PHNOM PENH - A group of local NGOs has held a public forum ahead of July’s elections, and though only two parties participated, the forum was a good indicator of what voters are thinking about. Of particular concern are ongoing economic concessions and landlessness.
Fourteen local NGOs held the public forum, where participants raised many questions highlighting concerns for the concessions, which have in recent years led to evictions, demonstrations and clashes with police.
Only representatives of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and Funcinpec were present at the forum.
Ky Vannara, a National Assembly lawmaker for the opposition, told participants that if the Rescue Party wins the election, it will seek the return of some 2.8 million hectares of economic concessions.
Tep Nunary, a member of Funcinpec, said Cambodia has laws to control the land issues, but they are not followed. “Nowadays every problem happens because nobody complies with the law,” he said.
Song Srey Leap, an evictee from the Boeung Kak lake development in Phnom Penh, told party members that the problem remains Cambodia’s courts. Activists are arrested and jailed, while housing rights are not respected by the government, she said.