Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Senate passes rule to punish absenteeism



Senate passes rule to punish absenteeism

Senate members stand in queue to cast their votes on changes to the body's internal rules yesterday in Phnom Penh
Senate members stand in queue to cast their votes on changes to the body's internal rules yesterday in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Senate passes rule to punish absenteeism

The Senate amended its internal rules yesterday to punish senators who miss sessions by docking their salaries, while also voting down a measure to appoint the wife of Hong Sok Hour to fill his former seat on the body’s anti-corruption committee.

According to a statement from the Senate, the rule change is meant “to increase faith and confidence of the public in the senators and the Senate through strengthening the respect of discipline”.

Opposition senators, however, said yesterday that the amendments would impose unnecessary limits on the work of the body’s members. But Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang said the measure was just to “have discipline”.

A similar amendment passed in the National Assembly last October to dock absent lawmakers’ salaries was criticised by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party because it was seen as punishing them for past boycotts of assembly sessions.

“It’s as if democracy is going backwards. We don’t have the right to express ourselves anymore,” said opposition Senator Kun Lum Ang, who took up her seat to replace her husband, jailed former Senator Hong Sok Hour, who is serving a seven-year sentence for social media posts concerning a border treaty with Vietnam.

Lum Ang was nominated by the party to take her husband’s place on the anti-corruption council within the Senate, but the body voted against her. Instead, the seat will remain vacant, and Cambodian People’s Party Senator Bun Neang will likely remain in charge after replacing Sok Hour.

Lum Ang speculated that the vote may have been related to the opposition’s objection to the amendments, but Bun Neang countered that it was likely her husband’s conviction that swayed the Senate. “[Lum Ang’s] husband committed an offence and was sentenced to prison,” he said.

Yoeung Sotheara, a legal officer at Comfrel, said the vote could be tied to efforts to quash the opposition. “Kun Lum Ang is the wife of the convicted Hong Sok Hour . . . Maybe they’re not happy with her and her party,” he said.

He also raised concerns about an amendment approved yesterday allowing for senators to oversee multiple committees.

“The Senate has many members, so one person should only be responsible for one commission,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman