National Assembly To Alter Discussion Process

The National Assembly on Mon­day amended its internal regulations to restrict discussion amongst lawmakers during parliamentary sessions.

The new amendment to the regulations states that before lawmakers can discuss a topic at the As­sembly, they must first form a group of 13 and then send their names to the National Assembly President, Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh, for his approval of their discussion.

If their topic receives approval from Prince Ranariddh, who is also Funcinpec president, the group of lawmakers may then discuss the topic before the Assem­bly for 20 minutes. If their to­pic of discussion is deemed important, they may be granted an additional 10 minutes.

All 87 lawmakers present at the Assembly on Monday morning voted in favor of the amendment. The Sam Rainsy Party did not at­tend Monday’s session as part of an ongoing boycott following the re­moval of the parliamentary im­munity of party leader Sam Rainsy and parliamentarians Chea Poch and Cheam Channy.

Prince Ranariddh told reporters that the amendment is designed “to have effectiveness in the Na­tional Assembly process.”

But Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang charged that it is designed to silence the opposition.

“The amendment will silence law­makers, especially opposition lawmakers,” he said. “The National Assembly right now belongs to the CPP and Fun­cinpec…. It is the communists’ As­sembly.”

Before the new amendment was passed, lawmakers would raise their hands, then after being sel­ected by the Assembly Session Chairman, they would be allowed to speak individually for 20 minutes.

You Hockry, a senior Funcinpec minister and lawmaker, said the amendment is designed to stop lawmakers from discussing irrelevant topics.

“Some lawmakers talk off topic. It’s a waste of time,” he said.

CPP’s Legislation Commission Chairman Ek Sam Ol said that under the new amendment, a group of lawmakers can pick a leader, then they can address the Assembly alone for 20 minutes or members of the group can take turns within that time frame.

Ek Sam Ol added that the Assembly has not yet enforced existing legislation to punish lawmakers who boycott or fail to attend parliamentary sessions.



Related Stories

Exit mobile version