Friday, November 27, 2009

Phnom Penh Hosts 2009 Disabled Volleyball World Cup

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Ten teams of disabled volleyball players from eight countries, including Cambodia, Canada, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, and Malaysia, will be arriving in Phnom Penh in order to attend the World Organization of Volleyball Disabled (WOVD) 2009 World Cup for six days from December 15-20.

The Cambodia 2009 WOVD Volleyball World Cup will be hosted by the Cambodian National Volleyball League (CNVLD), in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, Youth and Rehabilitation and Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen as a patron, according to Pich Piseth, CNVLD’s National Team Manager. He added that it will be sponsored by the Cellcard Company.

Piseth said that the WOVD Volleyball World Cup will take place at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh and entry is free for all people in Cambodia.

“It is the second time that CNVLD will host the disabled volleyball world cup in Cambodia and we are very honored and proud that Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia will act as patron to our Cambodian disabled volleyball players for the world cup in Cambodia,” he told reporters at a press conference in Phnom Penh on November 16.

Piseth added that the first WOVD Volleyball World Cup took place in Phnom Penh in 2007 with eight countries participating. It resulted in the Cambodian team winning third place in the competition with Germany and Slovakia winning first and second places, respectively.

Christopher Minko, Secretary General of the National Volleyball League Disabled, said that the main objective of the tournament is to compete and win the WOVD Volleyball World Cup and to promote volleyball as a sport for the disabled people of Cambodia. It is also to raise awareness about the rights of disabled people and promote their health in Cambodia.

In relation to the Disabled Volleyball World Cup, Christopher Minko said that Samdech Techo Hun Sen took the incentive to fund the Cambodian national disabled team for their competition.

According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, if the Cambodian national disabled team wins first place in the WOVD Volleyball World Cup 2009, he will award US$10,000 to each Cambodian player; if they win second place, he will award US$5,000 for each player; and if they win the fourth class of the tournament each player will receive US$2,000.

To prepare for the competition, Christopher Minko said that his organization has hired Christian Zepp, an experienced volleyball coach from Germany to train the Cambodian national team. He added that his organization has also provided payment and other financial support to the Cambodian national team while they train in Phnom Penh.

“I hope that with our Cambodian national disabled players’ hard training, talent, strong commitment and their previous playing experiences, they will able to win the first class of the WOVD Volleyball Would Cup in Cambodia. I wish them victory in this competition in Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a personal interview.

Chim Chandy, 45, is a veteran disabled volleyball player for the Globe Magazine Eagles in Siem Reap province. He has been honing his volleyball skills there since 2004.

Chandy has been selected to join the Cambodian national disabled team for the 2009 WOVD Volleyball World Cup in Phnom Penh.

“I am honored and happy to be selected for the world volleyball cup in Phnom Penh. I think that it is my opportunity, and I am now training very hard every day for the competition. I will try my best to play and to win first place in the competition for my country,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

He continued to say that last month, his team, the Siem Reap Globe Magazine Eagles, won the “Cellcard Cambodian National Volleyball League-Champions Trophy” in an event organized by the NCVLD in Phnom Penh. ///


Cambodian and Chinese Businessmen Discuss Investment Project

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Approximately 53 businessmen from Hong Kong and Macau met with 47 Cambodian businessmen at a seminar on November 16 in Phnom Penh in search of investments and business opportunities in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The Chinese and Cambodian Business and Investment Seminar was co-organized by the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and supported by the Embassy of the Peoples’ Republic of China in Cambodia.

Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce, said in his opening remarks that the government has attached great importance to developing close friendships in the international community and that China is one of Cambodia’s closest friends.

The relationship between Cambodia and China has been building comprehensively through much cooperation in relation to the economy, trade and investment, said Sorasak. He added that the Royal Government of Cambodia receives preferential tariff treatment on 418 products, as granted by the Chinese government to Cambodia.

The Secretary of State also mentioned that in recent years, Cambodian-Chinese cooperation in trade, investment and project outsourcing was further broadened. In 2008, the bilateral trade volume reached US$794 million between the two countries. The total number of projects contracted out to Chinese companies increased to 16 with contracts totaling US$300 million.

Currently, experienced and capable Chinese enterprises are taking an active part in the hydroelectric development and road bridge constructions, which will play a very important role in Cambodian economic development, said Sorasak. He added that the Chinese government agreed to recognize the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Cambodia, as Chinese tourist destinations and recalled that in recent years, more and more Chinese citizens, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, have come to Cambodia creating a large influx of foreign spending and increased employment opportunity.

“As Cambodia and China’s economies are highly complementary, there is great potential for the two countries in economic and trade cooperation. Cambodia is rich in water power, mineral products and land resources, while China is well-advantaged in capital, technology and management experience,” he said. “If the two countries keep working together to push the economic and trade cooperation on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, focusing on efficiency, exploring all kinds of cooperation and seeking cooperation, the people of the two countries will definitely continue to benefit from our endeavors.”

Kith Meng, Chairman of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said Cambodia and China have share a rich history dating back thousands of years, though diplomatic relations only started in 1958. He said that China and Cambodia are main partners of comprehensive cooperation, supporting each other in bilateral and multilateral fields.

“We cherish this friendship and cooperation with China, and we attach great importance to this relationship and will work more closely with our counterpart to explore greater potential and to achieve reciprocal and win-win results,” he said. “In recent years, we have witnessed economic and trade cooperation and bilateral trade agreements signed by both countries. As a result, the volume of the bilateral trade in 2007-2008 between China and Cambodia reached US$ 794 million. China is the largest investor in Cambodia in the past 15 years, with total investments of over US$6 billion.”

Relating to investment and business opportunities in Cambodia, Meng said there is potential for sustainable development and investment. Cambodia’s advantages and potential for investment include agriculture, labor intensive industries, processing, tourism, mining, natural resources, cheap labor forces, infrastructures and constructions, historical heritage, and beautiful sceneries of the sea, mountains and forests.

“Cambodia is rapidly changing along with its society and shows enormous room for growth and opportunities for successful investments. Furthermore, efforts are being made to create an environment to attract and foster quality foreign investment like China to focus on our fast-growing high-value-added sectors,” he said. “Nevertheless, we still get insufficient notice from investors and thus forums like this are great stepping stones to increasing awareness of great opportunities and knowledge,” he added.

Yu Ping, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said that many Chinese investors and businesspeople wanted to come to begin their business in Cambodia because Cambodia has a lot of potential and natural sources for investment and trade. He added that it now also has peace and political stability and due to this political stability, friendship and good cooperation, many Chinese investors and Chinese businesspeople will come to do their businesses in Cambodia in the future.

“China and Cambodia will continue to increase and improve their relationship and cooperation on investment and trading in future,” he said. “I hope that with the closest friendship and good cooperation between the two countries, more Chinese investors and businesspeople will come to begin their investments and businesses in Cambodia in the near future.”

The Vice Chairman continued to say that, so far, many Chinese investors have been coming to do their business in Cambodia. Most of Chinese business focuses on road and bridge construction, agriculture, hydroelectricity, garment industries and other private sectors in order to develop and reduce poverty in Cambodia. ///

Cambodian and Chinese Businessmen Discuss Investment Project

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Approximately 53 businessmen from Hong Kong and Macau met with 47 Cambodian businessmen at a seminar on November 16 in Phnom Penh in search of investments and business opportunities in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The Chinese and Cambodian Business and Investment Seminar was co-organized by the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and supported by the Embassy of the Peoples’ Republic of China in Cambodia.

Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce, said in his opening remarks that the government has attached great importance to developing close friendships in the international community and that China is one of Cambodia’s closest friends.

The relationship between Cambodia and China has been building comprehensively through much cooperation in relation to the economy, trade and investment, said Sorasak. He added that the Royal Government of Cambodia receives preferential tariff treatment on 418 products, as granted by the Chinese government to Cambodia.

The Secretary of State also mentioned that in recent years, Cambodian-Chinese cooperation in trade, investment and project outsourcing was further broadened. In 2008, the bilateral trade volume reached US$794 million between the two countries. The total number of projects contracted out to Chinese companies increased to 16 with contracts totaling US$300 million.

Currently, experienced and capable Chinese enterprises are taking an active part in the hydroelectric development and road bridge constructions, which will play a very important role in Cambodian economic development, said Sorasak. He added that the Chinese government agreed to recognize the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Cambodia, as Chinese tourist destinations and recalled that in recent years, more and more Chinese citizens, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, have come to Cambodia creating a large influx of foreign spending and increased employment opportunity.

“As Cambodia and China’s economies are highly complementary, there is great potential for the two countries in economic and trade cooperation. Cambodia is rich in water power, mineral products and land resources, while China is well-advantaged in capital, technology and management experience,” he said. “If the two countries keep working together to push the economic and trade cooperation on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, focusing on efficiency, exploring all kinds of cooperation and seeking cooperation, the people of the two countries will definitely continue to benefit from our endeavors.”

