Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chasing Cars, Mooncake day 2010

Highlighting Cambodia's inability in providing safety for road participants, no less than the DG of the Transport Department has explained that if Cambodia is to attain the ASEAN goal for reduction of road fatalities (in 2010), it's the international communities concern, not Cambodia's.
'“We will not achieve the goal because our capacity is still young,” Ung Chun Huor, director general of the Transportation Department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said at a workshop in the capital on Friday. “We have insufficient funds and a lack of human resources to promote traffic safety.”'
He also had no clue on how much funds were already attributed to traffic safety but rest assured, traffic safety concerns are only donor driven, so what can he do? How about enforcing the law?

  • Talking of which, police are now enforcing a one way traffic sign on street 130 in Phnom Penh. It's more newsworthier than the above.
  • Along with the stoppage on major construction projects in the capital, Cambodia's first assembly plant is getting a bit late.
    'Camko finance director Lim Visal said yesterday that the plant would be ready to assemble cars by the end of the year, but declined to specify a date'.
    And Camko are not a real estate developer ....
  • More development, a new airport in Siem Reap. Just last week a pipe dream, now awaiting construction. Logic: big airport, more and bigger planes, more tourists = more money.
    But is it a good investment? Could be, but again Camko involved as well as another until now unknown company. Maybe it's still a pipedream ....
    Btw, who saw that they believe that the new airport will result in a 4 or 5 fold increase in passengers? Does it mean they don't know?
  • Again the Japanese are announcing the construction of their bridge over the Mekong. It seems to be taking for ever.
  • From the Phnom Penh Post (14 September 2010) :
    'Two technologies dear to the heart of Phnom Penh’s expat community – the tuk-tuk and free Wi-Fi – have been combined. Mobile-phone provider qb has launched 15 special tuk-tuks that are set to travel around the capital offering an internet connection to “anyone in the area”. The vehicles will also act as showrooms for qb'.
  • has a discussion on songteaws. Why possible in Thailand, not in Cambodia? Next week they will have a discussion on the use of old Mercedes buses. Why in Vietnam, not in Cambodia?
  • Flight information. India is just another country which probably won't start flights to Cambodia even though their intentions are well-meant. In the meantime Cambodia Angkor Airways (CAA) is on the way to expansion.
    'It also plans to expand operations to South Korea, China, Singapore, Bangkok and Hanoi.
    Cambodia and Vietnam are also preparing to open a new route from Da Lat, in central Vietnam, to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, a move already approved by Cambodia’s Council of Ministers'.
    And with loads of just over 60%, a year after taking off, it's can't be deemed to be making money despite officials naming it a success. I also heard on the grapevine that CAA are still no way near to starting up flights to Sihanoukville, despite massive interest from Bangkok Air. Being a state run enterprise though means they can block that interest ...
  • An exposition of photo's of Phnom Penh communities who until recently lived on the rails.
To finish off with where we began, Phnom Penh Post had a fine article (not literally!) on the stealth tactics used by the traffic police.
'“It is important that traffic police keep safety on the road. Make sure that people respect you and the law,” Touch Naruth [Municipal Police Chief] said yesterday as he relayed a message given during his Tuesday meeting. “Don’t just stand under trees and jump out to crack down on drivers without helmets or mirrors. It’s dangerous for you and drivers on the roads.”
However, it appears not everyone agrees with the police chief’s strategy. Him Yan, director of the public order department at the Interior Ministry, said hiding behind trees is “an unavoidable strategy”.
“This strategy is to make people cease their bad habits,” Him Yan said. He said other countries also employ such measures to enforce the law.
But Long Chy, a 34-year-old motorbike-taxi driver, said that he blamed police for causing traffic accidents when trying to surprise rule-breakers.
“Police activities are much more anarchic than regular people’s,” he said'.
Well, as trees are slowly disappearing from the city, will traffic police follow?
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