The National Assembly’s first Deputy President Heng Samrin on Tuesday denied any plan to strip opposition leader Sam Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity this week, while opposition party members voiced alarm that the Assembly was plotting to do so.
Contrary to reports from the Sam Rainsy Party, the Assembly’s permanent committee on Monday did not put the issue of Sam Rainsy’s immunity on the agenda for the next Assembly session, scheduled for Thursday, Heng Samrin said.
“The immunity was not discussed,” he said.
Monh Sophann, chairman of the Assembly’s commission for the interior and national defense, also confirmed that Sam Rainsy’s immunity would not be voted upon at Thursday’s session.
But Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang produced on Tuesday what he said was a draft copy of Monday’s meeting of the permanent commission—which does not have any opposition members.
On it, the question of lifting Sam Rainsy’s immunity, as well as those of opposition lawmakers Cheam Channy and Chea Poch, are mentioned as items for discussion.
“It is improper to strip their immunity for defaming corrupt officials,” Ung Bun-Ang said, referring to Funcinpec’s several defamation lawsuits against Sam Rainsy for his allegations that royalist President Prince Norodom Ranariddh took bribes to join a coalition government with the CPP.
On Tuesday morning, top Funcinpec officials held a closed-door meeting at Phnom Penh’s Hotel Cambodiana. Royalist members declined to disclose what was discussed at the meeting.