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Ruling Party Lawmaker Defends Policies Against Critics

Supporters of Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party dance under portraits of the party leaders, from left, Chea Sim, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin, during an election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, June 27, 2013. Cambodia's political parties on Thursday kicked off campaigning for the July 28 general election, which is almost certain to see the return to power of Asia's longest-serving leader, Hun Sen.

A senior ruling party lawmaker defends his party over criticism by the opposition, saying its policies are right for Cambodia and its support comes from the grassroots.

Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the Cambodian People’s Party, told VOA Khmer in an interview that the CPP will continue to follow a strategy that introduces international standards as the nation develops.

He said criticism over land disputes and concessions, illegal immigration and human rights abuses are mainstays of the opposition but do not reflect the grassroots support enjoyed by the ruling party.

The CPP will begin the third phase of a “rectangle policy” devised by Prime Minister Hun Sen, he said, but he did not provide details. The platform is prepared under “international standards,” he said, “as we are full members of the UN.” Infrastructure, peace for the country, development and trade are all goals of the CPP, he said.

“The CPP policy is the right one,” he said. “We’ve matched those with the practical situation, or reality, which means that the needs of the people at the grassroots, what do they need?”

He dismissed opposition criticism over CPP polices. “Even if we did everything right, 100 percent, it would not satisfy the opposition,” he said. “That’s the culture of the opposition.”

The proof of the CPP’s popularity is in the elections, he said, which has won “landmark victories” in the National Assembly, as well as provincial, district and commune councils.

“As long as more people join the CPP, we will not care at all about the opposition, or the international community, or those who want to destroy the CPP,” he said.

The CPP has come under heavy international criticism, including from the US State Department, for the recent ouster of 29 opposition lawmakers ahead of the elections. However, Cheam Yiep said Cambodia’s system of checks and balances does work, and he noted that the Assembly has passed 427 laws so far.

“We have done a lot,” he said. “Although we have not done 100 percent, we have laws, which are better than nothing.”