>Civil Society Pushed For Approval Of Anti-Corruption Laws

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Anti-corruption campaign by civil society at the end of 2006. On 16th May a march similar to this will be organised to present the petitions to the National Assembly.
9th May 2008
By Chea Makara
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization
Civil society on 9th May released a statement that they will present petitions with over one millions thumbprints and signatures to the National Assembly to request that this institution speed up the ratification of the Anti-Corruption Laws.
Mr. Pok Puthearith, who is in charge of collecting the thumbprints and signatures, said that the petitions will be presented to the government and the National Assembly on the 16th of May. He said that about more than 100 representatives from 40 civil societies will march from the headquarter of the Legal Right Protection in Cambodia to the National Assembly.
In response to the push for the speed up of the ratification of Anti-Corruption Laws, Mr. Chiem Yeap, MP for the Cambodian People’s Party said that the delay in the approval of these laws was due to the disagreements on 5 points of the laws. He said: “There were 5 sticking points that I knew of. The first reason for the delay was the definition of the word ‘corruption’. We want a clear definition so as not to leave any loopholes for judges to make unwise decisions or to commit injustices. Secondly was in relation to the Anti-Corruption Commission which many people want it to be independent (of the government). We also want it to be independent. Thirdly was in relation to the declaration of assets (of officials before and after holding public positions). Fourthly was in relation to the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Commission which some people want to give this commission overwhelming powers. In our constitution, there are only three powers and that is the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. So if we give too much power to this body it will become the fourth power. That’s why there is a further delay. And the fifth reason of the delay was the penalty/punishment.”
However, Mr. Chiem Yeap said that the Anti-Corruption Laws will be approved in the fourth term of the government.
In relation to the Anti-Corruption Laws, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the government spokesman, said that not only that the government officials should be subject to declaration of their assets, the parliamentarians and members of the civil society must also declare their assets as well. He said: “The members of parliament must also declare their assets. But I wish to propose that members of the civil society must also declare their assets. What do they think about this? Whoever has salary of more than 1,000,000 ($US250) riels must be subject to scrutiny.”
It must be noted that the Anti-Corruption Laws have been drafted more than 10 years (in fact 14 years to be exact) ago but until now they have not been introduced and approved by the parliament yet. //
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