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Debate

តើប្រទេសកម្ពុជាគួតែដាក់បញ្ចូលមុខវិជ្ជាវិទ្យាសាស្ត្រនយោបាយ ចូលក្នុងកម្មវិធីសិក្សាថ្នាក់វិទ្យាល័យដែរឬទេ?

សូមស្វាគមន៍មកកាន់ការតទល់មតិរបស់កាហ្វេនយោបាយ! នេះគឺជាការធ្វើការតទល់មតិលើកទី១របស់យើង​​​ ហើយប្រធានបទគឺ៖​ «តើប្រទេសកម្ពុជា​គួតែដាក់បញ្ចូល​ មុខវិជ្ជាវិទ្យាសាស្រ្តនយោបាយ​ ចូលក្នុងកម្មវិធីសិក្សាថ្នាក់វិទ្យាល័យដែរឬទេ?» ដែលមានវត្តមាន​ កញ្ញា​ សាមឿត ស៊ាវម៉េង​ ខាងស្រប​ និង លោក វណ្ណ​ ប៊ុនណា​ ខាងបដិសេធ ដោយម្នាក់ៗ​ជ្រើសរើសយកទឡ្ហីករណ៍តែចំនួន៣ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​ យកមកបកស្រាយ។ សូមបញ្ចាក់ផងដែរថា ទឡ្ហីករណ៍ដែលពួកគាត់បានយកមកដេញដោលនេះ មិនមែនជាមតិផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនរបស់គាត់នោះទេ ដោយសាតែយើងត្រូវកំណត់ឲ្យមានអ្នកស្រប និងអ្នកបដិសេធ។ គោលបំណងនៃការតទល់មតិ គឺដើម្បីលើកកម្នូពស់នូវវប្បធម៌សន្ទនាប្រជាធិបតេយ្យក្នុងចំណោមយុវជននៅកម្ពុជា។ សូមអានការដេញដោលមតិនេះឲ្យបានល្អិតល្អន់ជាមុនសិន​ មុននឹងអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាបោះឆ្នោតឲ្យបេក្ខជនរបស់យើង។​ នេះដោយសារតែអ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នាអាចបោះឆ្នោត​ បានតែម្ដងប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដោយប្រើប្រាស់គណនីហ្វេសប៊ុក។​ ក្រុមកាហ្វេនយោបាយ​ មិនមានសិទ្ធិនិងមិនអាចដឹងបានទេ​ថា អ្នកណាបានបោះឆ្នោតបេក្ខជនមួយណា។​ ការបោះឆ្នោត គឺអនាមិកទាំងអស់! រយ:ពេលនៃការបោះឆ្នោត​ គឺពីរសប្ដាហ៍ ហើយអ្នកដែលទទួលបានភាគរយច្រើនជាង​ គាត់គឺអ្នកឈ្នះ។ អ្នកអាចចូលរួមបញ្ចេញមតិយោបល់ទៅលើការដេញដោលនេះ នៅខាងក្រោមបាន!

