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Rainsy sharpens knives for Tokyo meeting

Opposition lawmaker Sam Rainsy is keen to meet the donor community in Tokyo June 11-13 to hammer home what he says are key discrepancies in the RGC's donor-related promises and actions.

Reeling off a litany of alleged failures of the government to abide by donor expectations in the realms of financial management, formation of a KR tribunal and illegal logging, Rainsy says his task will be to remind donors of the shortfalls of the Hun Sen government.

"While the KR tribunal has been stalled yet again, logging has been continuing unabated... a view that's being shared by the pro-government newspapers and the latest Global Witness report," Rainsy said. "Why should donors keep pumping in millions of dollars in infrastructure projects like roads and bridges that will get washed away every rainsy season due to floods which, in turn, are directly linked to indiscriminate logging?"

According to Rainsy, the RGC's macro-economic report claiming five per cent GDP growth rate was "grossly misleading" due its relation to a corresponding growth in the population.

"The figure also reflects export earnings from natural products like unprocessed latex, timber and agricultural produce that's neither sustainable and nor a significant contributor to employment generation or technology buildup," he said. "Instead, the timber trade and a thriving sex industry are bound to claim severe long term environmental, economic, social, and cultural costs that will offset much of the development achieved so far... the donors will have to pay attention to that."

Referring to the government's demand for an additional US$15 million to proceed with the demobilization process as a reflection of its "beggar mentality", Rainsy said the number of soldiers needing demobilization could be considerably reduced simply by striking off the names of ghost soldiers and 'occasional' soldiers.

But Rainsy also conceded his own role in some of the Kingdom's economic woes, in particular the 1994-Investment Law he drafted during his brief tenure as Cambodia's Finance Minister which focused heavily on incentives for foreign investment.

"The trouble is, we treat all sorts of investments the same way," he said of the failure of that investment law. "Those who come here to exploit the country's natural resources and add no value to their exports, create few jobs and don't bring in any technology are undeserving candidates."

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