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More Than 80 Percent See Country Going in Right Direction: Survey

Construction workers work on a new building in Phnom Penh. Cambodia is embracing a thriving real estate market, where land and housing prices in the capital city skyrocket with no sign of letting up, file photo.

A survey by the US-based International Republican Institute found 81 percent of people who think Cambodia is heading in the right direction.

The survey questioned 2,000 people in face-to-face responses in November and December last year. Critics say the responses were positive because the public is not fully informed of the country’s situation. The numbers were a bump up from the 76 percent of surveyed Cambodians who said the same thing last year.

Respondents cited more construction projects, including roads, bridges, schools, pagodas and irrigation projects as reasons for their positive views. Other factors were the greater availability of technology and products and continued peace.

Government supporters say the survey accurately reflects the attitude of the general population.

“There is no country in the world whose leaders do no wrong,” said Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. “But we have now reformed all kinds of government sectors.”

However, Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the survey did not reflect the true attitudes of Cambodians, as respondents may have been answering with their own safety in mind. He cited surveys from Iraq and North Korea with similar results.

“In terms of pressure on freedoms of the press and expression, I think people can’t reveal the right answer,” he said.

Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the survey results do not necessarily mean the people are fully supportive of the current government, only that they think the country is moving in the right direction.