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Cambodia Ranks Alarmingly High on Corruption Scale

The world's most prominent anti-corruption watchdog group ranked Cambodia as the second most corrupt country in Asia and one of the world's most corrupt nations.

Transparency International, based in Berlin positioned Cambodia at 151 out of 163 countries in its 'corruption perceptions index' survey, released on Monday.

The 2006 study group defines corruption as "the abuse of public office for private gain", and gave Cambodia a low 2.1 points out of a possible 10 points scale.

This year's ranking finds Haiti as the most corrupt country, followed by Iraq and Guinea. Burma was the only country in Asia ranked lower than Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen's top adviser and a leading member of Council of Ministers Anti-Corruption Committee, Om Yentieng, disputed the findings.

"The survey is not objective and does not reflect the real situation in Cambodia", Om Yentieng said.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker of the opposition party, was not surprised by the low ranking.

"Corruption in Cambodia is common knowledge", according to Son Chhay.

Kem Sokha, director of Cambodia Center for Human Rights, supports the report and asserted that Cambodia's blatant corruption could be curbed by adopting and enforcing anti-corruption laws.

Transparency International has been conducting annual corruption surveys for the past 11 years. Its' research has repeatedly showed a clear link between high levels of corruption and poverty.