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Rainsy faces pay freeze over campaign remarks

Rainsy faces pay freeze over campaign remarks

The National Assembly is to consider a request from the NEC that it cut off the political opposition leader’s salary for his 'insulting' election comments

THE National Election Committee has requested that Cambodia's parliament cut off lawmaker Sam Rainsy's salary after the opposition leader failed to pay a US$2,500 fine for insulting leaders of the ruling Cambodian People's Party during this year's national election campaign.

In a letter to Assembly President Heng Samrin, the NEC said Sam Rainsy had yet to be punished for violating electoral law during campaigning.

The fine resulted from speeches given by Sam Rainsy referring to a report by the environmental watchdog Global Witness on illegal logging, which implicated a number of high-ranking officials and relatives of Prime Minister Hun Sen in corrupt activities.

The report, titled Cambodia's Family Trees, was banned in Cambodia following its publication in January 2007.

"In order to guarantee electoral legitimacy, the NEC would like to request that the president of the National Assembly cut off the salary of Sam Rainsy and transfer the money into the national budget," the NEC said in the letter.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Tuesday that any request to cut a parliamentarian's pay would be considered by the Assembly's standing committee.

"If there is an official request to the Assembly, the standing committee will consider ... whether Rainsy's salary should be cut," he said.

Parliamentarians make an average of US$2,000 a month.

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said that the NEC must guarantee its independence rather than target opposition lawmakers. "The NEC has no right to request the Assembly to cut off individual parliamentarians' salaries," he said.

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