Defiant Hun Sen tells to cut all aid to Cambodia Reuters 19th Nov 2017
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen challenged the United States on Sunday to cut all aid after it announced it was ending funding for a general election next year in response to the dissolution of the main opposition party, media reported. Hun Sen, the strongman who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades, has taken a strident anti-American line in an increasingly tense run-up to a 2018 election that has included a crackdown on critics, rights groups and independent media. The United States announced on Friday it was ending funding for the election, and promised more “concrete steps”, after the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) at the request of the government, on the grounds it was plotting to seize power.
Cambodian court charges two journalists with espionage Reuters 18th Nov 2017
A Cambodian court on Saturday charged two journalists with espionage for filing news reports to a U.S.-funded radio station, which can carry a prison term of up to 15 years. Prime Minister Hun Sen, the strongman who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades, has taken a strident anti-American line in an increasingly tense run-up to a 2018 election and there has been a crackdown on critics, rights groups and independent media. The United States announced it was ending funding for the election, and promised more “concrete steps”, after the Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Thursday at the request of the government, on the grounds it was plotting to seize power.
Cambodia's main opposition party dissolved by Supreme Court Reuters 16th Nov 2017
Cambodia’s highest court dissolved the main opposition party on Thursday, leaving authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen clear to extend more than three decades of power in next year’s election as rights groups decried the death of democracy. The government had asked the Supreme Court to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was accused of plotting to take power with the help of the United States after the arrest of party leader Kem Sokha on Sept. 3. The court ruling also ordered a five-year political ban for 118 members of the opposition party, which had posed a major election threat for Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander who is the world’s longest-serving prime minister.
Russia to send observers to Cambodia’s 2018 election, agrees to discuss debt Phnom Penh Post 14th Nov 2017
Russia will send observers to the Kingdom for the upcoming national elections and has pledged to sit down to discuss Cambodia’s outstanding debt, a move that analysts yesterday saw as a sign of solidarity between two governments increasingly out of favour with the West. During a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, on the sidelines of the 31st Asean Summit in Manila on Sunday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised that Russia would provide support for next year’s election and would prepare to deploy a team of observers to monitor the polls, according to a video on the premier’s Facebook page summarising the meeting.
Cambodia Establishes ‘Standby Working Groups’ to Prevent Unrest Ahead of CNRP Court Date Radio Free Asia 13th Nov 2017
Cambodia’s Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Monday ordered the creation of provincial “standby working groups” to prevent any unrest, as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government cracked down on potential protests ahead of an expected court ruling on whether to dissolve the country’s main opposition party. Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Kem Sokha was arrested on Sept. 3 for allegedly collaborating with the U.S. to overthrow the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and Cambodia’s Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to disband the CNRP for its alleged involvement in the “conspiracy” on Nov. 16.
Cambodia still follows principle of "liberal multi-party democracy" when opposition is dissolved: PM Xinhua 8th Nov 2017
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Wednesday that Cambodia will continue to stick to the principle of "liberal multi-party democracy" when the country's biggest opposition party is dissolved in a treason case. Hun Sen said the Supreme Court would hear the case of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) dissolution on Nov. 16 and he "totally" believed that the party would be dissolved. The prime minister added that without the CNRP's presence, there would still be many political parties taking part in two major elections next year.
As Cambodia Readies to Dissolve Opposition, CNRP Supporters Say They Will Not Vote in 2018 VOA 8th Nov 2017
Sitting in a hammock with her grandson at a gasoline stall on National Road 4 in Kampong Speu province’s Chbar Mon City, Heang Ngeth recalls joining garment worker protests along with Chea Vichea, the prominent unionist shot dead in 2004. The 54-year-old opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party supporter, says she has decided she will abstain from the coming 2018 election following months of ruling party attacks on the CNRP. She is not alone.
US Demining Cut Provokes Cambodia VOA 7th Nov 2017
A U.S. decision to cut funding for a demining program in Cambodia threatens to further worsen a feud between Phnom Penh and Washington. On Tuesday, it emerged through local media reports the U.S. had decided to discontinue annual funding in 2018, worth about $2 million, to clear explosive remnants of war in Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen reportedly responded to the surprise decision by declaring he will stump to raise the money, according to a senior Cambodian demining official. No public explanation has been given for the cut, and both the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), the final recipient of the funding, and Norwegian People’s Aid, which administer the money, say they do not know why the funding has been discontinued.
