Monday, 28 January 2013

UNITED STATES: ‘Bill of rights’ to protect online student interests

UNITED KINGDOM: PM backs fraud-reducing student application system

INDONESIA: Higher education haunted by corruption – Graft watchdog

GLOBAL: Internationalisation has corrupted higher education

ASIA: Better planning and data needed to raise HE quality

GERMANY: Plagiarism proceeding against minister splits academia

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Value of construction in Cambodia skyrockets

Interesting times for Phnom Penh office market

Tight market conditions, strong demand for office space and constrained levels of new supply are the principal reasons behind the rising occupancy costs in prime office markets across the globe. 
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Canadia Tower in central Phnom Penh. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Out of the top five most expensive office markets in the world, the Asia Pacific region contains four: Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and New Delhi. With Hong Kong’s inherent lack of office supply, prime rents remain robust at $171 per square metre per month (psqm/m).

Demand from global financial and manufacturing companies kept occupancy costs high in Tokyo, while in Beijing pharmaceutical companies continued to expand.

Worldwide, office demand stemmed from the automotive, high-tech and energy industries. The latter is evident in Cambodia, where drilling off the coast near Sihanoukville has helped to increase office demand. Thus, companies such as Total and Chevron are large office occupiers, and new Japanese oil exploration firms will also establish operations in Cambodia by the end of 2013.
The growing insurance industry, particularly life insurance, is also a key office demand driver in Phnom Penh.

Cambodian Life, Manulife and Prudential jointly occupy more than 3,000 sqm of office space in Phnom Penh and will likely expand by the end of this year.
The top office buildings in Phnom Penh are seeking rents of between $21 and $28 psqm/m, and with the lack of high-quality office developments, rents are unlikely to decrease.
In terms of new supply, Vattanac Capital will be ready for occupation this year. The building will be the first Grade A office development in the Kingdom.

The development recently won an award for the best commercial property in Southeast Asia, and its specifications match many office buildings in Hong Kong and Singapore. This is not only welcome news for occupiers, but also helps to elevate Cambodia’s standing among investors.
Cambodia’s sound macro-economic fundamentals, the first Grade A office development in the country, and the continued expansion of multinational corporations will make 2013 an interesting year for the Phnom Penh office market.

Number of construction companies in Cambodia soars

Phnom Penh’s historic quarter to go pedestrian

A new tourist promenade is to open in the heart of Phnom Penh’s old French quarter.
Scheduled for a February opening, the tourist walk zone will provide an outdoor leisure area on Street 13 that will be closed to cars and motorbikes on weekends from 6pm till 12am, as well as on national holidays.
It will be adjacent to the colonial-era post office that today houses the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication.

“Everywhere in the world, especially in the cities, there are some places for the people to walk down,” said Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, whose ministry is helping Phnom Penh Capital Hall build the tourist walk zone.

“In Cambodia, we also need a place for tourists to walk down.”
The neighborhood includes some of Cambodia’s most prominent examples of French architecture from the turn of the 20th century, including the disused police commissariat, Manolis Hotel and the Banque de l’Indochine that today houses Van’s Restaurant.

“It is good to walk down for tourists because of the large, colonial-style buildings,” said Khon.
According UNESCO Head of Office Anne LeMaistre, it is not just tourists who stand to benefit.
“Phnom Penh has a unique chance to have a garden-city image with large avenues and trees, which is extremely rare for a capital in the region. The colonial heritage and the Khmer New architecture contribute enormously to the identity and beauty of the city.

“It is an opportunity which should not be missed for ob­­vious touristic reasons but also for the memory of all inhabitants of Phnom Penh,” she said.

“Heritage, silence, space and green environment are part of this quality of life and appreciation of living in a city. In addition, this area is unfortunately the only remaining coherent his­toric quarter of Phnom Penh,” she added.

Restoration and preservation in the area has been erratic, with some buildings getting far more treatment than others.

“The post office and the Van’s Restaurant were restored and are well-maintained buildings,” said LeMaistre.
“The Manolis Hotel and the former Commissariat are magnificent buildings but which need urgent interventions,” she added.

LeMaistre said that despite widespread enthusiasm for preserving Cambodia’s Angkorian heritage, more needs to be done to promote the country’s more recent urban heritage.

UNESCO is supporting the efforts of the Heritage Mission, which is attached to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, to make the old French Quarter a special heri­tage protected zone.

