Med students accuse uni of graft, gouging

February 27th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

The University of Health Sciences (UHS) rejected allegations from staff and students yesterday that their management is embezzling funds from the national medical exit examinations.

On Tuesday, UHS staff and students accused the university of pocketing funds from the $125 exams that were held between February 5 to 15. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Sarah Taguiam

Council of ministers calls for review of contract with Cintri

February 12th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

The government’s faith in Phnom Penh’s embattled trash-collection company appears to have finally been lost after the Council of Ministers announced in a letter on Tuesday that a shake-up was on the way as it considers rescinding Cintri’s exclusive right to manage the city’s garbage for the next 25 years. …

Khy Sovuthy

US mayor wants government to release activists

January 17th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

The mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts—which has the second-largest population of Cambodian-Americans in the U.S.—on Friday visited 10 anti-eviction activists inside Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison, emerging to announce that he would lobby the government for their release.

Wrapping up a five-day visit to Phnom Penh, Rodney Elliott spent about an hour inside the maximum-security facility, where the female activists have been detained since their convictions over a pair of protests in November. …

Khuon Narim and Holly Robertson

Med school stands firm on fee

January 12th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Despite outcry from medical students, the government is refusing to reduce the latest in a string of proposed fee hikes, this one nearly doubling the charge for the University of Health Science’s exit exam. …

In a letter sent to the university’s rector on Friday, the National Exam Committee at the Council of Ministers maintained that the fee hike was necessary to cover the rising costs of the test.

Aspiring medical school graduates yesterday expressed disappointment at this newest spike in costs for their degree. In November, the University of Health Sciences, the state’s main medical school, raised the price of tuition and the entrance exam. …

Pech Sotheary

Commune staff get up to 60 pct pay rise

January 10th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s local authorities will receive a pay bump of up to 60 per cent starting this month, the government revealed yesterday.

A commune chief will now get 400,000 riel (about $100) per month, up from 300,000 riel ($75); first and second deputy commune chiefs will get 350,000 riel ($87.50), up from 240,000 ($62.50); commune councillors will get 300,000 riel ($75), up from 200,000 ($50). …

Chhay Channyda

Monk to use court platform

November 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

An activist monk set to face trial today on widely disputed charges of incitement alongside a so-called “terrorist” leader vowed yesterday to use the hearing to preach to the judiciary. …

In a statement released Sunday, 16 NGOs called for authorities to drop the charges against Sovath, adding that, “disconcertingly”, confusion in the court summons made it unclear whether Sovath, too, will be tried for treason and election interference. …

May Titthara

‘Cyber War Team’ to monitor web

November 20th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit has created a “Cyber War Team” to monitor and collect information from Facebook and other websites in order to “protect the government’s stance and prestige,” according to a proclamation published in the Royal Gazette.

The document, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and published on October 15, says that the Cyber War Team (CWT) will monitor and diffuse information from “websites, Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, blogs, YouTube and other media outlets.” …

Matt Blomberg and Kuch Naren

Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery': index

November 19th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

More than 155,000 people in Cambodia are living as modern “slaves”, according to a global index released this week.

The Global Slavery Index 2014, released on Monday by Australia-based NGO Walk Free Foundation (WFF), ranks Cambodia 14th out of 167 countries for the prevalence of slavery, with an estimated 155,800 people enslaved, or 1.03 per cent of the population.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage. …

Alice Cuddy

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