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"To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it," Plato

Archive for February 2010

Thai king back in hospital…Taii king terminally ill

28/2/2010(AFP)
Bangkok – Thailand’s revered king returned to hospital early on Sunday after a brief outing to his Bangkok palace, one of few appearances in public since being admitted five months ago, a hospital official said.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch and regarded as a demi-god by many Thais, attended a private function at his Chitralada Palace on Saturday night, local media reported.

Television footage showed the king, wearing a pink shirt, in his wheelchair viewing the river in front of the Siriraj hospital in Bangkok, paying homage to a statue of Buddha and being driven to the palace in a motorcade.

‘His Majesty went back to the hospital at 1.00am,’ a hospital official said on condition of anonymity.

The 82-year-old monarch has been a stabilising force during six politically turbulent decades on the throne, but Thailand has been rocked by four years of rival political protests that have sometimes turned violent.

King Bhumibol was admitted to Siriraj hospital on Sept 19 with a lung infection and fever. He has appeared in public several times since then.

Written by Kham

28/02/2010 at 11:57 pm

Op-ed: Sam Raingsy, the Unlikely Traitor

Sam Raingsy

27/2/2010 by Kok Sap
The saying,”One sane among the crazier of thousands is the craziest,” so off it goes Cambodia. Citizen disrespects the Constitution is a breach, Government breaches the Constitution is a treason.
Again, government under Hun Sen agreed and allowed Yuon to disrespect Cambodia as a sovereign nation with appropriate map and documents posited with UN since its membership initiated. It is the government that commits treacherous act in neglecting its citizen concerns over matter that is important to their property and livelihood. Yet Hun Sen and government organ has the audacity to sue and arrest the victims and nationalists instead. Also government perpetuates its ineptitude and cowardness to lay blames upon citizen Sam Raingsy who had done quite contrary to the government that let Yuon violating own citizens rights. So it claims Sam Raingsy publicized fake maps and documents to discredit Yuon and government works. The charge is a pathetic excuse and nothing more but the protection of Yuon hypocrisy.

Is Sam Raingsy a traitor as he had acted against the foreign interest?

No, he is not a traitor. To defend the national territorial integrity is everyone business. That’s exactly what Mr. Sam Raingsy did. Now Hun Sen sues him in the unreliable and biased judiciary system which he controls who’s who on the bench. Hun Sen and government are cowardly toward foreign country but act tough on the law abiding citizens. How lame this could it be?

Who’s Sam Raingsy? What did he do?

Up to now Cambodians should know who Mr. Sam Raingsy really is. He’s married to Mrs.Thioulong Saumura, a daughter of Sihanouk’s general/politician and part time film co-star, Mr. Nhek Thioulong. He’s no stranger to Cambodia tumultuous politics through past decades. Correctly he is a staunch conservative and advocate for free progressive Cambodia with pluralist democracy under the inherent traditional monarchic system. He has been a key player in Sihanoukist party and resistance movement since 1982. He was also a member of the Supreme National Council prior to Yuon withdrawal. He has been a part of long and heated negotiation for peace and reconciliation agreement. He was dubbed as Mr. Clean in 1993 Sihanoukist dominated government. Because of his tenacious scrutiny over corruption and drug bust, in 1995 he was let go from Minister of Finance and political party spokesperson. In 1998 election, he was crucified by foreign press over his ultra conservative rhetoric campaign against Yuon migrants and settlements in Cambodia. He has been always targeted by Hun Sen’s political crucifixion. His thinking is aligned with his educational background in Western linear logics of low context culture inclined. This is something that I see Mr. Sam Raingsy needs to readjust his communication or rhetoric in Cambodia high context culture which is most indirect inclined. Those means in Cambodia society ‘straight talk and say it as it is’ is totally unwelcome and might be offensive too sometimes. This is how he got himself in biased press roasting and put words in his mouth. That much I can say about him and his conviction and loyalty for Cambodia but never was he a traitor.

