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Cambodian Red Cross collects over $20m at annual fundraising event

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Cambodian Red Cross collects over $20m at annual fundraising event

The figure represented a 15 per cent increase from 18 million dollars the CRC raised in 2018’s event.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany, CRC’s president, attended the ceremony and accepted cash donations from hundreds of donors, who are senior officials as well as domestic and foreign businesspeople.

Hun Sen expressed his profound gratitude to all donors for their support to the CRC and said that the CRC had provided relief assistance to almost 140,000 vulnerable families in 2018.

“This is the culture of sharing from the rich to the poor and vulnerable people.

“Your donations are very important for the CRC to continue its humanitarian activities,’’ he said at the event.

The prime minister said the CRC’s work has greatly contributed to the implementation of the government’s social protection policy.

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Cambodian PM says 256 factories suspended due to COVID-19, affecting over 130,000 workers

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Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Monday that some 256 garment, footwear and travel goods factories in Cambodia had suspended their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting more than 130,000 workers.

Besides, about 169 companies in tourism sector had also been closed temporarily, leaving roughly 16,891 people unemployed, he added.

“To help relieve the burden of the jobless, the government and the employers have decided to pay 40 United States dollars and 30 United States dollars, respectively to each of them per month, so an unemployed worker gets 70 United States dollars,” Hun Sen said during a visit to the southwestern coastal province of Preah Sihanouk.

European countries and the United States are major market destinations for the kingdom’s garment, footwear and travel goods exports, and both have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as their markets continue to close and residents tighten their purse strings.

Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said last month that factories had not received any orders from buyers for both May and June, as well as for the foreseeable future.

“We can conclude that exports of garments and footwear will be hit hard in the second quarter this year,” he said.

The garment, footwear and travel goods industry is Cambodia’s biggest export sector, employing about 750,000 people in approximately 1,100 factories and branches, according the Labor Ministry.

The sector earned gross revenue of 9.32 billion United States dollars last year, up 11 percent compared to the year before.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: Cambodia-China joint COVID-19 fight reflects bond of true friendship, solidarity: Cambodian deputy PM

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The Cambodia-China joint COVID-19 fight reflected the bond of true friendship and solidarity between the two countries and peoples, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn has said.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday, Sokhonn said the COVID-19 pandemic has badly disrupted lives, economic activities, the flow of goods and services and has caused an unprecedented economic downturn.

The pandemic, he said, has become a global challenge that requires concerted international effort, and increased coordination and cooperation.

Sokhonn noted that Cambodia and China have been working closely and providing great support to each other in combatting the pandemic.

He said when China was in a critical stage in coping with the outbreak of COVID-19, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen made a special visit to Beijing, capital of China, on Feb. 5.

“This truly reflected the gesture of Cambodia’s solidarity with the Chinese people and an expression of his confidence in Chinese government’s ability to fight against the virus,” he said.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk also sent personal contribution to support China‘s effort to contain the spread of the disease, he added.

Speaking of the global outbreak of the virus, Sokhonn said that no country is safe from the COVID-19 pandemic unless every country is safe and he called for global solidarity and cooperation to eliminate the virus.

It is in this spirit that the Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on COVID-19 was convened via video conference in April, he said.

The official said China‘s anti-COVID-19 responses in terms of sharing information and advancing international cooperation have greatly helped many countries in their battle to prevent and control the pandemic.

He praised China for having invited international experts and worked closely with the WHO, neighboring countries and affected countries including Cambodia. “This is already a clear demonstration of China‘s commitment to promoting concerted effort to stop the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Sokhonn said China has indeed been successful in putting the outbreak under control. Moreover, he said, despite her tasks at home, China has dispatched medical experts and supplies to many countries for help.

The Chinese assistance significantly contributed to the effectiveness of our prevention and containment measures,” he said. “Supporting and assisting each other reflect the bond of true friendship and solidarity between our two countries and peoples.”

Cambodia has so far reported a total of 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases, mostly imported, and no death has been recorded, he said, adding that currently, only two out of the patients remain hospitalized.

Speaking on the future cooperation between the two countries to curb the virus spread and to rebuild economies after the virus, Sokhonn said China has dispatched a team of doctors with first-hand experience in fighting against the COVID-19, along with necessary medical supplies, to Cambodia.

Similarly, Chinese social organizations and companies have also provided medical equipment to Cambodia, he said.

“I expect the same pattern of cooperation in the future,” he said. “As China is advancing in research and development of vaccine for COVID-19 and improve disease detection and control techniques, I hope Cambodia can further benefit from China‘s expertise and findings.”

Sokhonn said it is important that the two countries continue to promote cooperation on communicable disease control due to increasing interconnectedness in terms of economic relations and people-to-people exchanges.

As China is well recovering from the COVID-19 impact, I am confident that trade and investment with Cambodia will continue to grow, while ongoing investment and development projects will go ahead as planned and new ones will be implemented,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: Suing China for COVID-19 pandemic unfair: Cambodian scholar

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U.S. lawsuits against China over the COVID-19 pandemic are groundless since China is also a victim of the disease, a Cambodian scholar has said.

