What issues interest you during the ongoing National Assembly debates?

National Assembly members are engaged in a month of debates as they make decisions on matters of national importance. Vientiane Times asked a cross section of local residents what issues were of particular concern to them.

 

Mr Aoy, a vendor in Sisattanak district: I don’t know much about official work and I don’t use a smartphone so I’m not in the loop on social media. I sometimes watch the news on television. I’ve heard things from other people about the budget deficit and the sad state of the economy, so I would urge the government to exercise austerity and enforce the regulations so they can achieve their targets. I know that lots of countries and organisations donated a lot of money after the floods this year, but ordinary people don’t know how this money was spent or what it was used for. I think officials should inform us about this. I’m sure there are lots of people like me who would like to know. I don’t know much about government affairs but one of the things that bothers me is the number of people who work for the government in rural areas and don’t earn anything like the same salary as those who work in towns.

Ms Tamon Phonsavatdy, a student in Sisattanak district: I’m in my first year of a law degree so I’m quite interested in the work of the National Assembly. I get the news from Facebook and television. I think that before the Assembly opens a new session they should inform the general public and schools so that everyone knows what’s going on. Then more people would know about it and follow the news. Lots of people complain about what the government does but they don’t know the details. Sure, things get reported on television and radio and in newspapers but people don’t look at these. First you have to inform village heads about news and then they must tell villagers – that’s the best way to pass on information.

Ms Kee, a student in Sisattanak district:  I get my new from Facebook, but I don’t know what the upper levels of government are doing. With regard to the allocated quota of new civil servants, I would like the government to look at officials who have reached retirement age and then assign their work to young people with good skills. I think the government tries hard to resolve many problems and I know that right now we’re going through a period of transition to digital systems. I hope and believe that politicians will be able to improve standards of living for the general public.

Ms Khamphoun Voravong, a student at Pakpasak Technical College: I don’t know much about the workings of the National Assembly but I have faith in the government and I admire the prime minister because he always tries hard to improve conditions in Laos. This year we’ve run into problems that are slowing economic growth but our leaders never give up and are always looking for ways to overcome difficult situations. I hope that when this Assembly session is over the government will be better equipped to drive the development of our country.

Ms Sone, a retired official from Champassak province: I watch television but I’m not following the Assembly debates, even though I know there are many serious issues to be discussed. I hope that Laos can resolve the many difficult situations that beset us. But before we achieve our goals there are many obstacles to overcome so I call on all Lao people to be united in solving our problems together. We can work with the government because we are all Lao. If everyone follows the rules and complies with the government’s policies, Laos will develop more quickly and achieve success in many fields.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update December 4, 2018)


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