district, Phnom Penh, after they received a notification from the local authorities on 29 December 2009. In the morning of 30 December 2009, the authorities, armed forces, and prosecutors of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to remove the market, based on a warrant of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“In the morning of 30 December 2009, some armed forces were found deployed since 3:00 a.m. until 12:00 o’clock in the compound of the Sereypheap Market, when the enforcement of warrant began, while all vendors were shouting to protest, raising banners and photos of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and of Her Excellency [his wife]. Finally, the protest could just make them cry, as the authorities implemented the warrant by deploying security forces around the area of the market, locked the gates of the market, and totally demolished the market.

“In the morning of 30 December 2009, all the market vendors did not agree with the warrant and marched to the residence of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independent Monument, but their march was blocked by security forces who dispersed the march into different groups. Anyway, in the morning, about 10 vendors arrived at the Independence Monument. Then, some police and other representatives of the authorities came to coordinate the actions and suggested all the vendors should go to gather under the Boddhi tree in front of the Botum Vatei pagoda, or to gather in front of the National Assembly. The vendors agreed with the coordination by the authorities, but while another group of other vendors reached the Monivong Boulevard at the corner of the Ou Russey twin roads, the Sereypheap Market was already totally destroyed and demolished by the authorities.

“By the evening of 30 December 2009, there were no interventions from any institutions for the protesting vendors, when the stalls in the market had been totally removed.

“It should be noted that on 29 December 2009, 200 vendors wrote a letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, counting that the Sereypheap Market vendors make contracts every three years. But on 1 December 2009, the director of the market issued a notification to order the vendors to stop selling anything from 31 December 2009, as he will take the land to build flats. The notification to the vendors to stop their operations in the Sereypheap Market is a violation of the contract with the director of the market, Mr. Lim Kimpheng, and this affects the poor livelihood of the vendors who earn an income by selling things to raise their families, which does not enable them to find new places, as they have no land for cultivation to support their living.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2138, 31.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 31 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1425, 31.12.2009

  • The World Bank Prepares to Help Cambodia [to improve livelihood of citizens whose houses were demolished and who are encountering evictions, taking away their land for “development”]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #375, 31.12.2009

  • A Cambodian Official [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]: Cambodia Will Not Be Affected, though the Siamese [Thai] Court Canceled the Preah Vihear Temple Support Agreement
  • The Battambang Authorities Arrested a Wood Trader for Burning a Bridge in Samlot District [to block the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports]
  • Cambodia Expects to Receive Up to 3 Million Tourist Arrivals in 2010 [because there are plans to create more tourism sites at the northeast and the southwest – according to the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2138, 31.12.2009

  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon: The Cambodian Economy Will Recover in 2010 [by achieving 3% growth in 2010, while in 2009 it was 2%]
  • The Sereypheap Market Is Totally Demolished to Take the Land to Construct Flats for Sale; Market Vendors Can Just Cry

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6845, 31.12.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Court Canceled the Joint Statements of Cambodia and Thailand during the Administration of [the former Thai prime minister] Mr. Samak’s Government [to support Cambodia to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site]
  • The Former [Thai] Convicted Spy Sivarak [who shared the Flight Plan of Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Will Come Back to Cambodia to Continue Working in the Cambodia Air Traffic Services [CATS, as an engineer]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #79, 31.12.2009

  • Seventy Four Communities in the City Face Evictions [among 410 poor communities in Phnom Penh, 74 have received letters to inform them to leave their communities; Mr. Ny Chakriya of ADHOC said that the government always uses the pretext of development to evict citizens from the city, not offering proper compensation. However, the Phnom Penh deputy governor, Mr. Man Chhoeun, said, ‘Development is for all of us, but not only for a certain group. We clean the city which is part of developing the city’]
  • The Government Will Deliver the CATS Company Back to Thailand [to be controlled by the Samart Corps]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5087, 31.12.2009

  • Cambodia Will Not Make any Change to the Environment at the Border Regions with Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • [The Thai Foreign Minister] Kasit Piromya Asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Stop Supporting Thaksin Shinawatra [in order to restore diplomatic ties]
  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Only 5% of Youth between the Age of 18 and 23 Can Enter College [lower than Laos 12%, Indonesia 17%, the Philippines 28%, and Thailand 40%]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1845, 31.12.2009

  • Civil Society Expressed the Concern over [future] Evictions of Citizens from Their Communities after the Expropriation Law Has Been Adopted
  • The Authorities Armed with Electric Batons and Shields Blocked [nearly 100] Sereypheap Market Vendors to Protest in Front of the Residence of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [Phnom Penh]

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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Become a Means for Cambodia to Ask for Money – Wednesday, 9.12.2009

Posted on 10 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

“Criticism will have no influence in making Cambodia, a poor country, to reduce the emission of CO2 which pollutes the environment. But the provision of funds is the best way to help to reduce the emissions that lead to global climate changes.

