A lack of a quorum in the National Assembly continues to hamper debate over laws
and is annoying some MPs.
"I am very frustrated and everybody is
frustrated with the lack of a quorum," Funcinpec MP Ahmad Yahya said last week,
after discussion on the press law had been stopped three times because there
were too few MPs.
"I have many times suggested the amendment of internal
regulations... If we can't meet during the day, we'd better continue at
At least 84 of Cambodia's 120 MPs have to be present before
National Assembly sessions can be opened. Observers say sessions are frequently
cancelled because too few MPs turn up.
The government's controversial
press law is the latest to be delayed by the problem.
Debate on the law
was scheduled to resume on Tuesday July 4 but was adjourned to Thursday July 6
because of a lack of a quorum. Assembly sessions are not held on Wednesday
because of a ministerial cabinet meeting.
MPs returned to the assembly on
the Thursday and held a full day of debate.
The session resumed the
following day, with 86 MPs present, and two hours of debate held. But four MPs
were absent after a coffee break, and the session had to be
Again on Saturday morning, there was a lack of a
One MP, who requested anonymity, said the problem was that MPs
were too busy. "Some have too many positions, they cannot spare their time for
Another said there was a "leadership problem", with little
encouragement for MPs to attend the assembly.
By press time, MPs had made
little progress on debating the press law article by article. They were only up
to Article 12 of the law, with some MPs unhappy at how long the debate had
Minister of Information Ieng Mouly at one stage complained that
MPs were concentrating on minor changes to the law, and not the wider issues to
"If we debate only to change words in the law without looking
at the content of the articles, we will probably never finish a bill in two
years," he said.