Survey Respondents Urge PM To End Corruption, Logging

About 2,000 Cambodians have responded to First Prime Min­ister Ung Huot’s “People’s Opin­ion Poll” and the verdict is: eliminate corruption, raise sal­aries, improve living conditions, end deforestation.

Now, the question is how the first prime minister will solve these long-standing problems.

Ung Huot announced the poll to great fanfare in early February, inviting all Cambodians, via newspaper advertisements, to write to him about the problems they are facing. He apparently got an earful, figuratively speaking.

“I have received letters from officials in towns and provinces, civ­ilians, soldiers, students, school children, workers and farmers,” Ung Huot said in a statement issued Monday.

People also called for in­creased security and an end to il­legal fishing and illegal immigration.

“I have learned a lot from what you have raised [as concerns] and from what I have heard and seen,” Ung Huot said. “I will take these things into account and solve them.”

Ung Huot thanked people for sharing their ideas “in order to build up the new Cam­bodia.”

Suy Monleang, Ung Huot’s cabinet chief, said, “He will resolve the problems. If it is a big problem, we will study it and talk it over, and it will be re­solved.”

Others are more skeptical.

In February, an adviser to Sec­ond Prime Minister Hun Sen likened the survey to an early election campaign ploy.

The environmental watchdog Global Witness has attacked Ung Huot for signing what it claims are illegal wood export deals at the same time as promising to crack down on illegal logging.

Suy Monleang said Monday, “Since December 1997, when I started work here, I have never seen documents about log ex­ports signed by him. If Global Witness showed me the documents, then I could comment.”

The group recently started putting such documents on the Internet.

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