Cambodia Update: September 13, 2018

Cambodia Update | September 13, 2018
Authors: Jack Myint
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 2-3: Business Mission to Cambodia (Phnom Penh):
The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its 2018 Business Mission to Cambodia. The Mission will begin the morning of Tuesday, October 2 and conclude the evening of Wednesday, October 3. Participants should plan to arrive in Phnom Penh by the evening of Monday, October 1. Click here to register. 

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 
No Significant Change to Newly Announced Cabinet Underscores Continuity
On September 6, the Cambodian Parliament voted in new parliamentary and executive leadership. With all key ministers firmly placed in their former positions, the operating environment in Cambodia is very likely to remain business-as-usual. A full list of Cabinet officials is provided below.
With the election now over and the Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) firm grip on the country’s political system once again secured following the widely-criticized July 29 general election, the government is likely to go back to focusing on its development priorities and economic reform initiatives. While the year in the run-up to the election was characterized by the CPP’s sharp criticism of the United States, the government now appears to be softening its rhetoric, hoping to build back up the international goodwill that it lost in the run-up to the polls and show that Cambodia is not internationally isolated. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s planned speech to the United Nations General Assembly later this month is one of the first steps the long-time leader is taking to help rebuild his government’s international legitimacy post-election.
In the July 29 general election, the ruling CPP declared a landslide victory, with the party taking all 125 seats in the National Assembly. The win extended Prime Minister Hun Sen’s decades-long rule by another five years. The election had an 82.89 percent turnout rate (6.94 million out of the eligible 8.38 million voters), and the CPP outperformed the other 19 parties on the ballot by large margins. The CPP received a total of 4.88 million votes, or a 76.78 percent majority, which far outweighs the runner-up FUNCINPEC’s 370,000 votes, or 5.88 percent of the total.
The results of the July 29 general election were widely condemned by international observers as flawed and illegitimate. American, European and Japanese election monitors refused to observe the election process. ASEAN member states were also urged to criticize the elections but have held fast to ASEAN's non-interference policy. In a statement, the White House said the elections were “neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people. The White House also expressed an intent to expand economic sanctions and visa restrictions against certain government officials in response. However, the European Union (EU) and the United States have thus far not indicated that they plan to roll back preferential trade access for Cambodia’s vital garments sector, which shows an attempt to separate criticism of the domestic political situation from economic relations with Cambodia. In the United States, the Cambodian Accountability and Return on Investment Act (click here to access), which calls for imposing further sanctions and precluding Cambodia from any debt renegotiation, remains held up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and seems unlikely to pass anytime soon.
 
Full list of Cabinet officials in the Cambodian Government:
 
I. Prime Minister – Samdech Hun Sen
 
II. Deputy Prime Ministers
1. Samdech Sar Keng
2. Samdech Tea Banh
3. H.E Hor Namhong
4. H.E Man Sam An
5. H.E Bin Chhin
6. H.E Yim Chhaily
7. H.E Ke Kim Yan
8. H.E Prak Sokhonn
9. H.E Aun Pornmoniroth
10. H.E Chea Sophara
 
III. Senior Ministers
1. H.E Chhay Thorn
2. H.E Pol Saroen (in charge of special mission)
3. H.E Kun Kim (in charge of special mission)
4. H.E Meas Sophea (in charge of special mission)
5. H.E Cham Prasidh
6. H.E Nhem Vannda (in charge of special mission)
7. H.E Sun Chanthol
8. H.E Orm Yintieng (in charge of special mission)
9. H.E Ieng Moly (in charge of special mission)
10. H.E Var Kim Hong (in charge of special mission)
11. H.E Yim Nolla (in charge of special mission)
12. H.E Him Chhem
13. H.E Chin Bun San (in charge of special mission)
14. H.E Ho Sithy (in charge of special mission)
15. H.E Khun Hang (in charge of special mission)
16. H.E Ly Thuch (in charge of special mission)
17. H.E Othsman Hassan (in charge of special mission)
 
