Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Over 700 petitions to Sar Kheng via FB page

Over 700 petitions to Sar Kheng via FB page

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A man views Minister of Interior Sar Kheng’s Facebook page on his computer. Heng Chivoan

Over 700 petitions to Sar Kheng via FB page

In the second half of last year, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng’s Facebook page received more than four intervention requests per day on average, said the leader of the working group assigned to handle the account.

At a recent meeting to review last year’s progress and establish goals for this year, team leader Chea Sokunthea said there had been a total of 769 requests submitted by the public, of which 237 had been resolved.

The remaining issues will be addressed, and the group has added staff to deal with them, he said.

Sokunthea said that of the 532 remaining cases, 280 had been sent to specialists for solutions, and the working group was waiting for their results. The last 252 cases had been compiled in a report and referred to top-level authorities.

“Leaders want all problems raised by members of the public to be addressed in a timely and comprehensive manner to ensure harmony in society,” he said.

During the goal-setting process, ministry officials upgraded the duties and resources of the working group to improve its capacities in accordance with the high priority given to resolving the public’s problems.

Sokunthea explained that the group was formed in June last year with 11 members, including himself and one deputy. To adequately respond to the high volume of public messages, the group has expanded to 17 members including five deputies.

In a Facebook post, Sar Kheng praised the group for its efforts and results in resolving the public’s petitions and urged officials across the country to continue giving support to the public.

He also thanked the public for submitting their comments and requests as this demonstrated their participation in the nation’s development, he said.

Licadho deputy director Am Sam Ath commended the group’s work, saying it simplified the process of people communicating with the government and saved people travel time and associated costs. It could also ensure effective responses by circumventing the indifference of some local authorities.

“We see that the working group has been responding to comments and requests from the people. Unfortunately, many problems remain unsolved because they relate to complex cases like land disputes in the capital and provinces,” he said.

Sam Ath added that certain protracted issues have caused people to lose trust in local authorities to solve the cases. These require research to seek fair solutions, while cases related to large companies and powerful individuals need clear investigations and bold decisions for just resolutions.

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