Chhay aims to purge Nat’l Assembly of ‘ghosts’

October 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Senior opposition lawmaker Son Chhay has formally requested that the entire staff list of the National Assembly’s more than 1,000-strong secretariat be turned over to him for investigation as part of a bid to root out “ghost” workers and nepotistic appointments.

As part of his one-man crusade to clean up parliament, Chhay has also accused a senior secretariat official of appointing more than 20 members of his own family to paid positions on assembly staff and asked for a probe.

In a letter sent Tuesday to assembly Secretary-General Leng Peng Long, Chhay, who also serves as deputy head of the parliamentary Commission on Economics, Finance, Banking and Auditing, says that he has received information that Mith Karen, a deputy secretary-general, used his influence to appoint family members to a slew of positions. …

Pech Sotheary and Kevin Ponniah

Input floated on traffic law

October 21st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A coalition of NGOs are to submit to the National Assembly today a list of recommended additions to the amended traffic law, a draft of which was approved by the Council of Ministers in August.

Road safety advocates hope the amended law, which creates higher fines for drunken driving and mandates that passengers on motorbikes wear helmets, among other measures, will help lower the rate of deaths from traffic accidents from an average of five a day. …

Phak Seangly

Cybercrime law’s status uncertain

October 20th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A Ministry of Commerce official said in a speech last week that the controversial draft cybercrime law was almost ready to appear before the National Assembly, though another government official dismissed this yesterday.

At a conference on cybersecurity attended by representatives of the public and private sector, including corporate officers from Microsoft, Commerce Ministry Secretary of State Pan Sorasak said the draft law was nearing the final hurdle before being implemented. …

Sean Teehan

Land concessions cancelled

October 17th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The government has seized back more than 12,000 hectares of land previously awarded to seven companies as economic land concessions (ELCs), according to a letter from the Council of Ministers. …

It explains that licences awarded from 2006 to 2011 for eight ELCs in the provinces would be revoked and the land put under the ownership of the Environment Ministry. …

Phak Seangly

Cambodia’s elderly receive inadequate support

October 2nd, 2014 , UCA News

For 70-year-old Chan Shay, the choice between working through old age and a retirement in poverty is an obvious one.

Shay, a cyclo taxi driver in Phnom Penh, said that while he dreams of retiring to his home in Takeo province, in reality he can see no future outside of work. …

With just five percent of the elderly population estimated to receive a formal pension, compared to a global average of 66 percent, the report calls for “expansion of pension coverage for all older people aged 65 years and above”. …

Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, whose party campaigned last year on a platform of offering a US$10 monthly pension payment to individuals over the age of 65, said the policy needs to change. …

Alice Cuddy and Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Gov’t releases data on timber baron’s deal

September 19th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Tycoon Try Pheap has collected an estimated 1,500 cubic metres of timber from Forestry Administration offices since the government in July issued his companies permission to confiscate “waste wood” from their offices and from the Ministry of Environment, according to preliminary government figures obtained by the Post yesterday.

An unknown amount of wood held at facilities run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment was given to Pheap’s MDS Import Export Company and MDS Thmodar SEZ Company in a letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet on July 24. …

Daniel Pye

Draft law puts high price on drunk driving

August 16th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Drunk drivers could be fined $1000 under a new draft traffic law approved yesterday by The Council of Ministers. The legislation includes a raft of measures aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries on the roads.

Among the draft law’s 92 articles are new fines for motorcycle passengers who ride without a helmet and increased penalties for speeding, driving without a licence and riding a motorbike without a helmet. …

Cheang Sokha

Kandal property bought up before bridge announcement

August 16th, 2014

Property investors with inside information may have bought up land across the Mekong River in Kandal province before the announcement of new bridges, a real estate agent claims.

Land in areas like Akrei Khsatr commune in Kandal’s Lvea Em district is set to become more valuable after this week’s announcement that the government has approved construction of two new bridges from the Chroy Changvar peninsula and Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district. Access currently is only by ferry. …

Siv Meng and Vandy Muong

Government approves new traffic law

August 16th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a new draft traffic law aimed at improving the safety of Cambodia’s notoriously dangerous roads, with only legislative approval standing in the way of the bill being passed into law.

