Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government to re-examine traffic law

Government to re-examine traffic law

Lieutenant General Kirt Chantharith addresses the media on Friday during a press conference on the new traffic laws.
Lieutenant General Kirt Chantharith addresses the media on Friday during a press conference on the new traffic laws. Heng Chivoan

Government to re-examine traffic law

Following a troubled rollout of the January 1 Traffic Law, the government announced yesterday in a press conference that an inter-ministerial team has been established to determine what amendments will be made in reaction to widespread criticism from the public and civil society.

Addressing the media yesterday, the director of the Ministry of Interior’s land traffic department, Hem Yan, said that Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who chairs the National Road Safety Committee, would convene a meeting between the ministries of Interior, Justice, Industry, Economy and Transportation on January 12.

“On Tuesday, the team will meet and discuss to find the way out in time, since it is an urgent task,” Yan said, without specifying which articles may be amended beyond those pertaining to drivers’ licences.

Since the law took effect, several modifications were made by Prime Minister Hun Sen in response to public outcry, such as waiving driver’s licence exam requirements for motorbikes of less than 125cc.

Ostensibly responding to observations that the law was insufficiently studied and inappropriately based on laws of other countries, National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said the law was made “according to the actual situation of our country” with “consultations with both government institutions and civil society organisations and experts”.

However, opposition lawmaker Son Chhay yesterday challenged this narrative, pointing to regulations in the law that were ill-suited to Cambodia’s context, such as the requirement for a baby seat in cars.

“A baby seat costs maybe $200 here; how can someone purchase a baby seat when they want to bring their granddaughter to the hospital?” he said.

Chhay went on to characterise the law as a cash-grab for the government, saying that “the law has so many loopholes for corrupt officials to make money that it hurts people”.

Commenting on a recent notice, which Hun Sen posted on Facebook on Saturday, that waives the requirement for proof of the previous owner’s identity for registration of second-hand vehicles, Chhay observed this could facilitate the registration of stolen vehicles.

“I can take someone’s motorbike and register it – is that the way? It becomes anarchy.”

San Chey, the director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, shared similar concerns, saying that not requiring proof of previous vehicle ownership could spur an increase in theft unless the ministries implemented specific measures to prevent that outcome.

Chey also urged the government for “more consultation [to] avoid amending [the law] several times”.

Spokespeople from several government ministries could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen