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Archive for September 2008

The Nation:No need to inflame border dispute

Article appeared 18 September 2008

by Kok Sap

The Nation bet its journalistic ethics and impartiality over PAD-Democrat Party shady politics. It shouldn’t have sniffed the tree the monkeys weren’t on.

For the real history of the so called border dispute, it was then Siam-Franco commission that imposed upon Cambodia from 1904-1907 on up that Dangrek Range was a divide. In spite of historical legitimacy and against its will, Cambodia had no say in it but its rulers recognized and accepted the so called Siamese- Franco border reality.

 So the problem was not coming from Cambodia but Siam now turned Thailand that kept denying and questioning own past competence. Apparently Thailand is still mired by ethnocentrism and colonialism as  the world begins to witness its internal Yala- Pattani deadly situation.

The 1962 International Court of Justice ruling said the Khmer Preah Vihear compound and nearby patch is belonged to Cambodia. In 1967, after arm clashes over Preah Vihear ownership,dictator regime Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman maneuvered agendas to create ASEAN bloc.

Up to now with chips on shoulders, Thailand seems to justify its position from habitual offence to croc tears-defense. To date it dangerously sends its armed forces to occupy Khmer old monuments along the so called border.

Thailand thinks it is Ok for it to assault others .Yet it is inappropriate for Cambodia to seek competent third party intervention to prevent arm clashes which most likely causing by Thailand politics.

The recurrence of faux pas politics to endanger neighbor in Thailand behalf is a violation of the ASEAN One vision, one community, one identity Charter.

The Nation said the dispute must be solved bilaterally in the spirit of good Asean neighborliness. I agree.  But the neighborliness in ASEAN way seems constituting only ONE way.

The Nation said the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission is the proper mechanism to handle the issue. It might take time but it could end the border disputes peacefully and fairly. Well I like to say so and agree on this.

Through observations in behavioral patterns, ASEAN is not quite ready to bake the cake without biting it.

To me if Thailand via ASEAN is so conscionable and moral, why it keeps crying foul and throwing tantrums at Cambodia for bringing unresolved problems to the competent International body for help.

Speaking of leadership and exemplary, Thailand is in much more of “you go” I follow “you” later posture all these times. May be it is time for ASEAN to mean what it says on papers.  That is the only way to curb criticism.

The Nation is a respected voice in Thailand press but it shall never allow its just journalism and ethics to be exploited by the shady political ego trips.

In this inflamed matter, The Nation should be more sympathetic with the poorly and weakly Cambodia in comparison to too affluent and powerful Thailand.

So I say it is not Cambodia fault for not trusting ASEAN or Thailand in that matter. Cambodia is striving to do the right thing to protect its interests. Thus it should be credited in its attempt to erect the fence before the white elephant raiding its paddies, again.

Written by Kham

20/09/2008 at 2:32 am

Thai Rak Thai revolution through PPP

(BangkokPost) The ruling People Power party (PPP) picked acting premier Somchai Wongsawat as its official candidate as prime minister as expected on Monday – but not unanimously.

The executive committee of the PPP agreed to nominate Mr Somchai when parliament meets on Wednesday. Various committees still have to meet, but the five coalition partner-parties also said they were on board with Mr Somchai.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), of course, rejected the nomination and vowed to continue their protest. Anyone from PPP or other coalition parties is unacceptable, the anti-governmnent group said.

But more serious opposition came from inside PPP.

“Friends of Newin” Chidchob, the banned but still powerful Thai Rak Thai party executive, threatened to break the party’s ranks and vote for caretaker deputy prime minister and finance minister Surapong Suebwonglee on Wednesday, instead of Mr Somchai.

The Friends of Newin held their own press conference on Monday, calling for the party to reconsider its resolution to nominate deputy leader and acting PM Somchai.

The group presented the signatures of 73 MPs who support this stance.

This same group supported the selection of disqualified prime minister Samak Sundaravej back as premier, but now that he has declined the nomination, they’ve switched to support deputy leader Md Surapong as PM.

Songsak Thongsri, a key figure of Newin’s Friends faction in PPP, stated that Md Surapong is the most suitable person and is capable of running the country.

Caretaker agriculture and cooperatives minister and deputy leader of Chart Thai party Somsak Prissanananthakul stated that his party members will vote in support of the PM candidate proposed by the ruling PPP.

Caretaker natural resources and environment minister and Matchima Thipataya party leader Anongwan Thepsuthin also said her party will support the person nominated by PPP as the next prime minister.

 

Written by Kham

16/09/2008 at 3:35 am

Cambodia gripes that Thailand is ‘testing patience’

Rooster in disguise

Rooster in disguise

Phnom Penh (dpa) – Last week, Cambodia said it was content to be patient with Thailand over disputed border areas, but claims Thai troops had moved into a third border temple area over the weekend have freshly irked Cambodia, the government said Monday.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said by telephone that claims Thai troops had moved into an area close to Ta Krabey temple, close to the Ta Moan temple complex which is also in dispute, had angered the government and Cambodia was preparing to appeal to a “third international party” to intervene.

“We are preparing our documents. We will see if Thailand changes its character or not. If not, we will go to an international agency to mediate,” Kanharith said.

Thai troops moved into what Thailand says is disputed territory and Cambodia says is sovereign around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple in July, just a week after UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage listing over Thai objections.

Ta Moan, 150 kilometres to the west, soon also drew Cambodian complaints, with claims of Thai encroachment, and now Ta Krabey.

Thailand says the claims are baseless and it has always had troops stationed near the latter two temples.

Last week Kanharith said Cambodia was prepared to give Thailand time to sort out its turbulent political affairs before delayed bilateral border talks, several rounds of which have so far failed to reach an agreement, were resumed.

However local media, including Khmer-language Rasmei Kampuchea daily, reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s patience has been tested over the latest developments and he had called for all relevant authorities to prepare a case to take to an international mediator which Cambodia has not yet identified.

Written by Kham

16/09/2008 at 3:24 am

Posted in ASEAN General News

Tagged with

Anarchy breaks Samak spirit

Samak withdraws his bid to become prime minister

Samak Sundaravej, leader of People Power Party, expected to resign from the party soon. : source

PPP leader Samak Sundaravej has decided to end his bid to become prime minister after witnessing the parliament session on Friday which saw many MPs disagreed with his nomination to be prime minister.

 

Somsak Kietsuranont, PPP executive member, said that now it is understood that Samak who is disqualified for violating charter earlier this week, has decided not to accept his party’s nomination for him to be prime minister again.

 

“It is understood that Khun Samak will no longer want to be reinstate as prime minister again after the Parliamentary session on Friday morning,” Somsak said.

 

Meanwhile a well-informed source in the PPP said that Samak is highly likely that Samak will resign from the party in the near future.

 

House speaker Chai Chidchob postponed the meeting on Friday morning after failing to meet the quorum of the House seats.

 

Most of the coalition parties as well as part of his own PPP boycotted the session, citing Samak should not be reinstated as the premiership again.

Written by Kham

12/09/2008 at 11:32 pm

Rice eaters,beware

Japan claims finding ‘tainted’ Thai rice     

Tokyo (dpa) – The Japanese government plans to return imported rice to Thailand and other exporting nations if it is found to be inedible, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota said Friday.

Japan’s decision followed recent cases in which a Japanese company sold rice imported from Thailand, Vietnam and China which the government now claims was tainted with mould or contained pesticide beyond a legal limit for edible use.

Mr Ota’s statement on Friday contained no details about the allegedly bad-quality Thai rice.

The firm bought the rice from the Japanese government for industrial use but sold it to make sake rice wine, distilled liquor or sweets.

The farm ministry’s decision Friday banned trading in tainted rice.

Japan imports the minimum amount of rice required by the World Trade Organisation.

The farm ministry had been selling about 2,000 tons annually of rice tainted with mould, damaged during shipment or with high levels of pesticide but only for nonedible industrial use, such as making glue or for animal feed.

Written by Kham

12/09/2008 at 11:14 pm

Posted in ASEAN General News

Cambodia Beauty in the eyes of donors

 

Cambodia Advance 15 Places in Doing Business Report 09 Rankings

 

 

 

   

PhnomPenh, Cambodia, September 10, 2008 – Cambodia has moved up 15 places in Doing Business 2009, a report published today by IFC and the World Bank, that compares the ease of doing business around the world. Cambodia’s significantly higher standing is the result of reforms that make it easier for businesses to get credit and to close a business. While much progress remains to be done in several areas, the report names Cambodia as the world’s top reformer in easing access to credit.

Doing Business 2009, which compares 181 economies, uses 10 indicators of business regulation: (1) starting a business, (2) dealing with construction permits, (3) employing workers, (4) registering property, (5) getting credit, (6) protecting investors, (7) paying taxes, (8) trading across borders, (9) enforcing contracts, and (10) closing a business.

The rankings are derived from reviews of laws and regulations, and in-depth interviews with business service providers such as accountants and lawyers. Doing Business surveys do not assess such areas as macro-economic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates. 

“These are very encouraging results,” said Stéphane Guimbert, Senior Country Economist for the World Bank in Cambodia, “especially when you consider that many other countries are also making reforms. In 2007, Cambodia ranked 150 out of 181 economies worldwide; this year Cambodia rose to 135 out of 181 economies. This means that Cambodia effectively moved up 15 places.