To stay in politics, he then formed his own political party presently known as Sam Raingsy. Naming a major political party after a private person namesake is unheard of but it is the only way to avoid court conspired manipulation over intellectual property ownership rights.In this alone it shows how unindependent the Cambodia court system and the judicial officers are. His party is the only opposing voice in the communist dominated National Assembly. At this time, the trump up charges are seriously infringed his political opportunity in 2013 election. Hun Sen is gearing up in wiping out all stronger oppositions from next election.

In personal, Mr. Sam Raingsy is a very smart and successful entrepreneur in France, well educated multi-linguist, emotionally charged and venomously articulate in persuing the goodness for Cambodia majority. In doing such, he was nearly killed for a couple of time when he led protests against Hun Sen, an elementary educated Communist and a Pol Pot follower, suppressive rule.

This man came from a long line of family history that had a lot to do with royal palace up and down as well as politics. His maternal grand father, Vaing Thioun was a French protégé and palace minister who wielded tremendous power over Phnom Penh palace during French colonial era.

His 3 uncles from his mother side: Thioun Mumm, Thioun Thieun, and Thioun Prasith were hard core communists educated in Paris and outspoken prominent intellectuals back in the early 50’s. During Democratic Republic Kampuchea era, they were the Kampuchea Communist Party heavy weights and proponents of anti Yuon dominance. All of his uncles were long-time intimate buddies of Brother #1, Pol Pot, who was one time a Yuon accomplice and chief engineer of killing fields from 1975 onward.

Other hand his paternal grand-father, Sam Nhean, was an important top echelon official in Sihanouk exclusive politico club. On top of that his father, Mr. Sam Sary, was a suave womanizer and savvy French educated lawyer whom Sihanouk confided most of state affairs with until 1957 when a fall out took place and led to his removal from ambassadorship due to domestic violence against his mistress in London, England. He was Sihanouk’s hero who helped seal 1954 Geneva Conference deals. Later he was disappeared and believed to have been eliminated by Yuon secret agents.

For Mr. Sam Raingsy, the whole Cambodia and some foreign donors know his political and personal endeavour but for sure he‘s no traitor.

In spite of personal flaws and politically missteps, he appears to be more sensible and worthy more than the 90 MP belong to the ruling party. He has more guts as a politician and a mortal man to stand against immorality and injustice. Undoubtedly he is the person whom Hun Sen loves to hate and see gone for good.

The spat over Yuon illegally planted markers on Khmer farmers land is something that the government must reflect on its own transparency and accountability. Instead of saying thank you for bringing the message into the open, Hun Sen shamelessly condemn the righteous and reward the egregious ones. The government persecutes him for breaking the news to the open. It’s the government pre-emptive strike to shield its leadership incompetence and unbecoming. Hun Sen and his government seem to lack of critical thinking and moral virtue.

This we can sum, Government is to work for Cambodia but if it benefits only a handful in the government then it is no longer government but merely an organized crime syndicate. Usually real people government always sees to people and defend their interest at all costs.People shall arrest Hun Sen and let the people court judge his crimes in abetting foreign nation to take Cambodia people land.
In this scenario,Hun Sen is the traitor because he is the head of the organized crime syndicate.

Written by Kham

28/02/2010 at 12:39 am

Op-Ed:Who Delay the Anti-corruption Legislation?

25/2/2010 by Kok Sap
Constitution-Article 101 states” The functions of members of the Royal Government shall be incompatible with professional activities in trade or industry and with holding of any position in the public service.”It seems clear that the laws forbid the public servants from involving in private businesses while in office.

The international donors and people want Cambodia National Assembly to pass the anti-corruption and graft law since 1993 Constitution went into effects. But to date such law has been held back despite the outcry from opposition and world donors. The impression is the anti-corruption law is still in the early elephant pregnancy and floating somewhere between Sok An plush office and the Mr. Yes Sir, the President of the Assembly, cabinet. The opposition legislators asked for the copy but they were advised the legislation was still with the Council of Ministers where Sok An’s reign supreme.