The lawsuits have no legal basis, and the U.S. state courts don’t have jurisdiction over a sovereign country, said Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh told Xinhua in a recent interview, referring to the lawsuits filed by the U.S. states of Missouri and Mississippi last month blaming China for their losses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

China is also a victim of this deadly invisible enemy. How can China be responsible for this pandemic?” he said, pointing out that some U.S. politicians used the lawsuits to seek political interests.

China had taken timely prevention and control measures since the outbreak, whereas the United States had been dodging the problem until March and become the hardest-hit country in the world, Matthews said.

The poor handling of the pandemic by the White House worsened the situation, he said.

The U.S. government began to fight the disease seriously when experts and doctors projected a death toll up to tens of thousands if precautionary and preventive measures were constantly ignored, Matthews added.

However, the U.S. president still appears in public without a protective mask when almost 100,000 people have died from the disease in the country, Matthews said.

“This is not the time for playing a blame game or pointing the finger at each other. This is the time China and the United States should stand together to defeat their common enemy, the COVID-19,” the scholar said.

“Cooperation between China and the United States will contribute to fighting the epidemic while confrontation will undermine interests of both sides,” he said.

Matthews said the U.S. administration, rather than filing frivolous lawsuits, should work together with China and the international community to overcome this pandemic as soon as possible.

As of May 19, China had sent 21 medical teams to 19 countries, including Cambodia, to help local health authorities contain the virus. It has also exported medical supplies to 199 countries and regions, including aid to over 150 countries and international organizations.

“It’s easier to blame others for one’s own shortcomings and drawbacks than taking responsibility and admitting mistakes like a grown person,” he said, stressing that the United States should stop looking for a scapegoat.

He said the White House and the Republican Party are more likely to use the lawsuits against China to distract the public from focusing on their slow response to the pandemic.

With the U.S. presidential election due in less than six months, the incumbents are worried about losing it to the Democrats and that’s why some unscrupulous politicians are playing politics while many Americans are dying from the virus every day, he said. “It’s a very sad scenario.”

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: Cambodian official, expert urge not to politicize COVID-19 pandemic

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A Cambodian official and an expert have urged not to politicize the COVID-19 pandemic, as some countries are playing the blame game over it.

“One should not politicize COVID-19; instead, they should do their best to safeguard their citizens,” Cambodian government chief spokesman Phay Siphan told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

“Some countries have spent time blaming this or that country. This is an irresponsible act for their own citizens,” Siphan said.

Instead of blaming each other, countries should try their best to protect their people’s lives, he said.

“We don’t want to see any sides put the blame on each other; we want to see them stay united against COVID-19,” he added.

Cambodia highly commends China for taking strict measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and for helping other countries, including Cambodia, to fight against the virus, he said.

The efforts and role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global battle against the pandemic are praiseworthy, Siphan said, adding that countries should work closely with the respectable organization to defeat the virus.

Chheang Vannarith, president of the think tank Asian Vision Institute in Phnom Penh, said politicizing the pandemic is counterproductive, and hinders the international cooperation and collective response to fight, contain and mitigate the pandemic.

China has done a commendable job in curbing the spread (of the virus) and providing critical assistance to countries in need,” Vannarith told Xinhua. “Now, China is taking measures to recover its economy from the slowdown.”

The WHO has been playing a very important role in helping countries stem the spread of the coronavirus, he said.

“The WHO is the hub of the international system in this global war against the virus,” he said, calling for the international community to support the international body.

(XINHUA)

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Feature: Leaving no one behind — Cambodian teachers deliver lessons to homes as digital gap threatens students’ rights

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Sen Vanna, a primary school teacher in a rural area in southeast Cambodia’s Tboung Khmum province, travels to teach his students at their homes every day after schools have been closed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Education has encouraged students to study through provided online platforms or TV channels; however, Vanna said students in his area, about 67 km west of the Tboung Khmum provincial town, have difficulty accessing both the internet and TV channels.

With the advice from the provincial education department, Vanna and other teachers at the Hun Sen Chheuteal primary school in Peam Chileang commune of Tboung Khmum district, since earlier this month, began to travel to students’ homes to deliver lessons.

“In the commune, students can not study online because they do not have smart phones and the internet service here is very poor, while learning on provided TV channels is also impossible because of no signal,” the 64-year-old teacher told Xinhua via phone recently.

“Therefore, with the instruction from the provincial education department, teachers at the school have decided to travel to teach students at their houses in small groups,” he added.

Vanna, who is a fourth-grade teacher, said he had to drive his motorbike for about 20 km every working day to and fro between his house and students’ houses.

He first looked for houses that had enough space for sitting and then arranged four or five students to gather in one house as a group for classes.

“I teach each group for half an hour and then, I go to teach another group,” he said. “I can teach four groups of students for the whole morning.”

Vanna said he always practice good hygiene during each session, and both he and his students wear face masks and keep social distancing.

The teacher said he have more than 40 students, but not all of them have the opportunity to attend his teaching as some have to help their parents with farming at this time of year.