The draft law, which includes changes to 64 articles, the addition of 15 new articles and removal of 18, will be sent to the National Assembly “as soon as possible,” according to Chhuon Vuon, vice secretary general of the National Road Safety Committee. …

Khuon Narim

Gov’t lifts farming ban on K Thom floodplains

August 8th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers has granted farmers in Kompong Thom province permission to start farming on the floodplains of the Tonle Sap lake in an area previously off limits and home to flooded forests that provide a critical fish breeding habitat.

The Council of Ministers’ notice, dated July 22, lets locals farm inside the province’s portion of a ring that runs around the entire Tonle Sap and is known as Zone Three, where all farming and other development is otherwise strictly prohibited. Despite the ban, people still farm the fertile land and build reservoirs in the dry season, according to authorities, leading to numerous arrests. …

Khy Sovuthy

Cracking down 101

August 1st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A deal to end the political deadlock may reduce demonstrations in the streets, but the authorities are leaving nothing to chance – Daun Penh’s notorious district security guards are finally receiving proper government training.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche, who has previously said the baton-wielding district security guards – regularly behind the violent beatings of protesters in the post-election period – lack government security training, said yesterday that they are set to take part in an upcoming Ministry of Interior training scheme. …

Daniel Pye and Alice Cuddy

Rights group slams Cambodian government over land dispute death

July 31st, 2014 , Radio Free Asia

Try Chamroeun, a 19-year-old student, was planting soybeans on Sunday along with fellow villagers on a two-hectare (half-acre) plot in Preah Vihear province, when soldier Poeun Tash demanded that he stop, claiming the land belonged to his military boss, according to London-based environmental advocacy group Global Witness.

When villagers, who had been using the land for the last three years, argued with him, Poeun Tash opened fire on the group, hitting Try Chamroeun in the arm and chest, and killing him. …

Chan Saveth, deputy chief of local rights group Adhoc, told RFA’s Khmer Service that shooting deaths related to land disputes had created a climate of fear in Cambodia, which is experiencing a land grabbing crisis, and called on the government to “fully enforce the law.” …

Joshua Lipes

Opposition to form ‘shadow cabinet’ in parliament

July 25th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

A “shadow cabinet” will be created inside the National Assembly once the CNRP’s lawmakers-elect swear into office, senior opposition party officials said Thursday, in a move that nine years ago saw an opposition lawmaker imprisoned on charges of inciting a rebellion.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy forged a deal on Tuesday for the CNRP to enter the National Assembly after the party’s 10-month boycott of its 55 parliamentary seats over accusations that the July 2013 national election was rigged.

Several CPP officials said earlier this week that they believed the swearing-in would take place today but CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Thursday that details remained to be worked out over how a new election commission will be encoded in the Constitution. …

Alex Willemyns and Kuch Naren

Most guards ‘over worst’

July 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A day after the government issued a statement saying that 22 of the Daun Penh district security guards beaten by opposition protesters on Tuesday were in “critical condition”, officials yesterday told the Post that most of them are now well on the way to recovery.

Daun Penh district governor Kouch Chamroeun said that while the “22 are still hospitalised … most of them feel better”. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Alice Cuddy

UN rights expert appeals for calm amid violence in Cambodia

July 16th, 2014 , Shanghai Daily

United Nations rights envoy for Cambodia Surya Subedi on Wednesday urged all sides to immediately exercise utmost calm and restraint in the wake of alarming reports of violence following opposition protests in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

“Democracy depends on respect, not violence,” he said in a statement released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office to Cambodia. “I call in the strongest possible terms for all sides to exercise restraint.”

The envoy’s call came after a Tuesday protest, led by leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) near the capital’s Freedom Park, turned violent, resulting in more than 40 persons injured, mostly security guards. …



Shanghai Daily News Staff

Cities, provinces ordered to report on illegal logging, fishing

July 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

In yet another attempt to stem the looting of Cambodia’s forests, lakes and rivers, the Interior Ministry has given all cities and provinces until July 20 to submit detailed reports on all the illegal logging and fishing taking place in their jurisdictions.

The latest initiative comes by way of a July 4 letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, following up on a Council of Ministers letter from April that called on all levels of government to preserve the country’s fisheries and protected forests.

Mr. Kheng’s letter calls on the cities and provinces “to report to the government about their measures to protect forests, fisheries and protected areas” by July 20. …

Mech Dara