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SRP pledges to sit out vote on immunity

SRP pledges to sit out vote on immunity

A MAJORITY of opposition parliamentarians said they will boycott a session of the National Assembly today, after lawmakers with the ruling party refused to delay plans to vote on stripping party leader Sam Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity.

Twenty-three of 26 parliamentarians in the opposition Sam Rainsy Party plan to boycott today’s extra session of the National Assembly, said SRP lawmaker Chea Poch. The party had demanded that today’s vote be postponed and an investigation instead be launched into reports that Sam Rainsy uprooted six wooden posts along the tenuous border with Vietnam last month.

“We need the National Assembly to establish a special committee with lawmakers from different political parties in order to conduct an investigation into the controversial border-demarcation process between the local authorities of Cambodia and Vietnam,” Chea Poch said Sunday.

“To take away Sam Rainsy’s immunity without investigation clearly shows the National Assembly is under the influence of the Cambodian People’s
Party.”

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker with the CPP, said Sunday that the National Assembly will vote on suspending Sam Rainsy’s immunity today at the request of the Ministry of Justice.

“Removing Sam Rainsy’s immunity is following the legal process of the Kingdom’s Constitution,” Cheam Yeap said.

It is a move that paves the way for Sam Rainsy to face legal scrutiny for his actions. The opposition leader sparked controversy last month after overseeing the removal of wooden posts that were loosely marking the border alongside Vietnam in Svay Rieng province. Sam Rainsy has said he was standing up for the rights of villagers who claimed Vietnamese authorities had illegally moved the posts further into Cambodian territory.

However, Vietnam’s foreign ministry called the act “perverse” and urged Cambodia to protect the two nations’ ongoing border-demarcation process.

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