Military-run telecom Viettel has deployed more than 16,000km of fibre optics for its Metfone network and is now has the biggest internet coverage in Cambodia. According to a report from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC), cable network coverage in the country has increased 17 fold in five years. Metfone has 80 per cent of the network coverage in the country. Its network is 13 times greater than that of the entire cable network developed by Cambodia in the last 10 years. Metfone is one of the nine biggest operators in Cambodia.
Officials in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district said yesterday that all transportation of sand across the old and new Preah Monivong bridges has been banned for the duration of the rainy season to protect the road surface and avoid accidents. According to a City Hall announcement signed by Meanchey district governor Kourch Chamroeun on Aug 6, trucks carrying sand will not be allowed to cross the bridges over the Bassac river, as the vehicles leak sand and water onto the road surface…Yesterday afternoon, no police were seen controlling traffic at the two bridges, and during a 15-minute period several large trucks bearing sand crossed the river. SRP spokesman Yin Sovann said he supported the measure, but added that–as with many measures taken by City Hall–effective implementation was absent.
(Phal Sohpeary, p 29)
Steep price cuts by mobile operator Hello may prompt Thaicom to sell its majority stake in Mfone, according to investment firm Cambodia Capital. Cambodia Capital claims Hello’s drop in the tariffs it charges customers this year has heavily impacted Mfone’s operations, as well as those of other smaller telecoms in the Kingdom…Cambodia Capital said that while the firm did not expect to see the effects of Hello’s price cuts so quickly, the industry – and Mfone, in particular – was already feeling pressure as a result of those cuts…Hello in the first half of 2011 introduced tariff plans charging a flat flee for unlimited monthly calls, which drew criticism from domestic rivals, who claimed they violated a Ministry of Post and Telecommunications prakas regarding minimum pricing per minute… Continue
Hundreds of families at Boeung Kak lake would receive land titles next week, Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema announced yesterday, but one village has been excluded from the deal that all but ends Phnom Penh’s highest-profile land dispute. At a meeting with about 500 villagers at the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, Kep Chuktema said land titles would be provided and stamped free of charge to families in six Boeung Kak villages in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune…A sub-decree issued on Wednesday cut Village 1 from the deal. Kep Chuktema said yesterday the proximity of Village 1 to train lines in the area placed it under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport or Toll Royal Railway, which have both denied any responsibility to relocate villagers.
(Khouth Sophak Chakrya, p 5)
The Foreign Affairs Ministry met with to non-governmental groups yesterday and accused them of inciting families to oppose the rehabilitation of the Cambodian rail system, ordering the NGOs to “readjust” their work…Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said his ministry invited Bridges Across Borders Cambodia and the NGO Forum, an umbrella group of organizations, to the meeting to complain about a 2010 report in which the groups blamed the recent deaths of two children on government project to relocate those evicted by the railway rehabilitation…Mr Kuong dismissed the charge and accused both Bridges and NGO Forum of incitement…By making that claim, he said, Secretary of State Uch Borith told the NGOs they had violated the conditions of their memoranda of understanding with the government.
(Phorn Bopah and Zsombor Peter p 1)
Authorities in Phnom Penh briefly detained about 100 villagers yesterday who were distributing leaflets to raise awareness of the ongoing destruction of Prey Long, one of Cambodia’s largest remaining primary forests. The leaflet distributors had their materials confiscated and were escorted to six commune offices where they were questioned and “reeducated,” said a statement by rights groups, who condemned the mass detentions…Prey Long is the largest remaining lowland evergreen forest in mainland Southeast Asia. It is threatened by illegal logging, cash crop plantations and mining companies. With a core area of about 135,000 hectares of pristine forest, prey Long stretches across Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Kratie and Kompong Thom provinces. The majority of the 200,000 people who live in 339 villages in and around Prey Long are members of the Kuy indigenous minority.
(Khuon Narim and Alice Foster, p1)
International NGO Bridges Across Borders and umbrella group NGO Forum met yesterday morning with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who accused both of making “false” and “unfair” claims to the Asian Development Bank about the death of two children relocated by a railway rehabilitation project.
