PM, Sam Rainsy Agree on Land Issues Committee

Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed with a proposition put forward by opposition leader Sam Rainsy to establish a national land issue committee to investigate property disputes, officials said.

The committee, which will be pre­sided over by CPP Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, was ag­reed upon during a telephone con­versation between Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy, opposition acting secretary-general Meng Rita said. Meng Rita added that committee members will be chosen from the main political parties and NGOs.

Meng Rita denied that the proposed national land committee was another layer of bureaucracy in a field already crammed with experts and groups focused on land issues.

“I believe it will be efficient,” he said.

Meng Rita said authorities are not solving land disputes because they involve the rich and powerful.

“Authorities dare not tell the truth to solve the land issue, so the information does not reach Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and Funcinpec spokes­man Chea Chanboribo said they were unaware of the proposed committee.

Koul Panha, director of the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elections, said an ad-hoc committee, such as the one reportedly agreed on between Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy, was not an effective method of dealing with an issue of such magnitude.

“There should be a permanent institution and it should be strong and independent, not this temporary [committee],” he said.

Kuch Veng also questioned the political composition of the committee, which he said would lead the group to make decision based on party politics and not in the interests of ordinary people.

“Political parties are biased. I am afraid that they will not be responsible for what they do,” he said, adding that a land dispute committee should be completely independent.


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