now browsing by category

Posted by: | Posted on: June 30, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from Khmer Youth part 26

This part of 26th volume, the author Mr. Sophan Seng described the first phase of Sun Ray Political Platform aiming to upgrade political opposition of Cambodia in implementing genuine democratic political party system like it has been practiced in civilized countries particularly Canada, Australia and the UK.

Leadership Skills 1In Cambodia, the democratic development has not been inclusive since 1993 such as the inclusiveness of fair play political parties, the inclusiveness of civic engagement through civil society and bottom-line community, the inclusiveness of free and fair election committee (NEC), and the inclusiveness of responsive and effective governance leadership.

Historical remark, the political party of government leadership has enjoyed free ride since the first election result in 1993 sponsored by the United Nations. The UNs failed to establish a strong and dynamic opposition party since the beginning. The monopoly of power and resources by the political party of government leadership Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is remained visibly tenacious. While the government and party’s affairs are not clearly separate, the opposition party(s) in Cambodia have been planned in “activism” leadership than “government” leadership.

In Canada, for instance, the opposition party is inclusive in government leadership role and this party is incentivized by several government’s sponsorship such as opposition leader and family who is minority leader of the Assembly is living in a free mansion (named Stornoway), there is official office for minority leader cabinet, minority leader can host foreign delegates regardless of their position(s), and financial support from the state to fund the researches opposition can rally the critics effectively etc.

Official Cambodia opposition party couldn’t rely on sympathy and donation in kind from supporters solely, this party can exercise their full rights within a democratic principle, the CNRP of Cambodia must be able to afford full leverages from the state budget which is owned by the Cambodian people to ensure smooth and sustainable democratization of this country.

Posted by: | Posted on: June 29, 2015

Will Cambodia Become the Gateway to ASEAN’s 600 Million Consumers?

Will Cambodia Become the Gateway to ASEAN’s 600 Million Consumers?

May 29, 2015 Asia-Pacific Cambodia
Op-Ed: Knowledge@Whorton

Courtesy: Knowledge@Whorton

Courtesy: Knowledge@Whorton

Selling Cambodia, a country known for its killing fields, landmines and chronic poverty, is a tough job. But Chanthol Sun, minister for commerce, says it’s very easy when “you talk from the heart.” The 59-year-old, U.S.-educated, former General Electric executive points out that Cambodia has a lot to offer to international investors: political and macroeconomic stability, a pro-business government, competitive investment incentives and a great location. Referring to the people of Cambodia as his “shareholders,” Sun says, “They have suffered long enough. It’s time for Cambodia to grow … it’s time to for us to move forward.”

Born in 1956, in Koh Thom district in the Kandal province, Sun lost his mother and brother to the Khmer Rouge. The rest of his family escaped to Thailand. In 1973, Sun went to the U.S. with $50 in his pocket. He returned to Cambodia in 1994 and helped set up the Council for the Development of Cambodia. Elected to the Cambodian National Assembly in 2003, he was the minister for public works and transport from 2004 till 2008. In September 2013, he took on his current responsibilities as minister of commerce.

In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Sun talks about his faith in the future of Cambodia and what motivates him as an individual.
As edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Of all the ASEAN countries, why would an investor chose Cambodia instead of, say, Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam?

Chanthol Sun: I can give the investor a few good reasons. At the top of the list is political stability. It’s important for investors to invest in a country that is politically stable. We had a little hiccup in the elections of 2013 — the opposition boycotted the national assembly for 10 months — but that’s all sorted now. Today, politically, Cambodia is very stable.

Two, macroeconomic stability. Cambodia’s GDP has been growing at an average of 7.7% for the last 20 years. The World Bank calls us one of the ‘Olympians of growth’; [we are] the sixth fastest growing economy in the world for the last 20 years. The inflation rate is less than 5%. The exchange rate has been stable for the last 20 years. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is below 30% and our budget deficit is very small. We expect to grow at an average of 7% to 7.5% for the next five to six years.

“Foreign investors and local investors are treated equally in Cambodia.”

Third, Cambodia’s government is a pro-business government. We consider the private sector as the engine of our economic growth. We have created what we call the “technical working groups,” co-chaired by the private sector and ministers in the Cambodian government. Technical working groups on infrastructure, banking, tourism, culture, so on and so forth. These technical groups work together on a regular basis to resolve any problems that the private sector might have. If they cannot resolve these problems, they can escalate them to what we call the “government private sector forum,” chaired by our prime minster. Once a year, he invites the private sector — 300 representatives, plus the diplomatic corps, the ADB [Asian Development Bank], World Bank, IMF [International Monetary Fund] — to this forum, and they can raise any problem with the prime minister. He can make a decision right there.

IMG_0220-Four, the competitive investment incentives. Our investment laws provide very generous incentives to investors. Our corporate income tax is only 20%. There is no exchange control in Cambodia. There’s no restriction on any sector because there is no alien business law. Every economic sector is open to a foreign investor. Tell me, which country allows foreigners to own 100% banking license, 100% ownership of the telecom sector, of agriculture — every sector? Foreign investors and local investors are treated equally in Cambodia Twitter .

