The Council of Ministers on Friday approved an amendment of the Law on Nationality as the present law was no longer fit to Cambodia’s social and economic development.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng in January tasked officials with making amendments to the current law.
“The current law was promulgated in 1996 and needs some changes because some parts of the law are no longer fit to the current trends, in terms of Cambodia’s social and economic development,” an official who attended the cabinet meeting on Friday said.
Prok May Oudom, spokesman for the General Department of Identification, said yesterday that some of the amendments touch upon the cost of applying for citizenship.
“We have changed some articles and some conditions that define how much money is required to apply for citizenship,” Mr May Oudom said. “Our law is old, so we have to update it to fit our present society. For example, before $1 was equal to 200 riel, and now $1 is equal to 4,000 riel.”
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network of Social Accountability, said that enforcement of the law was ineffective in the past few years because Khmer ID cards were improperly granted to Vietnamese living in Cambodia.
“I hope that a new draft law on nationality will be enforced. There have been lots of irregularities in the past related to Vietnamese who request to become Khmer citizens,” Mr Chey said. “I think that the government should revoke their nationality or revoke Khmer ID cards when people receive them illegally.”
The amendments are expected to be forwarded to the National Assembly soon.
One amendment also states that any foreigner who holds and uses an improperly issued Cambodian ID card or passports shall be punished with imprisonment from five to ten years.
The same article also states that any official or government agent, or any person who conspires, and helps provide Khmer nationality or passports to any person who is not a citizen will face the same punishment.