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Opposition party wants to debate

Opposition party wants to debate

Prime Minister Hun Sen is primed to appear in the National Assembly tomorrow to clarify the country’s border demarcation policy with Vietnam, but opposition lawmakers are calling for a debate rather than a lecture.

In a letter sent to National Assembly president Heng Samrin yesterday, nine SRP lawmakers asked for an opportunity to pose questions in a forum-style setup, instead of sitting back and listening to what Hun Sen has said will be a four-hour speech.

“During this clarification, we request to have a debate, and exchange each others opinions between parliamentarians and governmental representative,” the lawmakers’ letter stated. “This debate will offer clearer information over border posts” dividing Vietnam and Cambodia.

SRP members decrying the placement of border posts is nothing new, but the fracas was recently revived when authorities announced they would cede two villages to Vietnam.

Cheam Yeap, senior lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said that all lawmakers who want to raise questions in the National Assembly session must be authorised to do so by Assembly President Heng Samrin.

“It’s Parliament President [Heng Samrin]’s discretion. He can allow the questioners to ask more or not, it is a discretion of the Parliament president,” Yeap said.

Samrin has not said whether he will allow questions at the session.

Yim Sovann, one of the nine SRP lawmakers who signed the letter, said that in previous sessions, Samrin didn’t allow the opposition to raise questions.

In one of the stranger exchanges leading up to the speech, the prime minister’s office issued a letter yesterday denying the authenticity of a document posted on KI-Media only hours before.

In it, Hun Sen supposedly announced that he would not have a debate at the session after listening to the advice of the Vietnamese prime minister.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]