Last, location, location, location. Cambodia sits at the heart of ASEAN. If you get on a plane, within one-and-a-half hours’ flying time you reach 600 million consumers. When I pitch to the investors, I say, don’t come to invest only in Cambodia with its 15 million consumers. Look at ASEAN as a whole, or at least the GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion], which consists of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Yunnan Province [China] — that’s 220 million consumers. Or, just look at three countries, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand — [Cambodia is] right in the middle. So in shipping, in transportation, we could be part of the regional supply chain. We have a dynamic population — the median age of Cambodians is 24.1 — so 35 years of productive labor.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: June 17, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 24

This 24th part was broadcasted by CMN Radio on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in which our author Mr. Sophan Seng elaborated on how political institution harper-mulcair1in Cambodia should be pragmatically built for a sound democratic political system. At the moment, Cambodia has evolved into government leadership party and opposition leadership party. But the political deficit is resting on not-in-balance between government leadership party and opposition leadership party in pushing for genuine democratization.

The author has compared the current status of Cambodia’s two political parties as standing in different positions: Cambodian People’s Party is standing on the top of the hill, while the opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party is standing on the ground. The uphill struggling of the opposition party to take the stage of government leadership is like an Political-Spectrum_MMactivism struggle. This competition has posited “none fair play” in a sound political system of democracy like it has been implemented in Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Our author suggested many different phases of “Sun Ray Political Platform” which shall be aired in the following weeks.

Posted by: | Posted on: June 17, 2015

Promoting Meaningful Reforms in Cambodia

Promoting Meaningful Reforms in Cambodia

Published: 14-Jun-15 09:24 AM

Give our kids a better deal

By: William E. Todd

The Montagnard refugee dilemma continued to make news this week, as many here in Cambodia and in the international community remain concerned about the status of those seeking asylum.  According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, there are currently more than one hundred Montagnards in Phnom Penh who are seeking to register for asylum.  The media also reports that a significant number of Montagnards now in Cambodia have not been registered or are not pursuing asylum due to concerns about due process and the rule of law, leaving them in legal limbo.  This situation provides Cambodia with an opportunity to demonstrate a responsive and rules-based process that provides a positive example for other countries.
This dilemma leads me to this week’s question, which is on the minds of many Cambodians:  “Which reforms do you think the National Assembly should focus on in the near term?”  This is a good question and one that many will debate.  In my opinion, the country would best be served by focusing on topics that benefit the average Cambodian.  Rather than making a new NGO law the top priority, which I believe is not needed, the National Assembly could consider addressing poverty, education, health care, and environmental protection.  However, improving the rule of law, which encompasses a broad range of topics that would ultimately benefit Cambodian citizens, is an area where both parties could work together.
Posted by: | Posted on: June 11, 2015

First Khmer female youth from Siem Reap dreams to become Minister

Last time, we heard about a youth of Charai tribe community wished to become Prime Minister by elaborating his step to achieve higher education first while he is in Bachelor degree cultivation. Today, we have heard a Khmer female youth born and raised in Siem Reap, Ms Kimsy Tor, claimed to becoming a first female minister of education. She is the first class student with grade A top during the nationwide exam in 2010 of high school students. She is from 10 January High School at the heart of Siem Reap town. Her dream is coming closer as she has already graduated Bachelor’s Degree in Maths from a well-known Manhattan College in New York. Now, she is going to pursue Master’s Degree and PhD in Mathematics in France with another scholarship.



Ms Tor Kimsy who is the Grade A and champion of national exam of High School in 2010 is interviewed by RFI. She is wishing to become Minister of Education in Cambodia which shall be the first woman minister in this ministry. In previous interview, she wished to graduate PhD in Mathematics which is rare in Cambodia.

She were born and raised in Siem Reap. Her high school is 10 January 1979.

I want to see more youths have this dream to take in charge as they are the backbone of future Cambodia.

Read previous article about her

Posted by: | Posted on: June 9, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 23

This part is broadcasted by CMN Radio on June 7-8, 2015 that Mr. Sophan Seng continued to analyse the “Culture of Dialogue” in accordance to Khmer context.

Leadership chartWhile Cambodia has witnessed some degree of peace but social justice is questionable, the Khmer proverb keeps saying “during the war, the nation needs bravery men; but during the peace, the nation needs educated men”. This context has applied well for Cambodian people, Cambodian youths, and especially those politicians to depart their journey with “knowledge and wisdom” more than “bravery activism”.

With the new investment in using education and wise men to handle with social ills and injustice, the culture of dialogue is very essential to be part of the political means.

To high up to another level, the opposition CNRP is proposed to upgrade itself from activism towards alternative government party by building more capable members within the party as well as to create a shadow government or choose expertise to be ready for government leadership. This party should seek incredible persons who are expertise in Public Servants, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Governance System, Economic, Social, Trade, Agriculture, Defense, Tourism, Media, and Education etc.

In the meantime, the Cambodian People’s Party must conduct indept reforms with good political will to bring about social good to the nation. At least, this party must change their view that all those public servants are national manpower, not the party manpower at all. The CPP must stop politicizing those public servants for their political gains, in contrast, the government must implement the civil codes of conduct properly in order to deserve full responsible public servants.