Kith Meng, Chairman of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said Cambodia and China have share a rich history dating back thousands of years, though diplomatic relations only started in 1958. He said that China and Cambodia are main partners of comprehensive cooperation, supporting each other in bilateral and multilateral fields.

“We cherish this friendship and cooperation with China, and we attach great importance to this relationship and will work more closely with our counterpart to explore greater potential and to achieve reciprocal and win-win results,” he said. “In recent years, we have witnessed economic and trade cooperation and bilateral trade agreements signed by both countries. As a result, the volume of the bilateral trade in 2007-2008 between China and Cambodia reached US$ 794 million. China is the largest investor in Cambodia in the past 15 years, with total investments of over US$6 billion.”

Relating to investment and business opportunities in Cambodia, Meng said there is potential for sustainable development and investment. Cambodia’s advantages and potential for investment include agriculture, labor intensive industries, processing, tourism, mining, natural resources, cheap labor forces, infrastructures and constructions, historical heritage, and beautiful sceneries of the sea, mountains and forests.

“Cambodia is rapidly changing along with its society and shows enormous room for growth and opportunities for successful investments. Furthermore, efforts are being made to create an environment to attract and foster quality foreign investment like China to focus on our fast-growing high-value-added sectors,” he said. “Nevertheless, we still get insufficient notice from investors and thus forums like this are great stepping stones to increasing awareness of great opportunities and knowledge,” he added.

Yu Ping, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said that many Chinese investors and businesspeople wanted to come to begin their business in Cambodia because Cambodia has a lot of potential and natural sources for investment and trade. He added that it now also has peace and political stability and due to this political stability, friendship and good cooperation, many Chinese investors and Chinese businesspeople will come to do their businesses in Cambodia in the future.

“China and Cambodia will continue to increase and improve their relationship and cooperation on investment and trading in future,” he said. “I hope that with the closest friendship and good cooperation between the two countries, more Chinese investors and businesspeople will come to begin their investments and businesses in Cambodia in the near future.”

The Vice Chairman continued to say that, so far, many Chinese investors have been coming to do their business in Cambodia. Most of Chinese business focuses on road and bridge construction, agriculture, hydroelectricity, garment industries and other private sectors in order to develop and reduce poverty in Cambodia. ///

San Rithy Dreams of Becoming an Economist in the Future

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

One of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen–Handa National Scholarship” winners in 2007, San Rithy, 22, spoke with The Southeast Asia Weekly during an interview on November 20. San Rithy was born in 1988 in Kean Svay district, in Kandal province. San Rithy has four sisters and one brother, and he is the fifth brother in the family.

San Rithy is now studying Economics at The University of Cambodia (UC) in Phnom Penh and also English Literature with the Institute of Foreign Language in Phnom Penh. He passed the scholarship exams offered by The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh in 2007.

“I think that I am very lucky that I passed the scholarship exams from The University of Cambodia and have the opportunity to study with UC without paying money,” he said. “To reach my bachelor degree goal, I think that I have to study hard to complete my degree in the next two years.”

The scholar student San Rithy emphasized that before he applied for study with UC, he studied at the Hun Sen-Serei Pheap High School in Takhmau district, in Kandal province, and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007. He applied to study Economics at UC following the introduction of the “Samdech Hun Sen–Handa National Scholarship” in 2007.

“I decided to study Economics with The University of Cambodia as I want to become a future economist in Cambodia,” he said. “I want to work with the Ministry of Finance and Economy or NGOs in order to promote social developments and progress in my country.”

Rithy said that since he has been studying with UC so far, he has learned a lot about Economics as well as other fields such as Computer Skills, English Literature, Laws, and Philosophy. He can also read, write and speak English well.

When Rithy completes his Bachelor’s Degree goal, he will continue to study for his Master’s Degree with The University of Cambodia. He said that besides his study with UC, he now is also studying in his third year of English Literature at the Institute of Foreign Language in Phnom Penh. He stated that he decided to study English Literature because English is the one major that relates to all fields of study in universities for communicating and researching documents. It will also supplement his economic skills.

Rithy said besides his studies with UC and IFL, he now is also working as a part-time English teacher at the Informatics and Foreign Language Center in Takhmau district, Kandal province. He began his English teaching in 2007 to make some money to support his studies in Phnom Penh. He teaches class from 5.30-7.30 PM every day Monday through Saturday.

Chorn Sophannak, 22, a third year Economics student at The Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences (RULE), and also a close friend of San Rithy, appreciated Rithy’s hard work. He said that he has known San Rithy since 2003 when he was studying with him at the Hun Sen-Serei Pheap High School in Takhmau district, in Kandal province.

Sophannak added that San Rithy was a hard worker, friendly, gentle and helpful to other students in his class.

“I am proud that I have a hardworking, gentle and helpful friend like San Rithy. I wish him all the best of success with his studies in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 20. ///

Bhutanese Delegation Examines Cambodia’s Trade Development Strategies

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Trade and commercial officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan, the Gross National Happiness Commission and members of Bhutan’s private sector met for discussions with Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce experts, UNDP officials, and representatives from GTZ, DANIDA, and the Cambodian private sector for five days from November 17-21 in Phnom Penh in order to learn about Cambodia’s Trade Development Strategies.

Cambodia’s Trade Development Strategies and Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) strategy were presented by Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State in Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, in conjunction with officials from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and representatives from GTZ, DANIDA, and other Cambodian private sector officials during a workshop on November 19 in Phnom Penh.

“As an experienced country, Cambodia now is pleased and honored to share its Trade Development Strategies and Trade Sector Wide Approach (Trade SWAp) experience with the visiting Bhutanese delegation, who are from the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is a least developed country in the region,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 19. “We hope that with Cambodia’s shared trade and business strategies, Bhutanese officials will learn from Cambodia and be able to develop their trade development strategies in the future.”

Secretary of State Sorasak said that Bhutan is a Least Developed Country (LDC) in Asia. Bhutan is also a candidate for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the future. He continued to say that recently, Bhutan has applied to the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) fund, a multi-donor initiative aimed at supporting LDCs in mainstreaming trade development into their country’s national development plans to support poverty reduction. Bhutan is now preparing to develop their DTIS.

The Government of Bhutan has turned to Cambodia to learn more about its successful EIF implementation, subsequent reforms, government commitment and ownership of Trade SWAp, he said.

“In Cambodia, the government is taking the lead in establishing and formulating the Trade SWAp, or Sector-Wide approach, as a framework to implement Cambodia’s trade strategy in partnership with development partners and the private sector,” said Sorasak.

He continued to say that Cambodia has been at the forefront among other LDCs to secure funds from the IF program. They were one of the first LDCs to produce in 2002 and update in 2007 its Trade Development Strategy DTIS and to successfully gain access to EIF Tier 1 funding, which serves to address capacity and organizational needs and to support mainstream trade development in the national development agenda.

Sonam P Wangdi, Director-General of the Department of Trade in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and also the Head of the Bhutanese Delegation, said that it was the first time he has led a Bhutanese trade and commercial delegation to Cambodia.

“I am very impressed with Cambodia’s current developments and progress. Therefore, I decided to lead my Bhutanese delegation to Cambodia as I know that Cambodia has been working successfully in formulating a Trade Development Strategy (DTIS) and Trade SWAp which provides the framework to implement Cambodia’s Trade Integration Strategy (DTIS), formulated in 2007,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Sonam continued to say that the main purpose of the visit was to learn from Cambodia’s experience in formulating a Trade Development Strategy (DTIS), the Trade SWAp in Cambodia. He added that it was also to share in Cambodia’s experience in trade mainstreaming and how its Integrated Framework (IF), EIF funds, and technical support have been instrumental in paving the way for the country’s domestic reforms.

“We hope that after this meeting we will be able to work in developing and preparing our Bhutanese DTIS and SWAp so that Bhutan will become a member country of the World Trade Organization in the near future,” he said. ///

Ministry of Health Battles Counterfeit Medicine and Illegal Health Care Services

BY BUT H REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Ministry of Health has announced that counterfeit drugs and illegal health care service are still a major concern and threaten development and poverty reduction in Cambodia. This announcement was made by the Under Secretary of State Dr. Sea Huong, Representative for Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, and also Chief of the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services in the Ministry of Health during a regional seminar on “Combating Counterfeit Drugs” in Phnom Penh on November 19.

The Under Secretary of State said that currently the counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services are a main concern for the development of Cambodia as well as other developing countries in the world. He added that these problems are spreading out and seriously threatening peoples’ health and lives as well as ruining development, social economies and the daily living conditions of the people of Cambodia.

