Three political parties pledged to address land disputes, environmental problems and unscrupulous foreign investments if they win the national election during a roundtable discussion organised by Khmer Times yesterday.
During the discussion, Khmer Economic Development Party president Houn Reachchamroeun said that chronic land disputes have been dragging on for decades, while land prices soared and protected areas were cleared to make way for investors.
Mr Reachchamroeun said that the ruling CPP did not seem to be willing to deal with land disputes, lacked measures to conserve natural resources and conduct proper impact assessment studies prior to granting Economic Land Concessions.
“Land disputes occur when the price of land goes up and the people have suffered for it,” he said. “The villagers demand resolution but the government neglects them and wastes time.”
Dharmacracy Party president Pothitey Sawathey said that deep reforms are need in order to allow the government to solve land disputes.
“If Dharmacracy Party is elected to lead the country, the party will solve all land disputes and tackle injustice,” Ms Sawathey said.
Ms Sawathey added that her party’s policies were derived from the Netherlands and other countries that better manage and conserve forests and the environment.
Ouk Vanna, a consultant for the New Light Party, echoed the other two parties, saying that the Land Management Ministry and other institutions lack the expertise to work on impact studies, data collection and analyse investment projects.
“Our policy is in line with the policies of other political parties regarding forestry issues,” Mr Vanna said. “We will try to resolve land disputes by reforming the land management system.”
Mr Vanna said that in order to conserve forests and address environmental issues, especially climate change, the NLP would prioritise tourism because it was related to environmental conservation.
On how to manage the country’s foreign investment, the KEDP’s Mr Reachchamroeun said that his party will develop human resources to meet market standards, the tourism sector to attract more investors and improve the national economy with transparent tax collection and law enforcement.
Land Management Ministry spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment yesterday.