“While the government will express its position during the discussions about climate change in Copenhagen, the coordinator at the national level of the office of climate change of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Tin Ponlok, said, ‘We should not focus on the problems of industrialized countries.’

“Mr. Tin Ponlok added, ‘As many industrialized countries as possible must provide specific financial support to help developing countries to adapt themselves to the impacts from climate change.’

“His appeal was based on the core agenda of the discussion at the climate conference in Copenhagen, which is being held during 11 days, where Cambodian officials from some relevant ministries will encourage the provision of more financial support for the efforts of this country to reduce the impact from climate change.

“In November, during the final discussions about climate change in Barcelona, the developed countries decided not to reply to requests for financial support, which would require them to prepare resources from 1% to 5% of their countries’ GDP for a fund on climate change for poor countries.

“In Copenhagen, developed countries are trying to estimate how much resources they should contribute, and they consider whether a reduction of CO2 emission by 40% by 2020 is too high or not, which would mean to be at a comparable level with the amount of emissions in 1990, a goal that developing countries are appealing to achieve.

“Mr. Tin Ponlok said that Cambodia is the one, among the 8 most vulnerable countries, under threat from climate change, that was selected into a pilot program of the World bank, the Climate Resilience project, which aims to expand efforts to combat the impacts from climate change, and it is expected that Cambodia will not be able to reduce CO2 emission unless financial support, especially for new technologies, is increased.

“Mr. Tin Ponlok spoke to participants, students, officials from non-government organizations, and government officials, saying, ‘It will not happen through the market economy, unless developed countries provide funds to least developed countries, otherwise we can not join significantly to reduce our CO2 emissions.’

“According to the World Bank’s estimation, US$10 billion in total per year have to be provided for climate change assistance to developing countries, compared to the estimated annual needs, US$75 million is for adaptation, and US$400 billion for the reduction of impacts from climate change.

Note:

The numbers in the previous paragraph do not match. We bring therefore a section of a World Bank Study which was probably the background for the Cambodian newspaper report above:

The Costs to Developing Countries of Adapting to Climate Change
New Methods and Estimates

The Global Report of the Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study
Consultation Draft

Four lessons stand out from the study:

First, adaptation to a 2° Celsius warmer world will be costly. The study puts the cost of adapting between 2010 and 2050 to an approximately 2oC warmer world by 2050 at $75 billion to $100 billion a year. The estimate is in the upper range of existing estimates, which vary from $4 billion to $109 billion. Although the estimate involves considerable uncertainty (especially on the science side), it gives policymakers—for the first time—a carefully calculated number to work with. The value added of the study lies in the consistent methodology used to estimate the cost of adaptation—in particular, the way the study operationalizes the concept of adaptation.

From a 109 pages World Bank document: The Costs to Developing Countries of Adapting to Climate Change (strangely enough it is not dated, but probably still recent).

“In a report of the World Wildlife Fund last month, Phnom Penh is considered the 3rd most vulnerable city in Asia regarding climate change, together with Calcutta. The World Wildlife Fund said that Cambodia is vulnerable to the impacts from climate change, such as droughts and floods.

“Mr. Tin Ponlok added, ‘Developing countries, especially the least developed countries, are the victims of climate change.’

“He went on to say, ‘We are not at the root of the problem,’ adding, ‘developed countries must act, and developing countries can join voluntarily.’

“However, regarding this position, environmentalists thought that putting all the burden on developed countries can make poor countries have a pretext to develop differently as they like [without considerations for the environment].

[…]

“In a new report in October, the NGO Forum on Cambodia said that the government should open the market for decentralized energy production. In addition, a statement released yesterday by the Asian Development Bank voiced some concerns about future consequences that the developing countries in Asia may create for the environment.

“The Asian Development Bank said, ‘While the emissions of CO2 on average into the atmosphere is in a low level at present, when the economy grows, incomes increase, then most emission of CO2 will come from vehicles, electricity plants, and deforestation.’ The CO2 emission in the world by developing countries in Asia might increase up to 40% easily, before or by 2030.

“The power development plan of Cambodia for 2010 to 2020 calls for the construction of coal fired electricity generators at 9 places, which will add more CO2 emission from Cambodia, and 9 hydro-electric dams.

