Comfrel Report Says CPP Promises Too Vague to Be Measured

Of the 48 promises the ruling CPP made over the course of its past five years in power, five have been achieved, another five have been partially achieved and the remaining 38 were too vague to measure, according to a report released Monday by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel).

“When taking his position, the prime minister officially an­nounced 48 political programs, which included many promises, including deep major reforms,” Comfrel stated in the report.

“However, most of these promises and political programs made by the government are broad and don’t have any clear indicators, which makes it difficult for us to trace and measure at what level the government implemented them.”

The report found that the government had succeeded in increasing gross domestic product per capita to $870, reducing the poverty rate by 1 percent annually, raising civil servants’ salaries by 20 percent annually, demining 45,000 hectares of land in 2010 and increasing the supply of potable water by up to 45 percent in rural areas.

Other partially met pledges included reaching annual economic growth of 7 percent, increasing tourism growth by 20 percent and ensuring that primary- and secondary-school children complete their education. Targets to provide social security to civil servants, the armed forces, workers and employees were also only partially met.

Among the pledges Comfrel was unable to analyze were the strengthening of multi-party democracy, rule of law, enhancing health care, advancing agriculture and stamping out corruption.

“For only 10 of the 48 promises we found clear indicators that they can be measured easy…. Other promises or points [such as social stability], we were not able to know the precise indicators of how they can be achieved,” Comfrel executive director Koul Panha said.

“Some politicians like using the words ‘strengthening’ and ‘protecting,’ but they dare not use exact terms,” he added.

Despite a pledge of 7 percent annual economic growth, the report cites Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Bank data that show growth did not quite achieve that goal, ranging from between 6.5 percent to 6.9 percent in 2011.

This is at odds with government figures that show growth of 7.1 percent was achieved in 2011.

“In conclusion, according to the aforementioned figures made by various institutions, the government has yet to fulfill its prom­ise totally of increasing economic growth in the fourth mandate,” the report says. “This growth comes from a small group of people whose daily living is far more advanced than general people,” it adds.

The report also mentions the March 2008 establishment of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which aims to manage social security for private-sector workers. It said that in 2010, about 490,000 workers received dividends from this service—about 70 percent of the total number of laborers who signed up to it.

“In summing up, the government has done a lot in expanding the institutions linked with the NSSF, but this procedure remains complicated and the service are not certain.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan dismissed the Comfrel report, saying it came from an organization with a clear anti-government bias.

“All their research is not professional and scientific,” he said.

Mr. Siphan said the barometer of success is measured not by “such organizations funded by foreign money,” but by the people.

“From the people’s moods, we are on track—it’s the majority. The people are happy living in this society. This mandate was very successful,” he said.

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