IV. Ministers
1. H.E Bin Chhin Minister in charge of Council of Ministers
2. Samdech Sar Keng, Minister of Interior
3. Samdech Tea Banh, Minister of National Defense
4. H.E Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
5. H.E Aun Pornmoniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance
6. H.E Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
7. H.E Ouk Rabun, Minister of Rural Development
8. H.E Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce
9. H.E Cham Prasidh, Minister of Industry and Handicraft
10. H.E Suy Sem, Minister of Mines and Energy
11. H.E Chhay Thorn, Minister of Planning
12. H.E Hang Choun Naron, Minister of Education Youth and Sport
13. H.E Vong Soth, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation
14. H.E Chea Sophara, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction
15. H.E Say Samal, Minister of Environment
16. H.E Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
17. H.E Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information
18. H.E Ang Vongvathana, Minister of Justice
19. H.R Men Sam An, Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection
20. H.E Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Post and Telecommunications
21. H.E Mam Bun Heng, Minister of Health
22. H.E Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport
23. H.E Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts
24. H.E Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism
25. H.E Him Chhem, Minister of Cults and Religion
26. H.E Ing Kantha Pavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs
27. H.E Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training
28. H.E Pich Bunthin, Minister of Civil Service
29. H.E Mao Havannal, Minister in chagre of State Secretariat of Civil Aviation
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Land dispute hits Thai court
Legal policy on marginalised groups finished by gov’t, EU
Vietnam to double efforts to boost cooperation with Cambodia: ambassador
Trade of coastal sand is damaging wildlife of poorer nations, study finds
India Signs Two Agreements To Step Up Cooperation With Cambodia

National Affairs
Cambodia forms new government, extending Hun Sen's grip on power
Cambodia's longtime leader Hun Sen begins another term
Jailed Australian filmmaker to ask Cambodian King for pardon
Three top military commanders appointed as senior ministers
CLC proposes $211 as minimum garment worker wage
National Assembly elects its president, two vice presidents
Cambodia's parliament holds first session since July vote
Jailed for standing up to a strongman
Cambodian government critic flees after receiving threats
Cambodia to Create Two New Provinces in Bid for ‘Efficiency’

Financial Services
Fresh round of MFI license cancellations by NBC
Gender inequality stifling Cambodian women in finance sector
Another injection for Acleda Bank
Firms back loan relief measures for victims
Nearly 1M apply for consumer credit in first half
Making cashless trendy in Cambodia: the story of Pi Pay
Kingdom’s first corporate bonds in sight after approval from NBC
EU extends support to economic management programme
Over $6B exported in first half: Ministry of Commerce

Food & Agriculture
Local cotton farming abandoned
Cassava in focus of Green Leader, UN deal
Deal signed with China over banana exports

Health & Life Sciences
Kingdom monitors pig imports amid outbreak
Health Ministry issues warning on China-made rabies vaccine
Bird flu outbreak in Tboung Khmum
UNFPA Pledges to Continue Cooperation with Gov’t

ICT
Kingdom urged to adapt with industry 4.0
Bong Pheak — Combating human trafficking through an employment...
Kingdom establishes an association for fintech
Cambodia PM's Facebook account hacked to 'give away parliament seats'
Kingdom moves up on innovation index

Infrastructure
World Bank studies Siem Reap drainage
Rail cars en route to Kingdom
Worldbridge, UNDP and UNIDO ink MoU to bolster development efforts

Travel & Tourism
Hospitality firms eye Cambodian market
Cambodia, France bolster tourism cooperation
Cambodia needs 100,000 new rooms in the next ten years to meet rising demand: Ministry
Dara Sakor resort to break ground early 2019
As incomes grow, more locals travel to neighbouring Vietnam
Tourist arrivals up by 12%
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Land dispute hits Thai court Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
A Thai civil court has accepted a class action suit filed by Cambodian land victims from Oddar Meanchey province against sugar producer Mitr Phol. However, it ordered the disputing parties to mediate on Thursday before the court proceeds with legal procedures. The Inclusive Development International (IDI) said on Wednesday that the Thai company, Mitr Phol’s subsidiaries, including Angkor Sugar Company, had forcibly displaced over 7,000 Cambodian farming families between 2008 and 2009.