Cambodian government to reopen pipeline for US deportees Inquirer 7th Nov 2017
Cambodia is preparing to accept deportees from the US again, reversing course after more than a year of diplomatic back-and-forth, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak confirmed yesterday. According to Sopheak, the Cambodian government “expects to receive a positive response” from the United States in return – specifically, the lifting of visa sanctions that were imposed on high-ranking Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials in August.
CNRP members ‘seek asylum’ Phnom Penh Post 6th Nov 2017
Members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party have started applying for asylum in other countries amid a tightening crackdown on the party at home, according to a senior party official who is himself seeking asylum. Morn Phalla – head of CNRP’s Phnom Penh Municipal Executive Committee, who is currently in another country that he asked not be identified due to security concerns – said in a message that he had sought the UN’s assistance in obtaining asylum. “I already applied” for asylum, said Phalla, who has been subject to an arrest warrant since August relating to an unruly election rally.
Cambodia's Hun Sen Calls on CNRP Members to Defect, Join His Party Radio Free Asia 6th Nov 2017
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and government officials are pressuring elected members of the political opposition to defect to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, threatening them with loss of their jobs in the event that their own party is dissolved, sources say. Speaking in a video clip on his Facebook page on Nov. 4, Hun Sen called for members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to leave and join the CPP.
CNP asks Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition Phnom Penh Post 2nd Nov 2017
The Cambodian Nationality Party on Tuesday issued a statement urging the Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition CNRP “as soon as possible”, after previously criticising the royalist Funcinpec party for filing a complaint against the opposition seeking just that. The statement, signed by party President Seng Sokheng, accused the Cambodia National Rescue Party – the Kingdom’s largest opposition party – of “treason”. CNRP President Kem Sokha is currently in jail facing widely condemned charges of treason after telling supporters he received political advice from the United States, and the Supreme Court is deliberating whether to dissolve the party under the controversial Law on Political Parties.
It’s business as usual at the Thai border Khmer Times 15th Nov 2017
Despite the new Thai customs law having come into effect yesterday, the transport of goods by land to or from third countries along the Cambodia-Thailand border will continue as usual, according to a recent government statement.
Expert says Cambodia should join APEC summit Khmer Times 10th Nov 2017
Defense & Security
Cambodia should consider submitting an application for membership into the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), as participating in the annual economic forum would translate into enhanced business and trade opportunities, an expert told Khmer Times. Sophal Ear, an associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, told Khmer Times that the forum “ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders”, and said Cambodia should seek participation. His remarks follow announcements that Prime Minister Hun Sen is now in Da Nang, Vietnam, leading the Cambodian delegation attending an informal meeting of APEC and Asean leaders.
Bangladesh PM seeks Cambodia’s support to resolve Rohingya crisis Dhaka Tribune 4th Dec 2017
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought support from Cambodia for a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis as it threatens the peace and stability of this region. “As we continue our bilateral negotiations with Myanmar for Rohingyas’ safe return to their homeland, I requested Prime Minister Hun Sen for his support for a durable solution to the crisis,” she said. Sheikh Hasina was delivering her joint press statement with the Cambodian prime minister at the Peace Palace on Monday after the official talks between the two countries.
What’s Behind the Russian Warship Visit to Cambodia? The Diplomat 8th Nov 2017
On Tuesday, a squadron from Russia’s Pacific Fleet arrived in Cambodia for what officials termed an unofficial visit. The engagement brought into focus both the defense ties between the two countries as well as Moscow’s role in Southeast Asia more broadly. Russian ship visits around the region in general and in Cambodia in particular are nothing new. Russia and Cambodia have had diplomatic relations for decades. The defense side of ties had been slower to develop, relatively speaking. That said, there have been a number exchanges, dialogues, and visits, including ship visits. Indeed, in April last year, the Russian Pacific Fleet paid a four-day visit to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port at Preah Sihanouk province.
Cambodia too dependent on the garment industry Just Style 28th Nov 2017
Despite the massive economic gains made by Cambodia since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004, it still faces a number of constraints including a narrow economic base largely dependent on the garment industry and its reliance on foreign investment, a new report says. The WTO's second Trade Policy Review of the Kingdom found that since being accepted into the WTO it has strengthened its GDP, made a number of regulatory gains, increased foreign direct investment, and improved its customs procedures. Cambodia also remains committed to the multilateral trading system and has become a voice for the least developed countries (LDCs), the report noted, having improved its WTO commitments by ratifying the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Cambodia to sustain strong growth: World Bank Phnom Penh Post 22nd Nov 2017
Cambodia’s economy is predicted to remain strong and resilient for the next two years, fueled by a shift to higher value-added manufacturing despite lingering concerns over political stability and the slowed growth of both the construction and garment sectors, the World Bank said yesterday in its latest review of the Cambodian economy. The Kingdom’s robust GDP growth is expected to reach 6.9 percent in 2018 and remain almost as high at 6.7 percent in 2019, thanks to increased export diversification of footwear, electrical machinery and auto parts alongside healthy inflows of foreign direct investment, the World Bank said in its Cambodia Economic Update for October 2017.
