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Battling corruption

Battling corruption

Dear Editor,

Having been destroyed by war over two decades, Cambodia is now experiencing numerous

untold social problems ranging from dearth of food to breakdown of morality.

All these problems are no doubt the consequences of war. Those who have borne the

brunt are the innocent people who are victims of political and ideological differences

pursued by the leaders.

At present, Cambodia is having peace and relatively political stability for the first

time in three decades. But the country, nevertheless, continues to be perceived,

especially in the foreign media, as a country full of violence, lawlessness, corruption

and so on. Some foreign tourists are of the opinion that Cambodia is still not a

safe place to visit right now.

Cambodians, who are among the most unfortunate people living on earth, have suffered

enough in the last 30 years. They deserve a better opportunity than this.

But, alas, they are still condemned to poverty and overwork. According to the latest

report of the World Bank, almost half of the Cambodians are living below the poverty

line.

It is time for the Royal Government, which has been self-named as the "Economic

Government", to tackle the problems to better the condition of the people (alleviation

of poverty).

To do this, the Government should deal directly with corruption and law violation,

which are widely prevalent in the country and a hindrance to development. It is well

accepted that there could be no real development as long as the country is corruption-ridden

and does not have the rule of law.

All these bad practices have gone to such an extent that they scare away potential

foreign investors and tourists, who could otherwise help boost our slow-growing economy.

So it is the challenge for the top leaders of the country, especially Samdech Hun

Sen, to undertake.

Cambodian people, including myself, firmly believe that Samdech can do it. And now

it is the best chance the country has ever had since peace is dawning on the country.

Therefore, Samdech does not need to contemplate fighting the war any more, but poverty

and corruption.

If Samdech could really tackle these problems and help the people out of poverty,

his name will go down in history as a great hero and the people will never forget

him.

I am really sorry to hear that some high-ranking officials are allegedly involved

in corrupt practices, which have almost become a chronic disease. These VIPs are

perhaps betraying their own ideals and objectives, which they had presumably cherished

as students. It is now not too late for them to reconsider and correct themselves

where they have gone wrong.

In the mean time, it is vital to preserve the forest, which has been extensively

logged. According to a Global Witness report, if the logging activities continue,

within five years Cambodia will become a desert in southeast Asia.

It is understood that when the forest is unduly cut down, there will not be any sustainable

development in the country besides natural disasters.

It is ironic that we Buddhists, who are supposed to be friendly towards nature, are

doing the opposite. The Buddha has reminded us that those who preserve forest and

do reforestation will accumulate merit day and night (Aramaropa vannaropa ye jana

... punnam niccam vaddhati). Therefore, we as Buddhists should follow his teachings.

Hereby, it is hoped that the leaders of Cambodia would put the policies right, regarding

corruption, deforestation, law violation ... etc and lead the nation to prosperity

and reputation, so that they will be worthy of respect by the Cambodian people

- Bhikkhu Aggadhiro, Khy Sovanratana, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

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