M OST Cambodians believe Pol Pot should be tried; that the courts are doing
badly; and that life hasn't changed much since the elections, according to a
poll by the Khmer Journalist Association (KJA).
Four out of every five
Cambodians believe Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot should be prosecuted for
The result comes at a time when the government has thrown its
support behind an American-funded research program into the Cambodian genocide
of 1975 to 1979.
About 20 KJA staff members interviewed 794 people
between Feb 26-27 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompong Cham and
Battambang. The respondents - both sexes - ranged from cyclo and moto drivers,
businessmen and students to government officials.
KJA advisor Mike Fowler
said: "The margin of error is about two percent." However, he said next month's
poll will cover a broader area and the margin of error "has to be higher because
there are places in the country we cannot get to."
Only two per cent
thought the press had done a bad job, while 64 per cent of respondents rated the
press good or very good and 30 per cent said the press did a fair job. Four per
cent had no opinion.
Fowler acknowledged that because the poll was
conducted by members of the press, they may have had an influence on people's
positive assessment of the media.
KJA president Pin Samkhon said the
press score can't be considered accurate because people might have answered the
He said: "I worry the press rate might be in error
because it was the journalists who interviewed people about the
Half the people interviewed said the courts have done bad or very
bad job; only eight per cent said good or very good and 20 per cent had no
Samkhon agreed with the people who said they think the courts
were doing a bad job, because: "If I have no money, I will lose the court
One in four thought Parliament was performing well; the same
percentage thought it was bad or very bad.
Forty-five percent of the
respondents saw no change in their living standards after the election, 24
percent said it got better and 2 percent said much better.
conditions had improved in Phnom Penh where only 10 percent of the population
live, while the rest living in rural areas are still facing security problems
and food shortages, Sam Rainsy, former Finance Minister, said at a press
conference on March 2.
When asked whom they would vote for "if the
election were held today", 28 percent of respondents said First Prime Minister
Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Hun Sen would receive 21 per cent of the votes, while
Sam Rainsy would pick up 23 per cent.
Ranariddh is popular in Battambang,
a Funcinpec province; Hun Sen in Kompong Cham, a CPP province and Sam Rainsy in
Phnom Penh, a political center, Samkhon said.
In a separate question,
respondents were asked how they would rate the performance of the co-prime
ministers. Forty-seven per cent gave Hun Sen a good or very good rating, while
45 per cent said Ranariddh was good or very good. Both men's popularity had
dropped since a September 1994 KJA survey, when 68 per cent said Ranariddh's
performance was good or very good and 52 per cent gave Hun Sen a good or very