Monday, 11 May 2009

Activists say govt flouting UN pact

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sebastian strangio and vong sokheng
Monday, 11 May 2009

LOCAL rights activists say the government has shown little commitment to its international human rights obligations, declining to send a special delegation to Geneva for an upcoming UN rights review.

Cambodia comes before the UN Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights for the first time Monday, following the submission of its initial report to the committee in early January.

The report, summarising Cambodia's compliance with the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, was originally due in 1994 - two years after its ratification of the covenant.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed Sunday that Sun Suon, Cambodia's ambassador to the UN, would be sent to participate in the hearing, adding that he had "enough ability" to make the government's presentation during the hearings.

But rights groups said the decision not to send a specialised delegation to the review session - on top of the 15-year delay - showed the government did not take its international rights agreements seriously.

"[The government] doesn't want to tell the international community the truth because the human rights situation in Cambodia is not good," said Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

He highlighted illegal forced evictions as a continuing concern but said sending a proper government delegation would demonstrate its willingness to engage with the world community on such issues.

Although many countries are behind schedule in their rights compliance reporting, Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said 15 years was an unusually long time to wait for the report.

"They don't have an excuse. They didn't take the time to write a report because it is very embarrassing for them [deciding] what to say," she

Dan Nicholson, Asia and Pacific program director at the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), added that the report was only filed because the committee threatened to review the country's rights record without input from the government. But ultimately, he said the lack of informed representation at the session would make it a "missed opportunity" for constructive discussion.

"Everyone appreciates that Cambodia, like every country, is a work in progress in this area, [but] if there's not a proper delegation in Geneva ... the opportunity could be missed."

A delegation of seven Cambodian and international civil society and community representatives testified before the UN committee on Friday.

According to a statement released by COHRE and international rights group Bridges Across Borders on Sunday, the delegation raised concerns about "violations of land, housing, food, natural resources and indigenous rights".

The government's 167-page report to the committee claims "all rights set out in the international covenants on human rights are recognised and implemented" in Cambodia.

Lycee residents ask for reprieve

Rattana, 17, tears down the remains of a ground-floor home in the community next to the Lycee Rene Descartes.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by May Titthara and Christopher Shay
Monday, 11 May 2009

Families living near the French school plead with authorities for a bit more time.

IN San Lim Soreng's home on the fourth floor of the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes building, residents urged students and members of the French community to ask the French embassy for more time in their homes.

The residents urged the largely French audience to ask the French embassy to extend their eviction deadline, at least until their children's school year is finished at the end of July.

Last week, the remaining three families in the 30-year-old community agreed to government compensation.

Many families, however, have not had time to construct new homes and do not want to pull their students from school before the year is out.

Raimondo Pictet, 17, a student at the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes, said the event was designed for people to "say goodbye to the people who have lived next to us" and as an opportunity for people "to ask questions to the people who live here directly".

"I have signed the agreement for compensation already, but they put the deadline for us to go on Friday. I would like to tell French people about our situation and ask them to ask the French ambassador to intervene and help us delay our deadline until my child's school holiday," In Daravuth said.

In 2001, the French and Cambodian governments signed an agreement regarding land. In return for 1,000,000 French francs (about US$205,000), Cambodia transferred land and occupied apartments to the French secondary school, according to documents received by the Post.

"Now, we have to start our lives again like after the Khmer Rouge in 1979.... They report to the French embassy that residents are happy to get their compensation, but in fact we agreed to it with tears," resident Meak Sina said with tears in her eyes.

Hun Sen announces ban on sand exports

A local sand-dredging firm extracts sand from the bed of the Tonle Bassac river Sunday.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sam Rith
Monday, 11 May 2009

Cites negative environmental effects on rivers, marine areas

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has announced a ban on the export of sand abroad, citing the environmental effects of sand dredging on the Kingdom's rivers, estuaries and marine areas.

"In order to protect the stability of the natural environments of both rivers and marine areas, all kinds of sand-dredging businesses throughout Cambodia have to stop exporting sand outside the country," the Prime Minister stated in a letter dated Friday.

Only sand-dredging businesses that serve local demand will be allowed to continue their operations, Hun Sen said, as well as areas where sand build-ups are obstructing waterways.

He also announced a blanket ban on marine dredging, citing its negative environmental effects, but said an exception would be made where sand gathered and replenished itself naturally.

Hun Sen ordered all involved ministries - including the ministries of Environment; Water Resources and Meteorology; and Industry, Mines and Energy - to take action to implement the ban.

He also ordered the country's Sand Resource Management Committee to review immediately sand dredging businesses operating in Cambodia and to report back to him on the extent and nature of their operations.

Demand for sand
River and marine sand dredging, much of it for export to Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has increased significantly in Cambodia in the past year.

In March, the Post reported the Hong Kong-based Winton Enterprises Co Ltd was removing thousands of tons of sand each week from estuaries in Koh Kong province, which environmentalists said was having severe effects on the local environment.

Recent months have also seen an increase in complaints by villagers whose houses and farmland have been lost to unseasonable riverbank collapses that many claim have resulted from dredging operations.

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap confirmed the decision to ban the practice was made after people protested about the impact of sand dredging on the local environment.

"Due to some local protests ... Prime Minister Hun Sen is closing the sand-dredging businesses," he said, adding that such companies would remain in operation "only in places where it does not impact the people's interest".

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said his party had sent many letters to the government raising concerns about the impact of sand-dredging operations on the livelihood of people living along the rivers.

"The only people who benefit from the sand-dredging businesses are businessmen and corrupt officials, while only the people suffer the impacts," he said, adding that he supported the prime minister's ban.

"This is a lesson the government should bear in mind: Before offering investments to any company, they have to strictly study the impact on the environment and the livelihood of the people," Yim Sovann said.

Mao Hak, director of the Department of Hydrology and River Works at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said enforcement of the ban began immediately following the prime minister's order.

Mao Hak, who is also a member of the Sand Resource Management Committee, said a total of 124 dredging companies were operating in Cambodia, and that some had received licences to export sand. But he said none of the companies would stop dredging sand altogether.