“Cambodia remains concerned about the use of counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services. They not only threaten peoples’ health and lives but also ruin the social developments, social economies, and daily living conditions of people in Cambodia as well as other developing countries in the world,” he said during his opening remarks at the seminar.

Dr. Sea Huong emphasized that to take measures and actions against the counterfeit drugs, so far the Royal Government of Cambodia under the leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, has been working hard in combating the counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services in Cambodia. He said that the government has also created the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services to fight against fake drugs, illegal medicines and other illegal health care services in Cambodia.

He added that the Ministry of Health has established a drug law for the purposes of raising awareness on the dangers of using fake medicines and illegal health care services in Cambodia; strengthening cooperation among ministries; exposing counterfeit drugs and illegal health care services in Cambodia; prohibiting the production, importation or distribution of counterfeit drugs; closing illegal drug stores; enforcing the implementation of law and amending the law on drug management; and decentralizing the management of pharmacies and depots in all provincial health departments in Cambodia.

Dr. Heng Bun Kiet, Deputy Director of the Department of Drugs and Foods (DDF) and Permanent Deputy Chief of the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services in the Ministry of Health, said that the factors that influence counterfeit medicine circulation are: drug smuggling, lack of knowledge and responsibility by border authorities, illegal drug stores, lack of cooperation between the DDF and importers, lack of cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the court, and an overall weakness in law enforcement.

Dr. Bun Kiet said that to combat counterfeit drugs and illegal health care services, the Ministry of Health will continue to cooperate with Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and other countries in the region and world in the future. He said that his ministry will exchange information with drug authorities in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and other countries to identify counterfeit drugs being smuggled over Cambodia’s borders and seek support from health partners such as USAID, Global Fund, the World Health Organization, and others to combat the problem of counterfeit medicine.

He added that his ministry will also provide training for all health officers, drug sellers and to the extent possible for the general public, countrywide, on counterfeit medicine, poor quality medicine, illegal health care services and their related dangers in Cambodia.

According to the Ministry of Health’s statistics on pharmaceutical premises, there are a total of 7 manufacturers, 153 import and export companies, 566 pharmacies, 127 depots A, and 797 depots B, and 111 unlicensed drugs store in Cambodia. /////

Ministry of Health Battles Counterfeit Medicine and Illegal Health Care Services

BY BUT H REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Ministry of Health has announced that counterfeit drugs and illegal health care service are still a major concern and threaten development and poverty reduction in Cambodia. This announcement was made by the Under Secretary of State Dr. Sea Huong, Representative for Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, and also Chief of the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services in the Ministry of Health during a regional seminar on “Combating Counterfeit Drugs” in Phnom Penh on November 19.

The Under Secretary of State said that currently the counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services are a main concern for the development of Cambodia as well as other developing countries in the world. He added that these problems are spreading out and seriously threatening peoples’ health and lives as well as ruining development, social economies and the daily living conditions of the people of Cambodia.

“Cambodia remains concerned about the use of counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services. They not only threaten peoples’ health and lives but also ruin the social developments, social economies, and daily living conditions of people in Cambodia as well as other developing countries in the world,” he said during his opening remarks at the seminar.

Dr. Sea Huong emphasized that to take measures and actions against the counterfeit drugs, so far the Royal Government of Cambodia under the leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, has been working hard in combating the counterfeit medicines, poor quality of medicines and illegal health care services in Cambodia. He said that the government has also created the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services to fight against fake drugs, illegal medicines and other illegal health care services in Cambodia.

He added that the Ministry of Health has established a drug law for the purposes of raising awareness on the dangers of using fake medicines and illegal health care services in Cambodia; strengthening cooperation among ministries; exposing counterfeit drugs and illegal health care services in Cambodia; prohibiting the production, importation or distribution of counterfeit drugs; closing illegal drug stores; enforcing the implementation of law and amending the law on drug management; and decentralizing the management of pharmacies and depots in all provincial health departments in Cambodia.

Dr. Heng Bun Kiet, Deputy Director of the Department of Drugs and Foods (DDF) and Permanent Deputy Chief of the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Combating Counterfeit Medicines and Illegal Health Care Services in the Ministry of Health, said that the factors that influence counterfeit medicine circulation are: drug smuggling, lack of knowledge and responsibility by border authorities, illegal drug stores, lack of cooperation between the DDF and importers, lack of cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the court, and an overall weakness in law enforcement.

Dr. Bun Kiet said that to combat counterfeit drugs and illegal health care services, the Ministry of Health will continue to cooperate with Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and other countries in the region and world in the future. He said that his ministry will exchange information with drug authorities in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and other countries to identify counterfeit drugs being smuggled over Cambodia’s borders and seek support from health partners such as USAID, Global Fund, the World Health Organization, and others to combat the problem of counterfeit medicine.

He added that his ministry will also provide training for all health officers, drug sellers and to the extent possible for the general public, countrywide, on counterfeit medicine, poor quality medicine, illegal health care services and their related dangers in Cambodia.

According to the Ministry of Health’s statistics on pharmaceutical premises, there are a total of 7 manufacturers, 153 import and export companies, 566 pharmacies, 127 depots A, and 797 depots B, and 111 unlicensed drugs store in Cambodia. /////

Phnom Penh Hosts 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Approximately 450 local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and about 300 people, including NGO representatives, government officials, students and farmers from across the country, attended the 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event under the theme “Working Together for Social Accountability” for two days from November 17-18 at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.

Nouth Saan, Secretary of State for the Ministry of the Interior and Representative of Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, Minister of the Interior, who presented on the opening day of the event, appreciated Cambodian civil society’s initiative in creating the 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event in Phnom Penh.

The 8th Civil Society Fair showcased the NGOs’ strong efforts and hard work in building and developing Cambodia as well as the Royal Government’s role in promoting human resource and vocational training, the promotion of healthcare, pandemic disease prevention, environment and traditional culture preservation, governance and law and morality education in Cambodia, said Nouth Saan.

“The civil societies are the partners of the Royal Government of Cambodia in developing the nation. They not only provide services for Cambodians but also directly participate in encouraging and increasing good governance and social accountability for the people in Cambodia,” he said.

The Secretary of State continued to say that good governance, social accountability and anti-corruption are needed in democratic society so the public administrative officials will change their working attitudes from leader to service provider for their people and for those who need their services.

“I would like to call on all Cambodian people to participate in every activity of the commune and Sankat council members in order that their needs will be solved by the basic administrations,” he said at his opening remarks of the event.

To promote good governance in Cambodia, Nuth Saan said that good governance, including accountability and anti-corruption, is one of the core reforming strategies of the government’s second phase of its rectangular strategy. He added that the Ministry of the Interior will continue its hard work in promoting good governance at all levels in cities and provinces across the country.

The Secretary of State continued to say that his ministry has also prepared the national policy on democratic development which will determine the action plan for the implementation of the Law on Administrative and Provincial Management of Centralization and Decentralization in short term, medium term and long term which will begin its implementation from 2010 to 2019. He added that his ministry will also continue to strengthen its cooperation with partner NGOs and other concerned NGOs in order to support and encourage the implementation of other working plans and projects at every level based in sustainability and reaching to reduce the people’s poverty in accordance with Cambodian government’s policies and national strategies.

Chet Charya, President of the Star Kampuchea Organization, said the purpose of the event is to celebrate and exhibit the accomplishments, products and common goals of civil society organizations; contribute to nation building; and showcase them to the national and international community, media and the public. She added that the event also aimed to present commitment, achievement and products of civil society to the government, public and to broader stakeholders; to provide opportunity for participants to meet, share and enhance learning on good governance, service delivery and social accountability; and to promote understanding, relationship and partnership among government, CSO, media, community and other stakeholders in Cambodian society. /////


Meta House Organizes Green Night in Phnom Penh to Save the Environment

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Meta House, in collaboration with the Smart Mobile Company, organized a “Save the Environment Event” in Phnom Penh on November 20 involving networking and awareness-raising discussions on the issues of climate change and environmental protection for Cambodians.

Lydia Parusol, General Manager of the Meta House which is a German non-governmental organization, said that it marked the first time that Meta House has organized a Save the Environment Event in Phnom Penh. She said that the main purpose of the event was to provide a platform of networking discussions and awareness for the issues of climate change and environmental protection for people in Cambodia. It will also raise awareness about climate change and environmental protection in Cambodia.

“In Cambodia, people have already heard the slogan “Save the Environment!”, but do they know how? This Friday Green Night’s Save the Environment is the first educative event of a series we are planning together with Smart Mobile,” she said at the discussion. “With a combination of funny activities and showcasing products but also with educative messages, we are aiming to open a platform of networking discussions and awareness for the issues of climate change and environmental protection in Cambodia.”

The General Manager continued to say that the Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said recently, “Cambodia is a victim of climate change and developed countries should shoulder more responsibilities in reversing the effects of global warming”. Thus, the Meta House’s Save the Environment event will help the Cambodian government in promoting environmental protection and a green perspective in Cambodia.

