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Sokha unlikely to show as party gathers at court

Opposition leader Kem Sokha is escorted by police following his midnight arrest in Phnom Penh earlier this month.

With jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha likely barred from attending his own hearing today at the Court of Appeal – due ostensibly to “security concerns” – a group of CNRP lawmakers are planning to gather outside to “monitor” the situation. Meanwhile, the Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday put up banners calling for Sokha’s release in all 25 provinces, a move a senior government official characterised as part of a “colour revolution”. Interior Ministry spokesperson Khieu Sopheak confirmed last night that the police had decided not to allow Sokha to attend the hearing because of concerns for his own safety, but qualified that it was up to the judge’s discretion whether he would proceed without him.

CNRP brass leave Cambodia, but back ‘soon’

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay speaks to the press yesterday at CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Since the widely condemned arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha on “treason” charges this month, at least a dozen Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers have left the country, though a senior party official yesterday insisted they would “return soon”. However, the absence of key figures at a crucial time for the party prompted observers to wonder whether their departure played into a strategy by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to weaken the opposition ahead of next year’s elections. Among those who left the country for various reasons are CNRP Deputy President Eng Chhay Eang; lawmakers Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, and Long Ry; and spokesmen Yim Sovann and Yem Ponhearith.

Officials move forward on tiger reintroduction

An Indochinese tiger in Mondulkiri province in 2007. This is the most recent picture taken of a tiger in Cambodia.

A long-discussed plan to reintroduce tigers into the wild in Cambodia appears to be clawing its way forward, as the Ministry of Environment announced yesterday that the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri had been chosen as a habitat. In a Facebook post, the Ministry of Environment said that officials and conservation groups went to Mondulkiri yesterday with counterparts from India, which would supply the tigers. A camera-trap study conducted in 2007 found there were approximately 10 to 15 wild tigers left in the Kingdom. The species is considered to be functionally extinct in the country, with poaching and habitat loss linked to the species’ decline.
According to the post, the ministry ...

Minimum wage talks begin

Labour Ministry Chief of Cabinet Heng Sour (centre) chairs a meeting to discuss increases to the Kingdom’s garment sector minimum wage yesterday in Phnom Penh.

Members of the tripartite Labour Advisory Committee – composed of representatives of the government, employers and unions – yesterday put forth their proposals for next year’s minimum wage for the garment and footwear sector, kicking off the annual negotiations that will culminate on October 5. Every year the Labour Advisory Committee convenes to determine an increase to the sector’s base wage, with a 48-member subcommittee presenting each bloc’s preferred figures yesterday. The government proposed a $162.67 monthly salary, slightly higher than the employers’ proposal of $161. The unions, meanwhile, proposed $176.25, a more than 15 percent increase from the current $153 wage ...

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