Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Citizens urged to fight graft

Citizens urged to fight graft

Om Yentieng, director of the Anti-Corruption Unit, talks during an event yesterday on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island where he said the government would boost efforts to eradicate corruption in the Kingdom.
Om Yentieng, director of the Anti-Corruption Unit, talks during an event yesterday on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island where he said the government would boost efforts to eradicate corruption in the Kingdom. Hong Menea

Citizens urged to fight graft

Accountability NGO Transparency International Cambodia (TIC) yesterday called on Cambodian citizens to help tackle everyday corruption at an event marking International Anti-Corruption Day.

Addressing an assembly in the capital convened by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), Preap Kol, executive director of TIC, said all Cambodians could claim a stake in the fight by committing themselves to not seeking or paying bribes, reporting corruption and only supporting candidates for public office who adopted an anti-corruption platform.

“When every Khmer citizen has succeeded in upholding [these] points, I will seek to close down Transparency International Cambodia,” he said.

The address was coupled with the release of a video by TIC that documents ordinary Cambodians lamenting the constraints placed by graft on individuals and social development – from road quality, to competition in the job market, to bureaucratic processes like obtaining a birth certificate.

Speaking at yesterday’s event, Om Yentieng, director of ACU, said 2016 would see the government boost efforts to clean up petty corruption, such as that among traffic police and low-level bureaucrats.

However, others said that shifting the onus for tackling graft onto citizens and focusing on corruption in everyday public services deflected from a larger problem.

“We really want a top-down fight against corruption,” said San Chey, of the watchdog group Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, who pointed to corruption in the judiciary as the biggest source of social injustice.

“How can citizens begin to address the issue at a national level, for example, to really monitor the national budget, if the door is not even open?”

Yim Sovann, a spokesperson for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, echoed the view that tackling corruption was a question of political will at the highest levels.

“Cambodians are very worried about corruption, which is now everywhere, destroying competition between investors and as an obstacle to poverty reduction.

But this is not a house that needs to be cleaned from the bottom-up,” he said.

Noting the weak implementation of laws and alignment of the ACU itself with the ruling party, the spokesperson explained that “instead, we need to strengthen the system of checks and balances and increase the role of opposition parties”.

Reached after the event, Yentieng of the ACU declined to comment further.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the