She added that the traffic in Phnom Penh has increased in the last 5 years. Therefore, smoke is still problem in Phnom Penh. Garbage and less facility to keep garbage is another problem, beside little education about environmental issues. People who live in main cities are currently consuming more than, for example, they did 5 years ago. This situation leads to the problem that the garbage is dumped and collecting companies are overwhelmed with the amount.

To create green lifestyles and green perspective in Phnom Penh as well as in Cambodia, she said that the Cambodian government should provide education about environmental issues: awareness-raising about climate change and its impact, protection of forest and other areas such as the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, support of eco – tourism, and support of local markets and products.

To promote a healthy environment and green perspective in Cambodia, Lydia said that Meta House in cooperation with Smart Mobile Company plans to organize more Green Nights events to inform the public, organize art events related to the theme, and make documentaries about the issue as educational tools in the future.

Relating to her organization, she said that Meta House was founded in 2007 with the aim to promote traditional culture, arts and other social developments in Cambodia. Meta House has not only established itself as a meeting place for artists and art lovers, but also as an intercultural and interdisciplinary networking platform for Cambodian-based artists, Cambodian artists living overseas and their international colleagues.

The Meta House organizers firmly believe that contemporary art is a marker of development. The growth of expressive art forms is crucial to the development of any society, none more so than Cambodia, where individuals are desperate for a voice. Meta House fosters an environment of self-expression and “critical thinking” and promotes art awareness and criticism.

She added that since the establishment of Meta House in 2007, it has made many achievements in Cambodia, including a master film school, children’s exhibitions, several environmental film festivals, presentations of key speakers, art exhibitions about social and environmental issues (globalization), and has supported artists and artist groups. ////

Meta House Organizes Green Night in Phnom Penh to Save the Environment

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Meta House, in collaboration with the Smart Mobile Company, organized a “Save the Environment Event” in Phnom Penh on November 20 involving networking and awareness-raising discussions on the issues of climate change and environmental protection for Cambodians.

Lydia Parusol, General Manager of the Meta House which is a German non-governmental organization, said that it marked the first time that Meta House has organized a Save the Environment Event in Phnom Penh. She said that the main purpose of the event was to provide a platform of networking discussions and awareness for the issues of climate change and environmental protection for people in Cambodia. It will also raise awareness about climate change and environmental protection in Cambodia.

“In Cambodia, people have already heard the slogan “Save the Environment!”, but do they know how? This Friday Green Night’s Save the Environment is the first educative event of a series we are planning together with Smart Mobile,” she said at the discussion. “With a combination of funny activities and showcasing products but also with educative messages, we are aiming to open a platform of networking discussions and awareness for the issues of climate change and environmental protection in Cambodia.”

The General Manager continued to say that the Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said recently, “Cambodia is a victim of climate change and developed countries should shoulder more responsibilities in reversing the effects of global warming”. Thus, the Meta House’s Save the Environment event will help the Cambodian government in promoting environmental protection and a green perspective in Cambodia.

She added that the traffic in Phnom Penh has increased in the last 5 years. Therefore, smoke is still problem in Phnom Penh. Garbage and less facility to keep garbage is another problem, beside little education about environmental issues. People who live in main cities are currently consuming more than, for example, they did 5 years ago. This situation leads to the problem that the garbage is dumped and collecting companies are overwhelmed with the amount.

To create green lifestyles and green perspective in Phnom Penh as well as in Cambodia, she said that the Cambodian government should provide education about environmental issues: awareness-raising about climate change and its impact, protection of forest and other areas such as the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, support of eco – tourism, and support of local markets and products.

To promote a healthy environment and green perspective in Cambodia, Lydia said that Meta House in cooperation with Smart Mobile Company plans to organize more Green Nights events to inform the public, organize art events related to the theme, and make documentaries about the issue as educational tools in the future.

Relating to her organization, she said that Meta House was founded in 2007 with the aim to promote traditional culture, arts and other social developments in Cambodia. Meta House has not only established itself as a meeting place for artists and art lovers, but also as an intercultural and interdisciplinary networking platform for Cambodian-based artists, Cambodian artists living overseas and their international colleagues.

The Meta House organizers firmly believe that contemporary art is a marker of development. The growth of expressive art forms is crucial to the development of any society, none more so than Cambodia, where individuals are desperate for a voice. Meta House fosters an environment of self-expression and “critical thinking” and promotes art awareness and criticism.

She added that since the establishment of Meta House in 2007, it has made many achievements in Cambodia, including a master film school, children’s exhibitions, several environmental film festivals, presentations of key speakers, art exhibitions about social and environmental issues (globalization), and has supported artists and artist groups. ////

Phnom Penh Hosts 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Approximately 450 local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and about 300 people, including NGO representatives, government officials, students and farmers from across the country, attended the 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event under the theme “Working Together for Social Accountability” for two days from November 17-18 at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.

Nouth Saan, Secretary of State for the Ministry of the Interior and Representative of Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, Minister of the Interior, who presented on the opening day of the event, appreciated Cambodian civil society’s initiative in creating the 8th Civil Society Fair and 3rd National PECSA Networking Event in Phnom Penh.

The 8th Civil Society Fair showcased the NGOs’ strong efforts and hard work in building and developing Cambodia as well as the Royal Government’s role in promoting human resource and vocational training, the promotion of healthcare, pandemic disease prevention, environment and traditional culture preservation, governance and law and morality education in Cambodia, said Nouth Saan.

“The civil societies are the partners of the Royal Government of Cambodia in developing the nation. They not only provide services for Cambodians but also directly participate in encouraging and increasing good governance and social accountability for the people in Cambodia,” he said.

The Secretary of State continued to say that good governance, social accountability and anti-corruption are needed in democratic society so the public administrative officials will change their working attitudes from leader to service provider for their people and for those who need their services.

“I would like to call on all Cambodian people to participate in every activity of the commune and Sankat council members in order that their needs will be solved by the basic administrations,” he said at his opening remarks of the event.

To promote good governance in Cambodia, Nuth Saan said that good governance, including accountability and anti-corruption, is one of the core reforming strategies of the government’s second phase of its rectangular strategy. He added that the Ministry of the Interior will continue its hard work in promoting good governance at all levels in cities and provinces across the country.

The Secretary of State continued to say that his ministry has also prepared the national policy on democratic development which will determine the action plan for the implementation of the Law on Administrative and Provincial Management of Centralization and Decentralization in short term, medium term and long term which will begin its implementation from 2010 to 2019. He added that his ministry will also continue to strengthen its cooperation with partner NGOs and other concerned NGOs in order to support and encourage the implementation of other working plans and projects at every level based in sustainability and reaching to reduce the people’s poverty in accordance with Cambodian government’s policies and national strategies.

Chet Charya, President of the Star Kampuchea Organization, said the purpose of the event is to celebrate and exhibit the accomplishments, products and common goals of civil society organizations; contribute to nation building; and showcase them to the national and international community, media and the public. She added that the event also aimed to present commitment, achievement and products of civil society to the government, public and to broader stakeholders; to provide opportunity for participants to meet, share and enhance learning on good governance, service delivery and social accountability; and to promote understanding, relationship and partnership among government, CSO, media, community and other stakeholders in Cambodian society. /////


Monday, November 16, 2009

Local Associations and NGOs Concerned about Cambodian-Thai Relations

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Five Cambodian associations conducted a joint press conference on November 13 in Phnom Penh to raise their concerns about the tensions and dropping of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Thailand.

The press conference was jointly organized by the Cambodia-ASEAN Civil Society Organization (CACSO), the Cambodia-ASEAN Human Rights Association (CAHRA), the Social Congress Agency for Cambodia (SCAC), the Cambodia-ASEAN Youth Association (CAYA), and The League of Cambodian Students and Intellectual Coordination Committee (LECASTINCOCO), which represented a total of 48 local associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia.

Thao Veasna, President of the Cambodia-ASEAN Human Rights Association (CAHRA), said that the main purpose of the press conference was to address the civil societies’ concerns about current situations relating to the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s presence in Cambodia, including the recent dropping of relations between Cambodia and Thailand.

Veasna added that another objective of the press conference was to express Cambodian civil societies’ position and support of the Cambodian government, especially Prime Minister Hun Sen in appointing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as his Personal Advisor and in his decision not to extradite Thaksin to Thailand as requested by the Thai authorities.

“We are now very concerned about the tension and the dropping of relations and diplomacy between Cambodia and Thailand. We are afraid that if these tensions and dropping of relations continue, they will lead to the closing of the two countries’ borders or other serious problems which will affect on the bilateral cooperation, businesses and trades of the two countries in the future,” he told the press conference.

