Spat Between Lawmakers Continues

CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun wrote to National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Thursday to complain that CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An broke the parliament’s rules by attempting to be interviewed while Mr. Vun himself was being interviewed.

Mr. Vun sparred with Mr. Sam An—who was standing next to him—after the lawmaker attempted to answer a question while Mr. Vun was speaking to reporters after a meeting on Wednesday.

Mr. Vun, who is the spokesman for the National Assembly, pushed away the recorder of a reporter trying to interview Mr. Sam An, before threatening to call security.

“While I was giving an interview, His Excellency Um Sam An interfered and demanded to give an interview with journalists too,” Mr. Vun wrote Thursday.

“I did not agree to allow His Excellency Um Sam An to give an interview, and asked he seek permission from Samdech [Mr. Samrin] first.”

Mr. Vun told Mr. Samrin that Mr. Sam An had not followed his orders, and had thus violated internal parliamentary rules requiring all lawmakers to get permission from Mr. Samrin before holding a press conference.

“His Excellency Um Sam An’s arrogant behavior in not implementing the National Assembly’s internal rules…is not acceptable,” he wrote. “I think His Excellency Um Sam An’s behavior should be brought for consideration at the standing committee.”

Mr. Sam An said Thursday that he himself would complain to the parliament’s standing committee about Mr. Vun violating his rights as a lawmaker by preventing him from speaking to reporters Wednesday.

“His activities violated the National Assembly’s internal rules, and the Constitution, because the National Assembly is not an assembly owned by the CPP, Cheang Vun or National Assembly President Heng Samrin. Rather, it is the National Assembly for 123 lawmakers,” Mr. Sam An said.

“I will not ask for a serious penalty against him since I do not want to argue with him,” Mr. Sam An said. “But he must at least be reprimanded, so I will ask the standing committee to advise him not to do anything like this again.”

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