>It Doesn’t Surprise Me: Police Viewed as Most Corrupt

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“Angkor Wat concession, land concessions to foreigners, illegal logging and even appointing defectors from other parties who joined his own party to high paid government positions is tantamount to corruption because it is squandering public money for one’s own interests.”
“Cambodia at presence is poor not because Cambodia is poor in potential, but poor because of the mismanagement and corruption of our leaders.”
Editorial by Khmerization:- Corruption has become part of the Khmer society and has been practised by the Khmer office-holders for as long as one can remember. It has embedded in the mentality of our leaders, public servants and office-holders that taking bribes is the norm and that it is not tantamount to corruption but, rather, it is a charge or a fee for the service rendered, forgetting that they have already been paid from the tax-payers‘ money to serve the people. This mentality is completely wrong!
Coming back to the survey by Transparency International, reported in the article below, it doesn’t surprised me of the responses. Corruption, as I mentioned earlier, has existed in the Khmer society for generations. But it was not at the level that we are seeing under the current government.
Corruption had existed in every society, white, black or yellow. The only difference is the will to tackle or to curb it from becoming a social ill. In the Western countries corruption, if not completely eliminated, had been effectively curbed to minimal. With political will, well-established, strong and independent institutions, corruption had been almost completely brought to a halt. Corrupt officials, no matter what positions they hold, even the prime minister, will be prosecuted.
On the contrary, corruption in Cambodia has been allowed to go on and go on, on a large scale without any political will to tackle it. This is so because corruption in Cambodia has been practised from the top leadership down to the bottom ladder. From prime minister down to the grassroots officials corruption has been practised openly. Angkor Wat concession, land concessions to foreigners, illegal logging and even appointing defectors from other parties who joined his own party to high paid government positions is tantamount to corruption because it is squandering public money for one’s own interests.
Cambodia at presence is poor not because Cambodia is poor in potential, but poor because of the mismanagement and corruption of our leaders. Corruption has drained state treasury dried. It has costed the country $500 million dollars annually which would have been put to better use in infrastructure building, health and education. Our education and health systems are at dilapidated states. Patients are forced to pay phenomenal amount to use public healthcare and hospitals. Students are forced to pay a huge sum of money to enrol and to bribe their teachers.
This level of corruption must not be allowed to go on. One of the way to reduce, not eliminate it because it is not possible, is to change the government and our leaders. I heard people were saying that “all the Cambodian leaders are the same. They are all corrupt. Why should we change the leaders?” While their statements are correct to a certain extent, I do not agree that they are all the same and that we should not change the leaders. In the Western democracies, take America for example, the leaders have been changed every so often that sometimes it is difficult to remember them. And their countries are progressing so impressively.
Those who said that “all Khmer leaders are corrupt and shouldn’t be replaced” are resisting change and advocating dictatorship. These kinds of people have interests at stake if changes are to occur. Change in Cambodia must take place and take place sooner rather than later.//END//
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Police Viewed as Most Corrupt: Survey
Cambodian military police guarding the Phnom Penh Court. (VOA file photo).
By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh
20 February 2008

Cambodians view the police and judiciary as more corrupt than other government and non-government agencies, according to a survey released Wednesday.In its annual corruption survey, Transparency International said more than half of Cambodian interactions with police and registry and permit services in 2007 resulted in bribes paid.In four out of ten contacts with police or such services, bribes were requested, the group said.Transparency International, via market research group TNS, surveyed 1,016 Cambodian adults in face-to-face interviews in five cities and provinces: Battambang, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.”Corruption is considered a serious problem by the Cambodians,” a Transparency International statement said. “Four in ten respondents believe that the level of corruption will rise in the coming years. The fear is strongest in rural and remote areas and among low income groups.””I would like to completely deny corruption in the police and judicial institutions,” said Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. “But we recognize there are corrupt individuals in those institutions, and we have punished corrupt individuals with both administrative and legal measures.”Cambodia loses an estimated $500 million per year to its national budget due to corruption, but the government has yet to pass a much-awaited anti-corruption law.
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