SRP and HRP will not seek appointments to Assembly committees
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 02:04:53 -0800 (PST)
Opposition pledges to go it alone
Written by Meas Sokchea
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Both the SRP and the HRP have announced they will not seek
appointments to Assembly committees, saying they are concerned their
right to speak will be limited by the CPP
MEMBERS of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party
this week announced they would not seek appointments to parliamentary
committees for fear that their right to express dissent would be
Mu Sochua, deputy secretary general of the SRP, said appointments to
committees would provide no advantage to the opposition party, but
would rather stifle an important voice of opposition.
"We will not participate in committees," she told the Post. "We will
stay outside because if we don't, we will not be permitted to
She blamed the ruling Cambodian People's Party for trying to silence
opposition parties in Parliament and said her party would not abandon
the HRP at a time when the government was trying to further
During last week's National Assembly debate on the 2009 budget, the
HRP's three lawmakers were prevented from participating under a clause
that prohibits parliamentarians who are not affiliated to a bloc of at
least 10 voting members from speaking.
"Parliamentarians must have the right to express their views even if
they don't have the required number of voting members. Otherwise, we
lose all checks and balances," Mu Sochua said.
Silenced in parliament
HRP Secretary General Yem Ponharith said Monday his party's greatest
concern is the ability to address Parliament.
"We have rejected the idea of joining committees. What is important
for us is to be able to express our views. Now, we have no right to
speak. We are required to have 10 party members if we want to speak,"
He added that the HRP would not seek alliances with other parties as a
way to satisfy parliamentary regulations.
"If we join with [other parties], we will lose our identity as a party
and provide political benefits to others, who will simply announce
that we have endorsed their agenda by joining them," Yem Ponharith
He added that being outside parliamentary committees would hamper the
party's ability to get information about legislative agendas.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap told the Post Monday that opposition groups
have a right to choose not to join committees.
"We do not force them to enter committees. Whether they enter or not
is up to them. We just want them to think about the absolute majority
of the CPP. They have enough rights to speak," he said.
He added that Parliament simply wants the HRP's three parliamentarians
to join with other parties that they support in order to satisfy
"If they do not join with other parties in order to achieve the 10-
member requirement, they will continue to face parliamentary
regulations," Cheam Yeap said.
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