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CNRP’s Sokha calls for NGO legislation delay

CNRP’s Sokha calls for NGO legislation delay

Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha yesterday weighed in on debates over the controversial draft NGO law, calling for its adoption to be postponed.

At a meeting with 10 NGO representatives, Sokha, who is also deputy president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and first vice president of the National Assembly, said his party believed that the government should focus on passing other, more urgent bills.

The CNRP’s “stance is that we think this law is not necessary – if possible, it should be delayed”, he said.

“If the government thinks it is necessary, they have to reveal clear points about it and we should have an open discussion that stakeholders can participate in to bring up ideas.”

The long-drafted legislation finally reached the National Assembly on Tuesday, after being green-lighted by the Council of Ministers earlier this month.

Despite claims that observers would be pleasantly surprised by the leniency of the latest draft, a copy of the legislation, first obtained by the Post last week, has left many arguing that it is more concerning than the heavily criticised 2011 draft.

Vague language, demands for political neutrality and rules on registration are among major causes for concern highlighted by civil society.

National Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun said the Permanent Commission will meet to discuss the legislation on Monday or Tuesday before sending it to be reviewed by three expert commissions.

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