Legal policy on marginalised groups finished by gov’t, EU Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Ministry of Justice and the European Union (EU) experts have finalised the draft policy to provide legal aid to marginalised groups in rural areas in the Kingdom. The ministry and the EU completed the draft during their Technical Support for Legal Aid Policy Development workshop on August 31. Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the legal aid policy was created to help channel legal assistance to the disabled, women, children, and ethnic minorities.

Vietnam to double efforts to boost cooperation with Cambodia: ambassador Nhan Dan Online 6th Sep 2018
Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh has highlighted the significance of Vietnam’s National Day (September 2) and relations between the two countries in an interview granted to the Cambodia News Channel (CNC). The diplomat said on September 2, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, declaring to the world the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The event created a milestone and brought Vietnam to the era of independence.

Trade of coastal sand is damaging wildlife of poorer nations, study finds the Guardian 30th Aug 2018
The secretive trade of coastal sand to wealthy countries such as China is seriously damaging the wildlife of poorer nations whose resources are being plundered, according to a new study. Sand and gravel are the most extracted groups of materials worldwide after water, with sand used in the concrete and asphalt of global cities. China consumed more sand between 2011 and 2013 than the US did during the entire 20th century. India has more than tripled its annual use of construction sand since 2000.

India Signs Two Agreements To Step Up Cooperation With Cambodia NDTV.com 30th Aug 2018
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today discussed bilateral, multilateral and key international issues with her Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn, and the two countries signed two agreements to step up cooperation. Ms Swaraj, who is in Cambodia on the concluding leg of her four-day two-nation tour, discussed with Sokhonn bilateral, multilateral and important international issues at delegation- level talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh.

National Affairs

Cambodia forms new government, extending Hun Sen's grip on power Channel NewsAsia 6th Sep 2018
Cambodia's lawmakers on Thursday (Sep 6) voted in a new parliamentary leadership and government, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party, after a July general election that was derided internationally because it was largely uncontested. Hun Sen, 66, said his government would serve "the nation and the people" after the vote extended his 33-year rule by five more years. The few changes he made to his cabinet highlight his family's growing political influence. His son, Hun Manet, became joint chief of staff, while his youngest son Hun Many chairs the parliamentary commission on youth and sport. The National Assembly president, Heng Sarin, continues in his post.

Cambodia's longtime leader Hun Sen begins another term AP News 6th Sep 2018
Cambodia's one-party legislature on Thursday confirmed Prime Minister Hun Sen for another five-year term, cementing his status as one of the world's longest-serving leaders. The National Assembly approved the appointment with all 125 members voting in favor without any debate. Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party won a July 29 general election by a landslide, but critics consider the polls unfree and unfair because the only credible opposition grouping, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was dissolved by court order last year in an action seen as politically motivated.

Jailed Australian filmmaker to ask Cambodian King for pardon ABC News 6th Sep 2018
Australian filmmaker James Ricketson to launch formal bid for clemency with Cambodian King Jailed Australian filmmaker James Ricketson will seek a royal pardon from the Cambodian King, instead of appealing his conviction for espionage. Mr Ricketson, 69, was found guilty by a Cambodian court late last week, after allegations he had been using his documentary projects and humanitarian work to collect information that would jeopardise national security. He was arrested in June 2017 a day after flying a drone over a political rally.

Three top military commanders appointed as senior ministers Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
RCAF commander-in-chief and his two deputy commanders-in-chief were appointed as senior ministers in the new government, according to the document. According to the document signed yesterday by Prime Minister Hun Sen, General Pol Saroeun and his deputies, General Kun Kim and General Meas Sophea become senior ministers in the new government. Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Sucheat said that Gen Saroeun and Gen Kim will resign from the National Assembly.

