MPs To Receive Partial Salaries for Deadlock

Though the National Assembly did not hold a working session for more than a year during the political deadlock, the Assembly’s Per­manent Committee last week agreed to pay parliamentarians partial salaries for that period, a senior Assembly official said.

This month, lawmakers from the previous mandate will receive part of their monthly wages for October and Novem­ber of 2003, though the amount has not yet been determined, Chan Ven, the Assembly’s deputy secretary-general, said on Sun­day.

And though a working As­sembly was only established late last month, the 123 new lawmakers, who have yet to receive paychecks for the current term, will be paid retroactively to De­cem­ber 2003, Chan Ven said.

Parliamentarians usually re­ceive nearly $2,000 per month in salaries and expenses. But for the period of the political deadlock, which followed the July 2003 national election, Chan Ven said: “The second and the third term [parliamentarians] will not get full salaries.”

The decision prompted the Sam Rainsy Party to issue a letter protesting the payments.

The opposition party said the parliamentarians should not be paid for the months that the Assembly did no work.

“This decision abuses the Con­stitution and the law of 2003 fiscal management,” according to the let­ter dated Wednesday.

Under the Constitution, an As­sembly mandate terminates once it is replaced by a newly elected group of lawmakers.

Since the new parliamentarians were sworn into the Assembly on Oct 4 last year, the second-term parliamentarians should not be paid past that date, the letter said.

The Assembly should instead use the money toward the national budget, the Sam Rainsy Party law­makers said.

“This money should be transferred to the…poor people,” opposition Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Sunday.

Though Chan Ven conceded that the lawmakers did not work during the deadlock, he declined to comment on the reason for the payments.

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