Opposition leaders and human rights workers urged the new
National Assembly and cabinet to pass a long-awaited anti-corruption law,
claiming prior promises by Prime Minister Hun Sen have not been kept.
In speech to his new cabinet Friday, Hun Sen said fighting
corruption was a “high priority” and the government was “strongly committed to
develop and adopt this law.”
But critics said Tuesday they had heard such commitments
before, in many speeches and in promises to donors.
“The government leaders…have no will and not enough
determination to prevent corruption,” Yim Sovan, a Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker and former head of
the National Assembly’s inspection committee, said Tuesday. “Their promises are
only on paper.”
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party relies on corruption to
support it, he said, and so is unlikely to push for its elimination.
“We have little belief in Hun Sen’s promise to pass the
anti-corruption law,” he said.
The anti-corruption law, which was first proposed by the
opposition in 1998 and was drafted by Ministry of National Assembly Relations
in 2006, is under review at the Council of Ministers.
Drafts of the law have been kept from the public, and it is
unclear what provisions it might include to curb the practice of government
“If the government breaks its promise to pass the
anti-corruption law, the Human Rights Party will repeatedly make demands on the government day after day when we join the National Assembly,” HRP President Kem
Cambodia is perceived as the 14th-most corrupt country in the world, according to surveys by Transparency International, and officials say the practice costs the
country up to $500 million per year.
“The anti-corruption law must come out soon, to show
transparency and confidence for the new government,” Ny Chakrya, chief
investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said Tuesday. “The anti-corruption law
does not need to wait for another law to support it.”
Hun Sen has said the anti-corruption law must be passed
after the penal code, which is in the process of being drafted by the Ministry