Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chasing Cars, Cambodian Style, 16 January 2007

  • The price of oil is still high on the list of effects on the Cambodian traffic scene. Just before Christmas, The Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance was quoted that he was
    'seeking to economize its [government] use of fuel'.
    But no concrete proposals, though opposition members suggested the initiation of city buses.
  • Then the PM wades into the debate by pointing to his own officials who
    'use government-provided vehicles and state gasoline for their private use'.
    Another article on the subject mentions:
    He did not say what the penalty would be for officials who failed to heed the new ban.
  • Politicians repeating themselves. In the pursuit of using less gasoline, Phnom Penh City governor has chosen to buy 3 buses in order to 'car pool'. Whether or not it is a first attempt to put a mass transport system in the Cambodian capital or whether it is intended for city hall workers themselves is unclear. It's also hoped that the 3 to-be-bought buses would relieve traffic congestion. That's strange.
    Previously the city governor had tried to exclude buses from Phnom Penh's downtown as this would help avoid traffic congestion (see CC posting 17 January 2007; the link to the original Cambodian daily article has gone dead). So why the turn around?
  • And what do the high oil prices really mean? A Vietnamese online publication mentions:
    'Petroleum smuggling to Cambodia from southern Vietnam's Mekong River Delta has been dramatically increasing recently.
    At the Tinh Bien border, it is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 cans [of 20-20 liters!] of petroleum are illegally transported from Vietnam to Cambodia daily, ...'.
    However soundbytes from the Vietnamese Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry points to a possible decrease between future prices in Cambodia and Vietnam. Profit from the low prices while you can is the message!
  • More petroleum cutting: China is to provide 50 electric cars to Cambodia
    'to transport tourists'.
    Siem Reap be warned!
  • And then finally the holy grail of cost cutting. You want a road in front of your house, you pay for it yourself! Just like all those other hot shots, they have never sat back and waited for the government to black top their street.

    The scheme is called "Happy to join with us".

    Not all Phnom Penh citizens, though are happy:
    ' "Local authorities never care or solve residential matters," said a local resident who identified himself as Pheap. "We have problems with the poor drainage and flash flooding. We are ready to help, to repair the road and make a new drainage system, but they never come." '
    The initiator does somehow see some problems:
    ' "We have some problems with contributions from some local residents," Chamroeun [or Choeun who is deputy governor of Phnom Penh]said. "The living standards of people are not equal." '
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