The meeting follows the suspension early this month of NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut for allegedly “inciting” villagers to protest against the railway project, and prompted a statement from the ADB yesterday supporting both groups and expressing concern about the level of scrutiny they are under. Continue
(Vincent Maclsaac and Cheang Sokha, p 1)
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) decided not to raise the reserve requirement rate for commercial banks from the current 12 per cent to 16 per cent although the country’s inflation has gradually increased, Nguon Sokha, NBC’s director general, said yesterday. “After the meeting of the NBC’s monetary board chaired by the Governor Chea Chanto, the board decided to keep the reserve rate at the existing rate — 12 per cent,” she told Xinhua. “The decision is to help the country to achieve its high growth of economy at around 7 to 8 per cent this year.” Sokha said the board agreed that the inflation has gradually increased since earlier this year, but it’s still controllable. “The country’s inflation this year is forecast at around 6.5 per cent, it’s still manageable and it is in line with the forecast of the International Monetary Fund,” she said. Earlier this month, the NBC announced that it would consider increasing the reserve rate to 16 percent to curb inflationary pressures and to reduce liquidity in the economy.
Cambodia has decided not to increase its reserve requirement for banks to tackle inflation, National Bank of Cambodia Director General and spokeswoman Nguon Sokha said yesterday…The Kingdom’s reserve-requirement rate for banks stands at 12 percent, meaning 12 percent of total deposits at banks must be set aside and not loaned out. Recent discussion raised the possibility of increasing the reserve requirement to 16 percent, a rate previously maintained in 2008. The NBC will, however, re-evaluate the issue if inflation increases beyond 10 percent, she said. Economists and bankers generally said they agreed with yesterday’s decision (May Kunmakara and Don Weinland, p 7).
Singapore-listed firm HLH Group is planning to expand its presence in Cambodia with 90,000 hectares of corn, rice and soybean plantations planned over the next decade in Kompong Speu and Koh Kong provinces, an official at the company said yesterday. HLH Group came under scrutiny in early 2010 after members of Cambodia’s last remaining indigenous Suoy community said they faced extinction as a result of their loss of land to the firm’s existing 10,000-hectare concession inside the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary in Oral district…Johnny Ong, deputy chairman of HLH Group, said in an interview in Phnom Penh that the firm has exported 6,000 tons of corn and soybeans to Vietnam last year. This year, HLH is expecting to export 30,000 tons, and in 2012, that number is expected to rise to 1000,000 tons, he said.
(Simon Marks and Kuch Naren, p 29)
More than one hundred villagers dressed as the forest people from the hit film “Avatar” protested in the Cambodian capital Thursday against the destruction of the country’s Prey Lang forest…They say the forest, which is a source of livelihood for some 200,000 mainly indigenous people, is under threat from illegal logging and a spate of concessions granted for rubber plantations and mineral exploitation…Prey Lang covers about 3,600 square kilometers (1,400 square miles) in northern Cambodia. It is home to dozens of rare plant species and endangered animals including sun bears, tigers and Asian elephants.
Financial experts in the Kingdom yesterday called on the banking sector to implement improved corporate governance and increase transparency in order to ensure confidence in companies ahead of trading on the Cambodian Securities Exchange. Banks in the country have been required to publicly disclose financial information since 2004, though the timeliness and efficiency of report releases demand further improvements, Canadia Bank vice-president Dieter Billmeier said in a speech at the National Conference on Accountancy in Cambodia yesterday.
Cambodia’s TTY Corporation Co Ltd signed a $20 million deal yesterday with the state-owned China Grain Reserves Corp to process and export rice to China. The deal between TTY Corp and China Grain Reserves Corp’s Guangzhou branch, called Sinograin, was sealed with an agreement to buy 200,000 tons of milled rice with a capital investment of $20 million. The deal is expected to help Cambodia reach its target of exporting 1 million tons of milled rice by 2015.
