The Senior Minister in charge of the government’s special mission on landmines, UXO and engineering, Meas Sophea, on Tuesday encouraged people to provide input and constructive criticism in public forums without fear.
Sophea, who also heads the ruling party’s National Working Group for Preah Vihear province, was addressing a public forum in Rovieng district’s Ratanak commune. He urged people to be more assertive and speak up at such forums.
He was quoted by Ratanak commune police chief Heng Mong as telling villagers to share their concerns so that the relevant authorities can address them.
“He encouraged the people to be bold, raise concerns, suggestions and any issues that arise in their community, and to make comments in public, be it positive or negative, without fear,” Mong said.
“Only a small number of people have raised issues. They were related to forestry crimes, difficulties in rice farming due to the drought, and land disputes, while some requested the construction of schools,” he said.
Sophea pledged to address the issues and advised local authorities to expend greater efforts to serve the people.
Ratanak commune chief Pov Koeun said through the forum, Sophea had inspired residents to raise their concerns for his working group to address.
“This is part of our reform to implement the government’s political platform and rectangular strategy.
“[Sophea] will help people who face problems caused by deforestation and forest land clearing,” he said.
Sophea could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.