Cambodia’s developmental gains ‘fragile’ and future ‘uncertain’, OECD finds Phnom Penh Post 8th Nov 2017
Cambodia’s development gains – which include reductions in poverty and the expansion of the garment industry – are “fragile”, and the country’s long-term prospects are “uncertain”, according to a review published this week of the Kingdom’s social protection system. The review was carried out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development and was released on Monday.
Swiss banking giant asked to invest in country Khmer Times 24th Nov 2017
Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Credit Suisse, a leading financial services provider headquartered in Zurich, to set up shop in Cambodia and take advantage of the country’s fast growing financial sector as it expands across Southeast Asia. The premier’s appeal was made during a meeting at the Peace Palace with Credit Suisse’s managing director Andreas Gerber, who is leading a delegation of Swiss companies from the financial, construction and real estate sectors.
NBC gives banks, MFIs greenlight to issue bonds Phnom Penh Post 20th Nov 2017
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) announced on Friday that local banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) can now issue corporate bonds or list equity securities on the nascent Cambodian stock market, a move industry insiders claim will help financial institutions raise capital and be less reliant on foreign borrowing. According to the central bank’s new prakas, signed by Governor Chea Chanto on September 27 and posted on NBC’s website late Friday night, financial institutions can issue equity securities at a maximum of 20 percent of the company’s voting share and can issue debt securities at a rate that does not exceed 20 percent of total assets. “This prakas is targeted to enable financial institutions to raise funds for business expansion in order to contribute to Cambodia’s economic growth,” the NBC statement said.
A ‘milestone’ for the Cambodian market International Travel & Health Insurance Journal 7th Nov 2017
Food & Agriculture
Cambodian insurance firm Cambodian Investment Management Insurance Agent (CIMIA), a subsidiary of Cambodian Investment Management, has announced plans to launch the first online insurance quote system in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The service will allow customers to access details of a range of insurance products, from travel insurance to health and vehicle coverage. All they will need to do is provide basic information to the online platform, and quotes will then be emailed to users as a PDF.
National cassava policy in the works Khmer Times 8th Nov 2017
Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, said yesterday the government will promote contract farming to boost cassava production, sustain the price of the commodity and attract more investment into the sector. The minister’s remarks follow continued growth in the production and exports of Cambodian cassava. Speaking at a cassava investment forum held this week in Siem Reap, Mr Sakhon said cassava production played a central role in the government’s plans to diversify agricultural output.
Push to increase longan exports Khmer Times 8th Nov 2017
With plantations yielding nearly 20,000 tonnes of the fruit per year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced its intention to expand longan exports to new countries. According to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, only the provinces of Pailin and Battambang, which share a border with Thailand, now export the fruit. To prepare for shipping the fruit overseas in greater numbers, the Ministry of Agriculture is now working on certain export requirements, according to Hean Vanhan, the director-general of the General Directorate of Agriculture.
Insuring farmers’ livelihoods Khmer Times 1st Dec 2017
The Ministry of Agriculture, German national development agency GIZ and insurance companies are coming together to discuss a crop insurance system that could potentially safeguard the livelihoods of thousands of farmers across the country. Hom Thany, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), addressing participants in a workshop on crop insurance yesterday, said a crop insurance scheme is a necessary part of any sustainable agriculture industry. She said crop insurance protects farmers’ investments and ensures that even when harvests fail, farmers have sufficient financial resources to reinvest and cover basic household needs like food and healthcare. “Agribusinesses, credit suppliers, technology partners, and, especially, the government, need to work together to draft a policy that details all financial and logistical aspects,” Mrs Thany said.
Agriculture players discuss insurance Phnom Penh Post 1st Dec 2017
Officials in the agriculture sector yesterday called on relevant stakeholders to scale up initiatives for crop insurance schemes to help Cambodian farmers mitigate the risks of having their fields destroyed by flooding and drought. Speaking at a workshop organised by German development agency GIZ, Mom Thany, undersecretary of state of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said enlarging the availability of crop insurance would help secure the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. “The agricultural sector is most vulnerable to climate change,” she said. “Crop insurance protects farmer’s investments and ensures that even when a harvest fails, farmers have sufficient financial resources to reinvest and cover basic household needs like food and health care.”
