July, 2015

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Posted by: | Posted on: July 31, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 30

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 30

This part (30), the author Mr. Sophan Seng didn’t traditionally describe about the policy platform for political parties for the upcoming national election 2017 and 2018 as planned. He is articulating the four outstanding political events in Cambodia.

The Diplomat

The Diplomat

1. The government rushed to amend the law on civil society and NGOs (LANGO) without conducting proper consultations and participation from all stakeholders is a trouble for the nation. Parliament and Senate that are well-known for submission to the government or lacking independence, have unanimously approved the law. This LANGO is believed to impeding the independence and effective tasks of civil society that has played important role in democratization and nation-building of Cambodia.

2. The arrests and injail of those 11 political activists of the CNRP is a set-back political development in Cambodia. Hun Sen has no faith in his new political mean on culture of dialogue while Sam Rainsy, his counterpart, has confidently believed the culture of dialogue shall pave strong foundation for collective interests of Cambodia in a long run.

3. The borderline disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam have emerged as the continual conflicts that are poorly responded by the Cambodian government. Cambodian government has conducted self-hostaged border demarcation policy with Vietnam by accusing their own citizens as extreme, ultranationalism, or irrational on Vietnam’s encroachments. These accusations are in contrast with Vietnam who have encouraged their citizens along the borderline to protect their property.

4. International geopolitics changes among those superpower countries is very pressing. Vietnam’s official visit to strengthening tie with Obama administration has enabled Vietnam a boost in strategy to confront with China regarding the rifts of Sprately Island. Other Obama’s friends will approve the concert. Hence, Cambodia has moved closer with China that is believed to repeat past trauma if Cambodia is not managing this triangle relationship properly.

These four political events have heated up Cambodia as a small and fragile state. While the foreign policy requires strength within domestic politics, Hun Sen administration is seems lacking responsive and well-planned domestic policy especially to ensure unity. The amendment of LANGO law and the incarceration of those 11 political activists are showing Hun Sen’s non-visionary sight for Cambodia during this international geopolitics tension.

To bring back confidence and unity, as many believed, those 11 political prisoners must be immediately released, as the author has solemnly appealed for.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 28, 2015

Why CNRP is pushing hard from bottom-up TV investment?

Why CNRP is pushing hard from bottom-up TV investment?

1 TV watchers in Cambodia TV station is one of the results from the political deal in July 22, 2014. One year anniversary of this political settlement between CPP and CNRP has resulted in both progress and regress outcomes. But the grand policies CNRP are aiming to achieve have not been changed. Those grand policies are following:

  1. 7 points policy to bringing about change for Cambodia remains the same. These policies shook the base of CPP in 2013 and they should be more effective in 2017 and 2018 of upcoming elections when these grand 7 points policies have been paid a price through more in-dept and comprehensive galvanization.
  2. The culture of dialogue to paving way for comprehensive and skillful interaction between top leaders of CPP and CNRP to maximize the interests of the nation is still intact and stronger. The dialogue is a good political mean for both parties to prepare the homestretch in 2018. Those who are regarded as disrespectful to this dialogue shall face with stronger condemnation by the Cambodian people.
  3. Sun TV Channel to adding on to those existing 18 TV channels in Cambodia is a powerful ongoing project. Sun TV Station has appeared as a pro-poor, neutral, professional and pre-owned channel by the Cambodian people.

According to the survey by Asia Foundation, there is above 50% of population are watching TV in daily basis. So this highest proportional market share of Cambodia media, CNRP is not going to waste its energy and investment in capitalizing to create the TV channel. The investment’s business plan is different from others as this channel is not owned by tycoons or powerful politicians, but owned by the Cambodian people who donated money in kind to supplement with the shares invested by many individuals.

This donation and share’s participation rights shall help to enable the Sun TV Channel become true governing by the Cambodian people, for the Cambodian people, and serve the Cambodian people.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 27, 2015

UN rights office renews concern after Cambodian Senate adopts law with ‘chilling effect’ on civil society

UN rights office renews concern after Cambodian Senate adopts law with ‘chilling effect’ on civil society

Op-Ed: UN News Centre

24 July 2015 – A draft law adopted today by Cambodia’s legislative wing

Ravina Shamsadani, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Photo: UN Multimedia

Ravina Shamsadani, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Photo: UN Multimedia

“threatens the very existence of a free and independent civil society” and the crucial work that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) carry out in the country, the United Nations human rights office has warned.