This proves the government does not want this law to take effect while it is handled by the most corruptive person in the kingdom. According to the Global Witness Country for Sale and Family Tree reports, that person is the Napoleonic complex aliased Sok An, the CPP blood sucking eight hand avatar.

Because of marital relations with Sen’s family this semi-dwarf avatar wields power tremendously and pulls strings on all ministers included PM Hun Sen and all generals. All dare not to mess with a barely 5 ft. 4 man.
As a second generation migrant of Sino-Yuon descent, he connives his way through from a petit clerk to the prime minister highest confidant and protégé while his hands are in big businesses all the times.

Aside from his private lucrative ventures revenue, he receives self allotted big multiple salaries from government budget. His reputation speaks volume and most feared official in post Pol Pot era. Behind the curtain in party circle, he is amiable and more popular than his talking head boss, Primo Hun Sen. From the internal sources, the eight hand avatar collects annual tribute from the officials whom he has assigned to greasy posts in government service.

Also note most of the foreign aids and assistance must go through Sok An office first. He actually runs Hun Sen’s official and personal life days in and days out. Very rare for him to present at events and escort Hun Sen entourage. He is the most apparent designated interim PM when Hun Sen is not in town or decapitate.

On a monthly basis, imagine how much money this man received from his private entreprise within government control?
Most rooky ministers, Touristic and Gambling Authority, Land Mine Authority, ECCC and the Join Border Commission senior posts must pay due to Sok An to have posts. Since its creation, the Cambodia National Petroleum Authority and revenue collection duty is already given to Sok An.

Beside Sok An, do we know how many deputies are in the Executive Branch?

How many of them in the executive branch do not have professional activities in trade or industry?

Out of the three branches, it appears the Executive and Judiciary collaborates to downplay the Legislative branch. In the essence, majority of the deputies from the ruling party are either incompetent or the accomplices to keep the chamber seats warm. This is how the buck gets stalled whether the anti-corruption and eastern border demarcation legislation. They are not there to be the people representation and defense. No one can tell the difference to what extent of power for the individuals who hold dual roles in both the legislature and government.

In the book, the Constitutional Council shall examine and interpret laws and have the final say on laws. Unfortunately, up to this point, people hadn’t heard from the Constitutional Council legal opinion or advisory on anything yet.

As it seems this body is no more than a rubberstamp for the Executive agendas. So in a nut shell, the Constitution is merely a piece of written laws without spirit and morality.

When a government abused laws, the unlawful runs the country.

Written by Kham

25/02/2010 at 10:49 pm

Migrant Workers Face Killings, Extortion, Labor Rights Abuses

Human Rights Watch
(Bangkok) – The Thai government should swiftly act to end police abuse and discriminatory laws and policies against migrant workers and their families, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The February deadline for more than a million migrant workers to enter the “nationality verification” process or face immediate deportation creates the risk of further abuses and should be postponed until it can be carried out in a fair manner.

Human Rights Watch’s 124-page report, “From the Tiger to the Crocodile: Abuse of Migrant Workers in Thailand,” is based on 82 interviews with migrants from neighboring Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. It describes the widespread and severe human rights abuses faced by migrant workers in Thailand, including killings, torture in detention, extortion, and sexual abuse, and labor rights abuses such as trafficking, forced labor, and restrictions on organizing.

“Migrant workers make huge contributions to Thailand’s economy, but receive little protection from abuse and exploitation,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Those from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos suffer horribly at the hands of corrupt civil servants and police, unscrupulous employers, and violent thugs, who all realize they can abuse migrants with little fear of consequences.”

Human Rights Watch said that migrant workers face an imminent threat from the Thai government’s decision that all migrants must enter the national verification process by February 28, or face arrest and deportation. Eighty percent of the migrant workers in Thailand are from Burma. They are particularly at risk, as they face ethnic and political conflict in their home country. The costs of the nationality verification process, which can amount to two or three months of salary, are unacceptably high for these migrant communities.

