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Opposition MPs face wage cut after boycott of Assembly session

Opposition MPs face wage cut after boycott of Assembly session

Ruling party says 26 lawmakers could be ‘fined' for walkout, which opposition says was sparked by rejected changes to disabilities legislation.

DISABLED RIGHTS

In a statement Friday, SRP lawmakers claimed the new Law on Disabilities fails to provide "full measures to protect women and children with disabilities from violence" and "the rights to own land and provision of decent employment, housing and free health care".

RULING party lawmakers have warned that the National Assembly could slash the salaries of opposition Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party lawmakers for walking out of a parliamentary session in protest Friday.

CPP lawmaker Sman Teath said Tuesday that during the boycott, National Assembly Chairman Heng Samrin had told the secretariat to write down the names of opposition  parliamentarians who left the meeting and that the body would consider cutting their salaries.

"The chairman said that, based on parliamentary regulations, parliamentarians who leave meetings without asking permission can be fined by a reduction in their salaries," Sman Teath said.

"Whether they are fined or not depends on a meeting [Heng Samrin] is holding with the committee to decide this. He cannot decide by himself."

Lawmakers make a base monthly salary of US$1,050, although it is unclear by how much this could be cut, he said. Sman Teath added that Heng Samrin has always tried to understand the positions of opposition lawmakers but lamented that they still did not follow the Assembly's regulations.

OUR BOYCOTT WAS UNDERTAKEN BECAUSE WE HAVE ASKED FOR CHANGES TO THE LAW...

Opposition groups boycotted Friday's session, saying that they did so in protest against Heng Samrin's decision to reject their request for amendments to the Disabilities Law, which was passed without their recommendations.

SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said that the party had sent its request to CPP lawmaker Ho Naun, president of the Assembly's Special Committee for Public Health, Social Work, Labour and Women's Affairs Wednesday, but they were not called for follow-up discussions.

"Our boycott was undertaken because we had asked for changes to the law in the interests of disabled people, but when [CPP lawmakers] did not listen to our requests, we decided to leave the meeting," he said.

"We do not care about salary cuts. We have not seen any law stating that our salaries would be cut ... but whether they cut our salaries is up to them."

Committee President Ho Naun, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Hang Puthea, executive director of election monitoring group Nicfec, said that the threat of salary cuts was not technically correct because the law was not clear on the point.

"I think that both the ruling party and opposition parties should resolve this properly ... so that people can have confidence in them," he said.

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