The National Assembly’s spokesman yesterday dismissed a statement released by the dissolved opposition CNRP criticising an extraordinary session of parliament called this week to pass amendments to the Penal Code and constitution.
An extraordinary session was held on Wednesday to discuss and then approve the Penal Code amendment, which criminalises insulting the King, as well as amending five articles of the constitution and a draft law on business in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
The Penal Code amendment allows for imprisonment from one to five years and a fine from $500 to $12,500 for insulting the King.
The extinct CNRP issued a statement about the session yesterday, claiming it was illegitimate because parliament no longer reflects the will of the people following its dissolution by the Supreme Court in the wake of its leader’s arrest on treason charges.
“The CNRP thinks the work of the National Assembly is now unconstitutional because 55 members of 123 lawmakers were not voted in by the people, but instead are now members of the assembly by default and have therefore robbed the people’s will,” the statement said.
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long responded to the statement yesterday by calling it words from a ghost.
“These are words from a ghost, just words meant to haunt us that are in fact useless,” he said.
Mr Peng Long added that the National Assembly followed all proper procedures after the CNRP was dissolved by reallocating its 55 seats to other parties, and also followed procedure during the extraordinary session on Wednesday.
Nhep Bunchin, spokesman for Funcinpec and a lawmaker in the National Assembly, said former CNRP members should respect the laws.
“We must respect Cambodia’s law,” he said. “And on behalf of the royalist Funcinpec party, we would like to clarify that we did not steal any seats in the National Assembly, we followed the law and procedures and were awarded them.”