Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - People's lot unchanged, says poll

People's lot unchanged, says poll

People's lot unchanged, says poll

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

crimes.

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

question dishonestly.

He said: "I worry the press rate might be in error

because it was the journalists who interviewed people about the

press."

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

opinion.

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

(case)."

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.

The

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

good rating.

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