Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministers' debates prove a hit

Ministers' debates prove a hit

Ministers' debates prove a hit

ASERIES of open debates in which the public quizes ministers has been so

successful the Ministry of Information is hoping to move them to a bigger venue,

says spokesman Sieng Lapresse.

The packed meetings will be switched to

the National Radio and Television Centre, next to the Ministry of Public Works,

when refurbishment of the broadcast centre's studios is complete, LaPresse

said.

"The people need to see their representatives and learn what they

can and cannot do and why," Lapresse said.

The Forum for Representatives

and the People, to date held at the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel from 8:30 to 10:30 am

on Saturdays has been getting big play in the Khmer media and have been running

for two months.

"Here the ministers and the people have a chance to meet

each other and exchange ideas about how to develop the country," LaPresse

continued.

Any subject which falls under the minister's purview is open

for discussion.

At the April 2 meeting, Ing Keith, Minister of Public

Works and Transport, covered topics as wide ranging as the need for

international cooperation to finance rebuilding the Cambodian infrastructure

down to pot hole filling in Kompong Som.

Packed with almost 150 Khmer

and one or two foreign faces, and occasionally interrupted by the soft beeping

of businessmen's portable phones, the Khmer language meeting had standing room

only.

It also covered the law now awaiting approval in the Council of

Ministers which will make life belts mandatory on all public ferries, auto

insurance, silt problems on the Tonle Sap and the need for public sewage system

renewal in Battambang, Phnom Penh, Kompong Som and Siem Reap.

"The

meetings are a chance for both sides to understand each other's problems and

concerns," Lapresse said.

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