Sok Theavuth, President of the Cambodia-ASEAN Youth Association (CAYA), said that the tension and the decrease of diplomatic ties and relations between the two countries are caused by the Thai side, especially the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government aiming to put an end to Thaksin Shinawatra’s politics in Thailand.

Sok Theavuth condemned the Thai government and Thai yellow-shirt group for creating the tensions and breaking the good relations and friendship between the two countries. He also called on the Thai Prime Minister and Thai yellow-shirt group to respect their dignity and civilization, obey the treaties and international law, and stop creating problems against Cambodia and its citizens.

Relating to the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra as Advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Economic Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia and his presence in Cambodia, Theavuth said that the Cambodian civil societies strongly support the Cambodian government and Samdech Hun Sen’s decision not to extradite Thaksin.

“As the civil societies in Cambodia, we would like to welcome and strongly support the clear policies and positions of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the self-protection of the Cambodian territory and to resolve the problem through diplomacy and courage,” he said.

He added that to support the Cambodian government’s stance and decisions regarding Thaksin Shinawatra’s case in Cambodia, the group plans to submit its official joint declaration and petition to the Royal Government of Cambodia next week. ////






“I Want to Become a Lawyer to Help the Cambodian People”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

One of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship” winners in 2007, 21-year-old Bun Chanmary, provided an interview to The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 12. Chanmary was born in 1988 in Baray district, Kampong Thom province and has two sisters and three brothers. She is the third sister in her family. She is now studying Law at The University of Cambodia (UC) and also Finance and Banking at Panhasastra University in Phnom Penh. Her parents are farmers and remain living in their hometown.

Chanmary passed the scholarship exams offered by The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh in 2007. Before she passed the UC exams, she studied at the Kampong Chheuteal High School in Prasat Sambo Preykup district, Kampong Thom province and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007.

“I am happy that I passed the UC exams because I never thought that I could get the scholarship from UC. It is very fortunate for me in my life that I can continue my studies in Phnom Penh without paying tuition,” she said. “I would like to thank to Dr. Kao Kim Hourn so much for making the suggestion to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to give scholarships to students. I also would like to thank both of them very much because without them, I may not have had the chance to study at UC in Cambodia. I wish both of them the best of health and luck,” she said.

Chanmary continued to say that she decided to apply to study Law with The University of Cambodia because she knew that the university is one of the best universities in Cambodia and it can help her to become a future lawyer or law expert and work to advocate for the poor, rule of law, and other developments in Cambodia.

“I really liked the law major since I was a student in high school, as I always listened to radio and heard a lot of problems that related to the laws. I also knew that in Cambodia, there is a lack of lawyers. That’s why I applied for the law major. I hope when I graduate with the law major, I will become a good lawyer and help the poor people facing any problems I can help with so that they don’t have to pay money to lawyers,” she said.

Chanmary pointed out that since she has been studying with UC, she has learned a lot of skills in various field, such as computer science, English literature, law, and others, which she has enjoyed very much. She can also read, write and speak English well. She said that to achieve her Bachelor’s Degree goal, she now is studying very hard and reads many books related to her studies every day. She also conducts her own research from sources like the internet, foreign newspapers and magazines.

She added that that when she completes her Bachelor’s Degree goal, she will then continue to study for her Master’s Degree with the University of Cambodia.

Chanmary emphasized that besides studying with UC, she is also in her second year of a Finance and Banking program at Panhasastra University in Phnom Penh. She added that she decided to study Finance and Banking because she wanted to know about finance and accounting as a supplement to her law skills.

“In the future, I want to become a lawyer but a lawyer in the field of economics. When I know a lot about law as well as finance, banking, and accounting, I will be able to work well. I can also work for banks in higher position, and if I have free time I will create my own law firm that will provide free legal advice for all poor people in my country,” she said.

Besides her studies with UC and PUC, Chanmary is also working as a part-time English teacher at the Chey Chumnah International School in Phnom Penh. She began her English teaching in May 2009 in order to make some money to support her studies. She teaches from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM Monday through Saturday.

San Vuth Pidor, 19, third-year medical student at the International University (IU) in Phnom Penh, and personal friend to Bun Chanmary, said she appreciated Chanmary’s capacity for hard work. She said that she has known Bun Chanmary since they studied together at the Baray High School in 1998. She said that Chanmary was a friendly, gentle, kind and helpful student. She was also one of the most outstanding students in her class.

“I am happy that I have a good friend like Bun Chanmary, and I hope that with her diligent studies and hard work, she will become an outstanding student with UC,” she told The Cambodia Weekly. “I also hope that she will realize her dreams and became a future professional lawyer in Cambodia.”

BWTUC Promotes Construction Workers’ Health and Safety

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC) was officially established on November 10 in Phnom Penh to promote the health and safety of construction workers in Cambodia.

The establishment of BWTUC was made through a founding congress jointly organized by the Cambodia Construction Trade Union Federation (CCTUF), the Cambodian Federation of Building Woodworkers (CFBW) and the Cambodian Labor Federation (CLF), supported by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. The BWTUC merges the CCTUF, CFBW and CLF.

Yim Serey Vathanak, Project Organizer of the Building and Wood Workers’ International Cambodia Project (BWWIC), said that it marked the first time a federation such as BWTUC has been established in order to forge unity and solidarity among the unions in Cambodia.

The purpose of the BWTUC’s establishment is to show solidarity and unity and to reduce the challenges of unions in Cambodia. It is also seeks to improve and promote better working conditions through construction and wood workers’ safety and security as well as living conditions through appropriate wages in Cambodia.

“The main purpose of the BWTUC’s establishment is working to promote construction and wood workers’ health and work safety as well as their living conditions. It is also to improve and strengthen the respect of the Labor Law in Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during an interview on November 10.

Cambodia’s construction and wood workers are in danger because their employers do not take responsibility for their risks, including healthcare, security and safety while they are working, said Vathanak. He added that this is because Cambodia is currently lacking basic laws on health and safety in construction that would force the employers to take responsibility for their workers’ health, safety and security while working in Cambodia.

Vathanak called on the Royal Government of Cambodian to pay attention to construction and wood workers’ health, working conditions and work safety, and also appealed to the government to issue a regulation announcement on workers’ health and safety for all construction and wood workers nationwide in Cambodia.

According to his organization’s research, Vathanak said about 10,000 workers are currently employed by the construction and wood industries in Cambodia. Due to the global economic crisis, about 30,000 construction workers recently lost their jobs in Cambodia.

“I hope that after the establishment of BWTUC, we will be able to work with the Cambodian government and involved ministries to advocate for and improve our Cambodian workers’ health as well as their workplace safety and living conditions in Cambodia in the future,” he said.


Floro Princisco, Consultation Advisor to the Solidarity Center for the Asian Region, said that the success and future growth of this new organization, BWTUC, will be historic for the Cambodian Labour Movement. He said the establishment of BWTUC will join the international efforts to strengthen the Cambodian Labor Movement, and that this is the truly solitary of action.

“We have to remember that this was not an easy process as there were a lot of headaches, misconceptions, distrust, and quarrel,” he said. “This is not simply an alliance or a show of unity but a process of discussions, consultations and training for the leaders to make a conscious decision and agree to form a new organization to improve the lives of Cambodian construction workers.”

Princisco said that by uniting, Cambodian unions will expand their abilities to gain power, organize more construction workers, and focus their energy in organizing the largely unorganized construction industry to make a different in the lives of the construction workers. He added that BWTUC can lobby and work with various government officials to create laws that will improve health and safety in construction, including better inspection and monitoring of construction sites and the implementation of the Labor Law.

“As a young organization with individuals and leaders from various backgrounds and perspectives, it is natural to have continued differences,” he said. “Like cement it will take time to dry and be hard, so I urge patience in your differences, a broad mind to think things over collectively in decision-making, and most of all the importance of unity in action once decisions are made.”

According to a joint report released by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the International Labor Organization (ILO) 2009, Cambodia’s construction and wood workers have been facing many risks and dangers.

The risks that workers face, the joint report stated, include dangers from dust (67 percent of workers), work-related accidents (40 percent), chemical and toxic waste (30 percent), pandemic disease (18 percent), unhygienic workplaces (6 percent), and general lack of workplace safety (72 percent). It was reported that 77 percent of temple construction workers received insurance from their companies.

Typhoon Ketsana Destroyed Over US$140 Million in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Nhim Vanda, Senior Minister and Vice-President of the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) said that Cambodia is one of four countries which were seriously affected by the recent Typhoon Ketsana in Asia.

The Senior Minister said that from September 26-October 2, Typhoon Ketsana affected eight provinces, including 73 districts, in Cambodia. These eight provinces were Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, Stung Treng, Rattanakiri, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Kratie.

The Senior Minister continued to say that the Ketsana storm also killed a total of 43 Cambodian people, injured 67 people, seriously affected 22,800 families, displaced 6,210 families, destroyed 1, 022 houses, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice fields in Cambodia.