koffee

COVID-19 Pandemic: The Same Storm But Different Boats 

Written by: Chhuon Vanndasambath, a 4th year student majoring in Political Science and International Relations at Paragon International University Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia (Photo credit: "mgo-00683 World Bank" by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)   “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar” - Damian Barr Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has faced the tragedy of a global health crisis, economic destruction, and social distress. Amid the pandemic, the phrase ‘we are all in the same boat’ has been repeated and has become a cliché everywhere, both online and offline.  But are we really in the same boat, same pace, and same condition in response to this pandemic? Or are we in the same storm but completely different boats?  COVID-19 has been regarded as the most devastating crisis in the world in the 21st century. According to the World Health Organization, over 100 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.5 million deaths globally. Regarding its economic impact, the International Monetary Fund has estimated a 5.4 percent decline in the global economy in 2021. It is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. COVID-19 is a disease that knows no border or race; anyone can be infected if they are careless about protective measures. COVID-19 can be considered as a storm that affects different states and people which are considered as boats. The presence of COVID-19 has brought significant negative impact on the world and human beings. However, everyone is not in the same boat as some people would think because each of us does have different techniques and quality of control and treatment in response to COVID-19. We are clearly in different boats amid the same storm because some countries and people are in a large boat, a ship or a superyacht that can provide them with safety and protection from the storm for a long time, while others are in small fragile boats that can be destroyed by the same storm quickly.  No doubt, people around the world are facing the same storm, the same global economic crisis, and the same global health crisis, yet not everyone is in the same boat or in the same situation under the same COVID-19 storm. Although the storm may have brought the same issues to all people, the level of difficulties everyone is facing may not be the same. Some people are still in a better condition than their peers. For instance, people in rich countries or rich people in developing countries are more likely to have enough resources and capacity to effectively sail through the COVID-19 storm. In contrast, poor people in developing countries, especially those who are living just above or under the poverty line are struggling with many issues, including hunger, food insecurity, and hardship resulting from the economic recession. As Darmian Barr puts it,  [...] For some, quarantine is optimal: a moment of reflection, of reconnection. For others, this is a desperate crisis. For others, it is facing loneliness. For some, peace, rest time, vacation. Yet for others, Torture: How am I going to pay my bills? Some were concerned about a brand of chocolate for Easter. Others were concerned about the bread for the weekend, or if the noodles would last for a few more days. - Damian Barr Since we are in the same storm of COVID-19, what we can do is to help each other. It does not mean that we are in a different boat and we would have different responsibilities. We should bear in mind that although people are in different boats, they have the same purpose: to survive. The COVID-19 pandemic is like a storm that affects everyone, that is, anyone can be infected by the virus. As the virus can spread across borders, the safety of one state cannot be secure when COVID-19 is still rampant in other states. Thus, a collective approach during this time is much more important than individual approaches. We need to come together in the spirit of empathy, responsibility, and cooperation at both bilateral and multilateral levels to combat this global issue. COVID-19 is a serious problem that we are unable to resolve on our own. Yet through cooperation and unity among states and individuals, we are more likely in a position to solve this vicious pandemic. Our joint efforts should be the viable way forward for us to combat the pandemic, allowing the world and humanity to be free of this virus. It is a moment where the powerful and wealthy must assist the frail and vulnerable. Let’s help each other overcome the COVID-19 storm.  It starts from each of us who plays a vital role in saving our community, country and the world.    *This blog is produced with the financial support from the European Union and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Transparency International Cambodia and ActionAid Cambodia. Its contents do not reflect the views of any donors.  

Politik

Myanmar Crisis to Pose Challenges for Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2022