However, increased visitation to the area may encourage preservation of the historic quarter.
“The tourist walk zone will hopefully attract Phnom Penh inhabitants who will discover this area, maybe, for the first time and invite them to appreciate the harmony of the architecture and the pleasure of walking in a nice environment,” said LeMaistre. “We hope that this discovery and appreciation will lead to the understanding of preserving heritage.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bennett Murray at

Australians mourn King Father’s passing

Penny-RichardsAustralian Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Penny Richards

Banker turns English teacher and loves it

PM Hun Sen chastises RCFA for unprofessionalism

My Academic Publication at the University of Science, Malaysia (USM)

Dear friends,

It is my pleasure to share my brief impression regarding to academic papers during my PhD journey at Malaysia. Honestly, when I worked at Cambodia, I didn't know what are academic publication and research paper. Fortunately, I have received USM fellowship award to study at USM, and I was trained by many experts how to write academic papers for publishing in Journals and Book Chapters. Therefore, I have to increase my capacity building to publish in high impact factor journals such as ISI and Scopus.

First step, I must publish in low quality journals (without impact factors) like Peer Reviews Journals (Open Access Journals) and Indexed Journals (Google Scholar, Ulrich's Periodical Directory, Open J-Gate, EBSCOhost, Gale's Academic Databases, AMICUS, Canadiana, Library and Archives Canada, Lockss, PKP Open Archives Havester, and ProQuest).  

I need to cope with various academic publication environment. Next step, I will publish in Scopus and ISI journals only. During one year of my doctorate studies, I have published 5 articles (4 published and 1 under review process). If you want to read them, please access at following links:

Have a nice day!

All best wishes,

Sam Rany

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Government Tells Unions to Agree on Minimum Wage Demands

 By and - January 23, 2013

The government on Monday re­quested that manufacturers look at raising the minimum wage for garment workers, but only after divided trade unions agree on what that wage should be.

At the moment, union leaders are demanding that the current $61 per month minimum wage be raised to between $93 and $150, a 52 percent and 145 percent hike, respectively.

“After discussions, those present at the meeting agree in principle to discuss raising the minimum wage for workers,” the Ministry of Labor said in a statement after a meeting between manufacturers and unions on the issue.

“The meeting requested all un­ions meet and raise a joint re­quest for the minimum wage to be discussed with the employers to reach a resolution,” the statement says, adding that union leaders should submit their request to the government before the next meeting at the ministry on February 26.

Yesterday’s meeting followed a speech from Prime Minister Hun Sen on Decem­ber 12 in which he called on manufacturers to up sal­aries in Cambo­dia’s garment factories in order to keep workers in the country.
The last time the minimum wage was increased was in July 2010, when it was raised from $50 to $61.
Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Asso­cia­tion of Cambodia, said prior to Monday’s meeting that demands from many of the unions were “unrealistic.”

“We can’t expect 50 to 60 to 70 percent [increase in the minimum wage]. The Royal Government an­nounced a 20 percent salary in­crease [for civil servants], so I would presume that that would be a good starting point,” he said.

Jill Tucker, chief technical adviser for the International Labor Organiza­tion’s (ILO) Better Factories Cambo­dia program, said that the ILO would mediate discussions between the various trade unions—which represent some 300,000 workers.

Sam Aun, president of the CPP-aligned Cambodia Labor Union Federation, said that $93 would be a fair figure, while Ath Thorn, president of the nonaligned Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said that he would stand behind raising the minimum wage to $150.

“I think that workers can live on a minimum wage of $93 per month because they also get their bonus, rent, and transport allowances and add overtime to their salary,” said Mr. Aun. But Mr. Thorn warned that if the wage hike was too modest, workers would likely continue to protest.

'Hostage' standoff at Acleda bank branch ends with five arrests

Freedom of information law dealt blow

Cambodia's 'worst year’ for land disputes

Last Updated on 24 January 2013
By May Titthara and Shane Worrell

More than 200 people were arrested while defending their land in 2012 – a year human rights groups described yesterday as Cambodia’s “worst” for land disputes.

Of the 201 people arrested – a figure that more than doubled the 2011 total – 29 were imprisoned, mostly on charges of destroying property, faking documents and encroaching on private property, said Chan Soveth, deputy head of the land rights department at rights group Adhoc.