The natural disaster caused by the Ketsana storm caused over US$140 million in damages, excluding the social and economic effects in Cambodia, according to the NCDM’s estimations.

“This year, Ketsana provided us with a clear lesson learned that natural disasters including flooding, drought, and storms continue to threaten animals, human beings, properties and the economy in Cambodia. We noted that the damage and the loss caused by Ketsana costs a lot for Cambodia, which is a developing country,” he said during his opening remarks at a workshop on “Post Disaster Needs Assessments for Ketsana Recovery and Reconstruction” in Cambodia on November 10.

The Senior Minister pointed out that in response to the damages and losses of Ketsana and the resulting floods, the Royal Government of Cambodian has been working hard to restore and reconstruct the roads, dams and other infrastructure in Cambodia.

The government issued an announcement on October 22 allowing government ministries and institutions to submit project proposals to the Ministry of Finance and Economy to repair roads, rice plantations and other infrastructures which have been affected by the natural disasters this year, he said.

Stephan Guibert, Acting Country Manager of the World Bank (WB), said that the WB would like to extend its appreciations to the agencies which were able to provide immediate emergency assistance following the storm in Cambodia. He added that on October 9, the Ministry of Finance and Economy formally requested that the WB provide emergency assistance, including a detailed assessment of the damages.

The Acting Country Manager continued to say that the National Committee for Disaster Management has also requested that the WB allocate the current GFDRR Trust Fund, designed for Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces, to be used for emergency response and early recovery in typhoon-affected provinces.

“As you know, while Ketsana’s impact in Cambodia did not receive as much media coverage domestically as it did in the Philippines and Laos, its immediate impact as well as the direct effects will affect over 180,000 people, or 1.4 percent of the population in this country,” he said. “Many people have dispatched, many families have lost their homes, and the vulnerable groups are as always going to be the most impacted, as their livelihoods have been substantially damaged by the storm and subsequent flooding.”

Stephan said that in order to develop a recovery plan that would ensure future disaster risk reduction, a more comprehensive in-depth assessment of the damage, loss and needs of affected communities would have to be conducted. A multi-agency Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) Team for Cambodia was established to achieve this ambitious objective.

Recovery is not just getting back to normal because this would create the conditions which made people vulnerable to Ketsana in the first place, and it is not simply adding up a grand total of damage and losses, said Stephan, adding that recovery means looking at what conditions made the roads, houses, agriculture, livelihoods, and so on vulnerable to natural disasters in the first place and trying to change the conditions so that this does not happen again.

He added that the PDNA is a process rather than a product and recovery needs to be effectively managed as an integral part of sustainable development in Cambodia. ///



Thaksin Gives First Economic Lecture in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 300 people, including Cambodian government officials and businessmen, gathered in Phnom Penh to attend a conference on “Cambodia and the World After the Financial Crisis” on November 12.

The conference was organized by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Supreme National Economic Council and featured a lecture by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after he was appointed by royal decree as Personal Advisor to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Economic Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia on November 4.

The fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin discussed his own visions and experiences relating to growth and developments of the world economy and its challenges before and after the global crisis erupted in Cambodia. He also described his global work experience developing the economic and financial sectors and his plans to make key recommendations to the Cambodian government.

Commenting on Cambodia’s economic context, Thaksin recommended that after the financial crisis, Cambodia should focus on four main sectors and work in promoting tourism, agriculture, rural development, and infrastructure, as well as supporting business regrowth and reforms in the legal system needed to gain the support of investors and businessmen.

“To recover Cambodia’s economy and finances, I think that Cambodia now should focus on and promote four important sectors including tourism, agriculture, rural development and natural resources in generating work and income for the Cambodian people,” he said at the conference. “I advise that the four countries, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, should work together to promote tourism, but the individual countries must have their own plans to improve their own regulatory infrastructures to attract the tourism.”

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance and Honorary Chairman of the Supreme National Economic Council, said Thanksin was the first Thai Prime Minister to complete a full term in office, and his leadership is generally agreed to have been one of the most distinctive in the country’s modern history.

Thaksin initiated many eye-catching policies that distinguished him from his predecessors, said Keat Chhon, adding that they affected the economy, public health, education, energy, social order, drug suppression, and international relations. He also gained re-election victories.

“Thaksin’s most effective policies were reducing rural poverty and the introduction of universal healthcare, allowing him to galvanize the vast and largely untapped support base of the rural poor,” he said during his opening remarks of the economic conference.

The Deputy Prime Minister continued to say that Thaksin’s government designed its policies to appeal to the rural majority, initiating programs like locally-managed microcredit development funds, low-interest agricultural loans, direct injections of cash into village development funds (the SLM scheme), infrastructure development, and the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) rural, small and medium enterprise development programs.

“Thaksinomics,” his so-called economic policies, helped accelerate Thailand’s economic recovery from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and substantially reduce poverty, he said, adding that Thailand repaid its debts to the IMF 2 years ahead of schedule. More importantly, Thaksin was an outspoken regional leader who had devoted his tireless efforts to the causes of many regional and sub-regional initiatives such as ASEAN, GMS and ACMECS.

“Cambodia is thankful to the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for his exemplary role in helping bridge the gaps among ASEAN member countries where Cambodia benefited from support of infrastructure and other capacity building projects,” he said.

In Channy, President and CEO of the ACELEDA Bank Plc, who attended the Thaksin Lecture Conference, appreciated former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s business experience and talents. He said that Thaksin Shinawatra has his own clear business experiences and skills in economic analysis. He has also succeeded with his own business in Thailand.

“I think that Thaksin has great working experience and skills. He not only has his higher knowledge but also the experience and success of his own business. I think that he can help us in developing our country in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly after the conference.

Dr. Nang Sothy, President of the Thy Holding Group Co., LDT, also attended the conference and appreciated Thaksin’s business experience.

“As a businessman, I never paid much attention to the politicians like my leaders or other leaders and was concerned on my business development and how I could work to improve and develop my business in Cambodia,” he said. “I really appreciate former Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra’s recommendations. I wish he will spare his time to support us. We really trust on him to help Cambodian on recommendations to develop the economy.”

Thaksin, who served as Thai Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006 before being toppled in a bloodless coup, faces a two-year jail sentence in Thailand for abuse of power and corruption. He has been living in self-imposed exile, mostly in Dubai, since August 2008.
////

Pin Yathay Looks Forward Justice from KRT

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Pin Yathay, 65, was the first and only Cambodian witness to tell the world about the Khmer Rouge’s killing fields while the genocide was still happening from 1975-1979. During this period, Khmer Rouge leaders gained control of Cambodia and killed many people throughout the country. Pin Yathay is also the only survivor among eighteen relatives. The rest of his family died of starvation.

“I think that I am very lucky as I survived the Khmer Rouge terror regime,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a personal interview in Phnom Penh. “I am now waiting to see truth and justice for my family as well as for other victims who were killed during the three years of the Khmer Rouge regime.”

In order to find justice for his relatives and the other victims who were killed, the survivor Pin Yathay said that he recently registered as a civil plaintiff in the Khmer Rouge Court. He has also prepared to submit his two books to the court, in which he wrote about witnessing the Khmer Rouge regime, its acts of genocide and other crimes.

“I think the Khmer Rouge regime was cruel toward Cambodians and that the Khmer Rouge leaders were no inexperienced in management. Instead, their heads were filled with grandiose plans for overturning the status quo and for achieving communism almost overnight. They killed nearly two million Cambodians and made the country empty,” he said.

Regarding the Khmer Rouge Trial, Pin Yathay called on the Khmer Rouge Court to speed up the prosecution of the former Khmer Rouge leaders because all of the accused are old and ill, and they may die before being tried.

“I am afraid that the former Khmer Rouge leaders will be dead before their trials. If so the court could not find justice for the victims,” he said. “I would like to appeal to the Court to work hard and speed up the prosecutions of the accused people before they die.”

Pin Yathay emphasized that when the Khmer Rouge seized power in April 1975, he was working as a Civil Engineer and Director of the Public Works Department in the Ministry of Public Works in Phnom Penh. Under the brutal new regime, his class and position as an employee of the state made him a prime target for elimination, he said.

In April 1975, Yathay and his family of eighteen, including three elderly relatives, eight adults and seven children, were forcibly driven from Phnom Penh, along with the rest of the population of over two million people, to take up new lives as unpaid agricultural workers.

Over the next two years, Cambodia became, in effect, a gigantic prison farm. Yathay’s family stuck together as they were shuttled from one communal work site to another, ending up in Pursat province in Cambodia’s mountainous, inhospitable northwest, under the care of baleful Khmer Rouge cadres.

“None of my family ever had enough to eat. All of them were overworked, and they all became extremely sick. By early 1977, most of them had died of starvation, and under miserable conditions. At the point, I was accused of being bourgeois by someone who had known me in the past,” he said.

