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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yamaha, Toyota Tsusho to establish motorcycle company in Cambodia

Yamaha Motor and Toyota Tsusho have agreed to establish a new company, Yamaha Motor Cambodia, to manufacture and market motorcycles with the aim of strengthening the foundation of the motorcycle business in the Cambodian market.

The new company will begin operations on October 1, 2008, and its starting capital of $11.5 million will be invested 70% by Yamaha Motor, 20% by Toyota Tsusho and 10% by Cambodia's Kong Nuon Import & Export.

Since March 2007, Asia Motors, a joint venture company between Toyota Tsusho and Kong Nuon Import & Export, has been assembling and marketing motorcycles with parts and components supplied as semi knocked-down kits by Thai Yamaha Motor.

Yamaha Motor Cambodia will begin operations by taking over operations at the Asia Motors factory and the Asia Motors sales network, and a 94,890sqm lot will be acquired in Phnom Penh's special economic zone for the construction of a new factory.

The initial target for the new company is to expand motorcycle sales to 30,000 units valued at JPY4.2 billion by 2010, after the start of production at the new factory.

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China, Cambodia vow to carry forward traditional ties

BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Senior leaders of China and Cambodia on Tuesday underscored the traditional friendship between the two neighbors.
"Let's work more closely to take our five-decade bilateral friendship and cooperation to a new high," China's top legislator Wu Bangguo told the President of the Cambodian Senate, Chea Sim.

In their talks in the Great Hall of the People, Wu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, reviewed the sound development of China-Cambodia ties, citing political trust, substantive cooperation and support on important issues.

In response, Sim said the Cambodian leadership will carry forward the bilateral traditional solidarity that was forged by the older leaders in the previous century.

Sim said he hoped the two legislatures can step up their cooperation and share experience on governance.

Sim's visit to Beijing coincided with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia ties.

Later Tuesday, Sim met with Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top advisory body.

Jia said China would like to enhance its comprehensive and in-depth cooperation with Cambodia.
The top advisor also expressed appreciation for Cambodia's adherence to the one-China policy and opposition to "Taiwan independence".

Sim said Cambodia was grateful for the assistance China had offered and would like to work more closely with China in politics, economics and other fields.

Sim reaffirmed Cambodia's one-China stance.
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CPP's control of parliamentarian seats help secure policy sustainability in Cambodia

By Xia Lin, Liu Lu

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC) declared Tuesday the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) has secured 90 seats, or over two thirds of the 123 seats, at top legislative body in the general election, thus enabling CPP to have stronger management of the country.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) won 26 seats and the Human Rights Party (HRP) received three seats, and the Funcinpec Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) got two seats each, according to official results declared by NEC on Tuesday.

The first meeting of Cambodia's new parliament is scheduled for Sept. 24, ahead of forming the new government.

"The CPP's dominance will secure peace and stability in Cambodia, which is very precious for the country and its people," said local economic analyst David Phat, who was born here and endured the war-torn years of Cambodia.

Phat said that primarily, continued governance by CPP can guarantee policy sustainability in its upcoming term, adding that the party in its current term has pursed political stability for the sake of economic development, and regional coordination for the sake of international cooperation.

"Political stability can lead to economic prosperity," he told Xinhua.

Under the CPP governance, the Cambodian economy is expected to remain nearly double-digit growth rate and the per capita GDP will probably top 1,000 U.S. dollars by 2014, he added.

Pen Samitthy, editor-in-chief of the country's largest Khmer-language daily newspaper the Rasmei Kampuchea, agreed that the political and economic situation will be further improved as CPP establishes the new government right after the general election.

"CPP will enjoy a larger space and better conditions, so it can lead the government more efficiently," he told Xinhua.

According to the Constitution, the party winning majority of the seats at the National Assembly will establish the government. Law can be passed with support from 50 percent plus one seat at the National Assembly.

The focus will be our economy after the political situation is settled, and especially, the foreign investment will increase, said Pen Samitthy.

"Everything will be better," he added.

