Prime Minister Opens Facebook Inbox to Graft Complaints

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday encouraged citizens to send corruption complaints to his personal Facebook inbox, with attached evidence, in what he said was a move to bolster anti-graft efforts.

“[T]o promote people’s livelihood, to combat and eliminate corruption, and to give justice for society, please brothers, sisters and compatriots connect with Samdech Techo,” read a post to Mr. Hun Sen’s Facebook page.

The post called on citizens to send PDF or Microsoft Word attachments providing evidence of corruption directly to his Facebook inbox.

“Every request, report and complaint must have actual legal foundation including witnesses,” the post said.

While the government already has an Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) meant to rid the public sector of corruption, Cambodia’s government is perceived to be the the most corrupt in the region, according to Transparency International.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the prime minister’s latest initiative would allow for prompt responses to complaints.

“Facebook is more efficient for reporting these issues,” Mr. Siphan said. “This method cuts out bureaucracy and narrows the gap between civilians and the prime minister.”

Political analyst Kem Ley said Mr. Hun Sen’s appeal needed to be supported by an official mechanism to handle such complaints.

“It’s good saying this, but he cannot solve all issues alone,” Mr. Ley said. “It also needs a mechanism for implementation: Who would enforce it and how much authority would they have?”

Preap Kol, Transparency International Cambodia director, said the move highlighted the shortcomings of existing anti-graft bodies.

“In the long term, we hope to see reform to public institutions that can handle cases of grievances and complaints independently, without these direct appeals,” Mr. Kol said.

“The ACU, judiciary and law enforcement agencies are currently unable to effectively respond to these grievances.”

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