“These positive results show that important reforms are being introduced leading to substantial improvement in Cambodia’s ranking this year. These results are consistent with the survey of 500 firms that we are just completing to assess the investment climate in Cambodia. This, in turn, should help boost economic growth. As Doing Business research shows, reforms pay off in greater growth and greater investment.”

Cambodia’s strong showing this year is a result of two reforms. The first is passage of the Law on Secured Transactions in 2007 which makes it possible for a business to use its moveable and intangible assets as security for a loan. Assets include equipment, vehicles, inventory, accounts receivable, and agricultural commodities. Before this law was written, bank lending was secured almost entirely with fixed collateral such as land and buildings.

In addition to the Law on Secured Transactions, the Ministry of Commerce has established an Internet-based Registry Office which allows financial institutions to quickly, easily, and for a minimal fee, register the moveable and intangible assets they have taken as collateral. Financial institutions can also search for prior claims on this collateral.

“Enabling banks to accept moveable assets as collateral is a major improvement in access to finance in Cambodia,” said Trang Nguyen, IFC’s Head of Advisory Services for the Mekong Region.  

“Now a successful small and medium enterprise that has valuable moveable assets but lacks land and buildings to use as collateral, can get the financing needed to improve its business. This, in turn, should enable SMEs, which represent over 99% of Cambodia’s firms and 45% of employment, to expand, create more jobs, and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. Creating jobs is especially important given the nearly 250,000 young people who are reaching working age and joining the labor market every year.”

A second reform which helped Cambodia rise in this year’s Doing Business rankings was the passage of the Law on Bankruptcy in 2007. 

Although Cambodia’s rise in the Doing Business rankings is primarily a result of passage of the Secured Transactions Law, and to a lesser extent, the bankruptcy law, another reform helped as well says Guimbert. “Cambodia has also improved indicators on trading across borders by reducing the time required to export from 37 to 22 days and import times from 46 to 30 days.”

Guimbert says even greater import/export improvements are expected as a result of the May 2008 launch of ASYCUDA (Automated System of Customs’ Data) in the Port of Sihanoukville, which was developed with World Bank assistance. “It is too early yet to see much data on the impact of computerization, but exporters such as garment manufacturers, who were initially very skeptical, say they see improvements in export times as a result of this new system.”

“Economies need rules that are efficient, easy to use, and accessible to all who have to use them. Otherwise, businesses get trapped in the unregulated, informal economy, where they have less access to finance and hire fewer workers, and where workers lack the protection of labor law,” said Michael Klein, World Bank/IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development. “Doing Business encourages good rules, and good rules are a better basis for healthy business than ‘who you know’,” he added.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In the Mekong region, IFC manages MPDF, a multi-donor initiative delivering advisory services in Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Cambodia. IFC MPDF’s donors are Australia, Canada, the European Union, Finland, IFC, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland

Contacts in Phnom Penh:
Ann Bishop
Abishop1@ifc.org
Bou Saroeun
sbou@worldbank.org
In Hong Kong
Andrew Mak
AMak@ifc.org

 Submitted by Kok Sap

Written by Kham

12/09/2008 at 9:44 pm

Thailand Chair Role likely deepening ASEAN scars

One Identity Dream

One Identity Dream

By Kok Sap-10 September 2008

Back in 1967, Prime Minister Thanat Khoman was one of the 5 regional dictators. He was the ruthless absolute ruler of the 35 year old new nation Thailand. In that period Thailand was marred by military abuses in human rights and people political rights. Also the other four founders: Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia were also ruled by known dictators as well.


So what’s the fuzz? Well, if you are familiar with the street corner fast flipped three card game, you shall see how slickly Thailand is pulling its means justified the ends.  

I have to admit, what a TKO in diplomacy for Thailand in light of its habitually domestic abuses in UN human rights charter, violation of International Court of Justice and ASEAN charter responsibility and obligation plus bullying Cambodia over its Khmer temple, Preah Vihear. 

Squarely, as one of the ASEAN bloc leaders, Thailand, is miserably failing to uphold its honor and pledge to ASEAN charter. Not only that, at least, it seemingly violates the following articles (2), (5), (20), (21), (22), and (24).


On 8-09-2008 ASEAN lecture, Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan thundered,” The world is watching ASEAN very, very intensely. They are watching the way which we are establishing our community. They are waiting to see if the ASEAN Charter will be ratified by all ten Member States so that we can celebrate the full ratification of the Charter at the 14th ASEAN Summit here in Bangkok under the Chairmanship of Thailand in the middle of December this year (2008).  I have full confidence, that the three remaining members of ASEAN, including Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, will ratify this sacred document in time for full implementation by the time all Leaders assemble here in the city of Bangkok in December.”

