Motorists say the government hasn't clarified any plan to reduce penalties for unlicenced, undutied vehicles.
MOTORISTS who gathered last week in provinces around the country to protest fines for unlicensed vehicles, enforced as part of the Land Traffic Law, are still awaiting resolution of their grievances by government authorities.
On August 12, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech at the graduation ceremony for Phnom Penh's Royal University of Law and Economics that traffic police and customs officers should begin imposing fines on those who had not paid import taxes or lacked licencing for their vehicles.
Under Article 79 of the Land Traffic Law, drivers of unregistered vehicles that lack licence plates may be subject to fines from 25,000 to 200,000 riels (US$6 to $48).
After thousands of people gathered last week in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Sihanouk and Battambang provinces, provincial authorities in these areas suspended fine collection and vehicle confiscation indefinitely, saying that they would consider a reduction in fine levels.
In the week since, however, those who protested have yet to hear any more on the matter from provincial officials.
"The police stopped fining us temporarily, but we are still waiting for a definite result before we pay the import taxes," said Phan Lavorn, a representative of protesters in Banteay Meanchey province.
Vor Vorn, a 31-year-old motorbike taxi driver from Siem Reap province who claimed to be a representative of the protesters there, said that drivers in his province would resume their demonstrations against the fees if the government does not provide them with a resolution by the end of this week.
"We really want to get a resolution so that we can go about our work with confidence," he said. "The government should help us by not delaying any longer ."
Sam Dy, a motorbike taxi driver from Preah Sihanouk province, said drivers there would also renew their protest if they do not hear from government officials soon. "Now we feel like thieves because we can't do our work without breaking the law," he said.
Meas Vuthy, deputy governor of Preah Sihanouk province, did not anticipate further problems in his province. "We have followed instructions from the General Department of Customs and Excise, as we are not fining the drivers for lacking licence plates, though they still have to pay the import tax," he said Thursday. All 117 motorbikes confiscated for lacking licence plates in his province have been returned, he added.
Pen Siman, director of the General Customs and Excise Department at the Ministry of Economy, could not be reach for comment Thursday. Nor could provincials officials from Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey.