Petition on Corruption To Be Sent to Council

The organizers of a massive anti-corruption petition said Monday they will attempt once again to present their collection of signatures to the government, but this time to the Council of Ministers.

The petition, which has 1,101,753 signatures and involved the participation of 49 organizations in its collection, calls for the government to pass an anti-corruption law, which has been in the drafting process for 15 years.

National Assembly lawmakers declined to accept the petition in May, which—because of its size and weight—had to be carried in 10 cyclos. The lawmakers accepted only a symbolic poster with hundreds of thumbprints and accompanying statements.

“We sent [the petition] to the National Assembly, but sending it ahead of the [election] campaign is meaningless,” Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cam­bodian Defenders Project, said at a news conference in Phnom Penh.

Sok Sam Oeun said he doubted the current government would pass the law.

“The most difficult chapter [in the law] for politicians to follow is the declaration of assets chapter,” Sok Sam Oeun said, adding that he believed the wealth declaration was a fatal stumbling block.

“If I am an official in the government and I have 20 hotels and have $20 million deposited here and $10 million deposited there, I am worried about declaring my assets and being asked, ‘Where is this from?’” he said.

Council of Ministers spokes­man Phay Siphan said Monday that the anti-corruption draft law is under review by the council.

“The thumbprints, from my personal view, are not a force to pass the law,” he said, adding that the law will be passed after the election.

“It will be in the beginning of the new mandate,” he said. “We are not hesitant.”

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