Lawmaker Calls for Pay Freeze on Opposition

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap on Wednesday sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin asking the government to freeze the wages of all lawmakers belonging to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), claiming that the newly formed party is not yet legally entitled to have its members sit in the assembly.

According to Mr. Yeap, members of the CNRP—a merger of the SRP and Human Rights Party—are still registered in Parliament to their former parties and therefore should not receive a salary.

“The Cambodia National Rescue Party doesn’t exist in the National Assembly,” said Mr. Yeap, adding that all CNRP members should vacate their seats in Parliament until after the election.

“We have sent the letter…to re­quest a freeze on their salaries. The money will be kept and transferred into the government’s finances…. We must now await Samdech’s decision,” Mr. Yeap said, referring to the prime minister.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that the letter was just another example of the CPP’s attempt to cause confusion among voters and discredit the main opposition party.

“They do this because they can see our popularity rise,” he said. “We have raised many issues regarding the CPP’s wrongdoing, so they want to trip us up by doing this.”

Mr. Sovann also said that removing the seats the CNRP collectively holds in Parliament would effectively render the body unconstitutional.

“The National Assembly must have at least 120 parliamentarians, according to the Constitution. Without [the CNRP’s] 29 seats, there would be only 94 seats—that is no longer a National Assembly; that is illegal.”

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