One-Party Assembly Passes Laws on Asean Issues

The single-party National Assembly passed four laws on trade and diplomatic relations Tuesday in another session of parliament boycotted by the opposition CNRP’s 55 lawmakers-elect.

The ruling CPP was represented by 65 of its 68 lawmakers and the four laws passed with minimal debate.

The laws concerned the management of customs under Asean after 2015, the harmonization of Cambodia’s customs procedures with international standards, an Asean charter on dispute resolution and on immunities and privileges of government officials under Asean.

Few CPP lawmakers rose to discuss the proposed laws before they were unanimously passed. Suos Yara, one of the ruling party’s youngest lawmakers, however, questioned pending Asean economic integration.

“Our fish-feeding farms can’t stand up to the fish-feeding farms belonging to neighboring countries that import their fish to us because we don’t have laws to prevent them,” Mr. Yara told his colleagues.

Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth, who was also in attendance, replied that under Asean, there will be 15-percent tariffs in place on most goods, meaning that local producers will still be officially protected.

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP lawmaker and party spokesman, also used a brief speech to call on the CNRP lawmakers to join parliament.

“To solve conflicts that occur in any Asean member country…mass demonstrations have never been chosen as the basis,” Mr. Yeap said.

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