Jan 21, 2011
Phnom Penh - Most Cambodians believe their country is moving in the right direction, a US-funded survey has found, with respondents citing improved infrastructure such as roads, schools and clinics.
The findings were released Friday in Phnom Penh by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a US organization loosely linked to the Republican Party.
IRI country director John Willis said the 76-per-cent favourable finding was down from a peak of 82 per cent two years ago, 'but is still pretty high by worldwide standards.'
However, nearly a quarter felt Cambodia was going the wrong way, said Willis, with those who were unhappy naming corruption as their key concern, followed by jobs, poverty and inflation worries.
And more than a third of those questioned said the nation's key concern was its border issues with Thailand and Vietnam.
Cambodia is in the process of demarcating the borders with both countries, a process that in the case of Thailand has sparked violent clashes in recent years.
And farmers along the border with Vietnam have complained they are losing land to their more powerful neighbour in the process.
As most Cambodians live in rural areas and rely on subsistence agriculture, the survey also asked people about land.
It found three-quarters of the rural population owned less than 2 hectares of farmland, and most complained they lacked sufficient irrigation.
Around one in 12 rural landowners said someone had tried to take their land in the past three years, further evidence of the scourge of land-grabbing that regularly pits the powerful and well-connected against the poor.
The survey questioned a representative sample of 2,000 randomly selected Cambodians aged 18 and older in every province.