The Senate on Tuesday approved three major pieces of legislation, including the Kingdom’s new Penal Code and laws on foreign adoption and public demonstrations, without any amendments, drawing opposition complaints that the body has acted as a rubber stamp in the passage of flawed legislation. Senator Kong Kom from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, the only one of the 61 senators present who voted against the Penal Code and Law on Nonviolent Demonstrations, repeated concerns made by local and international critics that the laws contain a number of excessive restrictions on freedom of expression. “I regretted that the majority of the senators ignored the concerns made by the opposition and civil society groups,” he said. Nhek Chhay Eng, deputy secretary general of the Senate, said the laws will be returned to the National Assembly in the next two weeks, formally passing it on to King Norodom Sihamoni for signature. Laws come into effect 10 to 20 days after being signed by the King.
Penal Code: Senate passes key legislation
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