Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Number’s up, CPP tells rivals

Number’s up, CPP tells rivals

A sport utility vehicle adorned with green Senate number plates arrives at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
A sport utility vehicle adorned with green Senate number plates arrives at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh late last year carrying CNRP representatives. Heng Chivoan

Number’s up, CPP tells rivals

The government has found a novel new way of applying pressure to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in an attempt to get it to join the National Assembly.

Senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap yesterday called out the CNRP for using “illegal” licence plates, which are issued by the National Assembly to elected representatives.

CNRP lawmakers are still using plates issued under the previous government, he said, adding that he had requested that the “competent authorities” take action.

“The secretariat of the National Assembly has already asked that the Ministry of Public Works [take action],” he said. “We have already issued new numbers from 1 to 123 [for parliamentarians]. This is the fifth mandate, not the fourth mandate anymore.”

Yeap said that parliament had issued 123 new plates – 68 for CPP officials and 55 for CNRP lawmakers – since the National Assembly’s first meeting on September 23 last year.

“Those who use the fourth mandate number plates must be responsible for themselves,” Yeap said, adding that CNRP president Sam Rainsy was still using, and even attending anti-government protests in, a car bearing a licence plate granted to him by the state.

Rainsy did not register to stand in last year’s hotly contested general election, Yeap said, so was breaking the law by continuing to use a plate reserved for elected officials.

“The National Assembly would like to ask the authorities to look into the use of this plate,” he added.

But CNRP spokesman Yep Ponharith dismissed Cheam Yeap’s warning, saying the allegations made by the CPP lawmaker were a threat, with the intended outcome of pressuring the CNRP to join parliament amid ongoing political negotiations.

He added that he believes the continued use of the number plates is within the law.

“This is just political pressure because they want us to join the parliament. We will not join the parliament as long as there is no proper election,” he said.

“We still use [the old number plates]. That is not illegal.”

He added that, as no opposition lawmakers had claimed their places in the National Assembly, the 55 plates reserved for the CNRP had not been activated, and the old plates were still valid.

Phnom Penh municipal traffic police Chief Heng Chantheary declined to comment yesterday.

Kirt Chantharith, spokesman of the National Police, also declined to comment on the issue, saying he was not aware of the request for intervention issued by Yeap.

Political analyst Kem Ley said yesterday that, while it might seem like a minor political squabble, it was an issue of mutual respect.

“This is a very, very important issue; it’s about mutual respect. The CNRP right now should be thinking about how to negotiate the political impasse. The CPP and CNRP must think about the common interests, rather than blame each other,” he said.

“The CPP always blames [the] CNRP and CNRP activists always blame the CPP. I think it’s intimidation, but it’s the way things are done in Cambodia.… Everybody can use their force to threaten the order.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’

  • ‘Action needed to stop road deaths doubling by next year’

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has expressed concern over the rate of traffic accidents, saying the death toll will double by 2020 if no effective preventive measures were put in place. At least five people on average are killed on Cambodian roads every day. The interior