"Those companies still continue dredging sand to supply local demand," he said. "We have just banned them from exporting sand outside the country."

Media report detects bias at Kingdom's TV stations

Coverage of Hun Sen accounts for 20 percent of TVK's political coverage, a news report said.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Mom Kunthear and Robbie Corey-Boulet
Monday, 11 May 2009

Report from election watchdog Comfrel surveys public and private stations but focuses on the state-run TVK.

TELEVISION stations tended to portray the Cambodian People's Party favourably and criticise its rivals during the period following last year's National Assembly elections, according to a report on electronic broadcasting released last week, which focuses in particular on the state-run station National Television Kampuchea (TVK).

The report, produced by the election watchdog Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel), surveyED news reports on public and private television and radio stations between October 2008 and March 2009.

Comfrel produces media monitoring reports every six months. Sok Pitour, acting coordinator of Comfrel's monitoring unit, told the Post on Sunday that its previous report surveyed all media outlets and suggested that political coverage was somewhat balanced, whereas the most recent report focuses on TVK and suggests that coverage is decidedly biased.

One reason for the difference, notes a Comfrel press release dated Thursday, is the fact that state-run channels adhered to the National Election Committee's media guidelines during last year's campaign, meaning they took their pro-CPP and anti-opposition programming off the air.

"However, after the election period, the state-run media, and TVK in particular, did not respect the principle of non-bias," the press release states.

Sok Pitour told the Post that Comfrel would continue to monitor TVK's programming in an attempt to encourage more balanced programming at the station.

The report reveals that TVK devoted 68 percent of all political broadcasts in the six-month period to coverage of the government and did not once portray it negatively. Prime Minister Hun Sen was the focus of 20 percent of political broadcasts.

TVK Director-General Kim Kunawath could not be reached for comment Sunday.

The report singles out the Cambodian Television Network (CTN), a private network, as one of the channels that most consistently broadcasts "information of benefit to the CPP" while "criticising other political parties".

Som Chhaya, CTN's news director, said the Comfrel report was "not true".

Of the opposition parties, he said, "They don't have more news or actions for us to broadcast, so how can we talk about them?"

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said he was "not surprised" by the report's findings, adding that the present media situation "clearly displays that Cambodia is not a democratic nation".

Swede charged with underage sex crimes

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Chrann Chamroeun
Monday, 11 May 2009

Trafficking official says man, 62, investigated in Sweden for child sex offences in 1981.

PHNOM Penh's municipal court has charged a 62-year-old Swedish national with sexual offences against minors.

Johan Abrahim Escori faces 10 years in jail if convicted.

Keo Thea, the municipality's director of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection, said Escori faces two charges of committing indecent acts and sexual intercourse with three underage boys.

Escori was arrested at the Angkor International Hotel in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, where he was sharing a room with a 9-year-old Cambodian boy whom Escori claimed is his adopted son, Keo Thea said.

"I have been told the suspect is in pretrial detention with two charges against him of committing indecent acts and sexual intercourse with minors," Keo Thea said.

He said Escori had been accused in 1981 of child sex offences in Sweden but was not jailed due to a lack of evidence. He added that Escori was suspected of committing crimes against the three boys in Cambodia since late 2006.

Samleang Seila, the country director for the French child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said the man had lived with five boys prior to his arrest.

Samleang Seila said APLE had been watching the Sihanoukville resident since 2007 after noticing he was regularly accompanied by boys to restaurants. He said Escori had been questioned by local police in late 2007 but released.

Samleang Seila said Escori applied last year to adopt the boy but was denied because the proper authorities had not approved it.

"The man filled out a form asking the mother of the 9-year-old boy whom he liked most to be his adopted son," Samleang Seila said, adding that this tactic had been used by other foreigners. "His mother agreed in exchange for US$500 to prevent police and local NGOs from getting suspicious."

Man held for giving grenade at wedding

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Chrann Chamroeun
Monday, 11 May 2009

POLICE arrested a 37-year-old Battambang high school teacher on suspicion of sending a homemade hand grenade as an anonymous wedding gift earlier this month.

Police said the man - the bride's former tenth-grade teacher, Muong Chhavry - was arrested on Wednesday and was being held in pretrial detention while they investigate further.

Sangke district police Chief Chhien Kosa told the Post on Sunday that Muong Chhavry admitted to having sent the grenade. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Muong Chhavry told police he had had a relationship with the bride, Tear Sreyan, for more than two years, and had given her cash and jewellery, but she had chosen to marry another man, Chhien Kosa said.

But the bride denied this, Chhien Kosa said, adding that when police brought the suspect in for interrogation, Tear Sreyan was shocked to see her former teacher.

"Tear Sreyan told us he had wanted a relationship for more than three years from when she was in tenth grade," Chhien Kosa said. "And before her wedding day, she said he called to wish her happiness."

Tear Sreyan, 21, told the police she had declined Muong Chhavry's advances as she was too young. She later left Battambang and moved to work in a factory in Phnom Penh, where she met her husband, Meng Sokun, 27.

Mu Sochua offers olive branch to PM Hun Sen over lawsuits

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Meas Sokchea
Monday, 11 May 2009

Opposition lawmaker insists both parties must drop their defamation cases at the same time.

SAM Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua has said she will drop her defamation suit against Prime Minister Hun Sen if he does the same.

Mu Sochua said her offer followed a phone-in on Voice of America's Hello show, in which callers had asked her to focus instead on resolving issues of national importance.

"I can see that the people's request is correct," Mu Sochua told the Post Sunday. "Resolving issues such as the country's territorial integrity is more important."

But she said if Hun Sen refused to withdraw his case, then hers would proceed.

"I don't want to win or lose against Samdech Hun Sen, but if we withdraw,we must do it at the same time," she said. "We will do it for the nation and we will all win."

The two are suing each other for defamation after Mu Sochua said Hun Sen had referred to her in derogatory terms during a speech in Kampot. Hun Sen countersued, saying he was not referring to Mu Sochua.

Hun Sen's lawyer, Ky Tech, later announced he would ask the court to request parliament remove Mu Sochua's immunity from prosecution and said he had asked the Cambodian Bar Association to investigate her lawyer for defamation.

