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Video Meeting Joins Local, National Government

Local authorities and military commanders joined a weekly meeting of ministers Friday through video conferencing in Phnom Penh that officials say will strengthen communication between central government and outlying authorities.

Governors, council chiefs and other officials from 24 municipalities and provinces joined in discussions at the weekly Council of Ministers meeting, along with six commanders from military zones, in what Prime Minister Hun Sen called a historic moment.

The meeting was meant to “speed up” human resources development in technology to provincial and city governors and others, according to a statement from the Council of Ministers.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, said the opposition supported the measure, “to help promote the prevention of corruption, deforestation, road reparation, project development and the protection of people’s security and safety.”

However, while an effort to strengthen its effectiveness through technology was positive, he said, “the government should additionally increase its willingness to respect and fairly implement the law.”

Land-grabbing and other “injustices” continue to plague the populace, he said.

Ny Chakrya, a lead investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said the video conferencing would provide an element of transparency to the government, while “providing urgent information to local government’s to fulfill their work and to agree on the goals of the government.”

The video conferencing could be shown on television networks for people to watch, he said, “because people sometimes want to know what the cabinet decides and whether the local government fully implements the decisions of the cabinet.”