“Two thousand twelve was the worst year for residents being arrested as they tried to save their homes,” he said, adding that disputes themselves had also soared.

The comments came as heads of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, the Housing Rights Task Force, Adhoc and the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee called on the government to take measures to end forced evictions and resolve land disputes.

A joint statement released by the organisations said more than 700,000 people had been affected by land grabbing and forced displacement since 2000, including 51,000 in 2011.
“In Phnom Penh, at least 145,000, or approximately 10 per cent of the city’s population have been evicted since 2000,” the statement said, adding that 40,000 had been under immediate threat of eviction at the end of 2011.

Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said forced evictions had decreased in 2012, but the fact 611 families had fled from disputes last year suggested conflict hadn’t.
“We’ve noticed that actual evictions decrease in the lead-up to elections,” he said.

Recommendations put forward by those involved in yesterday’s press conference included that the government end forced evictions, demarcate state and private land, release imprisoned Boeung Kak lake mother Yorm Bopha, make the economic land concession (ELC) review process transparent and prioritise systematic land registration for poor communities.

Soveth said more than 1,000 people involved in disputes had been arrested since 2007, many as a result of the government cracking down on protests against ELCs.

“Often the court sentences these people without properly investigating.”
Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of NGO Forum, said it was essential that disputes were resolved and villagers’ rights protected.

“Currently, landlessness is estimated at between 20 and 25 per cent of the total population.”
Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the government was doing a lot to help residents with land issues, including deploying students to demarcate land and issue land titles.
“This is a historic strategy, one that is very important for Cambodia,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at
Shane Worrell at

Time to invest in people (Cambodia)

For more than a decade, Cambodia has sustained impressive economic growth.

The World Bank expects real gross domestic product to increase by 6.6 per cent this year – a figure to be envied in today’s fragile global economy.

At this pace, Cambodia can rapidly become the industrialised and productive economy it aspires to be.

Is this the future that Cambodians can rightfully look forward to?

The answer is yes, but only if Cambodia invests in its most precious resource – its people – to enable each individual to realise his or her potential and productively contribute to the nation’s economy.

Until now, much of Cambodia’s investment has focused on infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing – priority areas during the early stages of the country’s economic development.

But with economic progress, it has become increasingly clear that these efforts are not enough to help the country achieve equitable, sustainable growth and, most important, reduce poverty.

Today, despite the nation’s economic achievements, roughly 20 per cent of Cambodians – that’s 2.8 million people – are still poor.

Nearly 40 per cent of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition, and 28 per cent in the same age group are underweight.

Over the past decade, workforce skills of adults improved at a slower rate than in other East Asia countries, and the proportion of skilled workers among earners stagnated.

When the economy is booming, it’s tempting to turn a blind eye to such statistics.

But for the sake of Cambodia’s future, these are the figures we must confront, and this is where the World Bank can help.

Ending poverty, and building shared prosperity, are central to the Bank’s mission. 

Investments in human development, particularly in the areas of health and education, need to be a priority in Cambodia to create opportunities for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Interventions in these areas work hand in hand to build a country’s human-resources pool even before schooling begins.

Growing evidence shows the importance of adequate nutrition and health care during early childhood, to lay the foundation for intellectual progress and life-long learning.

The government has taken significant steps towards improving access as well as the quality of education, and 96 per cent of children aged six to 11 now go to primary school.

The average test performance of primary- and secondary-school students has improved, and higher-education enrolments increased fourfold between 2001 and 2011.

The World Bank is supporting health and education in Cambodia.

With the government and our development partners, we are financing health equity funds and school scholarships, having provided 2.5 million health-care treatments for poor people since 2009 and scholarships for 63,000 poor secondary-school students since 2005.

But much more needs to be done to improve the coverage, quality and governance of these sectors.

Although Cambodia’s economy is growing, employers report a mismatch between the skills university graduates bring to a job and the skills the labour market demands.

A recent World Bank study found that 22 per cent of foreign employers in Cambodia identify skills as a severe constraint to businesses.

This means many Cambodians earn less than they could if they had adequate education and skills.

For the country, this leads to lower productivity, limiting Cambodia’s potential to attract investment and improve living standards for all.

As a global knowledge and financial institution, the World Bank works with governments and a broad array of stakeholders gathering best practices and providing solutions for the most difficult development issues countries and communities face.