Written by: Vann Bunna, a Master Student of Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia University, India, and a Research Fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. All views expressed are his own.  Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia Credit: "The ASEAN Agenda: Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen" by World Economic Forum is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Cambodia is expected to assume the annually rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2022 for the third time since it joined the regional bloc in 1999. The political crisis in Myanmar will pose great challenges for Cambodia as an ASEAN chair in 2022 if the issue cannot be solved timely under Brunei’s ASEAN chairmanship this year. Myanmar military staged a coup and seized power from the democratically elected government on February 1, 2021. It detained the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). A few ASEAN countries have expressed their concerns on the military coup. However, Cambodia has yet to express a clear position on the Myanmar issue. Cambodia’s stance on the crisis has swayed remarkably. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen previously declined to comment on the Myanmar military coup as he considered it as an “internal affair” of Myanmar. The Cambodian government has also asked civil society not to interfere with Myanmar’s affairs as Cambodia adheres to ASEAN’s non-interference principle. Nevertheless, given the increase of violence on anti-coup protesters, sanctions from the international community on the military regime, and China’s support of the ASEAN role in addressing the issue, Cambodia has changed its position on Myanmar. Cambodia has expressed its concern on the escalation of violence and demonstrated its willingness to put Myanmar on a path to normalcy through the ASEAN framework. Moreover, given that the Myanmar issue may place a considerable burden on Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022, Hun Sen recently joined ASEAN’s special meeting alongside several other ASEAN leaders to discuss solutions to the crisis. He also shared his experience in implementing the win-win policy to successfully end a prolonged civil war in Cambodia with military junta leader Ming Aung Hlaing. Remarkably, ASEAN reached a five-point consensus on the situation of the Myanmar crisis in last weekend’s summit. The consensus included (a) the immediate cessation of violence; (b) the commencement of constructive dialogue among all parties concerned; (c) the appointment of ASEAN special envoy; (d) the provision of humanitarian assistance; and (e) a visit by the special envoy and delegation to Myanmar to address the issue. Even though ASEAN could conclude the consensus with the junta, Myanmar’s political crisis may not end easily. ASEAN’s solutions on Myanmar may not be a success unless the junta commit to honour the agreements. However, the junta’s political will to implement the ASEAN five-point consensus on Myanmar seems low. For instance, in a statement after the ASEAN’s Myanmar crisis talk, the junta said that it would consider the ASEAN’s proposals “after stabilising the country” and their priority at the moment was to “maintain law and order” and “restore community peace and tranquillity”. This shows that the junta is unwilling to honour the ASEAN’s five-point agreements. In this regard, Myanmar’s political crisis is likely to continue for a long period of time, which will threaten regional peace and stability in general and give burdens to Cambodia as the next ASEAN chair in particular. Myanmar’s political crisis may give Cambodia a tough assignment in its role as an ASEAN chair in 2022.  Sustaining peace and stability in the bloc will be one of the most important priorities for Cambodia in 2022. However, political instability in Myanmar would be a major barrier to Cambodia’s performance as an ASEAN chair and its diplomatic bid to become an important player in promoting peace and stability in the region. In the worst-case scenario, the crisis would plunge Myanmar into a civil war, providing a great opportunity for great powers to advance their geopolitical interests. If this is the case, Myanmar will suffer a proxy war of great power rivalry, potentially putting the whole Southeast Asia region into their battlefield. All of these will weaken ASEAN centrality, especially in terms of addressing the regional challenges, and make ASEAN less relevant to international politics. Considering these challenges, it seems that Cambodia will have little room to make itself proud as a 2022 ASEAN chair. Another significant factor is that the crisis in Myanmar would add to the existing challenges that Cambodia needs to handle in 2022. Given the South China Sea Code of Conduct (COC) has yet to be signed,  it will be passed to Cambodia as ASEAN chair, giving the Kingdom more headache to facilitate ASEAN and China to reach an agreement. With failure to reach a consensus on COC under its ASEAN chairmanship, the Kingdom may once again be in trouble of losing face and credibility as it experienced in 2012 when it was an ASEAN chair. At the time, Cambodia was strongly blamed for failing to issue an ASEAN’s communiqué for the first time in ASEAN’s 45-year history. Amid this unfortunate scenario, the political crisis in Myanmar would be another heavy storm for Cambodia as it takes the helm of the ASEAN ship in 2022. To minimize the challenges, Cambodia needs to play an active and constructive role as much as possible to help Myanmar through the ASEAN mechanism and other regional and international diplomatic platforms. The Kingdom should play a role as a facilitator and mediator to the conflict in Myanmar and help its ASEAN peer to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Even though the military junta seems unwilling to solve the ongoing issue for the time being, and Cambodia does not have much leverage over Myanmar, there will still be a room for the Cambodia to act. Cambodia needs to try its best to continue to constructively and actively engage with all relevant stakeholders in solving the crisis in Myanmar. Cambodia needs to demonstrate to ASEAN and the world that it has played its part as a responsible ASEAN member. This will help advance its image as “a small country with a big heart”.   