CLC proposes $211 as minimum garment worker wage Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
The Cambodian Labour Confederation yesterday said that it will propose $211.94 to be the new minimum wage for garment workers during this month’s negotiations. CLC made the announcement after a meeting between various unions which touched upon criteria that included cost of living, inflation, productivity, competitiveness and profitability. CLC president Ath Thorn said after the meeting that the proposed figure will be presented to stakeholders during labour negotiations on Monday, noting most who attended the meeting were satisfied with the figure.

National Assembly elects its president, two vice presidents Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
All 125 lawmakers today elected the National Assembly’s president, two vice presidents, chairmen and vice chairmen of the 10 commissions and gave a vote of confidence for the new government. Heng Samrin was re-elected as the president, Nguon Nhel as first vice president, and Khuon Sodary as second vice president. Senior ministers Chea Sophara, Aun Pornmoniroth, and Prak Sokhonn become Deputy Prime Ministers among the 10 Deputy Prime Ministers, and there are 17 senior ministers.

Cambodia's parliament holds first session since July vote Reuters 5th Sep 2018
Cambodia’s parliament on Wednesday held its first session since a July general election in which Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party claimed victory but which critics called a sham because of the lack of a viable opposition. The United Nations and Western countries have described the election as flawed after the Supreme Court last year dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) over accusations of plotting to topple the government.

Jailed for standing up to a strongman BBC News 4th Sep 2018
The Cambodian ruling party's landslide win in recent elections came as little surprise - the widespread jailing of rivals meant there was almost no political opposition left. The most prominent of them remains in prison, with no immediate prospect of release, as George Wright reports. In the early hours of Sunday 3 September last year, Kem Monovithya, a politician and daughter of opposition leader Kem Sokha, received a call from her parents - armed police were attempting to break into their family home in the capital Phnom Penh.

Cambodian government critic flees after receiving threats Reuters 3rd Sep 2018
A Cambodian political analyst said on Monday he has fled the country after receiving threats since his release from a 1-1/2 year sentence for accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party of orchestrating the 2016 murder of government critic Kem Ley. Kim Sok, who has a six-year-old daughter, was released on August 17 and since then has criticized Hun Sen’s appointment to government of some leaders of parties that participated but won no seats in July 29 elections.

Cambodia to Create Two New Provinces in Bid for ‘Efficiency’ VOA Khmer 31st Aug 2018
The Cambodian government has said it will create two new provinces in what it says is a plan to increase administrative efficiency and public order. The two new provinces will be formed from a land cut from Kandal province and from two districts in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces. Meas Nee, a political analyst, said the creation of new provinces was a waste of public money. “The intention is to create places for officials or those loyal to the party,” he said, adding that in the past public service provision had not improved after new administrative districts were created.

Financial Services

Fresh round of MFI license cancellations by NBC Khmer Times 7th Sep 2018
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has rejected two license applications and revoked the licenses of 24 microfinance institutions operating outside the capital, according to an announcement released Wednesday. Last month, NBC made a similar announcement, revoking the licenses of 11 rural credit institutions and rejecting license applications from 12 other credit organisations. Bun Mony, chairman of Vithey Microfinance, told Khmer Times that the microfinance industry is beset by bad practice, including businesses that operate without a license or charge excessive interest rates.

Gender inequality stifling Cambodian women in finance sector Southeast Asia Globe Magazine 7th Sep 2018
Ros Sopheap recalled growing up in a small rural community of Cambodia and meticulously studying her mum’s daily activities. She was a housewife, which meant much more than keeping the house tidy and cooking meals for the family. She also bought groceries and household supplies, clothed the family, took care of medical needs, oversaw the kids’ education and divvied out pocket cash to her husband and kids to get them through each day.

