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Opposition Pushes Council on Corruption Law

Opposition lawmakers submitted their own anti-corruption law to the National Assembly on Monday, in a symbolic act to push the Council of Ministers to hand over the real draft.

The Council of Ministers approved a much-anticipated anti-corruption law in December, but it has not moved the bill over the National Assembly for debate.

Officials at the Council say the draft is undergoing proofreading by legal and anti-corruption experts, but Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers said Monday the law needs to be debated and passed.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay delivered the opposition draft to the office of National Assembly President Heng Samrin Monday evening.

“We have not yet received any government anti-corruption law, so we must request our anti-corruption [draft] as a necessary means to effectively fight corruption in Cambodia,” Son Chhay said Tuesday. “It is very important for the government to fight against corruption and for development.”

Donors have pushed the government for years to pass anti-corruption legislation. The US estimates the government loses $500 million a year to the practice and in February began training government officials in its prevention.

“The anti-corruption draft law will be able to pass before the completion of the training course against corruption in late June,” Om Yentieng, head of the government’s anti-corruption unit, said Tuesday.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the draft law will be made public when it moves to the National Assembly for debate.

Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the Cambodian People’s Party, said the draft legislation was important for the National Assembly to consider, but he added that the government’s law was a bigger priority than the opposition’s.