Ky Tech said Sunday he would report the offer, but said any decision rested with his client.

"I have no idea whether he will withdraw his case because it has caused him suffering," Ky Tech said. "As his lawyer, my job is just to report the facts."

The president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, Ou Virak, said he would be sorry to see the case dropped.

"I don't believe that this offer follows a request by the people - she is doing it because she is scared," Ou Virak said. "The case should not be withdrawn. Let the court decide it - [Hun Sen] is being sued for just 500 riels. Let it be done properly."

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People's Centre for Development and Peace, said it was good that politicians settled their differences out of court, but felt that in this case intimidation was a significant factor behind the offer.

New business mixes profit motive and sustainability

A man prepares logs to make into charcoal in Kandal province. A new Hong Kong-based think tank will help French NGO GERES find new markets for its eco-products, such as environmentally friendly charcoal and wood vinegar, a charcoal by-product that can serve as a fertiliser.


Eco Biz is seeking US$500,000 in investment and expects to break even by its second year and to make a net profit of $550,000 by its fifth year. The company will act as a middleman between the French NGO GERES, producers and potential buyers.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Christopher Shay
Monday, 11 May 2009

The product of the Global Young Leaders Program, Eco Biz will sell sustainable palm sugar, charcoal and wood vinegar.

HONG Kong-based Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT) is not your typical think tank, and its Global Young Leaders Program (YLP) is definitely not your average business course.

"We're trying to change the game," Chandran Nair, the CEO and founder of GIFT, told the Post on Thursday. "A lot of bilateral agencies are shaped by a postcolonial era, but the world has changed."

GIFT's YLP aims to bring together promising young people from diverse business backgrounds and gets them involved in a project that brings a market-based approach to issues traditionally left to nonprofit institutions.

On May 2, GIFT brought 24 YLP participants from 14 countries to Phnom Penh for one week to come up with a business plan for Eco Biz, a for-profit spinoff of the NGO Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarites (GERES).

"We tried to use the skills of the participants to look at the problem differently ... turning pressing problems into issues that can create prosperity in a meaningful and sustainable way," Nair told a crowd in Phnom Penh on Thursday at a business briefing event.

Eco Biz, 51 percent of which will be owned by GERES, will sell environmentally sustainable palm sugar, charcoal and wood vinegar - a charcoal byproduct that can be used as a fertiliser.

"Profits, people and the planet don't need to collide," Ruben Mahendran, who will run Eco Biz, said at the business event at the Imperial Garden Villa and Hotel.

In fact, Nair said, ignoring the profit motive can be dangerous.

People should not just be sitting in an ivory tower.... we want an outcome .

"There's a whole community here built around giving to people.... You can create dependency. You must create incentives so that the products that poor people produce have a greater market," he said.

New ground for GERES
Since 1994, GERES has been working with communities to conserve the environment and help Cambodians save money by developing and introducing energy-efficient stove technology.

At the moment, Geres receives most of its funding from donors like the Asian Development Bank, UN Development Program and the French embassy. In order to reduce its reliance on outside sources, Geres wanted to start a separate for-profit business to create a market for the sustainable goods produced from its stoves, according to GIFT briefing notes received by the YLP participants.

As an NGO, GERES has little experience in business and wanted help making sure its new business could be profitable, Mahendran said.

Mahendran contacted GIFT, and when the YLP participants came to Cambodia, they worked around the clock for a week to produce comprehensive marketing, operations and financial plans.

Without GIFT's help, Mahendran said, Eco Biz would have ended up with a "textbook-style" business strategy.

Nair said he believes a market-based approach responds to real-world demands that NGOs often ignore.

"Just occupying a moral high ground is not enough.... But if you get the incentives aligned, people will respond," he said, adding that many NGOs treat poor people like they are not smart enough to understand economic incentives.

"People should not just be sitting in an ivory tower and thinking, like some NGOs ... We want an outcome," Nair said.

But Eco Biz is not just about making money, as leaders will gauge its success by its ability to benefit Cambodia's forests and people in addition to shareholders.

This triple bottom line was a welcome change for some of the YLP participants. Matthieu Raffestin, the CFO for Sonepar Asia in China, said, "I'm used to finances in the strictest sense - pure profit and figures. But now, you have to take into account environmental impact."

Loh Wang Chin, a project development officer at GERES who also did the YLP program, said it went "beyond any MBA programs" because "it melted corporate people into NGO people".

ASEAN meets to plan swine flu prevention

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sam Rith
Monday, 11 May 2009

ASEAN and the "plus three" countries - China, Japan and South Korea - concluded a special emergency meeting about the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, on Friday.

Mum Bunheng, Cambodia's health minister who led the country's delegation, said the nations agreed to consider a system that would make it easier to share essential supplies in times of need.

The countries also urged the World Health Organisation to ensure equitable distribution of pandemic vaccines and to help increase the vaccine manufacturing capacities of the region, according to a joint statement released Friday.

Though the flu has not spread widely in Southeast Asia, health ministers vowed to work together. "We pledge our commitment to fully implement these measures for the well-being of our people and for the peace, prosperity and stability of the region," the joint statement said.

Surin Pitsuwan, secretary general of ASEAN, said the region's quick response to the crisis demonstrated that "our region is better-prepared".

The statement added the nations would work together to ensure effective and timely deployment of medicines by conducting joint exercises and that it would assess the potential need and increase national stockpiles of flu drugs accordingly.

Surin specifically thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for insisting on the meeting, which he did during an April 29 graduation speech.

There have been no suspected H1N1 cases in Cambodia, but South Korea has had three confirmed cases of the virus. Worldwide as of Sunday, the WHO says 2,371 people have been confirmed with H1N1, and 44 have died.

Birthday countdown


The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Heng Chivoan
Monday, 11 May 2009

Nuns offer thanks at Phnom Penh's Svay Poipet pagoda on Sunday morning as part of a ceremony to mark King Sihamoni's upcoming birthday. The King's birthday is a public holiday that runs from Wednesday to Friday.

