Almost one million Cambodians have signed a petition demanding the government step up anti-graft efforts, in a rare display of public anger over corruption.
“The people want Cambodia to be rid of corruption, they want a law to fight corrupt people,” said Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre For Development and Peace, which organised the petition.
“Corruption affects the livelihood of the people, investors and the development of the country,” he said today.
He added that the petition, which has been circulating since 2006, will be handed to the government once it gets its one-millionth signature.
The government has repeatedly come under fire from donors over its apparent unwillingness to tackle rampant corruption.
But Om Yentieng, a top adviser to prime minister Hun Sen and head of the government’s anti-corruption department, said the government was working hard to push through anti-graft legislation.
“We have been driving at the highest speed,” he said.
Cambodia was ranked 151 out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s 2006 corruption index, which compares graft levels in governments around the world.
It remains one of the world’s poorest countries after decades of civil war and government mismanagement, with more than 30% of its 14 million people living on less than 50 US cents a day.