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Spotlight on corruption at concert

Clean Hand organisers push for Anti-corruption Law.

THE CLEAN Hand Concert, an event funded by USAID and organised by PACT Cambodia to encourage speedy passage of the Anti-corruption Law, drew 50,000 people to Olympic Stadium Saturday night, organisers said.

The concert, which featured music, a fashion show and comedic performances, marked the one-year anniversary of a campaign that collected more than 1 million thumbprints and signatures demanding the law's passage.

"[The concert] was a crucial message to the people and to the government to speed up the drafting of the Anti-corruption Law," Huort Ratanak, senior programme officer at PACT Cambodia, told the Post on Sunday.

Huort Ratanak said the concert had two purposes: to encourage passage of the law and to educate concertgoers "about the bad effects of corruption in general".  

Civil society organisations such as PACT have long been working to promote anti-corruption legislation in Cambodia.

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker for the Cambodian People's Party, told the Post last week that the law as well as the Criminal Code would not be submitted to the National Assembly before the end of the year.

He said he had recently been told that drafts of both laws were "nearly complete".

Looking ahead, Huort Ratanak acknowledged that several substantial steps needed to be taken before the Anti-corruption Law could be passed - notably, approval of the Criminal Code.

"We want the Criminal Code to be approved soon because the government has said that the Anti-corruption Law could be approved only after the Criminal Code is approved," she said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said he was pleased that the concert had been a success.

"I am happy to hear that many people understand the problem of corruption because this will encourage them to join forces to eliminate corruption," he said.

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