Fearing execution, Pin Yathay decided to walk over the mountains into Thailand with his wife after arranging to leave their 6 year-old son, Nawath, in the care of another couple. By the time he reached safety, he and his wife had become separated. Two months later, she disappeared in a forest fire in Pursat province.

Describing his escape and arrival in Thailand in 1977, Yathay related being arrested and jailed by Thai soldiers. A week after his Thai arrest, he was sent to find refuge in Paris, France.

During his stay in Paris in 1977, Yathay sought help for the Cambodian people from the international community. He met with many journalists there and told them about the Khmer Rouge and what was happening in his country. He then went to other European countries, Canada, and the United States, where he spoke publicly about his country’s plight.

Yathay wrote two books related to the Khmer Rouge’s regime and its crimes while in France. The first book is titled “L’Utopie Meurttrie’re” or “Murderous Utopia” and was published at the end of 1979. The second book is called “Stay Alive, My Son” and was also published in 1979.

According to Yathay, his book “Murderous Utopia” describes Cambodian society and the Khmer Rouge through its ideology and behavior, while “Stay Alive, My Son” focuses on the characters, emotions, and individual tragedies behind his own story. He added that these two books are among the best of first-hand accounts of this horrific era.

Besides his work to rescue his country from the Khmer Rouge, Yathay began to rebuild his own life and reestablish his career, working first as a project engineer in France and then with the Asian Development Bank based in Manila before joining the French Development Agency in Paris. He also remarried and once again has three sons. He still hopes that his son Nawath may be alive, and that they will one day be reunited.

Alain Arnaudet, Director of French Cultural Center, appreciates Pin Yathay’s hard work and talent, saying that Pin Yathay is a good writer and that his book of true stories is very important for Cambodians in the context of what is going on now with the Khmer Rouge trial.

“I think that it is important to have such witness still alive and who can write so well. Yathay is a good engineer and he had been worked for many important NGOs in France and around the world,” Arnaudet told The Southeast Asia Weekly, adding that Yathay is a good example for Cambodians and remains very important since it was only thirty years ago that he wrote his book and opened the eyes of Western countries to what was going on in Cambodia.

Faith Medical Mission Provides Free Treatment to Cambodians

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Approximately 40 American medical doctors and volunteers from the Faith Medical Mission provided free health check-ups and treatment for Cambodians on November 4 in Stung Meanchey commune, Phnom Penh. The health check-up and treatment included eye checks, teeth checks as well as treatments, and other general health checks and disease treatment, according to Key Pov, Director of the David Construction Company and Facilitator of the Faith Medical Mission.

The Director Key Pov said that during the check-ups and treatments, American doctors also provided free glasses and medicine for those who have eye problems. He said it marked the first time his company, in collaboration with the Faith Medical Mission, has provided healthcare for poor people in Phnom Penh.

“The main purpose of the Faith Medical Mission’s activities is to provide free health check-ups and treatment for poor people who are not able to get their health checked and treated at the private clinics, health centers or state hospitals in Phnom Penh. It is also to improve and promote healthcare for the Cambodian people in order to contribute to development and progress and also to reduce poverty in Cambodia,” he said.

Key Pov stated that over 2,000 Cambodian people have received a health check-up and treatment from the Faith Medical Mission’s medical doctors and volunteers in Phnom Penh. The treatment has taken place at his company in Stung Meanchey district in Phnom Penh.

He added that most of the people who got the treatment are poor and work as garbage workers, living around the former dump site in Stung Meanchey district in Phnom Penh. They are not able to see doctors for health check-ups and treatment because they are busy with their work from morning until evening in order to make money to support their families.

Beng Kim, 56, is a garbage collector who lives in Stung Meanchey Dump Site in Phnom Penh. Kim has had problems with his eyes for many years but did not dare to go see a doctor at the private or state hospital because he was afraid that he didn’t have enough money to pay for an eye check and treatment.

“I think that I am very lucky that I have received my eye check and treatments free of charge from the Faith Medical Mission’s doctors in Phnom Penh. I thank the American volunteer doctors and Faith Medical Mission very much. I hope that after this treatment my eyes will become better and I will be able to work to earn money to continue to support my family in the future,” he said.


“I am Now Studying Hard to Complete my Bachelor Degree in IT”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

An Borith, 19, one of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship” winners in 2007, interviewed with The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 5, telling about his wishes for the future. Borith was born in 1990 in Prey Chhor district, Kampong Cham province. He is the youngest child in his family, having three older sisters. He is now studying Computer Science with The University of Cambodia (UC) and also Management at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh.

Borith’s father is working as Director of the Provincial Economy and Finance Department in Kampong Cham province and his mother makes a living doing business in Prey Chhor district.

An Borith passed the scholarship exams offered by UC in Phnom Penh in 2007. Before he passed the UC exams, he studied at the Norodom Ranariddh-Kantha Bopha High School in Prey Chhor district, Kampong Cham province and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007.

“I am happy that I passed the scholarship of The University of Cambodia in the major of Information Technology (IT) in 2007,” he said. “I am now studying hard to complete my Bachelor degree with The University of Cambodia.”

Borith said that he decided to study Computer Science with The University of Cambodia because he likes technology and has been interested in it since he was child. He added that he wants to become a computer database administrator or computer technician in Cambodia in the future.

“The reason that I chose to major in IT at this university is because I know there are many qualified lecturers and that they also have modern equipment at UC. So I wanted to study here and in the future become a computer database administrator or IT expert in Cambodia,” he said.

Borith pointed out that since he started studying Computer Science with UC, he has studied many things, such as computer skills and English literature, along with other fields which he has enjoyed. He can also read, write and speak English well.

“After I studied with UC, I now know a lot about computer science and new technology of the world. UC tries to teach me in English, so my English has also improved. I now feel that I can apply for work with private companies and in non-government organizations in Cambodia,” he said. “However, to complete my study with UC, I will try to study hard because in the future I want to have a good job with a good salary to support my family.”

Borith pointed out that to achieve his goal, he now studies very hard - three hours per day with UC. He also reads information related to his studies every day, including books and other research sources such as the internet, foreign newspapers and magazines. He went on to say that when he completes his Bachelor’s degree, he will continue to apply for scholarships to study for his Master’s degree in Computer Science in Australia.

Besides his study with UC, Borith is also in his first year of Management courses at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh. He stated that he decided to study Management because he thought that this major would be relevant and support his IT major in the future. He hopes it will help him successfully manage his own business someday.

Other than studying with UC and NUM, Borith is also working part-time as an IT manager with Norak Reach Angkor Tour Company in Phnom Penh. He has worked with this company since 2008 in order to improve his studies and gain work experience prior to his graduation. He also needed to make money to support his own studies while he stayed in Phnom Penh.

Heng Samedy, 23, a third-year IT student of the Royal University of Phnom Penh and personal friend to An Borith, appreciates Borith’s capacity for hard work. Samedy said he has known Borith since they studied together at Norodom Ranariddh-Kantha Bopha High School in 2005. Borith was a hard worker and was one of the most outstanding students in his class.

“I think that I am proud that I have a good friend like An Borith. I hope with his hard study, hard work and strong commitment, he will complete his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences with UC in the future. I wish him the best in realizing his dream of becoming a future IT expert in Cambodia,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.





“I am Now Studying Hard to Complete my Bachelor Degree in IT”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

An Borith, 19, one of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship” winners in 2007, interviewed with The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 5, telling about his wishes for the future. Borith was born in 1990 in Prey Chhor district, Kampong Cham province. He is the youngest child in his family, having three older sisters. He is now studying Computer Science with The University of Cambodia (UC) and also Management at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh.

Borith’s father is working as Director of the Provincial Economy and Finance Department in Kampong Cham province and his mother makes a living doing business in Prey Chhor district.

An Borith passed the scholarship exams offered by UC in Phnom Penh in 2007. Before he passed the UC exams, he studied at the Norodom Ranariddh-Kantha Bopha High School in Prey Chhor district, Kampong Cham province and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007.

“I am happy that I passed the scholarship of The University of Cambodia in the major of Information Technology (IT) in 2007,” he said. “I am now studying hard to complete my Bachelor degree with The University of Cambodia.”

Borith said that he decided to study Computer Science with The University of Cambodia because he likes technology and has been interested in it since he was child. He added that he wants to become a computer database administrator or computer technician in Cambodia in the future.

“The reason that I chose to major in IT at this university is because I know there are many qualified lecturers and that they also have modern equipment at UC. So I wanted to study here and in the future become a computer database administrator or IT expert in Cambodia,” he said.

Borith pointed out that since he started studying Computer Science with UC, he has studied many things, such as computer skills and English literature, along with other fields which he has enjoyed. He can also read, write and speak English well.

