Assembly Reconvenes, Targets Postal System

After four months off, parliamentarians met Monday to begin the new session of the National As­sembly, opening debate on a proposed postal law.

The 52-article, 11-chapter bill is de­signed to streamline Cam­bo­dia’s postal system. If passed, it would be the first postal law in the last three decades. Its backers Mon­day urged its quick passage.

“This law is important,” Min­is­ter of Posts and Tele­com­mu­ni­ca­tions So Khun said as he ad­dressed the Assembly.

The Cambodian postal system has been rife with corruption and ineptitude, with packages disappearing and both international and national mail going undelivered, critics claim.

Some Funcinpec and opposition legislators shouted several questions about expanding the bill to cover telephones and In­ter­net communication, but the minister said this should not be ad­dressed in the current legislation.

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy stood up and asked the minister if he could show any im­provement in the postal system during the last five years.

Sam Rainsy also asked whe­ther or not it was true that drug traffickers were using the mail system to peddle drugs.

So Khun said he knew of only one instance where this was true—a foreigner sending a “souvenir” back home.

Debate on the bill’s first chapter is scheduled to conclude to­day and could come to a vote, officials said.

During this session lawmakers are also expected to de­bate legislation meant to prevent and control HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. Cambodia continues to suffer the highest rate of AIDS in the re­gion, according to a 2001 Health Ministry survey.

The Assembly Monday also ap­proved the appointment of Sam Rainsy Party member Cheam Hoeun, a former mathematics teacher. Cheam Hoeun replaces Yim Sokha, an opposition lawmaker from Kandal province who died in a car accident in January.

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