Politik

Koffee

Cambodia Needs to Strengthen Its Precautionary and Quarantine Measures to Avoid Future COVID-19 Crisis

Written By: Samoeurth Seavmeng, 3rd Generation Leader of Politikoffee Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia (Photo Credit: Mr. Po Sakun, Thmey Thmey)   Many people probably did not expect the third community outbreak of COVID-19, known as the 20 February event, in Cambodia, which has so far caused more than 16 thousand infections and more than one hundred deaths. I once thought that the fight against the pandemic was over and that Cambodia having secured vaccines for its people would be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country entirely. However, despite the presence of the vaccines and the success Cambodia had over the past year, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the country. The health system has been overwhelmed by the increasing number of new infections and deaths, prompting the government to use wedding reception centers like Koh Pich Convention & Exhibition Center and The Premier Center Sen Sok as quarantine centers. Phnom Penh and neighboring Ta Khmao town have been placed in lockdown since April 15. The lockdown is expected to end on May 5, instead of April 28 as previously planned. The situation seems to get worse as several hundred new infections have been reported daily.  As a Cambodian citizen, I have witnessed the great work of tireless doctors and nurses, volunteers, authorities, ministries and relevant stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19. Most Cambodian people have also practiced precautionary measures and followed health recommendations from the authorities. However, the current COVID-19 situation happened because a small group of people who are responsible for implementing and enforcing the anti-COVID-19 measures were corrupted and overlooked strict quarantine policies for travelers coming to Cambodia. Some local people were also complacent and did not comply with the precautionary measures recommended by the health authority. Lack of strict quarantine policy In the first place, if the government had strictly implemented and tightened the quarantine policy for incoming international travelers, the current situation of COVID-19 would not have become so severe like this. All the COVID-19 outbreaks have been triggered by imported cases. Evidently, the first community outbreak, known as “the November 28 incident” was brought in by the wife of Cambodia’s prisons chief, who had traveled abroad. This incident caused more than 300 infections but no death. The second community outbreak was linked to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, who didn’t quarantine himself before meeting with Cambodia high ranking officials including Prime Minister Hun Sen. Lastly and unfortunately, the infection began to spread when four Chinese nationals who escaped their two-week quarantine from a five-star hotel in Phnom Penh went clubbing. The club became a hotspot where the virus was reported to start spreading to the community. The current COVID-19 nightmare would not have happened if the two-week quarantine policy had been strictly applied to everyone without any exception. Moreover, the quarantine centers should have been fully restricted and carefully monitored by relevant authorities to prevent people from escaping their quarantine before they met the 14-day quarantine requirement. Thus, if the authorities had paid more attention, those international travelers could not have left the quarantine hotel and then spread COVID-19 to other people. We were lucky that the previous two incidents did not cause too many infections to the Cambodian people, yet the 20 February event has ended this luck. Lack of precautionary methods and plans Similar to the imported cases, the government probably did not foresee possible scenarios of COVID-19 spread in the country. Obviously, COVID-19 infections could explode in garment factories which are potential hotspots. If this even-worse scenario happens, there would be greater damage to the country. During the outbreaks, the factory workers were still working normally, although new cases were reported daily. Factory workers are people who earn the minimum wage; they live and work in small and crowded places. Their working space, dining place, traveling and accommodation are vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. This is not to mention that most of them are close to one another when they work, sleep, eat and travel. If one of them got infected, the spread would definitely mushroom and the infection would be unmanageable. Unwantedly, this worse scenario eventually occurred when 788 workers from more than 36 factories got infected on April 17, 2021. This was the result of the lack of precautionary measures for these hotspots, causing infection rates to rise quickly, making the health system almost unable to cope. We have seen the consequences of the lack of adherence to the precautionary measures in other countries such as Thailand and India. For example, Thailand allowed their citizens to enjoy freedom at nightclubs, pubs and parties as though the virus was gone. As a result, on April 29, 2021 alone, the country recorded 10 deaths and 1871 infections. The case of India is worse. The Indian government allowed Indian people to celebrate weddings and religious festivals, causing infections to soar at a rate of 300,000 to 400,000 new cases per day. So far, India has recorded more than 200,000 deaths and nearly 20 million infections. Cambodia needs to learn from these lessons to avoid becoming another victim of the COVID-19 tragedy.     Conclusion and recommendations Even though the Cambodian government has tried its best to contain the spread of COVID-19, the community transmission eventually occurred, causing nearly 100 deaths so far. However, the February 20 event will end ultimately; therefore, we need to prepare for the future in case there are new variants of COVID-19 or another community transmission. We need to ensure that Cambodia is ready to curb rather than dealing with the disease desperately and exhaustively. Below are a few recommendations. First, Cambodia should learn the lesson from what happened in India and other countries which allowed mass gatherings while COVID-19 is still around. As Cambodia will hold commune elections in 2022 and the national election in 2023, election campaigns need to be limited unless the pandemic is under complete control. Large gatherings of people and campaigns as well as the celebration of other important national festivals must be postponed or cancelled. We need to sacrifice some freedom to save the country from COVID-19. The government needs to reinforce precautionary measures until the complete absence of COVID-19 infections is confirmed. Second, Cambodia needs to tighten quarantine policies for both foreigners and Cambodian people. Strict quarantine policies must be enhanced to ensure that no loopholes or any incidents can occur like the 20 February event again. Any potential hotspots such as garment factories and wet markets need to be under special precautionary measures and control. Lastly, the Cambodian government should have post-pandemic national plans and policies to help and assist Cambodian people who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The existing COVID-19 relief program should continue to ensure that the most affected Cambodian families can survive and build back better post-pandemic.

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Podcast

‘I used to talk about politics on Facebook, but now it’s scary’

