A high number of civil servants are “trapped” in their allegiance to the ruling party, forcing them into acts of corruption in order to keep their jobs, a leading Cambodian analyst said Thursday.
Lao Mong Hay, a longtime political analyst and former researcher for the Asian Human Rights Commission, told “Hello VOA” that public employees have to contribute money to the Cambodian People’s Party and work to expand grassroots support, an expensive endeavor that is difficult to maintain on a legitimate salary.
“This is a mechanism that breeds corruption,” he said. “Based on their salaries, they are not able to afford [such contributions]. Therefore, they have to find extra sources of income, which means accepting bribes or embezzling from the national budget.”
While there is nothing wrong with joining a political party or being politically active, a party should not demand anything more than a membership contribution, he said.
Everyday Cambodians complain of rampant corruption within the public sector, where bribes are required for nearly any public service. Opposition party supporters say conditions are even worse for them, if they are identified by ruling party members.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said people can issue complaints against civil servants who discriminate or ask for bribes.
However, Lao Mong Hay said a nationwide complaint system should be in place, making it easy for people to file complaints and making it clear when they should expect results.
“I’ve heard a lot of complaining about the system, but it seems not to be working out, and people end up taking their protests to the streets,” he said.