June, 2015

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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.

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 22, 2015

កង្កែប​ដែល​ចេះ​សម្រប​ខ្លួន​ក្នុង​ទឹកក្តៅ​ និង​អង្គប់​កណ្តុរ

កង្កែប​ដែល​ចេះ​សម្រប​ខ្លួន​ក្នុង​ទឹកក្តៅ​ និង​អង្គប់​កណ្តុរ
Thu, 18 June 2015

Op-Ed: Khmer Post

យ៉ាង​ហោច​ណាស់​ក៏​មាន​ទស្សនៈ​ដូច​គ្នា​មួយ​ដែល​ឆ្លុះ​បញ្ចាំង​ឲ្យ​ឃើញ​នៅក្នុង​រឿង​អង្គប់​កណ្តុរ និង​កង្កែប​ដែល​ចេះ​សម្រប​ខ្លួន​ក្នុង​ឆ្នាំង​ទឹកក្តៅ។ បើ​គេ​ចាប់​កង្កែប​ដាក់​ក្នុង​ឆ្នាំង​ទឹកក្តៅ​កង្កែប​នឹង​ប្រឹង​លោត​ចេញ​ពី​ក្នុង​ឆ្នាំង​ទឹកក្តៅ​នោះ​ភ្លាម។ ប៉ុន្តែ​បើ​គេ​ដាក់​វា​នៅក្នុង​ឆ្នាំង​ទឹក​ត្រជាក់​ធម្មតា​ហើយ​ដំឡើង​សីតុណ្ហភាព​ទឹក​នោះ​ឲ្យ​ក្ដៅ​បន្តិច​ម្តងៗ​កង្កែប​នោះ​នឹង​មិន​លោត​ចេញ​ពី​ឆ្នាំង​នោះទេ។ កង្កែប​នឹង​បន្ត​រស់​នៅក្នុង​ទឹកក្តៅ​នោះ​រហូត​ដល់​ឆ្អិន​ស្លាប់​ដោយ​មិន​ដឹង​ថា​ខ្លួន​រស់នៅ​ក្នុង​ទឹកក្តៅ​ឡើយ។ ត្រឡប់​មក​រឿង​អង្គប់​កណ្តុរ​វិញ។ កណ្តុរ​មួយ​បាន​លួច​មើល​កសិករ​ពីរ​នាក់​ប្តី​ប្រពន្ធ​រើ​អីវ៉ាន់​ដែល​ទើប​តែ​ទិញ​ពី​ផ្សារ​ក្រែង​លោ​មាន​ចំណី​អ្វី​ដែល​ខ្លួន​អាច​លួច​ស៊ី​បាន។​កណ្តុរ​មាន​ការ​តក់ស្លុត​យ៉ាង​ខ្លាំង​នៅ​ពេល​ដែល​វា​បាន​ឃើញ​អង្គប់​សម្រាប់​ដាក់​​វា​ទៅ​វិញ។ កណ្តុរ​បាន​រត់​ចេញ​ទៅ​ខាង​ក្រៅ​ផ្ទះ​ហើយ​បាន​ស្រែក​ប្រកាស​អាសន្ន​ថា «មាន​អង្គប់​កណ្តុរ​នៅក្នុង​ផ្ទះ!»។ មេមាន់​ដែល​ឮ​សម្រែក​របស់​កណ្តុរ​មុន​គេ​បាន​ងក់​ក្បាល​តិចៗ​ហើយ​និយាយ​ទៅ​កាន់​កណ្តុរ​ថា «សម្លាញ់!​ខ្ញុំ​យល់​ថា​សម្លាញ់​ពិតជា​មាន​ការ​តក់ស្លុត​យ៉ាងខ្លាំង​នៅពេល​បាន​ឃើញ​អង្គប់​សម្រាប់​ដាក់​ខ្លួនឯង​យ៉ាង​ដូច្នេះ តែ​អង្គប់​នោះ​មិនមែន​សម្រាប់​ដាក់​គ្នា​ទេ​ដូច្នេះ​គ្នា​គ្មាន​អ្វី​ត្រូវ​បារម្ភ​ឡើយ​។ សូម​សម្លាញ់​ប្រយ័ត្ន​ប្រយែង​ណា!»។ ដោយ​អារម្មណ៍​ភ័យខ្លាច​កណ្តុរ​ក៏​បាន​ទៅ​ជួប​ជ្រូក។ ជ្រូក​អាណិត​អាសូរ​កណ្តុរ​យ៉ាង​ខ្លាំង​ហើយ​បាន​​និយាយ​ថា «សម្លាញ់​គ្នា​មិន​អាច​ជួយ​អ្វី​ដល់​ឯង​បាន​ក្រៅ​តែ​ពី​ការ​បួងសួង​សូម​ឲ្យ​សម្លាញ់​បាន​សេចក្តី​សុខ​រួច​ពី​អង្គប់​នោះ»។

កណ្តុរ​បន្ត​ដំណើរ​របស់​ខ្លួន​ហើយ​ក៏​ទៅ​ប្រាប់​គោៗ​បាន​ឆ្លើយ​យ៉ាង​ព្រងើយ​ដាក់​កណ្តុរ​វិញ​ថា «អង្គប់​តូច​ណាស់​សម្រាប់​ដាក់​តែ​ឯង​តែ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​មិនមែន​សម្រាប់​ដាក់​គ្នា​ទេ ថែរក្សា​ខ្លួន​សម្លាញ់»។ កណ្តុរ​បាន​​ត្រឡប់​មក​រក​មើល​ថា​តើ​អង្គប់​នោះ​ដាក់​នៅ​កន្លែង​ណា​ទាំង​ការ​ភិតភ័យ​ និង​អស់​សង្ឃឹម​តែ​ម្នាក់​ឯង​ដេក​នៅក្នុង​រន្ធ​របស់​ខ្លួន​ចាំ​ស្តាប់​សភាពការណ៍។ នៅ​យប់​នោះ​មាន​សំឡេង​ឮ​ដូចជា​សំឡេង​អង្គប់​ដែល​​វាត់​ជាប់​សត្វ​អ្វី​មួយ។ ប្រពន្ធ​កសិករ​បាន​ប្រញាប់​ទៅ​ពិនិត្យ​ក្រែង​លោ​អង្គប់​​របស់​ខ្លួន​ចាប់​បាន​កណ្តុរ។​ដោយ​យប់​ងងឹត​គាត់​មិន​បាន​ឃើញ​ពស់​ជាប់​អង្គប់​នោះ​ទេ។ ពស់​ក៏​បាន​ចឹក​គាត់​​ហើយ​ពិស​ពស់​បាន​ធ្វើឲ្យ​គាត់​មាន​អាការ​ក្តៅ​ខ្លួន​យ៉ាង​ខ្លាំង​។​អ្នក​ភូមិ​​ប្រាប់​គាត់​ថា ស៊ុប​មាន់​ក្តៅៗ​អាច​ជួយ​​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​មាន​អាការ​ក្តៅ​ខ្លួន​ដោយសារ​ពស់​ចិក​ធូរស្រាល​បាន។

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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.