Chinese firm inks railroad contract

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A vendor passes rail stock Sunday outside of Phnom Penh railway station

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Chun Sophal
Monday, 11 May 2009

$2.3 million agreement will see China Railway Group conduct feasibility study on track extending to Vietnam.

A CHINESE company has been awarded a contract to study Cambodia's rail network to Vietnam as part of the Singapore-Kunming railway project, government officials said Thursday.

The project would see China Railway Group study construction of a 255-kilometre stretch of track from Bat Doeng in Kampong Speu to Snuol district in Kratie province at the Vietnamese border. In a separate arrangement, Australia's Toll Holdings is set to renovate and operate the lines from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh to the Thai border.

Sokhom Pheakvanmony, director general of Royal Railways of Cambodia, told the Post on Sunday that the Ministry of Public Affairs signed the agreement worth US$2.5 million for carrying out a feasibility study. Experts say the railway could cost more than $700 million to build, with China expected to foot the bill.

We hope that china railway group will start studying the project soon.

"We hope that China Railway Group will start studying the project soon this year," said Sokhom Pheakvanmony.

He added that a detailed study of the project would be finished in between 18 months and two years, after which time they would start building the railway link.

"ASEAN has already linked its entire railway network except for Cambodia, which is the last country to build its portion," said Sokhom Pheakvanmony.

On Thursday, Hu Gian-Wen, a member of China's Foreign Relationship Association, told Prime Minister Hun Sen that China would donate $2.5 million to the project, which would link Cambodia with Loch Minh, Vietnam.

Cambodia has two railroads, one of which links Phnom Penh with the Thai border in Banteay Meanchey province and is 348km in length.

The other line, which links Phnom Penh with Preah Sihanouk province, is 264km long.

Both were built under French rule and are in poor condition.

The 10 member states of Asean, together with China, Japan and Korea, signed an agreement to build the new railroad in 2000.

In total, the railroad would run 5,513km and enable overland travel from Singapore through to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

Vietnam trade fair aims to boost ties

Written by Kay Kimsong
Monday, 11 May 2009

VIETNAM'S An Giang province plans to host a six-day trade, tourism and investment fair to boost links with Cambodia, according to VNBusines News.

The fair is set to attract Cambodian companies and government officials to boost bilateral links, the report said.

An Giang authorities will encourage investment in infrastructure in the province that is seen as a major entry point to Vietnam, it said.

At the weeklong trade fair, stakeholders will also discuss the establishment of a commercial centre for Vietnamese goods in Phnom Penh, it said.

Vietnamese media said that authorities hope the commercial centre will support trade between the two countries.

The annual event is to be attended by 200 enterprises, and 500 booths, 30 of them Cambodian, reports said.

Ho Vandy, former head of the Cambodian Association Travel Agents (CATA) said he welcomed any effort to increase bilateral tourism co-operation and urged the Cambodian government to hold similar events.

"Cambodia and Vietnam are working together more effectively, and if the governments allows cars to travel freely between the two countries, tourism will increase," he said.

However, So Mara, secretary of state for the Tourism Ministry, said he was not aware that Cambodian enterprises had been invited to the fair, but that the government is working to promote Vietnam-Cambodia economic ties.

Opposition calls for purging of long-stalled investments

Photo by: Tom Hunter
Construction continues at Bokor Mountain. Many large projects failed to materialise this year due to the downturn in Cambodia's property market.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by May Kunmakara
Monday, 11 May 2009

Call from Sam Rainsy Party comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen previously threatened withdrawal of business licences for inactive projects.

OPPOSITION lawmakers have urged the government to erase inactive investment projects from government books, saying that potentially hundreds of companies registered in the country are no longer operating.

According to a 2008 report by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), 101 projects worth US$10.89 billion were approved last year.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said that since the global economy began shrinking, around 50 percent of companies have suspended or stopped operations, especially in the garment and construction industries.

"The government should pass the anti-corruption law, which will help keep away bad investors and build confidence," he said. "The government should also change our economic policy by encouraging both local and foreign investors to produce good quality items to compete with neighbouring countries and investigate whether these companies are actually operating after they receive approval from the government," he added, saying that some firms have used the economic crisis as a pretext to alter their business operations.

CDC figures said that last year $106 million was invested in agriculture, $715 million in the industrial sector, more than $1 billion in services and over $8 billion in tourism. Of this money, 68 percent came from overseas.

China was the top investor providing 40 percent of capital, followed by South Korea with 11.39 percent and the United States at 6.32 percent.

Yuon Heng, director of the Evaluation and Incentive Department at the Cambodian Investment Board, said last week that most of the projects approved last year were small-scale, adding that bigger investments always require a longer process.

"The reason that large capital investment companies have not started projects is because they are preparing a master plan and dealing with land disputes - it takes time," he said.

On a smaller scale
The difference last year, he said, was mainly due to a small number of large projects, such as the $100 million Bokor Mountain development, which boosted the level of investment. Such investments have been unaffected by the downturn, he added.

"I don't think those companies were impacted by the global financial crisis because I have not received any information that they are facing fund shortages," he said.

"However, I think those companies will be impacted by the challenges, and Chinese companies seem to be doing better than others," he added.

Prime Minister Hun Sen last month threatened to take back the development sites of inactive companies, urging Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh and the CDC to review the proposals of companies investing in golf courses that had not started construction.

Hopes sink for Pailin biz park

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Soeun Say
Monday, 11 May 2009

PAILIN officials say they doubt investors from Thailand will lead an economic revival at the dusty Thai border town, as they struggle to attract interest in an investment zone.

"I haven't heard any information about Thai investors," Keut Sothea, deputy governor of Pailin province, said last week.

"I don't have much hope that, with the world's economy as it is, they will come to invest here," he added, also citing ongoing tension between the two countries over Preah Vihear temple.

The 2,000-hectare business zone is being carved out of jungle 15 kilometres from the border at Steung Kach commune.

Officials had expected it to create jobs for former Khmer Rouge soldiers, according to a signboard in mid-May.

Ich Sarou, a parliamentarian for Pailin province, said he did not believe firms were eager to set up businesses in the zone.