Another injection for Acleda Bank Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Acleda Bank Plc, Cambodia’s leading commercial bank, has injected $36 million worth of capital into its coffers, according to an announcement on Monday. The lender now has more than $395 million in capital. The additional funds will come from the bank’s share dividends. This marks the 15th time Acleda has upped its registered capital since being established, the announcement said.

Firms back loan relief measures for victims Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Representatives from the Kingdom’s microfinance sector on Sunday said the industry was keeping a close watch on those impacted by the Mekong River flooding, and that they were willing to take measures to reduce the financial burden on the victims. This came after the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) issued a joint statement on Friday, suggesting that institutions find ways to ease the debts of those who had been displaced.

Nearly 1M apply for consumer credit in first half Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Some 905,000 Cambodians applied for consumer credit in the first half of this year compared with 670,000 over the same period last year, the latest report from the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC) said. This marks a 35 per cent growth in loan applications. The report showed that outstanding consumer loans reached $5.16 billion at the end of June. The same figure stood at $3.87 billion at the same time last year. Despite the increase in consumer loans, CBC CEO Oeur Sothearoath said the sector has maintained healthy growth.

Making cashless trendy in Cambodia: the story of Pi Pay e27 3rd Sep 2018
The fintech company is the exact reflection of the face of Cambodia’s startup environment: fresh and dynamic Behind the catchy name and youthful, shocking, pink logo of Pi Pay, it is Paul Freer, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Pi Pay. Freer is in charge of ensuring the brand stays relevant and serves its purpose of taking care any money-related transaction within one app. This means he is the perfect person share his wisdom when it comes to the cashless scene in the busy Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Kingdom’s first corporate bonds in sight after approval from NBC Phnom Penh Post 27th Aug 2018
Hattha Kaksekar Limited (HKL) is set to become the first company to issue corporate bonds in the Kingdom, and it is doing so to the tune of 80 billion riel ($20 million). The firm has received approval from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) for the move. HKL announced on Friday that the Cambodian microfinance firm plans to initially offer $20 million in bonds, and increase this by another $10 million if there is high demand.

EU extends support to economic management programme Khmer Times 24th Aug 2018
The European Union will continue to support economic management and aquaculture projects in the Kingdom, pledging 22 and 87 million respectively for 2020-2021, according to a statement from the Ministry of Economy and Finance released Wednesday. The European bloc’s decision to continue to support these sectors was announced during a meeting this week between Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth and George Edgar, EU’s Ambassador to Cambodia, to evaluate the implementation of public financial management projects in the country.

Over $6B exported in first half: Ministry of Commerce Phnom Penh Post 16th Aug 2018
The Kingdom’s total exports under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) during the first half of this year accounted $6.2 billion from $5.3 billion in the same period last year. This is a 15 per cent increase, with most products destined for the European Union (EU), said data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Food & Agriculture

Local cotton farming abandoned Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Despite huge amounts of potential and a well-rooted past, the Kingdom’s cotton cultivation industry seems to be hanging by a thread. Though the country relies heavily on cotton fabric in its massive garment sector, insiders say Cambodian farmers have mostly abandoned the crop. Sok Vanna, the deputy director of the industrial crop department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said cotton has not been on the ministry’s radar for many years. He claimed farmers have moved to cassava, corn, beans or cashew nuts.

Cassava in focus of Green Leader, UN deal Phnom Penh Post 24th Aug 2018
Hong Kong-based Green Leader Holding Group and the United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP) signed a cost-sharing agreement on Thursday to implement an $800,000 project on accelerating the cassava market. Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak presided over the signing of the deal which established a project that will span nearly three-and-a-half years and see $500,000 injected by Green Leader and $300,000 by the UNDP. The project will mainly work to develop the value chain in the eastern provinces of the Kingdom.

