Assembly Reconvenes, But Progress Slow

The National Assembly re­turned to work Wednesday but dealt with no serious issues, provoking opposition leader Sam Rainsy to criticize the assembly for moving too slowly.

Despite months of preparation, he said, neither the long-awaited land law nor the anti-graft law is even on the agenda.

The land law, he said, “is very nec­essary, and we must debate and pass it as soon as possible.”

Without the law, he said, Cam­bodian farmers cannot solve land disputes. “Farmers have no fields to farm, and investors dare not come to invest legally until we pass this important law.”

He said the lack of action indicates that the leaders of the CPP and the Funcinpec parties “lack a firm political will to get these urgent bills done.”

Finance Minister Keat Chhon, a member of the CPP, said that haste makes waste.

“Each law needs to be examined and debated very [carefully] within the circles of experts and with public participation,” he said.

He cited the pending forestry law as an example, saying it re­quires consultation among officials, donors, non-governmental organizations and the public.

“If the parliament could pass 200 laws a year, that would be great,” he said. “But we cannot. We need to go step by step.”

Mom Chim Huy (CPP) chairs the assembly’s commission overseeing education, religion, tour­ism and culture, and the 200-article land law. He said mem­bers have read the law twice, worked with ex­perts, and held 18 meetings, some during the break.

“Excellency Sam Rainsy is not on the commission, so he is not aware how hard we have worked,” he said.

Also Wednesday Khieu Houl was elected to the Kampong Thom seat of the late Sar Ho.


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