A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Land disputes need concrete actions rather than sweet words

Lor Peang villagers (Kampong Chhnang) watch on as bulldozers owned by KDC, a company owned by Chea Kheng, wife of Energy Minister Suy Sem, bulldozed and grabbed their land.

PHNOM PENH (The Cambodia Herald) -- It is not the first time that Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced land reform, but till now amid the deep reform the government proudly introduced, land disputes still persist. 

This compels Hun Sen to raise his tone over land reform again. Will the ruling party be able to settle land disputes once and for all as time keeps running out?

In fact, the Cambodian People Party’s government that likes to repeatedly show off their effort in speeding the land reform has never achieved its goal even for once. Land disputes remain controversial and keep dragging down the ruling party’s popularity.

In the mid of 2012, Hun Sen used to put forth a new land policy aimed at ending all persisting land disputes. 

The head of government promised to give the land back to the people who were living on the disputed land, regardless of whether the land belongs to the state or private company.

Provided that the government was genuinely willing to solve land disputes and land reform effectively implemented, then the problems must have been terminated or cut down to a large extent. 

However, land dispute still remains a hot issue. Facing with such grave situation, the Prime Minister has again raised his tone to push his officials to solve all land disputes for people living within their territory of authority.

Hun Sen’s order has revived hope for land-dispute villagers and observers in Cambodia. Nonetheless, they seem skeptical about the effectiveness of PM’s order as similar experiences have disappointed them several times already.

It should be well noted that besides this order to end land disputes, many other orders have also been made by the strongman in the last several years. For instance, orders to eliminate illegal customs control, to crack down on illegal logging as well as fisheries and the like have been introduced, but they have little effect on the issues. 

These orders were rendered ineffective due to 3 main reasons as follows.

First, it depends on the true will of the government to end these problems. Are they truly wiling to solve the problems? If so, things should have been solved at ease.

Second, the authority renders PM’s command pointless through collusion and corruption, which have been a bitter lesson for all Cambodian people.

Third, those involved in land disputes against the villagers have powerful men to back them up, causing difficulty for the authority to solve problems properly. It can be understood that the authority sometimes are under the most pressure as they have to abide by the PM’s order, avoid friction with the intervening powerful officials and give justice to the victims all at the same time. However, power and self-interest often result in the authority’s ignoring the suffering of people.

Before the last election, the government sent a group of voluntary students to measure the lands for people living on the disputed land. 

That served to show his willingness to end the disputes. However, it appears that only some disputes have been solved, but the rest and many more are causing the government real headache.

The root of all land disputes in Cambodia is the collusion between the investors and the authority for their own interest. This has made officials blind to the real problems that are arising from economic land concession. If proper pilot study had been carried out to measure the impact it has on the community and reasonable compensations were provided, there would not be a lot of problems as now.

To sum up, land dispute resolution lies at the core of the authority’s willingness, capability and honesty. If all problems are solved based on laws and human rights without bias, land disputes will be soon gone. 

However, if no effective means are found to end these longstanding and grave land disputes, it might be too late for the government to recover the situation. - See more at: http://thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=15&token=YWUyYzZhY2U3NmY#sthash.E8Hmto3o.dpuf


Anonymous said...

I once did a social experiment by manage a huge guild of a couple thousand gamer. My generals were very greedy, power mongering and abusive. If I did anything against them to protect my people, the generals would gang up against me.

I am very certain that Mr. Hun Sen is in the similar situation. If he pushed his greedy officials too much in order to protect the people, they would gang up against him.

The long term solution is to reduce the number of greedy officials, one by one.


Anonymous said...

in the US a law that most people are not aware of ' civil forfeiture' a way for gov to make money
[ 'Under civil forfeiture, property owners do not have to be convicted of a crime, or even charged with one, to permanently lose their property. Instead, the government can forfeit a property if it’s found to “facilitate” a crime, no matter how tenuous the connection. So rather than sue the owner, in civil forfeiture proceedings, the government sues the property itself, leading to surreal case names like Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. The Real Property and Improvements Known as 2544 N. Colorado St.

In other words, thanks to civil forfeiture, the government punishes innocent people for the crimes other people might have committed. ]

china buying up land
['A study by China’s Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China’s 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have disappeared.....More than 400 major cities in China are short of water, with some 110 facing “serious scarcity”....Since the most efficient way to save water is not to use it, a sensible strategy is to import water-intensive goods and commodities. Corn and wheat are great examples.

China has been acquiring land across Africa and South America; last week when I was in Ethiopia, the place was crawling with Chinese delegates in the ag business....The goal is to increase China’s food supply, reduce its dependence on the US for grain imports, and reduce its domestic water demand.

China has the economic capacity to do this. Most nations don’t.

Globally, some two billion people face a water deficit, and dozens of countries have to import water...]

links: http://www.sovereignman.com/trends/this-is-epic-china-has-lost-55-of-its-most-valuable-resource-14900/

link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/08/26/philadelphia-civil-forfeiture-class-action-lawsuit/

when they buy land , they also have access to what is under the land , water and ore and minerals... unless khmer smart up and only sell the land itself but NOT the rights to what is underneath it which is done in some part of the US.

Anonymous said...

Chea Kheng is a really Yuon/Vietnamese immigrant coming to American as Khmer refugee. There are many like her, too.

Anonymous said...

-Drgunzet- (30 August 2014 11:07 pm)

KI readers are against you because you are a Yuon/Vietnamese idiot who posted the negative comments about Khmer people and you have made Khmer and KI readers felt so offended. You don't feel at all when you hurt someone's feeling when you the words and your hypocrite comments to offend the KI/Khmer readers.

You can try to offend the Black people with the word "N" and see how they really and strongly act against you, Vietnamese poster.

Anonymous said...

To -Drgunzet- (30 August 2014 11:07 pm):

You and Hun Sen are just criminals on the planet. Yes, you can help build and suggest the ideas of how to develop, but you did not show what your wrong doing and negative words.

Look, you have tried to promote your stupidities, making yourself look disgusted and evil.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I am game. You pick one of my statement which offend you folks the most. Confront me with it, then let me see why I said it, and why you folks are offended.

I am wired differently from the Asian, differently to the extreme. Case and point: When I was 22. I accidentally dated an ultra-rich Thai foreign exchange student (to protect her from other Asian guys planning to gang rape her).

She was lonely and needed some company. After a couple months, she asked me to stop seeing her, "I have something to tell you. It might offend you."

I assured her I was not easily offended as I was very logical. Beside, she was the love-one, how could she offended me. She cautiously said, "I realized you are very poor and my father will not accept you. You better stop seeing me now before you get hurt more."

I apologized to her for being born poor but I argued, "It would be nice if I was born rich, but that's not the case. But I am rich, very rich with talents. Tell your father about me. He might approve. You are so rich, you don't need to get any richer. You should marry a guy with talents. Your children will be talented."

There, you have it. So, when someone said I was poor, and I would admit to be poor. I don't get offended.

Now, on the same token, I genuinely believe your race is dumb and troublesome. I want to help your race to avoid troubles by reducing the troubles you are making. If I am wrong about your race, I will stop writing my comments and apologize.

There is not need for me to insult your race. I only want to stop your stupidity. You really need to stop writing incitement for fighting, warring, killing, chopping other race's heads off, "cap Youn", floating the bodies down stream in the river and so one.

So, do we have an understanding now?

Pick one thing I wrote which offend you folks the most. I will sincerely discuss the issue to reach a resolution.


Anonymous said...

-Drgunzet- (Vietnamese dog eater),

Every KI reader wish you would be dead by now. They don't want you here on the blogging site because you are just a piece of garbage.