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Drivers, Vendors Fed Up With Corruption

About 100 Cambodians, from motorcycle taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, vendors and politicians, met in a public forum Friday, urging the end of graft and the passage of anti-corruption legislation.

Representatives from Funcinpec, Norodom Ranariddh Party and Human Rights parties joined drivers, vendors and others in a forum sponsored by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

“Sellers always suffer, because bad officials confiscate their goods and demand their money,” complained Von Pov, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association.

Motorcycle taxi driver Sem Somanthorn urged Cambodians to stop voting for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party if the anti-corruption law cannot be passed.

“If your political party wins the election, will it make an anti-corruption law?” driver Kim Sophan asked the party representatives. “And if you were to be prime minister, would you dare to step down if the anti-corruption law could not be done?”

Funcinpec parliamentarian Khieu San told those gathered at the forum that even though Cambodia does not have an anti-corruption law, Cambodian law can still punish those who commit corruption, and many such people have already been imprisoned.

The Coalition of Civil Society Against Corruption said Friday more than one million Cambodians have signed a petition to push for the approval of the anti-corruption law.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Wathana could not be reached for comment Friday.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep said Friday Prime Minister Hun Sen has often pushed for the passage of the law. The CPP is able to safeguard people throughout the country and bring economic development, he added.