Students discuss farming tech at ‘Agri-techathon’ Phnom Penh Post 1st Dec 2017
Dozens of Cambodian college students gathered at the Royal University of Agriculture on Saturday to participate in an “agri-techathon” that encouraged them to discuss the need for sustainable and smarter technology-based solutions to support the sector. Organised by the Belt and Road Angel Investment Roundtable, a Hong Kong-based fund that promotes startups, the techathon offered students an opportunity to hear from successful entrepreneurs in the Kingdom and learn to promote their ideas. Pen Chanda, chairman and CEO of online payment gateway Bongloy, said during a panel discussion that the private sector needs to help push forward new ideas and find funding solutions.
South Korea to buy tons of Cambodian mangoes next year AKP 1st Dec 2017
Republic of Korea has promised to develop systematic processing of Cambodian mangos for export to the country, starting next year. Outgoing Ambassador of the Republic of Korea H.E. Kim Weon-jin shared the good news during a farewell meeting with Senate President Samdech Vibol Sena Pheakdei Say Chhum at the Senate Palace here in Phnom Penh yesterday. According to H.E. Ambassador, a technical team from South Korea will establish technical skill training centre to capacitate Cambodian workers to grow standard mangos to import into his country. The rollout of the commitment, he added, will happen in the soon-to-come 2018, and tons of mangos will be needed. Samdech Say Chhum expressed his appreciation of the intention and looked forward to seeing it happen.
Women lead sugar fight as Cambodia sours on land deals Reuters 9th Nov 2017
For generations, Tep Them’s family has grown rice, reared cattle and collected resin from the forest to eke out a living and set aside a little extra. Not any more. Now, the women spend their days campaigning for the return of their land, while the men look for new ways to earn a living. Like the rest of the community in Prame in northern Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, Them lost land that her ancestors had cultivated when the government decided in 2011 to develop it under its Economic Land Concession (ELC) policy. About 40,000 hectares (155 sq miles), home to 25 villages and nearly 25,000 people, were leased to Chinese sugar companies. Few villagers had titles to their land, with boundaries agreed by mutual consent. They lost everything.
Cambodia's rice export to China up 59% in 10 months China Daily 9th Nov 2017
Cambodia had exported 142,768 metric tons of milled rice to China in the first 10 months of 2017, a 59-percent rise over the same period last year, according to the latest report on Thursday. The report released by the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export showed that China is the top buyer of Cambodian rice, followed by France and Poland.
Vietnam asked to invest in rubber Khmer Times 7th Nov 2017
Cambodia is seeking Vietnamese investment to build factories that can process rubber and cassava, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. During a meeting last week with a Vietnamese rubber association, Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon reminded Vietnamese investors of the many opportunities that the Cambodian agricultural sector offers and asked them to come to the kingdom to establish rubber and cassava processing factories.
Rural Cambodians train to meet latest middle class trend: fine woodworking Southeast Asia Globe Magazine 6th Nov 2017
Health & Life Sciences
A vocational school in Cambodia is seeking to exploit gaps in the local market by training rural youth for a career in woodworking. Think about young men working with wood in Cambodia and you’d be excused for imagining a crew hidden away in a forest armed with chainsaws and chopping down top-grade timber. But in a country with abundant natural resources and expanding urban centres, Kénory You saw an opportunity to use wood for good. During trips to her home country in the 2000s, the French-Cambodian businesswoman saw a poor education system and a dearth of employment opportunities – along with almost no domestic supply of fine furniture or craftspeople capable of making it for the country’s many restaurants and hotels. In an effort to fill these gaps, and inspired by the Kingdom’s lack of vocational training, she decided to open a woodworking school.
Cambodia expects rapid decline in maternal death rate by 2030 Phnom Penh Post 15th Nov 2017
Maternal and newborn health is a top priority of the Cambodian government, with efforts having resulted in impressive gains in expanding the reach of services for maternal and newborn health. However, the maternal and newborn mortality rates remain a challenge for the country. The maternal mortality rate in Cambodia has been decreasing since 2005, from 472 deaths in every 100,000 live-births in 2005 to 170 deaths in every 100,000 live-births in 2014 [Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey – CDHS- 2014]. New data will be available in the coming CDHS in 2020. According to Catherine Breen Kamkong, deputy representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), her organisation has been operational in Cambodia since 1994. UNFPA provides technical and financial assistance to the Ministry of Health in areas of sexual and reproductive health including family planning, skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC), which are globally recognised as key interventions for reducing the maternal mortality rate. UNFPA provides technical and financial assistance to the Ministry of Health through the government systems and structure to reach health care providers and communities.