"I don't have much hope that Thai investors will open companies and factories here," said Ich Sarou. "We have a lot of land here, and we are waiting for investors to come."

He said a group of more than 50 Thai businessmen visited the area promising to build 100 factories, but had now "disappeared".

At last, good news

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Trevor Keidan
Monday, 11 May 2009

Stress tests offer relief, but full recovery could still be some way off for many investors.

Optimism appears to be returning to Wall Street following the release of some long-awaited key US data.

The data - which involved US banks as well as the country's unemployment figures - sparked a rally in US stocks.

Investors were pleased that the much-touted bank stress tests did not throw up any major surprises.

Perhaps it was this newfound positive sentiment - and possible anticipation of things to come - that sparked some interest from one of my clients in his personal portfolio.

"Have my investments lost money?" The client in question asked.

"Only if you need the money now," I replied.

As it happens, this particular client's investment portfolio was down by about 30 percent since he started investing just over two years ago. His pension scheme - which he was paying in to monthly - was also down by a similar amount.

"Remember our goals," I continued. "You are in it for the long term and your investments are for your retirement."

The client in question is 45 years old, and he had planned to access his funds and investments at 60 or 65. The worst of his individual lump sum investments was down by 55 percent while the best performer had declined by 9 percent.

In addition to his lump sum investments the client is also making regular contributions to a pension scheme. This was also down by about 33 percent. The scheme is due to mature in 2015.

"What do you think my investments will be worth in 5 or 6 years time?" the client asked.

"In your time horizon I would expect growth to be target or even better due to the severity of the correction and don't forget unit cost averaging." I replied. "A lot depends on this much talked about recovery."

Warren Buffett was reported to have told CNBC last week that the economy, "the economic Pearl Harbor" he had described earlier in the year has passed, but the "war isn't over".

And it certainly isn't. Take a look at the United Kingdom's latest budget which was announced last month to realise the seriousness of the UK economy and the global financial crisis in general.

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced that the UK will borrow a record £175 billion ($260 billion) over the next two years. Total government debt will double to 79 percent of GDP by 2013.

So, what advice did I give my inquisitive client? Amidst all this economic uncertainty, I told him to keep up with his monthly contributions which would allow him to buy units at cheap rates that he would benefit from when cashing in the fund in 2015 or later.

By investing a set amount each month he would be able to take advantage of market fluctuations.

I also told him to avoid cashing in any of his other investments right now to give them a chance to recover - it is just a matter of time.

Trevor Keidan is managing director of Infinity Financial Solutions. Should you wish to contact Trevor send an email to e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Recovering ancient martial spirit

Photo by: Tom Hunter
Tomarak Club Khorm Martial Arts practice the ancient Khmer martial art of khorm yuth

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Tom Hunter and Khouth Sophak Chakrya
Monday, 11 May 2009

Young practitioner of pre-Angkorian khorm yuth hopes more young people will embrace the ancient martial art that gave rise to better-known styles such as bokator.

It's not kung fu fighting, but the pace of Norak Soeng's early low-budget action films is akin to early Jackie Chan flicks with a Cambodian twist. They are part of Norak Soeng's efforts to promote the almost forgotten Khmer martial art of khorm yuth.

At the age of 21, Norak Soeng has already created two award-winning short films and each week instructs a small group of young Cambodians in this ancient Khmer martial art, a discipline that predates all other Cambodian fighting styles.

Khorm yuth evolved during the Mon-Khmer period predating the Angkorian civilisation of 802AD.

The period remains relatively undocumented, and the fighting style came close to extinction during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Apparently, the style developed from local hunting techniques, and like Chinese kung fu, is based on the movements and behaviour of animals.

The art has many forms ranging from "Brahma toys with tiger", to "Hanuman toys with the garuda" and uses a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu mythology to evoke stories of mystery and intrigue splashed with bouts of severe violence.

Throughout the centuries, khorm yuth evolved into labok kaatou - more popularly known as bokator - which played a significant part in the expansion of the Angkorian empire.

Bokator was used by Khmer soldiers, generals and kings and proved invaluable in fighting wars against both the Chinese and Thai populations in the expansion of the empire.

Most cambodians interested in martial arts have not heard of [khorm yuth].

"The bokator style was created after the Chinese overran Angkor," bokator Grandmaster Sean Kim San said, adding that the fighting style was perfected during the rule of Jayavarman VII, who eventually drove out the Thais and the Chinese to create the great Angkorian empire.

Grandmaster Sean Kim San describes the styles of bokator and khorm yuth as a delicate mix of two religions.

"We use Buddhism in the left hand and Hinduism in the right," the grandmaster said, adding that the left hand is used in peaceful defence while the right is used to attack.

Grandmaster Sean Kim San says the key difference between bokator and khorm yuth is grounded in the classification developed by the Cambodian Bokator Federation.

"If you don't follow the rules and disciplines of bokator, then you have to call it something else," the grandmaster said, adding that khorm yuth is an overarching term for Khmer martial arts, while bokator is considered to be more disciplined.

Promoting khorm yuth
In 2006, Norak Soeng established Tomarak Club Khorm Martial Arts in an effort to promote the ancient fighting style of khorm yuth through film.

"I established the club to produce films that depict ancient Khmer culture and khorm yuth martial arts," Norak Soeng said. "Khorm yuth is the first traditional Khmer fighting style that existed prior to labok kaatou, but most Cambodians interested in martial arts have not heard of the style."

Norak Soeng's debut film, which he says won first prize at the Apsara Television film contest in 2008, was made on a modest budget of US$400.

The 30-minute film titled Norak Soeng Sena Khorm Yuth, or Strong Bodyguard, is inspired by Hong Kong's kung fu genre, but with a dose of Khmer comedy.

"I hope the stunts in the film will inspire youth to become more interested in the rich culture [of khorm yuth]," Norak Soeng said.

Norak Soeng, who has been training since the age of 13, has competed in numerous national bokator competitions in Phnom Penh.

"In 2006 I entered the national bokator competition and won two gold medals and one silver," Norak Soeng said, adding that since he formed Tomarak Club Khorm Martial Arts, its members have been successful in national bokator competitions, claiming a total of 7 medals in the 2007 event.