Hu Jinlin, a Chinese merchant and major electric appliances dealer in Phnom Penh, echoed the above prediction, saying that national policy sustainability will stay, as CPP grips bigger power and Hun Sen himself can manipulate more development issues.

"The results are a good message for us. They will stabilize and promote the middle- and long-term investment in Cambodia. We see a clear prospect and know that the situation won't change much. Especially, more Chinese people will come to find their opportunities because the two countries have shared decades of friendly cooperation and China is Cambodia's major donor and investor," he told Xinhua.

Suy Sok Khun, senior CPP cadre and veteran reporter at Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial News, told Xinhua that the strong economic performance under the CPP governance in the past few years has boosted its electoral results.

"Hun Sen and senior CPP leaders used to like citing positive economic figures and development of infrastructure as the major achievements of the government. Most voters accepted this and deem CPP is capable," he said.

Official records showed that Cambodian had 11 percent of economic growth on average in the past three years, the highest among Southeast Asian countries; the per capita GDP rose from 448 U.S. dollars in 2005 to 594 U.S. dollars in 2007; and the foreign reserves from 890 million U.S. dollars in 2005 to 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

Meanwhile, major national roads, bridges and power projects have also been constructed countrywide, which improved the kingdom's traffic and power network to an unprecedented level.

In addition, said Suy, there were also a big number of inertia voters, who thought that those who did well in the past should be encouraged to stay on their posts in the future.

"One more message that we can feel from the results is that CPP becomes more consolidated than ever before," he added.

However, a source close to the Council of Ministers said on condition of anonymity that any coin has two sides and the landslide victory may also push the giant party to turn a blind eye to its internal problems and govern the kingdom in a pampered way.

Alleged corruption and land grabbing have haunted the CPP government and officials for a long time and drained some voters' confidence and ballots to the major opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), which in effect surpassed Funcinpec during the Commune Councils Election in April 2007 to become the second largest party of the country, said the source.

"If part of SRP members hadn't changed their flag to found the Human Rights Party (HRP) right before the general election, SRP might have been closer to CPP now," he said.

What's more, this overall victory in the election may bear out the assessment of some CPP members that occasional corruption and land grabbing are not as destructive as NGOs and opposition parties thought, and those with critic rhetoric are not worth fearing, he said.

"This frame of mind will inevitably fuel their future wrongdoings and even arrogance in its management of the country," he added.

CPP was established in 1951 and has governed the kingdom since 1993. It now has around 5 million members, over one third of Cambodia's total population.

For the general election held on July 27, 11 political parties and 8,125,529 voters were registered, while 15,255 polling stations were set up nationwide and 17,000 local and international observers watched the process going.
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Cambodia seeks UNESCO recognition of KRouge prison

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's government is seeking to register a notorious Khmer Rouge prison and its archives at the UN's cultural agency, according to documents obtained by AFP Tuesday.

The application to help preserve archive material from "S-21" prison, now site of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, was submitted to UNESCO by government officials last Friday.

The archive contains over 5,000 photographs of the more than 15,000 prisoners, as well as biographical records of Khmer Rouge officials and inmates, torture instruments and written confessions, said a copy of the application to UNESCO's Memory of the World programme.

"Undoubtedly crucial as evidence to be use in the forthcoming Khmer Rouge trial, the archive is also an essential part of Cambodia's recent history," it said.

"Its significance as a part of the Memory of the World stems from its testament to man's inhumanity to man and its documentation of one of the most extreme examples of crimes against humanity in the 20th century with a major impact on world history," it added.

The high school turned torture centre is still littered with reminders of its brutal past, such as shackles and bare metal bed frames on which the corpses of inmates were found by invading Vietnamese soldiers in 1979.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive was registered by UNESCO's Memory of the World for Asia and the Pacific region last February in a step towards international recognition.

The prison was run by Kaing Guek Eav -- better known as Duch -- who is among five Khmer Rouge leaders detained by the UN-backed court for crimes committed during the regime's 1975-79 rule.

Duch's trial for crimes against humanity is expected to begin in October.

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation or overwork as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.
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