Unclear Whether Mu Sochua’s Salary Has Been Docked

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said yesterday that she believed the National Assembly had already started deducting her salary in order to pay the $2,000 compensation she owes for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen last year.

But Cheam Yeap, chairman of the Assembly’s commission on banking and finance, said yesterday that he did not believe that Ms Sochua’s salary had been cut yet.

Last week, Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Chea Sok Heang notified Ms Sochua that $1,000 a month would be deducted from her roughly $2,000 a month parliamentary salary in order to recover the compensation.

Ms Sochua said an assistant normally picked up her salary from the National Assembly on the 27th of each month, but had been rejected by staff at the Assembly’s General Secretariat when attempting to do so yesterday.

“They did not allow my assistant to collect my salary,” Ms Sochua said, adding that no official reason had been provided as to why at least part of her salary was not available.

Mr Yeap said that Ms Sochua’s salary could not have been docked because members of the Assembly’s permanent standing committee had not yet met to discuss the matter.

“We will meet on [Thursday] morning and I believe the National Assembly will start taking Mu Sochua’s salary in August,” he said.

As part of her sentence for defaming the prime minister, Ms Sochua was ordered to pay a court fine of roughly $2,125 to the National Treasury, as well as about $2,000 in compensation to Mr Hun Sen. She has steadfastly refused to pay either amount.

Yesterday, a group united under the banner of the Grassroots Cambodian Women’s Movement, presented Ms Sochua with $900 they had raised for the SRP lawmaker to help pay her court fine.

In a statement, they said support for Ms Sochua was to help ensure that “women leaders have the capacity to provide an important model and source of hope for all [Cambodian] women.”

Ms Sochua said she was grateful for the support, but would not use the money to pay her fine.

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