Since 2007, however, the group has not been eligible to compete in the event because it does not follow the strict discipline of bokator - no drinking and no gambling while training under the guidance of a certified bokator master.

The group seems unphased by their declassification from the federation and continues to produce entertaining and culturally significant action movies, albeit on a very tight budget.

Norak Soeng's next film, Keatkor Kbachkun Hanuman Neakreach, or The Monkey and Naga Fighter, is due for release later this year.

Sun, sand and SEA games

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by NICK SELLS
Monday, 11 May 2009

A volleyball player from team Cambodian 1 (left) springs to smash past a Laotian player Saturday during the final game of a rtegional competition at the beach volleyball court in the grounds of the Olympic Stadium. The Cambodian team went on to win the game two-sets-to-love.

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia organised the two-day Beach volleyball event for Friday and Saturday with the aim of promoting friendship between neighbouring countries ahead of the SEA games in Laos in December. The friendly tournament featured two teams from Cambodia and a team each from Laos and Vietnam in a round-robin format with teams playing each other once. The Vietnam pair came first in the overall standings, with Cambodian teams 1 and 2 coming second and third respectively, while Laos failed to make the podium. However, a Laotian delegate noted that stronger pairings stayed in Laos to train whereas the attending team was there to gain experience in international competition.

Sponsors of the event included Anchor beer, Naga World and Coca-cola with prizes including 150 crates of Anchor, five hotel rooms for three nights in Phnom Penh and a Coca-cola drink.

Mobile base stations OK

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Kong Marry
Monday, 11 May 2009

Dear Editor,

Economic growth in Cambodia has attracted many investments in telecommunications, especially cellular networks. There are now nine mobile operators. This will substantially increase the number of mobile phone base stations across the country.

Recently, there have been growing concerns among Cambodian people who are living near mobile phone base station antennas about the adverse effects of the antennas on their health.

Research about the radio radiation effects on the human body has been conducted over 50 years on a global scale. Researchers have come to the conclusion that radio waves for wireless communication do not cause any harmful effects on the body although ongoing research is still being carried out worldwide.

To understand the effect of base station antennas on the body, it is first important to note that mobile operators in Cambodia are deploying mobile communication systems such as GSM/GPRS and 3G networks. These cellular systems operate at the frequency range of 800MHz from a CDMA network, 900MHz and 1800 MHz for GSM networks, and 2100MHz for 3G networks.

My points are, firstly, radio frequency (RF) radiation. There are two categories of RF: ionising and non-ionising. Technically speaking, ionising radio frequencies such as X-ray and Gamma-ray can, when it collides with biological materials, create negative and positive particles, which may cause problems for human health. Non-ionising radio frequencies do not have enough energy to ionise atoms from the materials, which means they cannot cause any health hazards to human beings. Radio frequencies of cellular networks (800MHz - 2100MHz) fall within the non-ionising category. Therefore, it indicates that the radio radiation from mobile base station antenna doesn't pose any threats to human health.

The other important factor is called the exposure level or, in technical terms, power density measured in microwatts per square centimetre and abbreviated as µW/cm². There is a limit to how much the human body can be exposed to the power density from the base station antennas.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limits the exposure level to no greater than 580 µW/cm² . It has been found that the exposure level or power density very near the typical cellular base station antennas is on the order of 1 µW/cm² or less. Although there is no published report on the exposure level of mobile base station antennas in Cambodia, it is very unlikely that it would exceed the allowed level specified by various countries when all operators are deploying standardised cellular systems developed by recognised industries.

In conclusion, people living near base station antennas should not be concerned about the adverse effects of mobile base station antennas on their health. However, the government of Cambodia should continue to work with mobile operators to ensure that they conform to safety requirements. More effort should also be made to raise people's awareness on this issue by publishing the reports on mobile base station data and any other useful information so they understand that their community is not being harmed by the development of telecommunications in Cambodia.

Kong Marry
Waseda University, Japan

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or P.O. Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

Police Blotter: 11 May 2009

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Lim Phalla
Monday, 11 May 2009

Ty Vantheit,15, was shot dead by Phnom Penh police during a raid on a property of 12 men suspected of being involved in a string of robberies in Beoung Kak 2 commune, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh. Police had a warrant for one of the men, Sam Ratha, 26, who was arrested at the scene.

Six men were severely wounded during a clash between two rival gangs at a dance party Friday in Boeung Tumlorb village, Vor Sar commune, Samraong Tong district, Kampong Speu province. The victims were attacked by five men who later returned to the scene of the fight with 20 others and fired several shots from a firearm into the air. No arrests have been made.

Man arrested for suspected rape
Veth Srun, 21, was arrested by police on May 4 on suspicion of raping a 13-year-old girl in Kbal Mous village, Mong commune, Mong Russei district, Battambang province. The arrest was made after the victim's parents reported the incident to police on Friday.

A moto-taxi driver was robbed and killed on Thursday in Or Chamneuk village, Ta Sda commune, Sampov Loun district, Battambang province. The attacker evaded authorities after cutting the victim's throat and fleeing into the woods. The victim was 35-year-old Noy Nang.

A group of security guards are suspected of beating a man, Ton Rathana, unconscious after he parked his motorbike in a forbidden place on Friday. The incident occurred at a small market in Tuol Svayprey commune, Chamkarmon district, Phnom Penh.

Van Yeth, 29, was reportedly beaten by Phnom Penh police Friday after he was stopped for driving a vehicle with no registration plates. The conflict erupted when police fined the man 9,000 riels (US$2.25), but failed to return change from US$10. The victim is threatening legal action after the incident, which occurred on Russian Boulevard, Sen Sok district, Phnom Penh.

The Phnom Penh Post News In Briefs

In Brief: Indian delegation to arrive today

Written by Kay Kimsong
Monday, 11 May 2009

A delegation from India's National Defence College is expected to arrive in Cambodia today for the beginning of a six-day visit that is to include meetings with officials including RCAF Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun and Neang Phat, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence. Founded in 1960 and based in New Delhi, the college provides instruction in "the wider aspects of higher direction and strategy of warfare".