Deal signed with China over banana exports Phnom Penh Post 3rd Aug 2018
The Kingdom on Thursday signed a joint phytosanitary protocol for banana exports to China, with officials saying this was the first move in promoting the product on the world stage. The agreement was signed by the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo and Agriculture Minster Veng Sakhon, who said: “It [the agreement] will open the door for Cambodia to export more agriculture products to the world’s largest market.”

Health & Life Sciences

Kingdom monitors pig imports amid outbreak Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
While African swine fever, a virus that affects pigs has broken out in China and seems to be spreading across the region, the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association has urged the Ministry of Agriculture to monitor all animals imported from neighbouring countries. The association’s director Srun Poav said China had already culled 38,000 infected pigs and the virus remains a concern for local smallholders and companies alike.

Health Ministry issues warning on China-made rabies vaccine Khmer Times 2nd Sep 2018
The Health Ministry on Saturday warned all pharmacies, hospitals and other health service providers to immediately stop selling a China-made rabies vaccine over concerns it was not manufactured according to strict guidelines. A ministry statement identified the Chinese company making and distributing the vaccine as Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences and said the product is distributed in Cambodia through K-Man Co Ltd.

Bird flu outbreak in Tboung Khmum Khmer Times 30th Aug 2018
Following an outbreak of bird flu in Tboung Khmum province last week, provincial and ministry officials are warning villagers to be cautious and aware that the virus could be transmitted to humans. Heng Piseth, provincial agriculture department director, said yesterday that on August 22, 40 infected chickens were found with H5N1, commonly known as bird flu.

UNFPA Pledges to Continue Cooperation with Gov’t Khmer Times 21st Aug 2018
The Foreign Ministry said today that the United Nations Population Fund will continue to work with the government to improve the health sector in the country. Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann said that a call was made to Minister Prak Sokhonn by UNFPA representative Sithy Rizvina De Alwis to inform the ministry that UNFPA will continue to work with the government. Mr Sophann said that the ministry welcomed the call and said that the government is ready to work with UNFPA’s operations in Cambodia in 2019.

ICT

Kingdom urged to adapt with industry 4.0 Phnom Penh Post 7th Sep 2018
Referring to the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology, a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) led a seminar on the coming challenges and how the country can benefit from its growth. The UN Development Programme, the UN Industrial Development Organisation and the International Labour Organisation were all accounted for at the high-level seminar in the capital. Speaking at the event, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia Pauline Tamesis said that industry 4.0 presents huge opportunities for Cambodia. But, the country will need to deal with some challenges.

Bong Pheak — Combating human trafficking through an employment... Geeks in Cambodia 29th Aug 2018
The allure of promises of higher wages in Thailand, Malaysia or China and a lack of information about jobs for low-skilled workers in Cambodia has led to large numbers of the country’s rural poor being at risk of labour trafficking. As part of its countrywide efforts to reduce susceptibility to human trafficking, USAID, through non-profits Winrock and Open Institute, has created the Bong Pheak employment website; and is very pleased with its popularity.

Kingdom establishes an association for fintech Phnom Penh Post 17th Aug 2018
The Cambodia Fintech Association (CFA) was officially launched on Wednesday with the aim of facilitating collaboration among players in the Kingdom in its nascent financial technology sector. The CFA will operate out of a 464 square metre coworking space in the capital’s Daun Penh district. It counts digital payment companies, banks and financial operators among its members.

Cambodia PM's Facebook account hacked to 'give away parliament seats' Channel NewsAsia 11th Aug 2018
Hackers targeted the official Facebook page of Cambodia's premier Hun Sen on Friday (Aug 10) and falsely claimed he would cede several parliamentary seats, an official said, after the leader swept last month's election virtually uncontested. The long-serving leader's ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is expected to take all 125 spots in parliament when official results are announced next week, cementing Cambodia's status as a one-party state.

