Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh delivered his best wishes to the ethnic Khmer community on the occasion of their New Year festival, Chol Chnam Thmay, at a get-together held by the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on April 5.

At the event, Ninh, who is also Head of the Committee, praised the achievements the region gained in 2012, including economic growth of nearly 10 percent, an average per capita income rise by 6 million VND, and poor household reduction of over 3 percent.

However, a proportion of the Khmer community is still living in difficulty, he noted, asking ministries, sectors and local authorities to pay more attention to supporting them.

Deputy Head of the Committee Nguyen Phong Quang said that the region now is home to about 1.3 million Khmer people, accounting for 8 percent of its population.

Over the past years, the committee has mobilised 867 billion VND to help poor people in the region. The sum was used to fund the construction of 12,000 houses for poor Khmer households and 5,000 scholarships for outstanding students living with difficulty.

The Chol Chnam Thmay festival, which falls annually in mid-April, is one of the most important festivals of the year for the Khmer people. It is usually held at pagodas during which people wish and pray for a lucky new year.-VNA