WASHINGTON DC - Cambodia's corruption problem easily surpasses that of its neighbors and could soon be worse than Burma's, a transparency advocacy group warns.
Preap Kol, head of Transparency International's Cambodia office, said NGOs need to work with the government's Anti-Corruption Unit to tackle the "complicated" problem.
Preap Kol spoke to VOA Khmer by phone from Berlin, Germany, where he was attending an anti-corruption conference that he says gave him a better understanding of how corruption works and how difficult it can be to eliminate.
Cambodia ranks 164th of 182 countries on Transparency International's corruption index.
"If Cambodia does not reform on time, [Burma] can improve a step ahead," Preap Kol said. But Cambodia can also reform in the coming years, as Burma has, he added.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian government has been making moves toward rooting out some corrupt public servants. Last week, authorities arrested four officials from the Ministry of Land Management for allegedly embezzling money in a housing construction plan for retired soldiers and the poor.
Preap Kol said such steps were necessary for Cambodia's reform.
"The action is part of the participation of law enforcement against corruption, and it is also part of prevention," he said.
"We encourage the authorities to do more work, because we know that there are many complaints with the [Anti-Corruption Unit]."
Cambodian Corruption Becoming Worst in Region, Advocate Warns