For Vanna, traveling a long way to teach from one house to another in different villages is undoubtedly tiring but, he said, it is his obligation as a teacher.

“This is my obligation, and I pity the students who have missed classes for months due to the COVID-19,” said Vanna, who has been a teacher for nearly 40 years.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Thursday that for students in rural areas who can not access online classes or have no TVs, they can gather to study, but the number must not be more than 10 and they must keep social distancing and follow health advice provided by health authorities.

The Southeast Asian country closed all academic institutions since mid-March to stem the COVID-19 spread.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said in a letter recently that despite no new COVID-19 cases detected in the kingdom over the past month, schools would remain closed until November, when the new academic year begins, in order to avoid the virus spreading in communities and to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday that all of the 122 COVID-19 patients in the kingdom have recovered, as the country has detected no new cases of the virus for more than a month.

(XINHUA)

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Cambodian gov’t approves draft laws against money laundering, WMD financing

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The Cambodian government on Friday approved two draft laws on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) and on combating the financing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, government spokesman Phay Siphan told Xinhua on Saturday.

The approval was made during a weekly Cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, he said.

“This draft bill on AML and CFT is designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and it states measures to control, prevent, suppress and eliminate money laundering and terrorist financing,” he said.

The draft law on combating the financing of WMD proliferation aimed to control on providing funds and services, such as financing, related to the export and trans-shipment of items that would contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he added.

Making the two draft bills had been motivated by the global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s decision in February last year to place Cambodia on its “grey list” again after the kingdom was removed from it in 2015.

The FATF’s “grey list” represents a risk of money laundering and terrorism financing but have formally committed to working with the FATF to develop action plans that will address their AML and CFT deficiencies.

The draft laws will need to be adopted by the National Assembly and finally reviewed by the Senate before being submitted to the King for promulgation.

(XINHUA)

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UNDP partners with Cambodian organization to enhance youth entrepreneurship, SMEs

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The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Cambodia on Tuesday signed a new partnership with the Khmer Enterprise to promote entrepreneurship training for Cambodia’s young entrepreneurs and to support the development of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector in the kingdom, according to UNDP Cambodia on Wednesday.

The Khmer Enterprise is an implementation unit of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund established by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

This partnership aims specifically to ensure that Cambodia’s next generation of entrepreneurs are well-equipped with practical world-class training and mentorship, and have access to suitable funding and investment readiness support at the early stages of their startups, said a UNDP press release.

The partnership also lays the foundation for UNDP Cambodia and the Khmer Enterprise to re-enforce their common efforts in improving the SME ecosystem through providing technical and financial support to SMEs in priority sectors, including e-commerce and sustainable SME cluster development, the press release added.

“UNDP is very pleased to partner with Khmer Enterprise to create opportunities, and to provide training and support to help the next generation of young entrepreneurs and professionals develop and thrive,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative.

“Never has it been more important to invest in young people and their talent and energy as we find ways to manage and recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” he added.

Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprise, said Khmer Enterprise is proud to collaborate with UNDP Cambodia to create the Business Incubation Program which promotes decent youth employment and entrepreneurship development.

“This is aligned to KE’s vision and mission to become the National Platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities,” he said. “Through this strategic collaboration, we hope to create a synergic platform, and its impact on young aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs in the country would greatly be amplified.”

Under this partnership, a business incubation program called Bluetribe was launched in May for Cambodia’s talented youth who have a strong interest in becoming successful entrepreneurs, the press release said.

The program will provide selected youth with quality training and mentorship as well as access to seed funding to start and build their businesses, it said, adding that the program application remains open until the first week of June.

(XINHUA)

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Ex-Cambodian football deputy secretary-general arrested, charged for fund embezzlement

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May Tola, former deputy secretary-general of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), has been arrested and charged with breach of trust after he had embezzled the FFC’s funds, a court’s spokesman said on Friday.

The kingdom’s Anti-Corruption Unit arrested Tola on Thursday, two days after the FFC sacked him and three other officials for engaging in corrupt activities.

Tola appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday and was charged with “breach of special trust by administrators” under Article 393 of the Criminal Code, said the court’s spokesman, Kuch Kimlong.

Under the charge, the former deputy secretary-general could be imprisoned from two to five years and a fine of 2,500 U.S. dollars if convicted.

FFC’s secretary-general Keo Sareth said Wednesday that Tola and his three compliances – chief referee Tuy Vicheka, finance office chief Chhaing Piseth and administration office chief Kol Sophearom – had been fired from the federation and banned from taking part in any footballing activity for life.

He said the four had colluded with each other to pilfer about 30 percent of the annual funds that a beer company had provided to the FFC for the development of football in the country.

“In total, they had embezzled nearly 60,000 U.S. dollars from the FFC’s funds from 2015 to 2019,” Sareth said.

(XINHUA)

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PLA sends materials to help Cambodian military battle COVID-19

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At the request of the Cambodian military and with the approval of the Central Military Commission, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Saturday sent urgently needed COVID-19 prevention and control materials, including nucleic acid testing kits and protective gowns, to the Cambodian military by air force planes.
(XINHUA)

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