By Adam Bemma, Alijazeera 23 Aug 2018 Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Samoeurth Seavmeng sits at a conference table wearing black horn-rimmed glasses. Meng – as she’s known online and to friends – glances at her smartphone and begins to speak to 10 other young Cambodians gathered at Politikoffee, a weekly forum held in a leafy diplomatic enclave of the capital Phnom Penh. “It’s very hard to talk about social media. Sometimes people post fake news on Facebook and sometimes people post true news, so it has advantages and disadvantages,” the 22-year-old activist said. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen often alleges “fake news” to discredit criticism of his ruling Cambodia People’s Party online. He has even threatened that authorities have the technology to track and arrest a Facebook user within six minutes of a post. This has sent a wave of fear and intimidation through Cambodia’s public sphere, where once critical voices have begun to self-censor. Politikoffee is an offline space where Cambodians feel free to debate and voice dissenting views without fear of arrest.  “Before, I used to share and talk a lot about political and social issues on Facebook, but now it’s a little bit scary to talk about these sensitive issues because I’m afraid I’m going to get in trouble,” Meng said. Internet censorship Cambodia’s government monitors social media. Last May, Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information, issued a regulation to monitor Facebook. The government stated that it wants to control information that is deemed to “threaten the defence and security of the nation, relations with other countries, the economy, public order, and discriminates against the country’s customs and traditions.” The Cambodia Center for Independent Media stated in its 2017 report that seven Facebook users were either arrested or sought by authorities for sharing information and opinions on the social media platform. In 2018, an election year, the number is unknown. “The directive was actually released after they were already identifying, monitoring, charging and imprisoning people,” said Naly Pilorge, director at LICADHO, a human rights monitoring group in Cambodia. During the election in July, 17 news websites – including RFA, VOA and Cambodia Daily (already closed down in 2017) – were ordered offline for 48 hours. Critics believe internet censorship is intended to stop outlawed Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters inside the country from sharing, liking or commenting on election boycott campaigns. “The directive came afterwards to legalise what they were doing in practice already. And it changed the habits of the average [social media] user,” Pilorge added. “The people online that we interact with, we see that there are differences. Definitely people are afraid, hesitant, paralysed. Ourselves included. We’re cautious.” In the lead-up to this year’s election, all independent media was shut down. The main opposition leader was jailed for alleged treason. Two former Radio Free Asia reporters and an Australian filmmaker were jailed for alleged espionage. Several human rights and political activists languish inside Cambodia’s prisons – guilty until proven innocent according to LICADHO. “What you’ve seen over the past year and a half is, for example, a minister or the prime minister decides a post is critical or is unacceptable and will immediately denounce a Facebook post,” Pilorge said. “Within 48 hours this individual is being arrested, charged, imprisoned in pre-trial detention and sometimes convicted.” Increasing regulation  Though the election is over, censorship online is prevalent. Prime Minister Hun Sen was re-elected last month in a vote criticised by the UN as fundamentally flawed. “If the situation for freedom of expression worsens, maybe we will have something that we can do together in order to inform [Cambodians] which tool or application they can use without getting into any trouble,” Meng said. Cambodian digital security trainer Moses Ngeth teaches journalists, activists and human rights campaigners how to secure accounts, and protect data online.  “I train them how to do very basic device security for smartphones, password protection. I tell them to be careful when posting something to social media and not to share any personal information,” he said.  Ngeth believes this new mandate will give the ruling CPP legitimacy to pass its much-anticipated draft cybercrime law. “People cannot talk on the radio, or on television. It leaves only Facebook. That’s why they increased regulation of social media,” Ngeth said. Cambodians can still be arrested, charged, jailed or fined for Facebook posts under criminal defamation, royal defamation laws, or incitement. “I think it’s natural to have fear, but when I see someone is arrested for saying something on social media I don’t feel comfortable. I think that people should feel free to express themselves,” said Kounila Keo, a Cambodian blogger and communications consultant. Prime Minister Hun Sen has amassed over 10 million followers on Facebook. Sam Rainsy, the exiled former CNRP leader who ran in the 2013 elections, claims that many are not even Cambodian and may be fake online profiles generated abroad – an accusation the prime minister refutes. “What [the prime minister] said … ‘When you post, I can know the location’ – it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard from him,” Ngeth said. “Using Facebook to know the location, it’s not possible,” Ngeth said. Prime Minister Hun Sen and members of the CPP are using Facebook to bypass traditional news media such as newspapers, radio and television, viewed as hostile to the government, to reach Cambodians directly with their messages. “The prime minister and other public figures campaign on Facebook,” said Ngeth. We're not doing anything to harm society. We're doing it to make society a better place, especially for youth to be able to share ideas and contribute. SAMOEURTH SEAVMENG, KNOWN AS MENG, ACTIVIST Back at the Politikoffee debate, the upcoming cybercrime law is considered for discussion in a future forum. Meng wants members to be able to communicate online without being punished for spreading “fake news” for commenting on the draft law. “Now we’re thinking about [developing] a new tool, or a new kind of app, that we can be sure will be safe for us to talk about any issue because we mostly discuss politics,” Meng said. “We’re not doing anything to harm society. We’re doing it to make society a better place, especially [for] youth to be able to share ideas and contribute.” Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/8/23/i-used-to-talk-about-politics-on-facebook-but-now-its-scary

ក្រុម​កាហ្វេ​នយោបាយ​បើក​គេហទំព័រ​ឲ្យ​យុវជន​សរសេរ​បញ្ចេញ​មតិ​ដោយ​សេរី

Cambodian leader's love-hate relationship with Facebook

As Demographics in Cambodia Shift, Youth Seek Political Change

With connectivity boom, Cambodia's political battles shift online