CPP Absent From Event Pledging to Fight Against Corruption

Six of the political parties contesting National Assembly seats in the July 28 national election on Wednesday pledged to stamp out corruption and announced their manifestos for doing so at an event held in Phnom Penh.

Organized by Transparency International (T.I.) Cambodia, the only two parties not to attend the event were the ruling CPP and smaller Cambodian Nationality Party.

Representatives from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Funcinpec, League for Democracy, Republican Democracy Party, Khmer Economic Development Party and Khmer Anti-Poverty Party said that nepotism, bribery and increasingly low public sector salaries were a concern, and vowed to address those issues should they win government seats.

“Common ground in these statements include further advancing the declaration of assets and the public’s access to information to expose corruption and once identified, strong law enforcement is needed to prosecute the offenders,” T.I. said in a statement.

T.I. executive director Preap Kol said he regretted the absence of the ruling party.

“I cannot speak on their behalf, but I regret that they declined to attend,” he said on the sidelines of the event.

In an earlier speech, Mr. Kol said the event, which was attended by T.I. representatives from 26 countries, was “historical.”

“Corruption is still threatening reforms,” he said. “In order to totally eradicate corruption, we need the participation of all levels of political parties, politicians and members of Parliament.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the invitation to the event was declined because the party was currently very busy.

“The CPP is committed to fighting corruption not by talking, but by doing,” he said. “That’s why the CPP initiated the Anti-Corruption Law and set up the Anti-Corruption Unit…. The first stage is to educate people and implement mechanisms and laws to prevent corruption.”

As for low salaries driving a culture of bribery, Mr. Siphan disagreed.

“We don’t react because of low salaries. I have a low salary, but I don’t commit corruption.”

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