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Absent MPs Salaries to be Cut

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
The National Assembly approved a proposal to withhold salaries and hand out suspensions for

The National Assembly (NA) yesterday approved a proposal by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to punish politicians who are absent from parliamentary meetings without a “reasonable” explanation, the assembly spokesman said, after a boycott by the opposition.
 
Leng Peng Long, the NA’s Secretary-General, told reporters after the permanent committee meeting yesterday that the proposal passed with an eight vote majority, all of whom were from the CPP, from the 12 politicians present.
 
“The CNRP [Cambodia National Rescue Party] side did not vote to adopt it, there were only eight out of 12 votes,” he said, adding that the NA’s general-secretariat will be the one to enforce this rule.
 
The draft paper states that any politician who is absent for one day without giving a reasonable explanation will first receive a warning. A second absence will result in their daily allowances being docked, while a third absenteeism will result in a suspension of 15 days with no pay.
 
Following a 15-day suspension, there will be probation for one month. During this time, if the politician is absent again then he or she will be suspended from the NA without pay for one month. Additionally, all the information about a politician’s absenteeism will be made public.
 
CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith responded by saying: “We do not support [the rule] because we have our internal regulation. The internal regulation is enough, there is no need to make more decisions, and we think that it could be political in nature.”
 
He added that apart from the rule’s enforcement being complicated, such a rule was already present in the NA regulations.
 
When asked about the opposition boycotting upcoming sessions, Mr. Ponhearith said the CNRP did not care about the new regulation and will continue with their boycott if necessary.
 
“If we think that we have to boycott, we will boycott. If we think that we want to join, we will join,” he said, adding that CNRP members were still working amid the NA boycott by meeting their local constituents, discussing drafted and adopted law as well as by tracking the implementation of government policies.
 
CPP spokesman Chheang Vun said that while he was pleased to see opposition members come to work yesterday, it did not negate the need for the law as it was the responsibility of elected politicians to represent their voters in the NA.
 
“In the NA, one of the biggest faults of members is to boycott it. We are elected, we got votes from the citizens, so our work is to advocate for them in the NA, and all citizens can hear this because all sessions are publicly broadcast on TV and radio.
 
“But if we boycott or walk out of the NA, it means that we have not carried out our obligations,” he said, adding that the new regulation was enforced from yesterday.
 
The CNRP boycott started in late May after security forces attempted to arrest deputy leader Kem Sokha after he refused to attend questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over an alleged affair.
 
Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the time that the National Assembly would be able to continue working normally with or without the opposition members.

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