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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exam protest: Arbitration candidates miss test

Exam protest: Arbitration candidates miss test

FIFTY-FOUR prospective arbitrators boycotted professional exams yesterday, saying the tests are not a legal requirement.

The Kingdom’s is setting up a National Arbitration Centre to allow businesses to resolve disagreements outside the court system.

However, the training of those set to work within the system has itself become subject to dispute.

The Ministry of Commerce had issued a letter asking candidate arbitrators to take exams ahead of their official appointment.

But candidates say the Ministry’s order does not comply with a previous government sub-decree, which informed candidates to apply for positions at the National Arbitration Centre directly after completing their training.

Prospective candidate Lim Chhen told the Post yesterday: “The examinations were just so-called boss pleasing. It is not legitimate."

"The boycott is an activity to strengthen the implementation and respect for the basic sub-decree,” he said, speaking to reporters on Monivong Boulevard, near to Phnom Penh's Royal University of Law and Economics.

Fellow candidate, 36-year-old Phan Panha, talked of a culture of top-down government leadership, and said that the candidates would take the test if set out in the sub-decree, “but it was not stated”.

He said that the would-be arbitrators would apply to the National Centre, as set out in article 52 of the sub-decree today.

The candidates have previously raised their concerns in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office.

Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Commerce Ministry and director of preparation and recruitment for the Prime Arbitrator Committee, refused to answer requests for comment yesterday.

Other officials approached for comment at both the Ministry of Commerce and Cambodia's Chamber of Commerce referred questions back to Mao Thora.

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