A draft law meant to improve the maintenance and construction of Cambodia’s dilapidating roads was passed yesterday in a one-sided session of the National Assembly that saw ruling party lawmakers lambast Public Works and Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek for his allegedly poor stewardship.
Iv Tek acknowledged yesterday that the companies building the roads were not held to a high enough standard – something he would be empowered to take action against under the new law – and maintained that roads were mostly damaged by overloaded trucks that went unpunished by corrupt weigh station operators, who would also be punished under the law.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was not at the session, but Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Loy Sophat called the practice of shoddily repairing shoddily built roads a waste of resources.
“If the old roads are seriously damaged, and we spend money to fix them again and again, we will not be able to collect money to build new roads,” he said.
CPP lawmaker Pen Panha said it didn’t matter where the minister stood on the issue as it was his job to go after corruption in his ministry.
“I agree with a few lawmakers who say that it doesn’t matter if you’re a white cat or a black cat provided you can catch a mouse,” Panha said.