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Muslims Outline Political Needs

Hundreds of Cambodian Muslims faced three parliamentarians Saturday, calling on them to fix problems within their communities, including schools, health care and farmland.

The Chams, who participated in a public forum put on by the National Democratic Institute Saturday, told party representatives these would be important issues for them in July’s national elections.

About 420 Chams participated in the forum, which included a representative each from the Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party.

“There were some Khmer Muslim teachers at this school in the past, but they stopped teaching because they didn’t have any salary while their living conditions were so poor,” said El Vansa, a teacher who attended the forum.

El Mad, who lives in Sambo village, Kor commune, and wore a Muslim cap on his head, said people in his village were uneducated and easily tricked out of their land.

“They always suffer from cheating by corrupt people,” he said.

Others expressed concern about gambling, as the three parliamentarians present listened.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Cheam Chany said the opposition lacked the capability to solve everyone’s problems immediately.

Jerome Cheung, NDI’s Cambodia directory, said voters had a right to conversations with their elected officials.