Aloofness from the government and a lack of communication between the public and parliament have resulted in bad governance, according to the findings of 10 roundtable discussions organized Thursday by the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace .
About 200 people from NGOs and the public attended the first day of the CICP’s two-day National Conference on Strengthening Civil Society-Parliament Partnership for Good Governance in Cambodia.
CICP Senior Research Fellow Samring Kamsan said he found that Cambodia is adversely affected by a lack of implementation of laws and bad management on the part of the government. “If we don’t resolve these problems, we will see a lot of trouble. And if corruption still exists in Cambodia we cannot solve any problems,” Samring Kamsan said.
Suon Visal, an official from the Cambodian Defenders Project said parliament “has never listened to the people’s needs when they draft laws, and they have never asked people what kind of laws they need. The state that can develop is the state that always listens to the needs of the people.”
Monh Saphan, chairman of the National Assembly’s Legislation Committee, disagreed. He said the Assembly does listen.
But the Assembly is not without its problems Monh Saphan admitted. “We are the makers of the law,” he said, “but sometimes it is difficult for us because if we want to fire someone, like a minister from a prominent party, we have to get a two-thirds majority decision from the members of the Assembly.”
Khiev San, vice chairman of the Senate’s Legislation Commission also was in attendance.
Khiev San agreed that communication between the public and parliament is vital and that cooperation is hindered by the fact that “the power of the [political] parties is bigger than the power of the lawmakers.”
“All the lawmakers should go to the countryside and focus on what the people need and see that the laws are obeyed,” Khiev San said. “And civil society should help the parliament to make laws.”