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Petition, But No Promises, for National Assembly

A million signatures calling for legislation to curb corruption reached the National Assembly Friday, but lawmakers were loathe to promise anything in its wake.

The petition, which collected the signatures over several months, was brought by 150 marching anti-corruption activists who carried banners and stickers and was flanked by a troupe of dancers.

The petition was received by Khoun Sodary, head of the National Assembly’s Commission on Human Rights, “but she made no promises,” Thun Saray, director of the rights group Adhoc, said Friday.

The petition should be a wake-up call to any political party competing in July’s general election, he said.

“If the people’s demands are not met by the fourth mandate of the National Assembly, the people will consider what needs to be done in the fifth mandate of the National Assembly,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said the petition was very important, but he criticized the National Assembly’s inability to promise action.

“We regret not having the good will to implement the petition,” he said.

Human Rights Party Vice President Keo Remy said the party fully supports the petition and promised it would act if given the mandate by a political win in July.

The Cambodia Watchdog Council, led by union representatives Rong Chhun and Chea Mony, called on voters to make a clear decision in July on parliamentarians with a will to protect the interests of society.

The government has repeatedly promised Cambodians and donors alike the passage of an anti-corruption law, but it has remained in the draft stage for years.