(Hul Reaksmey, p 27)
Conservation group WWF on Wednesday called for urgent action to prevent the extinction of freshwater dolphins in the Mekong River, including the creation of special conservation zones. Entanglement in fishing nets, low calf survival rates and a steady degradation of the creature’s habitat are threatening the estimated 85 Irrawaddy dolphins left in Cambodia and Laos, WWF said. “Evidence is strong that very few young animals survive to adulthood, as older dolphins die off and are not replaced,” Li Lifeng, director of WWF’s freshwater programme, said in a statement. “This tiny population is at high risk by its small size alone. With the added pressures of gill net entanglement and high calf mortality we are really worried for the future of dolphins.” The group urged the Cambodian government to consider a ban on gill nets. But the Cambodian official tasked with caring for the country’s Irrawaddy dolphins criticised the group’s research methods and insisted there remained “about 155 to 175″ of the animals in the Mekong.
Prime Minister Hun Sen defended the government’s plan for Strung Treng province’s 400-megawatt Lower Sesan 2 dam project in a letter to an SRP lawmaker, and accused opposition parties, NGOs and the media of exaggerating the negative impacts of hydropower dams. In the six-page letter to lawmaker Son Chhay, dated July 28, the prime minister said the government had carefully studied measures to mitigate and compensate for the dam’s impact on the environment and displaced communities. He said that despite these local impacts, the project was needed to support Cambodia’s development…The $806 million dam project was approved in April and Vietnamese electricity giant EVN, which is developing the dam, said construction will start before the end of this year. Officials have said that half of the dam’s power would be exported to Vietnam.
(Paul Vrieze and Kim Chan, p 24)
Thousands of Boeung Kak lake residents who have been fighting a protracted battle with Phnom Penh and a development company have seen their fortunes reversed and have been granted a small plot of land on which to resettle. Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a subdecree Aug. 11, giving 1,000 families still living near the lake approximately 12 hectares of land on the planned 133-hectare development site. The order came just days after the World Bank said it would withhold funding to Cambodia if a resolution over the dispute were not found. World Bank officials, lake residents and rights monitors all welcomed the decision, which prevented thousands from being evicted from land they had fought to keep. Annette Dixon, the World Bank’s Cambodia country director, said in an email that Hun Sen’s decision “appears to be a positive development, and we hope that it will lead to a good outcome for the residents of Boeung Kak.”.
Émile Coué was a French psychologist who introduced a method of self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion. “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better,” was his mantra. He died in 1926 and probably never visited Cambodia, but his spirit has been hovering over the four-year-long preparation for the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX). Continue
In response to the vision of land policy in Cambodia, which is to administer, manage, use and distribute land in an equitable, transparent, efficient, and sustainable manner in order to contribute to achieving national goals of poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, national resources and environmental protection, national defense and socio-economic development in the context of market economy, Council for Land Policy hosted the discussion meeting on creating the Land White Book on August 4, 2011 in Phnom Pneh to find out insufficient points and fill in the gaps in the Comprehensive Land Policy…The Books is the essential document to show and track the implementation of land policy and land law, especially to make a survey of land usage and future situations…all ministries involved and institutions should provide information regarding land use in their mandatory administration.
(Leang Phannara, p 5)
http://thesoutheastasiaweekly.com/ (Note: Infrequently Updated.)
The wet season had come and gone with almost no rain. Despite the best efforts of the farmers from Tralach commune, in Takeo province’s Traing district, widespread crop failures two years ago brought the community to the economic, and dietary, brink…This week, farmers in Kratie province are facing the opposite problem. Severe flooding in 30 communes across the province has inundated more than 1,000 hectares of transplanted rice seedlings, threatening damage to this year’s crop, said provincial governor Kham Phoeun last week. As the government evacuated families and cattle to higher ground, many residents were concerned that this year’s harvest would be wasted… Worldwide, greenhouse gas emissions are spurring changes in the earth’s climate, leading to temperature increases and more erratic weather patterns. In Cambodia, rice cultivation relies on a predictable annual cycle of monsoon rains and dry seasons, and significant crop loss due to the occurrence of floods and drought is quite common.
The China National Food Industry (Group) Corp and Cambodia’s Le Ye Rubber Co. on Sunday signed a cassava purchase deal. The agreement was signed between Cai Yongfeng, the president of China National Food Industry Group, and Gao Hong Zhi, CEO of Le Ye Rubber Co. “If the quality of Cambodian cassava chips is standard enough for [the] Chinese market, we will purchase up to one million tons of dried cassava chips a year from Cambodia,” Cai said.