The National Assembly’s permanent committee yesterday shot down opposition lawmaker Son Chhay’s proposed amendments to three controversial 2014 laws regulating the judiciary, ruling the suggested changes were too sweeping.
Parliament spokesman Leng Peng Long said Chhay’s proposed changes were not amendments but a complete revision of the controversial bills, which regulate judges and prosecutors, the Supreme Council of Magistracy – the judiciary’s top body – and court administration.
“Some of the laws have 31 articles, and the CNRP proposed to amend 15 of them. It’s a revision, not amendment. This is why the committee rejected it,” said Peng Long, who did not explain what legal basis the committee used for determining such a threshold.
The parliamentary spokesman also said the CNRP should have also consulted the Supreme Council of Magistracy for input on the amendments.
Responding yesterday, Chhay, the CNRP’s chief whip, said Peng Long’s explanation was baseless.
“There is no such thing prohibiting MPs from having an amendment cover many articles,” Chhay said, adding the committee’s decision not to send the proposal to a plenary session vote had violated parliamentary procedure.
He also noted the he, the author, was never consulted by the parliamentary committee that had supposedly assessed the amendments, which aimed to curtail executive influence over the judiciary.
The committee yesterday also discussed a proposal to better enforce disciplinary measures against lawmakers who boycott parliament or insult other parliamentarians.
Peng Long said the set of measures – which would see lawmakers’ pay docked for skipping sessions – were not new but a collection of provisions picked from existing legislation and reinserted in a new document that would aid in their enforcement.
The CNRP has complained that the recent CPP push to punish absentee MPs is targeted at them, since they have boycotted several plenary sessions in the wake of the assault against two opposition lawmakers outside parliament exactly a year ago yesterday.
Kong Sophea and Nhay Chamroeun were bashed by a mob of at least 16 men from a pro-government demonstration. Only three people, soldiers from the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, were convicted for the attack, though had their sentences reduced to 12 months.
Chamroeun yesterday took to Facebook to criticise the lack of action in the case.