Human Rights Watch said that unrealistic demands set by the Thai government, coupled with a complicated and unregulated nationality verification process, could lead to mass deportations of migrants from Thailand to Burma and situations that could result in fundamental human rights and labor rights violations.

Police abuse migrants with impunity. A Burmese migrant told Human Rights Watch that she witnessed two Thai policemen in Ranong repeatedly kick a Burmese youth in the chest, killing him, because he did not reply to their inquiries in Thai.

“Many Burmese were watching and nobody went and helped because all of the people were afraid of those police, so nobody said anything about this killing, and nobody informed the police station,” said the witness. “When I saw this [killing], I felt that we Burmese people always have to be humble and have to be afraid of the Thai police. I feel that there is no security for our Burmese people [in Thailand] or for myself.”

Local police and officials frequently ignore or fail to effectively investigate complaints. Provincial decrees and national laws prohibit migrants from establishing their own organizations to assert their rights, while restrictions in policy on changing employers, moving outside designated areas, and convening meetings with more than a handful of persons leave migrants vulnerable to exploitation and ill-treatment.

Another migrant worker told Human Rights Watch how two armed men approached her in the rubber plantation where she worked, shot her husband dead in front of her, and then both men raped her. Despite a suspect being named in a police report, the police did not pursue the case.

“I am Burmese and a migrant worker. That is why the police don’t care about this case,” she said. “My husband and I are only migrant workers and we have no rights here.”

Migrants reported constant fear of extortion by the police, who demand money or valuables from migrants held in police custody in exchange for their release. It is not uncommon for a migrant to lose the equivalent of one to several months’ pay in one extortion incident.

“Many officials and police treat migrant workers like walking ATMs,” said Adams. “They are just part of a system that robs and mistreats migrants wherever they turn.”

Human Rights Watch found that in several provinces decrees by provincial governors have increased migrants’ vulnerability by enforcing prohibitions on use of mobile phones and motorcycles, imposing harsh restrictions on movement, outlawing migrant gatherings, and enforcing nighttime curfews. These repressive decrees reflect the treatment of migrants as a national security problem instead of as part of a global phenomenon of the movement of people for economic, environmental, and political reasons.

“If the Abhisit government really is reformist, it should immediately abolish the provincial decrees that keep migrants effectively held under lock and key, bound to their job sites, and cut off from the outside world,” said Adams.

Human Rights Watch called on the Thai government to establish an independent and impartial commission to investigate allegations of abuse by police and other authorities against migrants. Such a commission should have the power to subpoena, require presentation of evidence, and recommend criminal and civil charges against abusers. It should make public reports on a periodic basis.

“Life is extremely uncertain and unsafe for migrants in Thailand as they flee one difficult or deadly situation into another,” said Adams. “They are a living example of the Thai proverb which describes how the vulnerable ‘escape from the tiger, but then meet the crocodile.'”

Source:
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/22/thailand-migrant-workers-face-kill…

A Judicial Process that Cannot Be Regarded as Legitimate

25/02/2010 – Pravit Rojanaphruk
http://www.prachatai.com (newsonline)
What should be done if the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders find ousted and convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra to be guilty of corruptions on Friday February 26? The court should then returns the Bt76 billion assets frozen since Septmeber 2006 coup to Thaksin and his family because the whole process from the staging of the coup on the eve of 19 September 2006, the appointment of the Asset Examination Committee (AEC) by the military junta and so on, was illegitimate – disregard of whether-Thaksin may in fact be corrupt or not.

Those concerns about the state of Thai politics and society today must try to look at the big picture and avoid compartmentalised thinking that deals with the controversial assets case per se without recognising how the case came to be.