“The Cambodian Senate has adopted a draft law on associations and non-governmental organizations which falls significantly short of international human rights laws and norms governing the right to freedom of association,” explained Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) during a press briefing in Geneva.

Already adopted by the National Assembly on 13 July, the law would now have to be examined by the Constitutional Council, she added.

“OHCHR urges the Council to reject the bill, which carried provisions that breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Cambodia had ratified and which was recognized in the country’s Constitution.”

Laws like this, Ms. Shamdasani said, allow the authorities to de-register associations that they considered not to be “politically neutral”. This one would give the Government the right to deny registration on ill-defined bases, including if the purpose and goal of the association is perceived to “endanger the security, stability and public order or jeopardize national security, national unity, culture, traditions, and customs of Cambodian national society.”

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Posted by: | Posted on: July 23, 2015

Cambodia Geostrategic Exit

Firstly, I would like to personally appeal to the Cambodian government to release the 11 detainees immediately without delay in order to shoulder for national strength to face a new challenging international geopolitics changes.

11 Prisoners of Conscience

The 11 political activists who were convicted with felony insurrection

At the moment, the changes of political landscape of the world have clearly complex, the bloc has been shaped differently, and the post cold war domino effect theory is likely irrelevant.

Domino effect was accurately theorized by Western scholar to shun the communism spread pushed by China to Vietnam to Cambodia and to Thailand. But now, this domino phenomena has been changing faces and directions.

Domino EffectRight now, China and Vietnam have heated up conflicts on the ownership of Spratly Island. The history of China-Vietnam conflicts has been recorded since the ancient politics but it was changed during the cold war and post-cold war. However, the patronage of China towards Vietnam in dismantling the USA base of South Vietnam, and the help of China to unify the North and South Vietnam, had turned bad effect on China when Vietnam unanimously decided to invade Cambodia in January 7, 1979. During that time, Vietnam was with Russia in the belief to change its patron by changing political ideology from Maoism to Leninism while both ideologies are just byproduct of Marxism, the extreme scholar/theorist on human equality.

Domino Theory and Key cold war termsThis July 23, 2015, Vietnam top leader Nyuen Phu Truong and Thailand’s military leader Prayuth Chan-ocha shook hand to strengthen bilateral trade and political cooperation. This happened after few days of Vietnamese top leader was greeted and shaken hand by American president Barack Obama in honor to reopen diplomatic tie between both countries as well as to diffuse more military and investment boost for Vietnam.

So where is Cambodia now?

Courtesy: Facebook of CSIS

Courtesy: Facebook of CSIS

With the government head leans towards China, Cambodia is believed to strengthen tie with China closer than any time of Cambodia historical diplomacy ties beside of the Khmer Rouge government. This tie strengthening has triggered many doubts on how Cambodia could use this opportunity efficiently, or Cambodia has no clue on its true foreign policy?

Foreign policy means extra territorial nation state relationship that can boost mutual interest at the maximum. Cambodia must be concerned on foreign policy pragmatism that all countries around the world are important friends for Cambodia. USA, China, Vietnam,  or Thailand, etc.; Cambodia must ensure that we can go along with them all except a country violates Cambodia interests.

Hence, a strong country can pursue a strong foreign policy depends on the internal strength of that country. Now, Cambodian people have questioned that “how much Cambodia internal unity and nation institution are strong?”

It is hard to comprehend on this as:

  1. Government is not reluctant to use the court to silent the critics and threaten the opposition party CNRP by convicting the 11 political activists of the CNRP on lethal felony nation insurrection to jail termed between 7 to 20 years.
  2. Government without fear to pass the controversial law on NGOs and civil society (LANGO) even-though there are strong opposes by the international communities.

These recent two scenarios have placed Cambodia into a self-inflicting pot in front of the flashing heated foreign policy challenges.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 23, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 29

Public Policy and Policy Platform of the Political Parties

leadership-poem This part (29), the author Mr. Sophan Seng renewed his talk regarding the Public Policy and Policy Analysis that are the cornerstone for the Policy Platform Crafting. By exposing the finding from Asia Foundation on their survey to collect political opinions from the Cambodian constituents, the summery of key recommendation for the political parties, are following:

1. Corruption is perceived as the biggest problem facing Cambodia. Including a counter-corruption objective in a political party platform will broadly appeal to the electorate’s desire for change. While individual politicians can increase their popularity by leading highly visible counter-corruption campaigns in the run-up to the next national elections, a greater degree of transparency in the conduct of political parties can counter feelings of distrust of political parties, as the survey findings demonstrated.

