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More See Country Going ‘Wrong’: Survey

An increasing number of people, especially those with higher incomes, feel the country is moving in the wrong direction, according to a recent survey.

Approximately 20 percent of 2,000 people surveyed in August 2009 were unhappy with the direction of the country, according to the International Republican Institute, a US democracy group.

The most unhappy were those who earned more than $300 per month; 26 percent of them said they thought the country was going in the wrong direction.

Of those surveyed, 79 percent said they thought the country was generally moving in the right direction, a decline from 82 percent in November 2008. It was the first decline in the survey since August 2006.

Despite the high number of positive respondents, Cambodia remains plagued by corruption and crimes like land-grabbing, said Ke Sovanaroth, secretary-general of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Of those unhappy with the direction of the country, 38 percent said it was because of more corruption, according to the survey; 11 percent said they were unhappy with “threats to take land from people.”

Kuol Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that since 1993, Cambodia had been heading in the right direction, including multi-party elections, a free market and respect for human rights.

However, ongoing problems with Thailand and in internal politics had caused a drop in those surveyed, he said.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the survey showed pride among Cambodian people and was a reflection of the government’s development strategy.

The survey was conducted between July 31 and August 26, 2009, and the results were issued last week.