Observations on Corruption in Cambodia

Published: 2021-06-30 12:45:06
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Category: Corruption

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In 1993, with the constitutional monarchy restored in Cambodia, Sihanouk became the king once again. The whole country were cheerful, as they finally saw the dawn of peace. Having suffered ravages of war for nearly half a century, Cambodia, which used to be called as “oasis of peace”, was not flourished any more. Cambodian economy withstanding the devastating strike, this country had become one of the least developed countries in the world. Under the leadership of the administration of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Cambodia conducted reconstruction work in peacetime.
However, large concentration of power and lack of proper monitoring system made bureaucratism and corruption in Cambodia government worsening. Many officials’ actions like abuse of power, jobbery, suppression law with power greatly damaged interests of the country and people. It also brought about many social problems, for example, officials’ illegal encroachment on farmers’ lands and illegal felling of forests. These problems can only be settled when they were appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
What’s more, factional fighting of the government has sustained for a long time, and it will still sustain in the future. As the a regional hub in South East area, Cambodia has cheap labor, abundant natural resources and strong aspiration of economic development. But weak infrastructure, poor and backward current circumstances and especially serious corruption bring about huge risk for foreign investment and restrain its economic development. The international anti-corruption non governmental organization, Transparency International, has released the 2013 Cambodia report recently.
It shows that up to 65% of Cambodian people claims that they bribed judicial officials in the last 12 months. The proportion of bribes to policemen reaches 65%; that of bribes to officers in public utilities reaches 62%; that of bribes to registration and licensing agency personnel is 62%; that of bribes to land service staff is 57%; that of bribes to educational institutions staff is 30%; and that of bribes to medical service personnel is 38%. Cambodia is among the countries which suffers most serious corruption.
Government and military are in collusion with domestic and foreign businessmen to smuggle, evade taxes and revolt taxes, which causes great fiscal losses and economic havoc. Both in the previous leading group of Phnom Penh and in the later Kingdom government, there are many officials abusing power, exploiting power to seek their own interests, violating the law and corrupting. And this situation becomes increasingly serious. A lot of officials take various excuses to require people to make “contribution” to the state. People has massive abhorrence of arbitrary charges , levies and fines.
Officials’ profiting at state’s expense results to huge losses of national fiscal funds and resources. They, suppressing law with power, sell illegal occupied real estate and national resources. They also take overseas visit, medical treatment, medical check-ups as excuses to squander state’s money. Additionally, their demand of raising salary and allowance increases the national budget deficit. The king Sihanouk once said, “our ministers are not capable of state governing, but they are very rich. In Cambodia, power makes corruption legalized.
Thus, all the clean government construction and the fight against corruption can not be truly realized. As different opinions exist in ruling party and officials with different power have different responsibilities, in order to protect their own interests, all parties will not implement policies and orders as the requirements. Disaccord between central government and local government, as well as between administration and the military makes the implement different with expected. Judging from the present situation, Cambodia is still mired in the quagmire of corruption.

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