It draws from the knowledge and experience of other nations, and is able and ready to assist, inspire and inform Cambodia’s efforts to achieve its development goals.

In Indonesia, for example, the World Bank supported a social assistance program designed to address three lagging Millennium Development Goals – maternal health, child health and universal education – using a successful, community-driven approach.

Communities themselves took charge and allocated block grants targeting 12 health and education indicators, enabling 1.6 million women and children to receive nutrition counselling and support; helping 365,000 children receive immunisations; eliminating 185,000 cases of underweight children; and providing assistance to about 380,000 poor school students.

Tajikistan also has a high percentage of underweight children resulting from malnutrition exacerbated by the 2008 food-price shock.

The World Bank supported a community and basic health project to provide food packages and micro-nutrient supplements to about 50,000 women, infants and children.

By mid-2011, the project had trained 1,000 primary health workers and 300 community volunteers to deliver education on breast-feeding, good nutrition and the care of sick children.

Delivering these results requires a tremendous, co-ordinated effort by governments, donors, the private sector, civil society and others.

During my visit to Phnom Penh this week, I discussed with the government and our development partners how the World Bank can support Cambodia’s development strategy, to ensure all Cambodians can participate in, and benefit from, their country’s future prosperity.

Pamela Cox is the World Bank vice-president for East Asia and the Pacific.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Xayaburi Dam: How Laos Violated the 1995 Mekong Agreement

By: Kirk Herbertson
 On November 7, 2012, Laos officially began construction on the controversial Xayaburi Hydropower Project, the first mainstream dam proposed for the Lower Mekong River. The process has not gone smoothly. Construction activities began almost two years before the official announcement. Vietnam and Cambodia called for a delay in construction because concerns over the dam’s transboundary impacts remained unresolved. Laos never conducted a comprehensive analysis of the transboundary impacts, instead insisting that the dam was engineered to be environmentally sustainable. The Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) Secretariat disagreed with many of Laos’ claims, but its advice went unheeded. Although the dam is going forward, its risks remain unknown.

The Xayaburi Dam was the first significant test for the Mekong Agreement, a treaty signed in 1995 by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The treaty is intended to promote shared use and management of the river basin. Instead of cooperating with neighboring governments, however, Laos began implementing the Xayaburi Dam while Cambodia and Vietnam voiced concerns about the project’s transboundary impacts. Thailand remained silent through much of the dispute, but quietly financed the project and agreed to purchase its electricity. By November 2012, Laos’ and Thailand’s implementation of the project had advanced so far that Cambodia and Vietnam had little leverage left to raise concerns.

Laos insists that the Xayaburi Dam complies with the 1995 Mekong Agreement. Few others have questioned this claim.

In a new report, we examine the requirements of the Mekong Agreement in closer detail. On its surface, the text of the Agreement is often ambiguous. In an effort to seek greater clarity, we examine the requirements of the Mekong Agreement in its entirety. We also examine: (i) the historical record of the negotiations that describes what the parties intended when they drafted the Agreement; and (ii) international law that describes the meaning of the words that were carefully placed in the Agreement. In doing so, a clearer picture of the Mekong Agreement emerges. We find that Laos has misinterpreted the Mekong Agreement and failed to comply with several of its key requirements.

The full report is available below, but key findings are summarized here.

Laos is required to seek agreement with its neighbors before beginning the project.

To balance the rights of upstream and downstream countries, the Mekong Agreement requires all four governments to make a “good faith” effort to reach agreement on whether a project goes forward. Instead of trying to reach agreement on the Xayaburi Dam, Laos claimed that it only must consider comments of the other governments. Laos made no efforts to compromise on its position or to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Laos must provide other governments with opportunity to evaluate the project’s impacts.

The MRC’s “prior consultation” is the process where the four governments try to reach an agreement. The primary purpose of the prior consultation is to provide the governments with an opportunity to evaluate the project’s transboundary impacts. Yet for the Xayaburi Dam, Laos did not provide neighboring governments with an opportunity to evaluate the project’s transboundary impacts. In particular, Laos did not assess the transboundary impacts before starting the prior consultation in September 2010.

Laos is not permitted to implement the project while consultations are still underway.

