The secretariat head of the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendation responded on Tuesday to criticism his institution was not independent and did not do enough to solve land disputes.
In hitting back at allegations that the council is merely the government’s servant and did not have any influence in tackling major issues, Chhim Phal Virun said council members submit reports directly to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
At a press conference on Tuesday, he said about 90 per cent of the reports relate to land disputes, and that the names of people who have positions in government are clearly indicated.
Through report writing and discussion with the prime minister, each of the members always raises the main issues and reveals the names and positions of officials who encroach on State land, he said.
“In response to the accusation that each member of this institution is the servant of the government, the work shows that each is trying to prove himself by reporting issues to the Prime Minister.
“If people see delegate reports, they will know. They do not only consist of the issues but also the names and positions of people involved. These reports have reached Hun Sen already,” he said.
Phal Virun told The Post on Wednesday that most cases that his institution looked into involved land disputes (90 per cent). For each mission, a delegate writes a report and highlights related points and people.
“Specific names of officials related to land issues are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Battambang, Pursat, Banteay Meanchey, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom and more,” he said.
His institution, Phal Virun said, does not have a duty to tackle any issue directly, and that it is the government that releases legal letters based on the notes of the Prime Minister.
Rights group Adhoc spokesman Seung Senkarona told The Post on Wednesday that the work of the council is new. He said this duty in the past fell to political parties to tackle land disputes for citizens.
Senkarona said he appreciates all the work because it serves to tackle issues for people. He expects all requests are handled without discrimination.
“I cannot evaluate all the work in a political perspective, but I believe that if each role is fulfilled, it benefits the people. If citizens get advantage from it, it is acceptable,” he said.