Elderly battle hypertension while youths struggle with modern diseases Phnom Penh Post 15th Nov 2017
As Cambodia transitions from a “least developed country” to “developing country”, fast food chains from wealthier nations are also pouring into the Cambodian market – in response to demand from the younger generation, who are looking for trendy things, tasty foods, and also tend to have a distaste for physical labour. These are some of the driving factors behind the emergence of modern diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases and even cancer. There are no exact numbers or data on which, or how many types of food, can cause such problems.
In Cambodia, push to end maternal deaths in remote areas United Nations Population Fund 9th Nov 2017
In the remote farming village of Sakreang, in Cambodia’s far north-east, Romam Pcheuk visits pregnant women in their homes. “I keep my eye on the girls who are pale, and those that get pregnant very young,” she explained. “It’s my job to warn them of danger signs.” Ms. Pcheuk once helped women give birth the traditional way – at home, often using dangerous practices.
Dengue trial awaits ministry’s nod Phnom Penh Post 7th Nov 2017
A new and cost-effective form of dengue control that has shown promising results in trials around the world could be applied in Cambodia, according to scientists and the World Health Organization – if it is given approval by the Ministry of Health. The technology, developed by the non-profit World Mosquito Program based out of Australia’s Monash University, involves infecting Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with naturally occurring bacteria called Wolbachia that inhibit the transmission of viruses like dengue fever and does not affect humans. The mosquitoes would then be released into the wild.
Garment factory clinic pilot inadequate say workers, experts Phnom Penh Post 7th Nov 2017
Free medical checkups offered to garment workers as part of a Ministry of Health pilot project are superficial and inadequate, workers and labour rights observers said yesterday. The 40-day health programme was announced at the end of September, and coincided with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s charm offensive to woo garment workers around the capital. At the time, Svay Rieng Provincial Health Department Director Dr Keo Rotha said the clinics would offer glucose tests, blood pressure tests, X-rays and blood tests in case of fainting. But accounts from workers in other provinces suggested the services fell far below expectations.
Plan to defeat hunger Khmer Times 6th Nov 2017
The government has unveiled four strategies to eliminate malnutrition in the country, especially among children. Prime Minister Hun Sen is enlisting state institutes, partners and NGOs to join the fight to eliminate malnutrition as the country holds national nutrition day today. Mr Hun Sen said the first strategy advocates more household or community crops, such as in gardens, schools or pagodas, to increase quantities and quality of food.
How digitalisation can improve farmers’ livelihoods Phnom Penh Post 29th Nov 2017
Many of the most successful app creators in Cambodia have focused their work on agriculture, according to Be Chatra, co-founder and managing partner of EmeraldHUB co-working space. Some experts say as much as 80 percent of Cambodians living outside of the main cities are involved in work related to farming, and there is a growing demand for innovation and technological advancement within the field. After a year of field work and research in Takeo province, Uk Tom, a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Public Administration within Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said residents of 13 villages in Kirivong district were able to improve their standard of living by using agro technology and products as well as mobile telecommunication. Tom surveyed 2,757 households with a total population of 13,161.
China and Cambodia sign MoU on e-commerce cooperation Khmer Times 13th Nov 2017
Cambodia and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on e-commerce cooperation on Friday, by which China will provide technical advice to help boost e-commerce in the kingdom. The new agreement – signed by Kim Sithorn, the acting minister representing the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), and Wang Bingnan, the Chinese vice-minister of commerce – arrives at a critical moment for the sector as Cambodia’s long awaited E-commerce Law is expected to be passed and come into effect next year, according to a representative of the MoC.
Interview: Cambodia sets up task force for PPP infrastructure projects- Nikkei Asian Review 30th Nov 2017
Cambodia has set up an interministerial task force to develop infrastructure based on public-private partnerships, the country's public works minister told The Nikkei in a recent interview. Sun Chanthol, Cambodia's Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transport, emphasized the importance of attracting both foreign and domestic investment for infrastructure projects despite an uncertain political environment. The Supreme Court recently ordered the dissolution of Cambodia's largest opposition party.