Come Friday February 26, the court will have to try its best to explain beyond reasonable doubt (and make it accessible to less-educated public) on whether Thaksin indeed abused his power to benefit the business empire of his family or not. But more important is the need for the Supreme Court to take the opportunity to severe any linkages with the 2006 putsch which have resulted in the destruction of the due process of law, amongst others. A group of generals and lower ranking soldiers armed themselves with weapons to overthrow a government and tear down the constitution cannot be legitimate and it’s now up to the court on Friday to clearly demonstrate that they will no longer merely act as a vessel for anyone to ursurped power and legitimise themselves, no matter how well-intended the coup makers may claim to be. The court should rise above the occasion (although it’s rather late and most unlikely at this stage given that they have earlier accepted the case as legitimate) to see the bigger picture and recognise that two wrongs cannot make a single thing right and admit that the whole process emanating from the coup is illegtimate and wrong. Because of that, the Bt76 wealth must be returned to Thaksin by default. In fact, the whole trial cannot even be regarded as legitimate and the court should not even have taken up the case into the judicial process as it lacks even a single iota of legitimacy.

This doesn’t necessarily make Thaksin innocent by default, however, but by returning the massive sum to Thaksin by default, the court will be able to demonstrate its unwilling to merely submit itself to any future coup makers who wish to put cases into the judicial system by force – that is, by staging a coup against their enemy and setting up the AEC and so on. Such move will not only reduce the temptation to stage future coup but will be act as a strong deterrence to any attempts by elements within both the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the red-shirt Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) who may seek to ignore the rule of law. Such move will constitute a strong message sent to the army that future coup makers cannot expect to rely on the supreme court to simply legitimise them simply because they forcefully tear up a constitution, overthrow a “corrupt” government and put “legal” cases against an ex-premier whom they believed to be corrupt.

People must also be reminded of the ironic fact that coup makers such as Gen. Sonthi Boonrakalin still walk around town a “respectable” free man and even headed a small political party while enjoying prestige “accorded” by most in the mainstream mass media as if he has never committed a crime.

Red shirts who genuienly aspire for a democratic Thailand must recognise that simply because Thaksin was a victim of the 2006 coup doesn’t make him necessariily a clean and uncorrupt politician by default. If after reading the verdict on Friday, they found Thaksin to be corrupt beyond doubt then they should have the courage to admit it.

As for yellow shirts, especially those who still claim to be genuinely for democracy, perhaps it’s time to also admit that outright or tacit support for military coup is undemocratic and will only be democratically regressive and to finally accept that the case against Thaksin put up by the coup makers was illegitimate. They should thus be willing to admit that because of this, Thaksin’s wealth should be returned by default, even if he may have been proven to be corrupt by evidences on Friday.

Thai society today pays too much attention to revering and demonising a single individual, be it Thaksin or others. The society is filled with strong passion and hatred and at times, people no longer see or think about the bigger picture.

If the court do not accept that the whole process since the coup was a fraud, red-shirts will continue to question whether law scrutinising potentially-corrupt people are being applied equally or not especially on old elite group.

The opportunity to weaken this vicious cycle of military coup is here upon us. Right after the coup, the court may feel they had no choice as the whole case was set up by armed men im uniform. Now that the military junta are no longer running the country, people will be waiting to hear what the court has to say about the big picture that dates back to the eve of September 2006 and how it is relevant to Friday’s controversial case.

Cambodian PM to make second trip to Cambodia-Thai border area this week

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — Aiming to inspect border development and military capacity, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that he will make his second trip to the country’s northwestern border later this week.

Delivering speech at graduation ceremony at Royal University of Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said he will make his second trip to military region 5 on Feb. 27 to inspect the border development, infrastructure and military capacity presence there.

He said the visit is a routine one to be made by a leader of a country and that it has nothing to hide with military challenge with neighboring country.

Hun Sen said prior and during his first visit to border area in the country’s northern provinces of Preah Vihear and Uddor Meanchey, there were some comments made by leaders of the neighboring country.

This time, Hun Sen said he will not make any statement concerning the neighboring country as long as no comment to be made prior to his visit there.

Hun Sen spent for almost a week earlier this month visiting several military spots and bases as well as other development infrastructure along Cambodia-Thai border near Preah Vihear Temple.

