Prime Minister Hun Sen and representatives from more than 10 political parties on Wednesday met with the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations to review the body’s work after one-year of operation.
Writing on his official Facebook page, Hun Sen said he criticised laziness and inaction by officials at the meeting, while the Supreme Council highlighted the investigations they have conducted into corruption and land disputes.
“Any official who commits misconduct relating to the above-mentioned issues, they will not only be punished but also removed from their positions. Their properties will be seized or frozen, such as in cases of land encroachment and forestry crime offences,” Hun Sen said.
At the meeting, the prime minister also offered high praise for the efforts by members of the Supreme Council to research issues happening at the grassroots level.
The Supreme Council’s 12-month report to the prime minister, delivered at the meeting, said the body had submitted 90 reports investigating 251 issues – including land disputes, state land encroachment, forestry crime, fishery offences, environmental issues, power abuse and filling in beaches, lakes, creeks and canals.
“For one year, the unit has on 295 occasions led its delegates to meet with the people, in which secretariat officials joined as observers 200 times,” the Supreme Council said.
The Supreme Council also requested that the prime minister create a problem resolution mechanism, asking for a draft law to punish national and sub-national-level officials who failed to follow the law.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chhim Phal Virun, the Supreme Council’s General Secretary, said that Hun Sen had also ordered Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana to review irregularities and corruption in the judicial system.
“We spoke of corruption and irregularities in the judicial system. Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] ordered Ang Vong Vathana to review irregularities and corruption occurring through lawyers,” he said.
Ministry of Justice secretary of state Chin Malin said he would cooperate with the Anti-Corruption Unit if any evidence of graft was found in the judicial system.
“It is not only about the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations, but the public also has a clear basis for showing if there is corruption through evidence and statements, which they can file as a complaint to the authorities,” he said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay claimed the prime minister is exaggerating the role played by the Supreme Council and the different participating political parties to create the illusion that pluralism and multi-party democracy is alive and well in Cambodia.
“He is ignoring the role and relevance of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, its jailed leader Kem Sokha, and its vocal exiled former leader, Sam Rainsy, at a time when there are pressing international demands to restore that party, to release Sokha and remove all charges against Rainsy,” he said.