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Gov’t: village feedback to be used for reform

Hundreds of senior government officials will be dispatched to the provinces in the coming months to gauge public opinion on reforming state institutions.

Almost 800 senior officials from all ministries will begin the project on February 15, state broadcaster TVK reported yesterday, following a meeting at the Peace Palace chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Speaking ahead of the closed-door meeting yesterday, Hun Sen told reporters that the officials would gather information at the village level in order to inform future decisions over political reforms.

“Today, we will have a big meeting in order to monitor our work and establish inter-ministerial teams to go down to the local people to monitor and support the government’s political platform,” he said. “We have to do monitoring, otherwise we cannot provide leadership, because we don’t know what progress has been made and we don’t know what we need to reform.”

In a letter published on Monday, he also called for village forums to be created to determine the grievances of villagers.

“In case the working group was not able to resolve the problem, the working group has to make a report for the government,” the premier said, adding that the public forums might help bridge the gap between the capital and rural Cambodia.

Khieu Kanharith, the minister of information, said he would collect the feedback of the villagers so the government can help resolve their issues.

“We will review [their complaints] every three or four months to find out their complaints … and what we have not yet done for the people, so we will understand what we can do to help the people,” he said.

But opposition party spokesman Yim Sovann was doubtful of the plan.

“People are demanding reform of national institutions, reform of the electoral process, a re-election and raising the minimum wage. But the government turned to using armed forces to crack down on them. So I don’t believe [the government’s plan] can solve people’s problems,” he said.

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