“Though they made an appeal for decentralized power systems, the executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, Mr. Chhit Sam Ath, said recently in an interview, ‘The developed countries should really commit themselves to reduce greenhouse gases in their countries, and compensate developing countries for damages on those countries, as they do nothing [for substantially polluting the environment].’

“He added, ‘Compensation should be provided in the form of the transfer of technologies, capacity building, and financial support for developing countries, so that they have the ability to deal with climate change problems.

“A coordinating official on climate change of the non-government organization GERES, Mr. Heng Pheakdey, agreed with this idea.

“He said that developing countries like Cambodia need a proper and ambitious agreement in which industrialized countries must commit themselves to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases more strongly and more quickly. This aid should be linked with conditions that can be accepted.

“He added, ‘Nevertheless, it still depends on the government to use those resources to invest in renewable energy and to provide incentives to attract more investments in this sector.’

“The executive director of Oxfam America in Cambodia, Mr. Brian Lund, wrote in an email, saying, ‘It is very important that the least developed countries, including Cambodia, create different systems to work towards climate change.’

“He added, ‘Remember that this is a global issue, so everyone is concerned whether the funds are spent properly and that the poorest and most vulnerable countries are supported.’

“However, it is expected that developing countries and also the least developed countries will be willing to help to care for the environment, but they should avoid using environmental reasons as a basis for asking for funds.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1829, 9.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #357, 9.12.2009

  • [The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats – CALD – Nominated [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua as the Chair of the CALD Women’s Caucus
  • Samdech Ta [the Grandfather King] and Samdech Yeay [the Grandmother Queen] Sent Best Wishes to Samdech Chea Sim to Recover Soon [he is being treated in Singapore for hypertension]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Leave to Laos Today to Attend the 25th South East Asian Games

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2118, 9.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Congratulated [19] Khmer Students for Winning Prizes from the Isles International University in Europe
  • The Official of the World Health Organization [Dr. Michel Thieren]: 30,000 Cambodian People Have Diabetes

Note:

Also the Cambodia Daily of 9 December 2009 described the event, stating that 19 “senior officials, lawmakers and businessmen were awarded doctoral degrees yesterday morning by the Isles International University, an organization that appears to be an international diploma mill with strong links to the discredited Irish International University… which was exposed as having no links to Ireland’s educational system in 2006, after having awarded honorary degrees to a number of politicians, including to the premier himself….”

The member of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the study was free, “but he paid $20,000 to have his thesis translated from Khmer to English,… Mr Mong Reththy said he had also paid $20,000 in the process of earning the doctorate.”

In an information sheet distributed at yesterday’s ceremony, Isles International University claims to have been ‘approved
by the Minister of Education in the Brithsh Isles of Grea Brivtain’ in an apparent reference to Great Britain. However, IIU’s name does not appear on a list of accredited, degree-awarding universities provided yesterday by the British Embassy in Phnom Penh.”

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #692, 9.12.2009

  • Samdech Norodom Sihanouk [the former King] Enters a Hospital in Beijing [for medical checkups] while [the President of the Senate] Chea Sim, Is Recovering from His Illness in Singapore
  • The Cambodian Angkor Air Is Served by Vietnamese Staff, and It Is Not Appropriate to Say that It Represents the Nation

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #550, 9.12.2009

  • Khmers who Live Abroad Held a Non-Violent Demonstration in Front of the UN Headquarters in Geneva in Switzerland [demanding real freedom and democratic rights for the Khmer people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6826, 9.12.2009

  • The Department for Criminal Affairs of the Ministry of Interior Arrested Two Black Men for Using Fake Credit Cards [Svay Rieng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #63, 9.12.2009

  • The Human Rights Party Asked the Ministry of Interior to Disclose the Number of Immigrants [in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5068, 9.12.2009

  • The Thai Spy Was Sentenced to Serve 7 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay Riel 10 Million as a Fine [approx. US$2,500; for releasing information about the flight plan of former Thai prime minister, convicted and fugitive from his two years prison conviction for corruption, claiming that the disclosure of the flight plan affected the public order and security of Cambodia. Flight plans in most countries are always kept public, as a measure to facilitate the exchange of flight plan information for air traffic safety]
  • A Strong Woman Cheated a Korean Investor for Millions of Dollars [about US$10 million] and Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • A Traffic Accident Grabbed Lives of Four People, because They Got Drunk, Riding Motorbikes and Hit a Car [coming from the opposite direction – Kompong Speu]
  • The European Union Grants an Additional US$1.3 Million for Human Rights Projects in Cambodia

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1829, 9.12.2009

  • Carbon Dioxide Emissions Become a Means for Cambodia to Ask for Money

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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