With a day of mourning for the Diamond Bridge tragedy behind it, the National Assembly took up debate and passed next year’s budget, approving an increase of nearly half a billion dollars.
The 2011 budget, totaling $2.4 billion, allocates military and security spending of $304 million, including $190 million for the Ministry of Defense. The Interior Ministry received $114 million, health $169 million, and education $223 million.
Ouk Rabun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Finance, told lawmakers his ministry would accept recommendations from the National Assembly on “better public finance management.”
The main opposition, the Sam Rainsy Party, said it did not support the budget, claiming it had misplaced funding priorities.
“The sectors of the government considered a priority, like the Ministry of Agriculture, received 1.8 percent of the total expenditure,” Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the party, said. The ministries of rural development, land management and water resources each only receive 1 percent of the total, he said.