NA Leader Nixes Son Chhay’s Border Committee

National Assembly Acting Pres­i­dent Heng Samrin on Monday re­jected a request by opposition law­ma­ker Son Chhay to establish a committee made up of government and opposition officials to review the controversial supplemental border agreement with Vietnam.

Son Chhay called for the creation of such a committee in a letter da­ted Friday and sent to Heng Sam­rin through the Assembly secretariat.

“The government already has such authorities and committees,” said Heng Samrin, who is also honorary president of the ruling CPP.

“Let the government work on it. The Assembly also has a commission. They work on it every day,” he said.

Son Chhay said he had not yet re­­ceived an official response from Heng Samrin about his proposed com­mittee, which he estimated would need $3 million to fund trips to investigate border areas.

Copies of his letter were also sent to King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen and other law­ma­kers.

Son Chhay said the opposition has been excluded from authorities ex­amining the border issue.

“Border affairs need unified na­tional approval,” he said.

Funcinpec lawmaker Monh Sa­phann, who is also chairman of the Home Affairs, National Defense, In­vestigation and Anti-Corruption Com­mission—one of three commissions responsible for reviewing the supplemental treaty—said all lawmakers should have the right to be heard on the topic, but doubted that the proposed multi-party committee would ever come to be.

“I do not oppose the idea to form such a special committee,” he said. “I am afraid [Son Chhay] cannot get the votes to create it.”

Monh Saphann added that the treaty could be sent for a vote at a full session of the Assembly before this month’s Water Festival, which starts Nov 15, if the three commissions can agree on the details and language of the treaty.

Son Chhay said he was not worried about the “urgent” stamp on the treaty, noting that documents stamped “urgent” often sit in the As­sembly for as long as six months be­fore coming to a vote.

 

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