Members of the Supreme Consultation Council have urged the government to keep the body alive in the next mandate as it has been useful in solving people’s problems.
Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, who is a Council member, said on Tuesday that he supported Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wish to see it continue from the 2023 to 2028 government mandate.
He said it was an opportunity for parties outside the government to join with it to find solutions for the people.
He said his Khmer Rise Party had met with many families in the communities, to investigate their problems such as land disputes, inactive local officials, and the disputes between powerful people and ordinary folk.
“I support the statement of Samdech [Hun Sen] because the Supreme Consultation Council is beneficial.
“In the past, the bad actions of some ‘naughty’ government officials were hidden or not reported to the government. But Council members have exposed them,” Vathana Sabung said.
Another Council member, Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros, said he too supported its continuation as he wanted to contribute to solving the people’s problems and expose the actions of bad officials.
He said some had criticised the Council’s creation, but he dismissed the critics as just people with negative opinions.
“When Council members find a problem, we submit a report to the government. We then check/review the problem together. Criticisms are the opinions of those who cannot see the good we do,” Sros said.
While the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) participated in the 2018 national election, it decided not to be a Council member even though it was invited to participate.
GDP spokesman Leok Sothea said on Tuesday that he did not support the Council because it was created as a show and had spent the national budget extravagantly.
Some council members, he said, went to the community and helped solve people’s problems. But these could not be completely resolved if the government and authorities did not strictly enforce the law against those who violated the people’s rights.
“Besides this, I don’t see any other use for this council,” Sothea said.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen attended the Council’s summit and said he wanted to see it – currently with 16 member parties – continue to exist in the next mandate.
He said the council, although not a parliamentary committee, had provided comments and consultation to the government in an attempt to promote work efficiency, social development and prosperity.
Although parliament is not made up of various political parties, the council had contributed a lot to society.
“Involvement in politics to serve the society does not necessarily mean insulting each other. This applies to small and big parties,” he said.