“After I studied with UC, I now know a lot about computer science and new technology of the world. UC tries to teach me in English, so my English has also improved. I now feel that I can apply for work with private companies and in non-government organizations in Cambodia,” he said. “However, to complete my study with UC, I will try to study hard because in the future I want to have a good job with a good salary to support my family.”

Borith pointed out that to achieve his goal, he now studies very hard - three hours per day with UC. He also reads information related to his studies every day, including books and other research sources such as the internet, foreign newspapers and magazines. He went on to say that when he completes his Bachelor’s degree, he will continue to apply for scholarships to study for his Master’s degree in Computer Science in Australia.

Besides his study with UC, Borith is also in his first year of Management courses at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh. He stated that he decided to study Management because he thought that this major would be relevant and support his IT major in the future. He hopes it will help him successfully manage his own business someday.

Other than studying with UC and NUM, Borith is also working part-time as an IT manager with Norak Reach Angkor Tour Company in Phnom Penh. He has worked with this company since 2008 in order to improve his studies and gain work experience prior to his graduation. He also needed to make money to support his own studies while he stayed in Phnom Penh.

Heng Samedy, 23, a third-year IT student of the Royal University of Phnom Penh and personal friend to An Borith, appreciates Borith’s capacity for hard work. Samedy said he has known Borith since they studied together at Norodom Ranariddh-Kantha Bopha High School in 2005. Borith was a hard worker and was one of the most outstanding students in his class.

“I think that I am proud that I have a good friend like An Borith. I hope with his hard study, hard work and strong commitment, he will complete his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences with UC in the future. I wish him the best in realizing his dream of becoming a future IT expert in Cambodia,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.





Dengue Fever Still Claiming Deaths in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Dengue Fever is a growing concern for Cambodian children. That was the clear announcement made by Dr. Ngan Chantha, Deputy Director of the National Malaria Center and Director of the National Dengue Fever Center in the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Chantha stated that since April of this year until the end of October, there have been approximately 20,000 Cambodian children under the age of 15 who have been affected by Dengue Fever and a total of 34 children who have died from the disease throughout the country.

Dr. Chantha continued to say that the provinces with the highest rates of infection are Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot, Kratie and Siem Reap.

Questioning why more children have been affected this year, Dr. Chantha proposed that it may have to do with climate change, lifestyle changes, or the growth of dams, roads and other construction in Cambodia.

“I have noted that the number of people affected and who have died from Dengue Fever has increased this year due to the growth of rehabilitations and constructions in Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on November 5. “There has been more rain this year and most of the people have not used mosquito nets to protect themselves against the spread of Dengue Fever.”

He pointed out that according to statistics from the National Malaria Center, there were a total of 393 people killed and 38,390 people affected by Dengue Fever in 2007 and a total of 56 people killed and 7,734 people affected by Dengue Fever in 2008 for the same period.

Dr. Chantha stated that to prevent a pandemic of Dengue Fever in Cambodia, the National Malaria Center and the Ministry of Health have been working hard to improve and strengthen health care management in all health centers and referral hospitals in cities and provinces across the country.

He emphasized that since the month of April to the end of October 2009, his center distributed a total of 216 tones of Abets and other materials to people in 24 cities and provinces at no cost in order to prevent the spread of disease.

He added that his center now is preparing about 20 tones of Abets and other related materials for distribution to the people during the months of November and December in the event that the infection rate increases at the end of this year.

“I hope that we will able to reduce the infection and death of the people through good preparation in the future. Thus, I would like to appeal to all Cambodian people to be careful, join in the hard work and use abets or mosquito nets while sleeping. I also wish to give advice to all people to bring their children to hospitals if they get Dengue Fever,” he said.

Dr. Chantha went on to say that in 1995, the mortality rate of Dengue Fever in Cambodia was 15 percent but due to his ministry and center’s hard work and activities, the death rate has dropped 0.68 percent in 2008 and 0.3 percent in 2009.

KRT Outlines Progress of Judicial Investigations

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) has announced that the co-investigating judges’ judicial investigations of Case No.002 against jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders will be completely done by the end of December 2009. The announcement was made by Reach Sambath, Chief of Public Affairs of the ECCC.

Reach Sambath said that the Khmer Rouge tribunal co-investigating judges planned to submit Case No. 002 against Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith for ECCC’s plenary session after the completion of these investigations.

“We are now happy to announce publicly that the co-investigations of Case No. 002 against Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith will be completed by the end of December 2009. We hope that after the completion of the co-investigations, the ECCC will be able to try the jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders before they die,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on October 6.

Relating to investigation, Sambath pointed out that the investigation has covered 16 provinces and cities and will group the five jailed leaders together, including Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who has been undergoing a separate trial for his role as chief of Tuol Sleng prison.

Sambath said that Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith are also being investigated under Case No.002. He added that the investigation had found instances of forced labor in 6 provinces, as well as 13 detention centers and execution sites in 10 provinces. Investigators are also looking into forced evictions and marriages and crimes against ethnic minorities, Muslims and Vietnamese living in Cambodia during that time.

He called on the victims to continue to register as witnesses and complainants with ECCC’s Victims Unit in order to provide witness testimony to the crimes committed by former KR Leaders during their rule in Cambodia from 1975-1979.

“If the victims want to become a civil party, they need to apply as soon as possible to the Victims Units of ECCC. We now are ready to help them in working against the jailed leaders of the regime,” he said.

Helen Jarvis, Head of the ECCC’s Victims Unit, said that so far the tribunal has received more than 5,000 complaints from victims in cases No. 001 and No. 002. She added that around 1,482 have filed complaints as victims for the Case No. 002.

Relating to Case No.001 against Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, Sambath said that since the commencement of the substantive part of the trial on March 30, 2009, the Trial Chamber has been in session for 72 trial days. He said that during this period 9 expert witnesses, 17 fact witnesses, 7 character witnesses and 22 civil parties have given testimonies. A total of 23,742 visitors have observed the trial from the public gallery in the court room, making a daily average of 330 visitors.

He added that according to the ECCC, the hearing of Case No. 001 against Kaing Guek Eav will be completely done on November 26 and his verdict will be officially announced in the first trimester of 2010.

According to the ECCC, there are currently five former Khmer Rouge leaders who have been arrested and jailed related to their mass killings and crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979. The five jailed leaders included Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, Former Chief of S-21; Nuon Chea, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, a member of the CPK Central and Standing Committees, the Chairman of the Democratic Kampuchea People’s Assembly, the Acting Prime Minister and the Vice Chairman of the CPK Centre Military Committee; Ieng Sary, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Democratic Kampuchea; Ieng Thirith, Minster of Social Affairs and Action, and Khieu Samphan, Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea. They all were charged with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, offences which are defined and punishable under Articles 5, 6, 29 and 39 of the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as amended on October 27, 2004.

Prime Minister Hun Sen Appoints Thaksin as his Personal Advisor

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister, was appointed as Personal Advisor to the Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and also as Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Economic Affaires. The appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra was made by a Royal Decree on November 4 signed by His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and Spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, appreciated the appointment of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as Personal Advisor to the Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

The Minister said that the government has decided to appoint Thaksin Shinawatra as the Prime Minister’s Advisor because Thaksin’s case is politically motivated, as he was ousted from the position of Thai Prime Minister through a military coup d’etat on September 19, 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand.

As a result of the appointment, Thaksin Shinawatra can enter Cambodia freely to stay and perform his duties as an Advisor to the Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen in Cambodia, said Kanharith, adding that the government will not extradite Thaksin to Thailand as proposed by Thai authorities.

“As a spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to confirm that the Cambodian government strongly holds its stance in maintaining the bond of friendship and cooperation in all sectors between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, and the permission for His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra to stay in Cambodia is an act of virtue, like the slogan says: ‘Good friends should help each other in hard times,’” he said.

Koy Kuong, Spokesman of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, also appreciated Thaksin Shinawatra’s appointment.

“I appreciate and welcome His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been appointed as Samdech Hun Sen’s and the government’s advisor. I think that the Royal Government of Cambodia has made its position clear for this appointment as well as the position to work on promoting and improving good relations and cooperation between the two countries in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 5.

Koy Kuong said that the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra will not affect the border issues, friendship, or cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand in the future.

Thaksin Shinawatra became the Thai Prime Minister through general election in 2000. He was expelled from his position in a bloodless coup d’etat in 2006. Thaksin is now living in exile and faces a two-year jail term for corruption if he returns to Thailand.

“I thank His Excellency Hun Sen, and I just received a copy which was signed by King Sihamoni. It's an honor,” said Thaksin, quoted by AFP on November 5.Thaksin remains a hugely influential figure in Thailand, where he has stirred up mass protests against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in the past year. His own allies were driven from the government in December 2008 after anti-Thaksin protesters occupied Bangkok's airports.