After four days of at-times heated debate, the National Assembly on Friday approved the final four chapters of a new traffic law aimed at improving safety on Cambodia’s notoriously dangerous roads.
The 106 lawmakers present during Friday’s session gave near unanimous support to the remaining part of the 12-chapter Land Traffic Law—which covered topics including penalties and law enforcement—with only three dissenting votes. The bill will now be considered by the Senate.
During the debate, CNRP lawmaker Yim Sovann, stood to give a series of recommendations which he said could help to reduce and prevent deaths caused through traffic accidents.
“First, companies in charge of building roads in Phnom Penh, please allow them to build at nighttime,” Mr. Sovann said, before going on to make a point about heavy goods vehicles traveling into the capital city.
“I have seen that the Phnom Penh governor issued a notice to ban trucks coming into Phnom Penh before 9 p.m. This is good but when it comes to implementation, I see the notice being violated every day and those trucks [are] using RCAF and police number plates,” he said.
Mr. Sovann also said that the slow pace of road construction was causing traffic jams, giving an example of a company he claimed had told him that they had only built 20 percent of a 6-km stretch of road in one year as officials at the Transport Ministry had demanded bribes before paying them to complete the work. The firm, he added, had also said that it had paid a kickback of 30 percent to win the project during the bidding process.
However, Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek denied that his ministry was involved in any corruption.
“The ministry doesn’t have the 30 percent, and…please can His Excellency inform which project, and who it was that took 30 percent?”
Also in response to Mr. Sovann’s comments, CPP lawmaker Lor Kheng said there had been “enough opinions” over the four days of debate, which included political tussling over the state of the country’s roads and the abuse of military license plates.
“We want to put an end to insults; we are lawmakers, we are top leaders, so we should not have a culture of insults anymore,” Ms. Kheng said.