His presence at the border area had drawn much attention from Bangkok administration on the motive behind his trip there.

Since July 2008, Cambodia and Thai armed forces have exchanged a few rounds of armed conflicts as a result of border dispute near the Cambodia’s ancient temple of Preah Vihear.

Written by Kham

25/02/2010 at 6:02 pm

Border: Lesson Learned from PM Chan Sy Khmer-Yuon Border Survey Team

Cambodia included Cochinchine map prior 1952

24/2/2010 by Kok Sap
In July 2007 in Phnom Penh, I had a rare opportunity to converse on border issues with one of the Khmer -Yuon Border Survey team leaders under late Comrade PM Chan Sy government. He had revealed his sadness over Cambodia maritime and land border survey back then. He said the entire episode was dominated by Yuon gains. Then the Government wasn’t strong and couldn’t have much to counter Yuon demands anyway. He was a former secondary level education professor of Mathematic and Khmer literature at Tuol Svay Prey Lycee prior to 17 April day, the Sihanouk revolution victorious day.

Under PM Chan Sy, because of his educational background and skills, he was elevated to high position in the government and charged with Khmer-Yuon border survey. Back then the western border was occupied by the resistance and yet surveyed. In this writing, he’s in his late 70 in age and has asked to be anonymous due to sensitivity and his safety.

During his two year tenure as a co-leader of border survey team, he said there was so much money to be made if his survey team would ignore the original demarcation line. Yuon would give money ($$$$$) to Khmer team in exchange if no protest made over their markers relocating deep in Khmer side . By then food provided by government was not plentiful yet but his commission could have plenty plus dollars to enjoy daily if they just let Yuon did whatever they wanted on the map survey. He bitterly said to his fellows and subordinates, please watch Yuon closely as they had never changed and had always been conniving.

On several instances, he was enraged when Yuon categorically forbade his team from surveying Koh Tral and nearby questioned zones. He argued the isle was Khmer territory as he could remember reading colonial French administrative memoirs. Then he was steamed up when Yuon barred his team from surveying Dak Dam and nearby points. He said it was his duty to see Cambodia border properly respected. But later time, he was warned by his superior from Phnom Penh over the radio call that he would receive serious consequences if he disobeyed Yuon’s wishes. That motivated his departure sooner from that job as his superior seemed to be more preoccupied with Yuon agendas.

With his honest nature and love for his native land, at old age, he forced himself to learn Yuon dialect on his own time using French -Yuon dictionary so that he would have some understanding on what Yuon team leader was up to. Meanwhile Yuon team was unaware of the old man tenacity and linguistic gift to comprehend their conversations. Pretty much throughout the entire survey time, the old man grew bitter as his team was not supported by the government as it let Yuon had say so all the times.

In that mission, Cambodia lacked the up to date survey equipments and reliable vessels. Other hand, Yuon had much superior equipments with well trained technicians to do the work with better transportation. In knowing Yuon nature, the old man told his team member not to accept any monetary gift or food from Yuon while doing the task under his supervision .

Soon PM Chan Sy fell to his secret death in Moscow hospital, the old man was reassigned by Hun Sen, the new Hanoi designated PM, to desk job in charge of procedural and administrative codes translation at the Council of Ministry until his retirement. He said he was very proud of and grateful to his colleagues who would listen to and side with to him.

However, he confirmed the eastern border demarcation was much more beneficial to Yuon than Khmer in big picture. He said, Yuon always uses the 7 January Day as a bargain point that Cambodia couldn’t have been theirs until now if they wanted it too. That hurt his conscience too much to bear. He conveys that no matter what, Khmer always tolerate own kind and can build trust among one another but we shall never be too trusting and submissive to Yuon because they see Khmer as inferior,weak and manipulatable.

Presently, the old man as guest lecturer teaches part-time at Phnom Penh Royal University-School of Administration and Public Policy.

Written by Kham

25/02/2010 at 12:06 am