Politicians’ 2007 Resolutions Have a Familiar Ring

At the start of the New Year on Jan 1, millions of people in the West look deep into their souls and resolve to live better, more virtuous lives by doing such things as exercising more, flossing their teeth and giving up cigarettes.

A brief survey of several prominent Cambodian politicians and their New Year’s resolutions revealed that their self-improvement regimens revolved mainly around sticking to politics as usual.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said his resolution as a lawmaker was to pass laws, especially the long-awaited anti-corruption law, which has been meandering through the corridors of government for more than a decade.

Cheam Yeap also took the op­portunity to remind his consti­tuents of the pagodas, schools, health centers, and roads he has already built in Prey Veng pro­vin­ce and promised more of the same in the year ahead.

“In 2007, I plan to build irrigation for rice fields,” he said.

National Assembly and CPP Honorary President Heng Sam­rin was similarly focused on building in the run up to April’s commune elections.

“I have built bridges, schools, ponds, irrigation systems, and I am continuing to do so,” he said when asked about his resolutions for the new year.

He added that as chief of CPP lawmakers for Kompong Cham province, he was resolved to se­cure victory for the CPP in all 173 communes in the province this year.

Prince Sisowath Sirirath, first deputy president of Funcinpec, wished for continued peace and unity in the year ahead.

“I want Cambodia peaceful, unified, with happiness and prosperity,” he said. “We are one nation.”

SRP leader Sam Rainsy criticized people who make resolutions only on New Year’s Day or who resolve themselves to achi­eve 100 percent electoral victory. That, he said, “sounds like a dictatorship.”

He added that his party, unlike the CPP, does not have money to build pagodas, bridges, and schools, but promised to deliver justice, knowledge and hope instead.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay of­fer­ed a wish list of resolutions for Cambodia: Real democracy, fair im­plementation of the law, the passage of anti-corruption legislation and honorable government leaders.

Then Son Chhay added one for himself. On the heels of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s accusation late last month that Son Chhay had operated as a spy for him, the SRP lawmaker said he would like the premier to apologise for his comments.

Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Pro­ject, offered a piece of resolute ad­vice for 2007. He said government officials should focus on democracy, court reform and proper law enforcement.

Thun Saray, director of local rights group Adhoc, said he wished Cambodian dignitaries would focus their new year resolutions on eradicating violence around election time, reforming the courts, reducing land disputes and generally finding justice for the poor.




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