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Hun Sen defends new Consultation Forum

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Leader of the Cambodian Youth Party Pich Sros (centre) takes part in the inaugural meeting of the Consultation Forum earlier this week. Heng Chivoan

Hun Sen defends new Consultation Forum

Prime Minister-designate Hun Sen on Thursday defended his establishment of the Consultation Forum, saying it gives opposition parties an opportunity to contribute to nation-building.

Speaking to over 17,000 garment workers in Kandal province, the Cambodian People’s Party leader was responding to criticisms from some members of the forum by saying that it gave more people a say on the national budget and draft laws.

“They say that Cambodia has stepped into single-party rule ... I would like to take this chance to confirm to the people, NGOs, and political parties, that the single-party situation in the National Assembly began at a multi-party election. We cannot reject that,” he said.

Hun Sen said the forum was being supported by opposition political party members who were offered positions as advisers.

He continued that the first item on the table for the forum would be the 2019 national budget, which would be forwarded on to the Council of Ministers before going to the National Assembly and the Senate by early December.

Hun Sen said that many of the Consultation Forum members didn’t have enough experience with the national budget, so the MEF had arranged a presentation as a crash course.

However, Ou Chanroth a former opposition lawmaker claimed that the forum would not benefit the nation or its people.

“More institutions cannot bring more benefits. It gives the government a big head. It is just a rubber-stamp institution, doing nothing and providing no advantages.

“The CPP has already declared that no one can urge Hun Sen to implement another party’s policies as he has his party’s policies already.

“If he needs to use the opposition’s ideas or contrasting ideas, he should have considered the CNRP when it held 55 parliamentary seats and more than 10 senate seat,” Chanroth said.

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