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NA's 1st birthday is feted

NA's 1st birthday is feted

C ELEBRATIONS were held on Sept 27-28 to mark the one year anniversary of the founding of the country's new National Assembly. Acting Head of State Samdech Chea Sim described the year as a "golden chapter" in the nation's history.

He said the achievements of the National Assembly reflected the spirit of high responsibility of the peoples' representatives to do their best to genuinely benefit the people of the country through their wisdom and experience.

Chea Sim's deputy Loy Sim Chheang said the outstanding achievements of the parliament included the passing of the Investment Law, the Immigration Law, the outlawing of the Khmer Rouge and the opening of the Assembly's secretariat offices in six provinces.

Chheang said the provincial secretariats would provide people with a forum to register their concerns and problems to the government, and added that the government will open four more offices at the beginning of next year.

Chheang said: "I am very delighted with the hope that democratic pluralism will bring prosperity to Cambodia. Any thought of Cambodia going back to authoritarianism is very old-fashioned and cannot repeat itself.

"The current policy of many countries in the world moves in that direction [pluralism], and Cambodia alone can not walk against that current."

Chea Sim acknowledged the achievements of the Assembly were not yet sufficient to address the needs of the country. He added that parliamentary members needed to review and assess those achievements and define their future task so as to be more responsible for the fate of the country.

On Sept 27 monks blessed and sprinkled water over about 70 MPs attending the anniversary celebrations inside the newly-renovated assembly building.

Under the assembly's new setting the seats form a half-circle facing the parliamentary speaker's podium.

The new seats are equipped with headphones and writing boards and the cost of the renovations was about $150,000, according to Chheang.

On Sept 28 the celebrations spilled out onto the sidewalk on the corner of the Royal Palace where MPs, their families and foreign diplomats gathered to offer food to about 120 monks.

First Premier Norodom Ranariddh said: "It is the day for democracy, for our National Assembly. As a leader of the executive body of course I'm quite happy [with the anniversary]."

Ranariddh added that the Khmer Rouge problem was not new, but now the fighting was limited compared to other wars.

Minister of Information Ieng Mouly said the KR were not so strong and the Royal Government needed more money, instead of guns, to promote economic development of the country.

He said: "[Our] work is hard work, we [have faced] bad experiences for the past 23 years, ... violence and destruction. We can not develop the country in 12 months.

"We are building a bridge and that bridge needs to be completed. So we need more time to complete this work."

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