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Pailin Residents Despair Over Corruption

Pailin villagers who once supported the Khmer Rouge said this week they wanted to see the passage of an anti-corruption law.

The law has become a perennial promise unkept, stuck in the National Assembly for years and the lynchpin of donor disapproval.

The former Khmer Rouge villagers said at a public forum that they, like everyone else, want to see it passed.

The forum was held by the Cambodia Youth Council.

Battambang Cambodia Youth Council Director Kan Sichanto told VOA by telephone that nearly 150 former Khmer Rouge villagers had complained about corruption in their daily lives, whether from obtaining identity cards, family record books or favorable court decisions in land dispute cases.

"They want the National Assembly to speed up passage of the anti-corruption law in a hurry," he said. "They think the corruption that they deal with involves government officials every day. They believe that if the corruption continues, they will have difficulties in their living."

Yim Sovan, an opposition lawmaker in the National Assembly's Committee for Anti-Corruption, blamed the failure on the government's priorities. The law wasn't one of them, he said.

"It is still delayed up to now," he said. "I think that the government might lack political will in the decision to push anti-corruption legislation in the National Assembly."