International law and the Mekong Agreement prohibit the governments from implementing a project while the governments are still discussing it—this is part of the obligation to negotiate “in good faith.” Laos and developer Ch. Karnchang began implementing the Xayaburi Dam in late 2010 before the Mekong governments even met to discuss the project. Later, Laos incorrectly claimed that “preparatory work” was allowed under the Mekong Agreement while the consultations are underway.

Laos is required to study the project’s transboundary impacts before consultation can take place.

Under international law, governments are required to prevent significant harm to other countries, which includes setting aside enough time to assess the project’s transboundary impacts. After failing to assess the Xayaburi Dam's transboundary impacts in 2010, Laos refused to delay project implementation after Cambodia and Vietnam requested these studies during the prior consultation. Instead, Laos claimed that untested technologies proposed by consulting company Pöyry were sufficient to mitigate any harm.

Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand have a right to extend the prior consultation’s timeframe.

The default timeframe for the prior consultation is six months, but under international law the downstream governments have a right to extend it. Laos claims that the Xayaburi Dam's prior consultation ended automatically after six months. During this initial six month period, Laos failed to provide the information that other governments needed to evaluate the project’s impacts. This undermined the primary purpose of the prior consultation. Laos also began project implementation during this initial period.

Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam have a right to seek compensation for any harm caused.

Laos has an obligation under international law to stop the project immediately if it causes harm to neighboring countries. Downstream governments Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam can seek compensation for any harm that the dam causes. Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam will have difficulty seeking compensation, however, because there is insufficient baseline data at this time to measure how the Xayaburi Dam will change the Mekong River. All three countries now face the difficult task of closely monitoring the impacts caused by the dam.
The Xayaburi Dam has set a dangerous precedent that could undermine future cooperation. In 2013, work might advance on two other Mekong mainstream dams—the Don Sahong and the Pak Beng Dams. Unless reforms are made quickly, disagreements over the Mekong dams could escalate into a conflict with serious economic and political implications.
More information: 

Cambodian economy expected to grow 7 pct in 2013: official

Xinhua | 2013-1-14 13:02:20
By Agencies

Cambodia's GDP is projected to grow by 7 percent this year even though the global economy remains fragile and high risk due to persisting sovereign debt crisis in Europe and sluggish economic recovery in the United States, a commerce official said Monday.

"Through Cambodian government's deep reforms, Cambodia's economic growth has rapidly recovered from the global economic crisis and it has maintained annual growth of 7 percent last year and the same rate is expected this year," Ou Proum Virak, deputy director of the Commerce Ministry's Trade Promotion Department, said in a trade seminar.

He said the growth would come mainly from garment exports, tourism, agriculture and construction.

Meanwhile, he said global economy at the end of 2012 and in 2013 still faces high risks amid lingering sovereign debt issue in Europe and slow recovery of the US economy.

"These could be challenges for Cambodia either to increase external businesses or to attract foreign investment," he said.

Last Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that Cambodia is expected to register an economic growth rate of 6. 7 percent this year.

"A fragile global economic outlook, rapid credit growth, and potentially extreme weather conditions continue to pose significant risks," the IMF cautioned in the annual review of Cambodia's economic and financial conditions.

A symbol of Cambodia - Angkor Wat -

 Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple complex, was built in the early 12th century. As the most famous and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation - first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. Angkor Wat is on UNESCO's culture heritage list and has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag. [by sunway111/bbs.fengniao]

Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple complex, was built in the early 12th century. As the most famous and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation - first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

China eyes natural resources in Cambodia

The Irish Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2013


China’s influence in Asia is sure to keep growing in 2013, and two Chinese companies have set out their stall early, signing an €8.6 billion deal to build a new railway, port and steel mill in Cambodia.

As with investments in Africa, accessing natural resources is a big part of the motivation behind the spending.
China Rail Group will co-operate with Chinese-owned Cambodia Iron and Steel Mining Industry, to jointly build a 404km railway from Preah Vihear province to Koh Kong province in the southwest.
They will also build a seaport in Koh Kong to support the metal mining industry in Preah Vihear. A spokesman told local media construction should begin by July.

Chinese companies have invested heavily in Cambodia over the last 10 years in projects ranging from hydroelectric dams to agriculture.

Late last month, the Cambodian government gave the green light to construction of its first oil refinery. Sinomach China Perfect Machinery Industry Corp was given the go-ahead to invest €1.77 billion.