Lawmakers from the opposition SRP visited their constituencies more often than members of the ruling CPP between July and September, according to new figures released by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.
Comfrel’s three-month report on lawmakers’ activities details visits made by 81 of the National Assembly members to the electorates they represent.
Of those monitored, 58 CPP members visited their constituencies a total of 261 times in the three-month period for an average of 4.5 visits per lawmaker, while 18 SRP lawmakers made 108 visits at an average of six visits per lawmaker.
Koul Panha, Comfrel’s executive director, said yesterday that the CPP lawmakers had been able to visit their constituencies on more total occasions because they had greater numbers and access to government resources.
CPP “lawmakers have conducted more activities because they get access to the government assets,” Mr Panha said, adding that the three-month report also showed that the government had ignored opposition parties’ letters asking for intervention in land disputes or other issues.
Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, however, said yesterday that his party colleagues spent their own money to visit their constituencies, not that of the public.
“We have enough money. We do not go abroad to meet our wives and children,” Mr Yeap said in reference to unnamed opposition party members who he said spent their money to travel abroad. “We do not abandon our people. We go to our constituencies to help them.”
SRP lawmaker and spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that while CPP lawmakers had made visits to villagers around the country, they had failed to resolve land disputes involving high-ranking government officials.
Mr Sovann said SRP lawmakers had sent about 150 letters to government officials this year, asking them to answer questions concerning land disputes, border issues and human rights abuses, and added that only about 25 percent of the letters had been answered. “They do not respond to our letters because they apply a dictatorship,” Mr Sovann said.