Showing posts with the label Economy

MALAYSIA: Loan defaulters barred from leaving

Emilia Tan 24 October 2014 Issue No:340   With the cost of university education rising faster than inflation and increasing sums taken out in loans, more and more students are defaulting on their loan repayments. For some, this means being barred from leaving the country. In fact, almost 85,000 recipients of student loans from the government’s low-interest National Higher Education Fund Corporation have to date been stopped because of loan arrears. They join criminals, tax dodgers and pension fund defaulters in facing departure bans. Rising costs affect even students from middle-income families who are now graduating with a large debt after a three-year undergraduate degree that costs more than RM60,000 (US$18,000). The outlay is much higher at a private university or a foreign branch campus. In a public university, a medical degree can cost as much as RM300,000 (US$92,000) whereas private colleges charge three times that much. Generally, private sector co

Sugar Industry Highlights Conflicts Over Trade Pacts and Land

By The New York Time By KEITH BRADSHER Published: September 30, 2013  Photo: Thomas Cristofoletti for The New York Times   Activists have called for the exclusion of Cambodian sugar from duty-free treatment in Europe, saying that it triggers corporate land grabs. Above, a worker harvesting sugar at a Phnom Penh Sugar plantation. OMLIANG COMMUNE, Cambodia — Yim Lon nurses bitter memories of how three years ago the local authorities forced her and her family to dismantle their small home and move it to make way for a sugar plantation.  The Phnom Penh Sugar Company paid her a few hundred dollars, less than a tenth of what Ms. Yim, 53, says she believes the family’s small plot of farmland was worth. She dreams of being allowed to move their two-room house , made of wood planks and steel siding, back to the site near a stream where they used to grow rice. She is convinced that the other culprits are the Europeans, who buy sugar from Phnom Penh Sugar. “If

VIETNAM: As degree mills proliferate, new measures published

Hiep Pham 24 August 2013 Issue No:284   The arrest of four people on charges of selling fake diplomas, including three in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, has highlighted the proliferation of degree mills. Racketeers have been shifting from producing fake Vietnamese qualifications to degrees from prestigious international universities. Last month new decrees were announced, aimed at strengthening official procedures for recognising genuine degrees from overseas universities. But there is still concern that the government is not going far enough to control the lucrative business. A number of cases came to light recently, as the authorities attempted to crack down on degree mills. High-profile cases Last month Dong Van Hai, a member of a gang in Can Tho, was caught by police while delivering a professional certificate to a ‘customer’ to earn VND3.7 million (US$180). Hai and his associates admitted to police that they had sold at least 5

GLOBAL: Academics in South Korea top business funding index

Karen MacGregor 13 August 2013 Issue No:283   Academics in South Korea attract the largest amounts of funding per capita in the world from big business, according to a new index – on average US$97,900 per researcher. Next come academics in Singapore, The Netherlands, South Africa and Belgium. Ireland (US$8,300 per academic) and Portugal (US$8,600) are at the bottom of the list of 30 countries surveyed for the World Academic Summit Innovation Index, which calculates what big companies invest annually in academics to conduct research and innovation work on their behalf. The index, compiled by Times Higher Education ahead of its inaugural World Academic Summit to be held in October, was produced from Thomson Reuters data used by the THE World University Rankings. It examines one of the 13 indicators in isolation: ‘Industry Income – Innovation: Research income from industry/academic staff’. The average value per researcher was calculated, and institutions that di

Cambodia: Grand Plans for $80-Billion Capital City Fit for a Techo

By Hul Reaksmey and Alex Willemyns - August 9, 2013 If Phoeung Sophoan has his way, Phnom Penh’s days as Cambodia’s capital city are numbered. A secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Mr. Sophoan has big plans for a new 35,000-hectare capital city north of Phnom Penh called “Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City.” Mr. Sophoan claims the project has the nod from Prime Minister Hun Sen, and all he needs now is $80 billion to build it.  “If we study the history of any country, after you have great progress and then stability, you must have a new city,” Mr. Sophoan explained at his office on Tuesday. He said that Dragon City would provide Mr. Hun Sen the chance to place his mark on the country like only the nation’s Angkorian kings have done. “In the 12th century, we had Suryavaraman II who built Ang­kor Wat,” Mr. Sophoan said. “When we go to Angkor Thom, we know this is the city of Jayavarman VII, and when w

Cambodia: Apsara Authority Refutes $200M Revenue Claim

By Kuch Naren - July 13, 2013 The Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor Archaeo­logical Park, issued a statement on Friday refuting a claim made by Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha about the amount of revenue that it collects from ticket sales.  The letter, signed by Apsara Authority director-general Bun Narith , said that Mr. Sokha was quoted on July 9 while campaigning in Siem Reap as saying that the revenue from ticket sales for Angkor is almost $200 million per year. “The Cambodia Na­tional Rescue Party has purposefully pretended to know the correct tourism figures in order to mislead about the number of tourists visiting Angkor,” it says. The statement went on to explain that not all the 3,584,307 tourists to the country last year visited the temples, meaning the revenues collected at Angkor Park are actually much lower. The Apsara Authority did not say what its revenues are, but pointed out that children younger than 12 and government d

