More than 30 NGOs are lobbying all political parties to adopt alcohol laws in a bid to curb rates of violence and illness, after the government failed to pass vital legislation last year.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Center for Development and Peace, yesterday said he and the other groups had lost faith in the government and implied that officials had been swayed by the interests of alcohol companies.
“They planned to adopt it at the end of July in 2015, but after the government officials met with the alcohol industry, the draft was pushed to the Ministry of Health,” Kim Eng said.
He said alcohol played a role in traffic accidents, disease and violence, costing the state some $40 million each year.
The group resolved to urge 2018 national elections candidates next month to consider the draft laws to set the drinking age at 21, raise taxes and restrict alcohol advertising.
Ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed the petition as a “drama”.
Chhea Chhor Daphea, a department of health promotion official at the Health Ministry, said she was not aware if the legislation had yet been submitted to the Council of Ministers.
“The ministry always pays attention and urges this to be put in place as soon as possible,” she said.
Health Ministry and opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesmen could not be reached yesterday.