Kingdom moves up on innovation index Phnom Penh Post 10th Aug 2018
The Kingdom moved up three places in this year’s edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII), published by Cornell University’s business school and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Ranked in the 98th spot out of 126 countries analysed, Cambodia moved three notches from its position last year at 101 out of 127. The study scores countries on factors related to innovation such as education, patent applications, technology adoption, industrial research collaboration, FDI inflows, knowledge-intensive employment, and many other aspects.

Infrastructure

World Bank studies Siem Reap drainage Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
The World Bank may approve a $50 million loan for development projects in Siem Reap, including $20 million for clean water, sanitation and drainage system projects. Bou Saroeun, a communication officer with the World Bank, said the project is under consideration.

Rail cars en route to Kingdom Phnom Penh Post 29th Aug 2018
Three new train carriages ordered from Mexico for the Kingdom’s rail services will arrive in October, an executive of Royal Railways said. The Royal Group subsidiary, which in 2010 won a 30-year concession to operate and upgrade the Kingdom’s rail network, began running a new service in mid-April from the capital’s city centre to Phnom Penh International Airport.

Worldbridge, UNDP and UNIDO ink MoU to bolster development efforts Phnom Penh Post 20th Aug 2018
Worldbridge International, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for three projects based on affordable housing, green logistics and connectivity for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through the MoU, UNDP will provide support for advancements in solar power, waste management, public transportation, driver training, road safety, and market education for entrepreneurs.

Travel & Tourism

Hospitality firms eye Cambodian market Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
With the local tourism industry thriving, two well-known hospitality groups are now eyeing the Cambodian market. Christian Pucher, director of development in Asia at Hilton, said they are now looking for local partners that can help them penetrate the local market. “Cambodia has a great history and a rich culture, coupled with impressive destinations like Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

Cambodia, France bolster tourism cooperation Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
Cambodia and France this week agreed to strengthen cooperation to boost the Kingdom’s tourism industry, and expressed the intention to draft and sign a memorandum of understanding on the subject in the near future. The countries’ commitment to work together was expressed during a meeting Tuesday between Thong Khon, the Cambodian Tourism Minister, and Laurent Triponey, acting charge d’affairs at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh, which took place at the Ministry of Tourism.

Cambodia needs 100,000 new rooms in the next ten years to meet rising demand: Ministry Khmer Times 6th Sep 2018
The Ministry of Tourism predicts that Cambodia will need at least 100,000 additional guesthouse and hotel rooms in the next decade to face the growing number of foreign visitors and domestic tourists. “To answer growing demand brought about by the increasing number of tourists, Cambodia will need 100,000 new rooms by 2028, 60,000 of which must be in luxury establishments,” Minister Thong Khon said. Mr Khon called on international investors to build new hotels and guesthouses in Cambodia to meet that demand.

Dara Sakor resort to break ground early 2019 Khmer Times 5th Sep 2018
Construction work for a massive China-backed development, the Dara Sakor Seashore Resort in Koh Kong province, will begin early next year. The project, located at Botum Sakor National Park, is being developed by China’s Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), who signed an agreement with the government to build the resort in 2008.

As incomes grow, more locals travel to neighbouring Vietnam Khmer Times 28th Aug 2018
With better road connectivity and an expanding offer of tour packages, the number of Cambodians visiting neighbouring Vietnam during holidays or for medical purposes has boomed in the last few years, industry insiders said. Men Doeun, a tour guide now showing Cambodian tourists around Da Nang, in central Vietnam, said good relations between the governments, better transportation infrastructure and affordable holiday packages have allowed more Cambodians to vacation in Vietnam. “Higher incomes are allowing more and more Cambodians to travel abroad, with many choosing Vietnam as their destination,” he said.

Tourist arrivals up by 12% Phnom Penh Post 17th Aug 2018
Cambodia welcomed more than three million foreign tourists in the first half this year, an increase of 12.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, official data from the Ministry of Tourism said. Leading the way in the rise were Chinese and Vietnamese tourists. The Ministry of Tourism’s data released on Wednesday showed there were 931,763 visitors from China over the period, which accounted for 31 per cent of all inbound tourists.