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Petition Against Corruption Sent to Assembly

A petition of more than 1 million Cambodian signatures calling for anti-corruption legislation will be passed to the National Assembly Friday, and organizers hope it will push lawmakers to act.

The signatures were collected over several months “to demand quick passage” of an anti-corruption law of international standard, according to a statement by the Coalition of Civil Society Organization Against Corruption.

“This anti-corruption petition is very important for politicians and voters, before the July national election, to demand the government and National Assembly quickly pass the anti-corruption law after the election,” said Pok Puthearith, a project manager for the Khmer Institute for Democracy. “We want the National Assembly to make a promise to the people.”

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, called the petition “a strong message for all political parties.”

The coalition wanted political parties to make the elimination of corruption a main part of their platforms, he said.

Most political parties have already done that; corruption has dogged the government since its inception, costing the nation as much as $500 million per year.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has promised to pass legislation to curb the practice many times, but that legislation has remained in the draft stage for years.