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National Assembly gets a voice

National Assembly gets a voice

In the latest sign of the Cambodian government’s nascent but growing public information apparatus, the National Assembly on Tuesday approved its first communications position.

The assembly’s standing committee approved a “quick reaction nnit” and a spokesman to interact with the press.

Critics quickly reacted by pointing out that the chosen candidate, Chheang Vun, is a Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, was put off by the appointment, fearing the position might be used primarily to attack opposition parliamentarians.

But Cheam Yeap, a Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian who will oversee the communications arm once it gets the go-ahead from National Assembly president Heng Samrin, said the unit would “play an important role to provide general information” about legislat-ive work and to explain complex issues.

In recent years, the government has trained hundreds of spokesmen for different departments, with its centrepiece being the Press & Quick Reaction Unit for the Council of   Ministers.