I wonder, if Charter is a sacred document, why such god fearing Thailand drags its feet?

Dr. Surin continued, “At the Opening Ceremony of the First Meeting of the 42nd ASEAN Standing Committee, ASEAN colleagues were informed that Thailand will focus on 3Rs under her leadership of ASEAN. The first “R” is to realise the purposes and visions of the Charter. The second “R” is to revitalise ASEAN as a people-centred community. The third “R” is to reinforce ASEAN cooperation to better contribute to the quality of life of our 570 million people. I would like to add one more “R” this afternoon, that is, to reaffirm the spirit of our founding fathers 41 years ago here in this city when they signed the Bangkok Declaration (or ASEAN Declaration) on 8 August 1967.” 

3R plus R, of course, it is a sound bite for media consumption. But Dr. Surin failed to mention over 80 million folks of Thailand and Cambodia combined are in danger of war in behalf of Thailand over the International Court of Justice already decided territorial dispute ruling in 1962. It is urgent for ASEAN action to prevent tragedy. So far it seems taken aback while Thailand pumps more problems for Cambodia.

One also note it was Thanat Khoman of same Thailand who waged war with Cambodia during that period. Because of his faulty foreign policy, he hoped to lure USA to navigate his agendas through ASEAN formation over both defunct ASA then SEATO. That’s the truth, but yet Dr.Surin bemused me as he went to call those dictators including tyrant Thanat Khoman from the 60 era his founding fathers. 

Is this his sincerity or a silvered line of diplomacy?


Also to a sensible mind, it is incredibly to hear Ex Prime Minister Thao Samak Subdaravej eulogizing such dictator Thanat Khoman as the revered visionary founder. This raised some eyebrows. 

Thaan Nayok Samak lamented,” When Dr. Thanat Khoman first proposed the idea of regional integration back in 1967, I could not help but wonder how it could be possible during the Cold War, and with bilateral disputes between countries in the region still fresh in memory. But he and his colleagues from the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia were so determined to make it possible. Together, they addressed previous shortcomings to create a regional organization. However, with sheer determination and political will, as well as trust and sincerity, they succeeded and now we have all seen ASEAN evolve into a major and vibrant organization.”

Now I can see why they said watch for hands that caressed, those killed too. I am flipped out literally. 

I do have suspicion since both Ex-Prime Minister and Secretary General are rivalry in Thailand domestic politics, but they echoed one another like cheek and tongue,” ASEAN has gradually evolved and is now on course to realise the vision and dream of the Founding Fathers. From five member countries in 1967, it now has ten countries. From a small forum focusing primarily on security issues, it is now an emerging ASEAN Community that will touch people’s lives. It was an unknown entity in Southeast Asia, but is now an internationally recognized and respected regional grouping.”

In this juncture, what Thao Samak should say now ASEAN has only 3 likely democratic out of 10 member states in the same room. It is an achievement that bended human decency and laws.

I also want to raise Chair and Secretary General Role to scrutiny, both positions should not be filled by representatives from same origin of nationality. Thus next ASEAN Summit shall re-examine these articles (11), (14), (25), (26), (29) and (32) too. It should state clearly the roles of Chair and Secretary General in the event of oddity of both are from the same legitimate nation.

Presently Secretary General and Chair are from Thailand where it is unclear why the formerly Malay people in southern region are waging war against Bangkok rule. Besides, Mr. Samak himself has just fell out of the democratically majority elected government by his foes, the anarchists, who are endangering Cambodia and Thailand state of peace.

Many experts know ASEAN is synonymous of dictatorship and diverse ancient cultures. It remains much the same throughout decades. Unlike European Union where the entire bloc is dominated by same Romanized culture, civilization and religion. Therefore, it is tough to sell ASEAN wishful one vision, one community and one identity, which, in reality, are impossible based on culture, language, and religion not politics for the majority of 570 million folks. 

As it seems 2008 will be much likely a Thailand showcase of real democracy and transparence in laws abiding in own affairs and good governance first. So it must bow out of responsibility as ASEAN next Chairman. 

Like he said, indeed, the world and members are watching Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan more intensely than Thailand uncertain future of government. Best at time, what he should do is to motion that shall be deemed consensus and excuse from the Summit for Thailand to wait out until next round. It is the right thing to do to by pass Thailand chairmanship in this rotation .

See Charter at www.asean.org

 

 

 

 

Written by Kham

11/09/2008 at 5:28 am

Posted in ASEAN General News

Tagged with