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Officials tout economic and social achievements

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Kong Vibol, director-general of the General Department of Taxation. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday held a press conference at the Council of Ministers to underscore the government’s achievements since the CPP swept last year’s national election.

Mr Siphan said that its achievements, especially in collecting tax revenue, should be lauded.

“We were successful in collecting taxes and we managed to set aside a portion of the national budget for emergency during a natural disaster,” Mr Siphan said. “I want to say that if there was major corruption among our officials, we would not be able to achieve these goals.”

He added that under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia has had “great success” in maintaining peace, political stability and economic development. He noted that the economy is now growing at an annual rate of about seven percent.

Mr Siphan said the government has also paid attention to the defence sector by ordering new weapons and equipment.

He also took the opportunity to slam government critics by calling them “blind” for not acknowledging the Kingdom’s economic progress.

According to latest report from General Department of Taxation in the first six months this year, Cambodia collected over $1.5 billion in tax revenue, an increase of 29 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

According to Council of Ministers spokesman Ek Tha, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved 153 new investment projects and expansions worth $5.1 billion in the first six months of this year.

Mr Tha said 43 are located within Special Economic Zones across the country and that the rest are located outside. He said when the projects are finished, 167,330 new jobs will be created.

At a separate press conference yesterday, Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin highlighted the achievements of his ministry.

Mr Malin said the ministry has done well in reforming the judicial system, and that the government is attempting to improve its human rights track record.

“Aside from economic, social, cultural, health, investment, national defence and political achievements, there have been others, including achievements in [improving] rule of law, human rights and democracy,” he said. “For the issue of political rights, we have promoted freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. So why is there legal action taken against people who want these rights promoted? It’s because their activities have bad intentions to violate the constitution. So, the authorities must enforce the law.”

When asked to respond to calls made by the United States to drop treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha, Mr Malin said “their pressure has no influence on us”.

Political analyst Em Sovannara yesterday acknowledged the Kingdom’s strides in economic development, but noted that the issue of democracy should also take a step forward.

“I have noted that there are many achievements, such as economic and diplomatic ones,” Mr Sovannara said. “But, the issue of human rights and democracy is still the main issue for Western countries.”

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