Cambodia: Hopes for a less corrupt government

Cambodians are well versed in tales of government corruption.  But if  Rafael Dochao Moreno is correct, Cambodians may soon learn a new story – one of reform.  Moreno, the Chargé D’Affaires of the European Commission to the Kingdom of Cambodia, was recently interviewed by Yin Leangkong of the Rasmei Kampuchea.  The Mirror captured his interview, including Moreno’s statement that:

“[The European Commission] [is] not always satisfied with all what the Cambodian government has done, but also, we do not think that all what the government has done is mostly wrong. Our position is to offer support to reform programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia.”

When asked if the Dey Krahorm eviction was a result of government corruption, Moreno evaded the question, talking instead of what the European Commission has done to help the country.

Cambodian blogger Vuthasurf expressed concern that the government does not have its people interests in mind in considering privatizing health care.  Vuthasurf writes:

“the plan of autonomy for state hospitals may not be the solution. We can look at two previous experiences of autonomy: electricity (EdC) and the water supply. In both cases, the poor had to pay cash to access services which are supposed to be provided by the stare at subsidized prices, and this created additional burden on the poor.”

Corruption allegations have also spread to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, where both sides have been working together to resolve the  allegations.  In a joint statement between the U.N. and the Cambodian Government,

“the parties agreed on the need to strengthen the [Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia’s] human resources management, including anti-corruption measures…The parties agreed that these measures will meet the requirements of due process of law, including full protection against retaliation.”

From health care to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the government’s  role will be crucial in determining success.

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Faster Internet on Its Way

The Phnom Penh Post reports that Cambodia has signed an agreement with Laos to install a fibre-optic cable to improve internet and telecommunications systems.  The US18 million dollar project is funded by a loan from China, and it is set to complete in April 2009.  An existing fibre-optic cable runs across Cambodia between Thailand and Vietnam.

Telecom Cambodia is overseeing the project for Cambodia, and it provides a map of the network here.

According to the Phnom Penh Post article, internet connectivity remains slow in rural areas.  And at Oudam.com, a 2008 post discusses frustration over slow internet.

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