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Lawmaker says NGO law must pass now

Lawmaker says NGO law must pass now

Despite government assurances that the controversial NGO draft law was still undergoing review, committees of the National Assembly said yesterday that the only revisions will be minor corrections to spelling and wording.

The decision was made in a meeting with the three commissions responsible for studying and reviewing the draft law.

“Overall, we decided to keep the meaning intact,” said Chheang Vun, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Commission.

“It is imperative that we pass it right now, so that it will guarantee social stability, [and] prevent foreign interference, which can sour the political environment,” he said.

The commissions, he said, will hold a workshop with government representatives on Monday and another on Wednesday, before making a final decision.

All the committees have agreed on for now is the time to pass the bill, Vun said.

However, after the interview, Vun banned CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An from speaking to the press in the grounds of parliament without permission from National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

Sam An addressed the press despite the objections from Vun, saying the ruling party MP’s attempt to stop him from talking to the media was a form of political censorship, a deprivation of the rights of opposition lawmakers and a violation of the internal rules of the National Assembly and constitution.

He added that if the recommendations made by CNRP lawmakers were not incorporated into a revision of the bill at the upcoming workshop, “CNRP members will not support the draft laws”.

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