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Government too slow to respond: SRP

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party says the government has systematically failed to respond to its letters seeking information from Prime Minister Hun Sen and the National Assembly, and suggests that senior officials have “looked down” on Assembly President Heng Samrin.

In a report released on Friday, the party stated that 16 letters had been sent to Hun Sen this year, only four of which drew responses. In 2009, the SRP says it sent 24 letters, of which 13 elicited a response.

The report says 132 similar letters were sent to various arms of the government in 2009, but that only 39 of those letters drew official responses. In 2010, the report says, 47 letters have been sent to the government, prompting just 15 responses so far.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said the lack of response was evidence that government officials were “looking down” on National Assembly President Heng Samrin, through whom all the letters were addressed.

“With no responses like this, they have looked down on the Assembly president,” he said. Son Chhay said that between 1993 and 2010, only six government officials had appeared in parliament to clarify irregularities highlighted by opposition parties.

“We do not want to keep provoking, but we want people to know how much money government officials have to build their villas,” he said.

But Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, yesterday dismissed the report, saying that all SRP letters had been responded to, and that no minister was so “insolent” as to ignore Heng Samrin.

“When opposition party letters ask questions through Assembly President Heng Samrin, who dares to be obstinate with Samdech Heng Samrin,” he said. “There are no ministers so insolent not to answer questions raised by the Assembly.”

He said that all questions asked to the Prime Minister had been answered, and that the SRP should write new letters if it did not like the responses it received.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen does not dare gesticulate [or oppose] Heng Samrin,” he said.

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