2. At the local level, poverty, unemployment, and associated issues are perceived as the biggest problems. Visible commitment at the local level to addressing the root cause of these issues will likely be highly popular.

3. Although vote buying or gift giving may still be an effective strategy for getting out a party’s own supporters, it is clear that in Cambodia it is not effective in changing how voters choose to vote. Parties that wish to attract new voters would be better off spending their resources to develop and publicize programs attractive to the electorate at large.

4. It is clear that the public favors political decentralization, with very large majorities in favor of directly elected officials at all levels. Although political parties would prefer to retain control over the selection of officials, there is a huge potential electoral payoff for any party willing to embrace political and fiscal decentralization.

5. The political parties in Cambodia have failed to differentiate themselves in the public mind, and due to the nature of the electoral system, it is likely that voters associate the parties more with their leaders than with specific programs. Developing a detailed platform that can be distilled into four or five bullet points, to be repeated over and over, will differentiate the parties in the public’s mind. Periodic polling will help determine if their messages are sinking in and to gauge their popularity with the general public. These polls will then allow parties to fine-tune their messages as they prepare for the 2018 elections.

These five bullet-points are wholly derived from the finding. It is imperative to comprehend that these recommendations subsumed from the research don’t mention the border effort to protect from neighboring encroachments. This absence might be caused by:
– The borderline issues are more sensitive issue that shall not build strong foundation for the nation in sustaining development, and it is regarded as more polarized than unified within a nation-state if the state institution is not strong.
– It is possible that the researchers didn’t include questions towards the respondents, or the general opinions are too vague on the issue.

In brief, the key recommendations to the political parties are:
– Crafting robust policy platform to anti-corruption
– Family economy improvements through creating more jobs and increase price of their agriculture products as well as to provide them cheap or free healthcare and seniors salary etc.
– Focus more on robust policy and genuine political will than to encourage vote-buying
– Need more decentralized and delegate administration of the party than to consolidate the central power, or organize candidate elections than conduct direct nomination.
– Parties must prepare well-informed information on their political policy platform than to persuade vague personalities to attract the voters.

At the end, the borderline trigger to maximize nation’s interests is imperative but they must be putting aside the attack on each other.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 22, 2015

Cambodia jails 11 opposition party members for insurrection

Cambodia jails 11 opposition party members for insurrection

A Cambodian court has sentenced 11 opposition party members to jail terms ranging from seven to 20 years for insurrection after an anti-government protest turned violent a year ago.

11 incarcerate 11 Prisoners of ConsciencePHNOM PENH: A court in Cambodia jailed 11 opposition party members on Tuesday for insurrection after an anti-government protest turned violent a year ago, a verdict that could rock a fragile truce between the country’s rival political forces.

The 11 Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members received jail terms ranging from seven to 20 years for forcibly trying to reopen the country’s only designated protest venue, “Freedom Park”, defence lawyer Sorn Sudalen told Reuters.

The park was temporarily shut as outrage against the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) grew among activists and trade unions in the wake of a disputed 2013 election, rattling the administration of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Chaos erupted during the rally, as security forces fired tear gas and charged CNRP supporters with batons.

Naly Pilorge, director of Cambodian rights group Licadho, described Tuesday’s court proceedings as a “show trial”.

“We are shocked,” she said. “This is another clear example of how the executive is using courts to threaten political activists.”

The CNRP activists were bailed as part of a peace agreement struck last year between the CPP and CNRP that led to the opposition ending its parliamentary boycott, but there have been signs of tension resurfacing.

Political experts have been sceptical about how lasting the “new culture of dialogue” would be, given the long and bitter history between heavyweights in the two parties.

CNRP, a reincarnation of a formerly impotent opposition, stunned the CPP in the 2013 election by winning votes from urban middle classes, disgruntled textiles workers and farmers angered by land grabs.

The 2018 election will be closely watched as former Khmer Rouge soldier Hun Sen seeks to extend a three-decade grip on power that critics say has been reinforced by the influence he wields over Cambodia’s judiciary, bureaucracy and military.