In Brief: Land concession protest in Kratie

Written by Chrann Chamroeun
Monday, 11 May 2009

More than 300 villagers in Sambor district, Kratie province, held a protest Saturday against a Korean company that has been granted an economic land concession there. The villagers said the company would damage graves and rice fields. Tim Narin, Kratie provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, told the Post that she had received a complaint from the villagers but had not yet conducted an investigation. She said she did not know the size of the concession or the name of the Korean company.

In Brief: Red Cross marks 16th anniversary

Written by Mom Kunthear
Monday, 11 May 2009

The Cambodian Red Cross announced Friday that it had received US$4 million from Cambodian and international donors to fund its 2009 operations. Speaking at the 146th anniversary celebration at the Red Cross head office in Phnom Penh, first lady Bun Rany said the Red Cross theme for 2009 - "Our world, our action" - underscored the need for all Cambodians to work together in response to resource shortages and other problems. She commended donors for allocating part of their budgets to help Cambodia develop.

ASEAN+3 Health Minister meeting Friday, May 8, 2009, in Bangkok

ASEAN+3 Heath Ministers attending a special meeting on Influenza A (H1N1) pose for a photo opportunity Friday, May 8, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. Photographed are Indonesia's Director General of Disease Control Tjandra Yoga Aditama, from left, Laos' Minister of Health Dr. Ponmek Dalaloy, Malaysia's Minister of Health Tiong Lai Liow, Myanmar's Ambassador to Thailand U Aung Thein, South Korea's Minister of Health Dr. Lee Dukhyoung, China's Minister of Health Dr. Chen Zhu, Philippines' Secretary of Health Francisco Duque, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand's Minister of Public Health Witthaya Keawparadai, Japan's Minister of Health Dr. Takao Watanabe, Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senior Minister of State Dr. Balaji Sadasivan, Vietnam's Minister of Health Trieu Quoc Nguyen, Brunei's Minister of Health Suyoi Osman, Cambodia's Minister of Health Dr. Mam Bunheng and ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva addresses the opening ceremonies of the ASEAN+3 Health Minister Special Meeting on Influenza A (H1N1) Friday, May 8, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

A general view of the ASEAN+3 Health Ministers' Special Meeting on Influenza A (H1N1) in Bangkok May 8, 2009. Asian countries will increase stockpiles of medicine to fight the H1N1 flu virus and look at ways to share essential supplies in the event of an emergency, according to a statement drafted for a meeting on Friday.REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND POLITICS HEALTH)

A Thai soldier wears a protective mask as a precaution against the swine flu, as he stands guard outside the ASEAN+3 Health Minister meeting Friday, May 8, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Thai soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near the Dusit Thani Hotel at the ASEAN+3 Health Minister meeting Friday, May 8, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

UN Secretary General calls for collective efforts to fight global problems

KATHMANDU, May 9: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for collective efforts of all the countries to combat the problems like financial crisis, climate change, pandemics, terrorism and other international threats.

In his message delivered on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, the UN chief said a problem in one country quickly turns into a worldwide threat and the fates of all the people are linked. “I constantly remind leaders that we must act together or we will fail individually,” said Ban. “I tell them that we must join forces in solidarity. Not only is this the right thing to do; it is in our best interests.”

He said in the message that the need for global solidarity may seem like a modern concept, but it was not. “More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha taught that nothing exists in isolation, and that all phenomena are interdependent.”

Ban also suggested all to carry on the spirit of Buddha’s teachings. “On this Day of Vesak [Vaishak Purnima], let us resolve to help people who are suffering so that we may secure a better future for all.”

Bam also remembered his visit to Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini last year.

UN chief calls for global compassion, solidarity on Buddhist day of Vesak

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 (Xinhua) -- In a message commemorating the Vesak Day, which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday called upon the world to learn from the spiritual leader's sense of compassion.

"The financial crisis, climate change, pandemics, terrorism and other international threats prove that the fates of all people are linked," the secretary-general wrote in his message.

He noted that a problem for one country can quickly turn into a global threat, saying that "I constantly remind leaders that we must act together or we will fail individually."

It is in the world's best interest to join forces in solidarity, as well as the right thing to do, Ban said. "More than 2,500 years ago Buddha taught that nothing exists in isolation."

Underscoring the idea, Ban noted that Buddha also taught that we "cannot be happy as long as others suffer, and that when we do reach out, we discover the best in ourselves."

"On this day of Vesak, let us resolve to help people who are suffering so that we may secure a better future for all," he said.

Vesak is an annual holiday observed traditionally by practicing Buddhists in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, such as Nepal, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan and India.

Sometimes informally called "Buddha's birthday," it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.

The exact date of Vesak varies according to the various lunar calendars used in different traditions. In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on the full moon Uposatha day (typically the 5th or 6th lunar month). While the Vesak Day in China, it is on the eighth of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar but falls in April or May.

Editor: Yan

Cambodia Should Have a Law How to Manage Funds of Political Parties and of Campaigns – Saturday, 9.5.2009

Posted on 10 May 2009

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 611

“The Committee for Free and Fair Elections released an article presenting its initiative for positive changes to solve political problems in Cambodia, and that new initiative suggests that Cambodia should have a law about the management of funds of political parties and of campaigns. This initiative is supported by most voices from different circles, especially from the opposition party.

“Based on the progress of the political situation in Cambodia, it is time to have a law to manage the funds of different political parties. The connection between politics and funds raises concern in many countries, because the amount of money or the sources of some funds are under suspicion. The most important thing for the draft of a law to manage funds of political parties is to ensure a minimum of reasonably used public resources for the intentions and benefits of elections.

“Political parties should have clarity about the sources and transparency to manage politics, especially transparency in the management of their resources. The Cambodian government had expressed the intention to fight corruption, but rules for the management of funds of political parties is an important part to solve various disputes and mutual suspicion among the parties over corruption. Many countries in Asia are interested in creating public funds for political parties. Those countries had had practical experiences with funds for political parties, and their management can lessen the possibilities for corruption in different sectors. There has been a strong struggle of opinions in Siam [Thailand] to eliminate the buying of votes, where political parties do this with voters during elections.