Cambodia ‘near bottom’ in budget transparency

Last Updated on 08 March 2013 By Stuart White   Cambodia's government ranks among the worst in the world in terms of budget transparency and has shown zero improvement since 2010, according to a biennial report released by an international transparency group yesterday. According to the report from International Budget Partnership, which was presented at a conference by a coalition of NGOs including the NGO Forum and Transparency International Cambodia, the country scored 15 out of a possible 100 points – the same as in 2010 – putting its score between Nigeria and Egypt in a group of countries identified as providing “scant or no information” about their budgets. The failing grade, the report says, is largely attributable to the Kingdom’s failure to make key budgetary documents – such as draft budgets and audit reports – accurate, useful and available to the public. “Publishing the [budget] report, making it transparent, is just part of the process,” maintained

Foreign investment in Cambodia’s property rises

Last Updated on 28 February 2013 By Siv Meng   Property experts say foreign companies are coming to invest in Cambodia’s property sector, as they see the growth and potential of the Kingdom. Sung Bonna, director of Bonna Realty Group, said that the number of foreign companies in the sector has grown, and most are from South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia. Chinese companies started their investments earliest, while other foreign companies have been studying and doing research about Cambodia before investing here. “The property investment companies growth rose a little bit during 2011-212 as it grew better during 2012 and early in 2013”, Bonna said, “After Cambodia hosted the Asean Summit, with world leaders joining the meeting, we see the inflow of foreign investors into Cambodia, but some of them, at the moment, have been doing research and considering about the possible investment in Cambodia”. Despite the signs of more investment, Bonna warned t

Tourists, Not Tension, Reign at Preah Vihear Temple

By Neou Vannarin and Simon Lewis - March 8, 2013  PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE – Several fierce battles have been fought with Thailand at this ancient temple in recent years, but last week it was an energetic game of volleyball that kept Cambodian troops on their toes as groups of tourists wandered unconcerned around the 11th-century ruins.    A Preah Vihear Authority conservation ranger drinks water. (Simon Lewis/The Cambodia Daily) Despite saber-rattling stories in the Thai press and a recent warning by Prime Minister Hun Sen that Thailand planned to attack if the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules that land around Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia, volleyball and water were the two main concerns among troops at the temple. A number of soldiers approached by reporters said they were under strict orders not to talk to the media. But rather than staying quiet to keep the enemy in the dark about military matters, they said they were gagged after a recent rad

Graduates lacking skills: report

Last Updated on 05 March 2013 By Sarah Thust     About 50 per cent of Cambodian university students studied business management, but still don’t meet the private sector’s demand. Photograph: Heng Chiovan/Phnom Penh Post EVEN though about 50 per cent of Cambodian university students studied business management, the banking sector has been hesitant to recruit them, insiders said yesterday. A 2010 report by the recruitment agency HRINC (Cambodia) projected that the supply of business, marketing, management, banking and finance, economics and accounting students would be more than double the demand. The study predicted 103,000 graduates would be available, but there would be fewer than 46,000 jobs for them. A recent case study by Universiti Malaysia Kelanta explored “the gap between the business management curriculum and employability” in the Cambodian banking sector. After interviews with two curriculum designers and four recruiters, the report’s authors, Hum Chan, Abdul Azi

Morality training key to success

Last Updated on 01 March 2013 By Stuart Alan Becker   When Tauch Ngam Youra arrived in Vientiane, Laos as part of the ACLEDA team, he noticed a cultural difference between Khmer and Lao people right away. The date was December 31, 2007. He already knew the Thai language which made the Lao language easier to learn. Luckily, a Lao lady from the Women’s Union Training Center helped the ACLEDA team locate itself in temporary offices. Another lucky break was that 35 students had come from Cambodia to study at a Lao university. Those students helped promote ACLEDA Bank in Laos. “We set up temporary offices by renting a room in the training center,” Tauch said. “They came to meet us and then we tried to explain how we came to Laos and our purpose to expand our brand and network in Laos.” Tauch said that, at the time, the big challenge was to find qualified people who could speak English, understand the differences in the culture and build trust. “We had interviews with

Malaysia: Najib treading on thin ice

By Roger Mitton Although it should be a cinch to guess the name of the politician who did the following things, several perceptive observers were flummoxed when tested over the weekend. The politician in question visited the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave of Gaza last month, and then went to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum . There, he told investors the threat of Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia had been nullified; yet upon returning home, he promptly had three alleged terrorists detained for subversive activities. Soon afterwards, he was mortified to hear that Singapore’s long-ruling People’s Action Party had lost a by-election in a formerly safe seat after an anti-government swing of 13.5 per cent. Today, he plans to attend a vote-getting Chinese New Year bash at whiche South Korean superstar Psy will perform his famous Gangnam Style dance. No, it’s not Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose party does face

AUSTRALIA: Foreign graduates push locals out of jobs

Geoff Maslen 06 February 2013 Issue No:258     Young Australians are facing fierce and increasing competition from foreign-born graduates for a declining number of jobs, according to a new report. The report says it is the Australians who are losing out, given that the 100,000 new jobs created since 2011 have been almost all taken up by migrants, many of whom are foreign students who graduated from Australian universities and have stayed on. The study highlights the problems faced by Western countries – that have attracted high migrant numbers from Asia – when unemployment rates begin to rise. The report says the slowdown in employment growth in Australia is starting to bite on the job situation for the local-born. This effect is exacerbated by the federal government’s immigration policies to encourage large numbers of migrants into the country, since they have succeeded in taking up all of the net number of new jobs created in Australia over the past two yea