“In Cambodia, the National Election Committee does not exercise its power to monitor the expenses of political parties. This leads to strong suspicion and a loss of trust in the management of fair elections, eroding the trust in an efficiently working election process. Political parties play a great role providing strong leadership, and therefore the funds of those political parties should be made known. Do they originate from contribution of their supporters, or are funds of the citizens used?

“But what is a major problem is the huge influence of too much funds in politics and in elections, which might relate specially to illegal businesses, or to contributions including the use of national funds to buy votes and politicians, and to increase expenses for campaigns through the media. In Cambodia, influential oknhas, investors, and businesspeople contribute a lot of funds and materials to powerful politicians and to the ruling party. Funds from those people are used to build hundreds of schools and to construct different buildings which are declared as their achievements.

“The Cambodian government had better focus more on the funds of political parties rather than promoting a law to control non-government organizations, requiring non-government organizations to report their activities and funds to the government. The problem is that those political parties and politicians are on the way to control positions of state power, which sets policies and the fate of the nation. Furthermore, nowadays, the financing of some political parties is too high and it is not audited, and there is no information for the public and not even for their party members.

“In Cambodia, there is bureaucracy between the government and political machinations. Public administration officials do it, or they are required to put funds into a ‘party box’ which is sometmes also called a ‘black box.’ Government officials have to divide up the funds from corruption into three parts: one part for themselves, one for their superiors, and the other for the party box.

“An ambassador of a western country mentioned that the author of the book Patronage Politics and Hybrid Democracy: Political Change in Cambodia; 1993-2003 had reported that a former Phnom Penh governor had been reputed to have spent US$20,000 into the party box every month. The funds were used to build schools and to buy rice to be distributed to citizens. Therefore, the whole government became a network obliged to organize this flow of resources.

“There is an increasing number of countries in the world that have laws how to manage the funds of political parties. As for Cambodia, the opposition party expressed to feel double opposition against the creation of such a regularization; normally, such laws require political parties to clearly report their expenses, and especially the sources of their income. Dignitaries and officials of the ruling party had mentioned security problems, if they would openly declare information about their property, related to corruption.

“The will and dedication of politicians for the benefits of the nation are quite important for the creation of an anti-corruption law as well as for a law to manage the funds of political parties and of campaigns. Corruption occurs increasingly, disgracing the public image of most parties and elected politicians. If there is no action against this problem, gradually corruption and politics in general may lead to serious insecurity, instability, and social problems.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16,#3753, 9-10.5.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 9 May 2009

TNT extends Asian road services into Cambodia


DUTCH logistics group TNT NV has extended its scheduled road services in Asia called Asia Road Network (ARN) into Cambodia, adding more than 1,500km to an existing 6,000km running from Singapore to Thailand to China.

The new service is available from today, initially in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

"Via TNT's road hub in the city, the ARN connects seamlessly to TNT's nationwide domestic network across Cambodia and then on to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City," TNT Asia regional managing director Onno Boots said in a statement last week.

The ARN will boost the connectivity of Cambodia to the rest of Southeast Asia, China and Europe through its recently-expanded integrated air and road regional hub in Singapore.

Boots said customers can also look forward to cost-savings of up to 30 per cent when they use the ARN as opposed to airlifting out of Cambodia.

Transportation by road with TNT is also on average three times faster than shipping.

"As the country rapidly develops and as more traditional markets mature, Cambodia will increasingly become an important trade partner for Malaysia. The extension of the TNT ARN will boost the growth of the currently low but growing trade flows and investment between the two countries," said TNT Express Worldwide (M) Sdn Bhd managing director for Malaysia and Brunei, Gerry Power.

Launched at the end of 2005, the ARN today operates in 127 cities across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China through an integrated, door-to-door road service.

Boasting a real-time Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) tracking of TNT's container trucks, TNT has seen a strong double-digit growth in overall volumes transported on the ARN in the last six months.

The growth has been largely driven by customers moving high-value and time-sensitive goods in the high-tech, healthcare and equipment and machinery sectors.

Cambodia to strengthen security for ASEAN-EU ministerial meeting

PHNOM PENH, May 10 (Xinhua) -- More than thousand of police and military police will be in force in order to safeguard the upcoming ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting to be held here in late May, national media reported on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry will be responsible for the security of the meeting, and military and police will be deployed to have the meeting not be affected by demonstrations and terrorism activities, the Chinese-language newspaper Cambodia Sin Chew Daily quoted Khieu Sophak, the ministry spokesman, as saying.

"Tight security will be in force in meeting-place," said Khieu, but he did not give the details of the deployment of the security force.

Delegations from 40 ASEAN and EU countries will gather here in late May to discuss ways to fight terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling, weapon proliferation, according to a statement from the government.

The 17th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and EU (European Union) will review previous and future cooperation between the two regional bodies from May 27 to 28, said the statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong and Vaclav Klaus, Czech President and current EU President, will be named as co-presidents of the meeting.

The 16th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN and EU was held in Germany from March 14 to 15, 2007 with the adoption of the Nuremberg Declaration on an ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership which sets the direction and the agenda for ASEAN-EU relations in the years to come.

The meetings rotate between ASEAN and EU countries.

Editor: Deng Shasha

WBank to put US$15m towards improving higher education

University World News

10 May 2009

The World Bank is to inject US$15 million to support tertiary education in private and public universities and institutes in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education has said, writes Khuon Leakhena for The Phnom Penh Post. The money will be spent over five years and will be aimed at boosting standards, providing scholarships for needy students and improving academic research and financial management.

Pith Chamnan, a Secretary of State at the Ministry, said the funding would be a significant boost to tackling weaknesses in the sector. US$15 million, said Chamnan, "is a small sum, but we consider it a start. We must ensure the four areas of spending reach their goals so that education quality will improve."

He said the ministry hoped for further funds if the project was successful, adding that the initial tranche of money had not yet reached the Ministry. The cash will be spent between 2010 and 2015.