Not the Right Time to Declare a State of Emergency Yet, Cambodian Prime Minister

Phnom Penh, April 07, 2020 –Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen reaffirmed here this morning that it is not yet the right time for Cambodia to declare a state of emergency.

The Cambodian Premier reiterated the statement at a press conference at the Peace Palace, continuing that all sectors have to actively join hands in preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and minimising its impacts.

“The possibility of declaring a state of emergency to curb the COVID-19 pandemic is only 0.1 percent. The chance is very small, but we need to have a legal mechanism in our hands in case any unexpected thing happens,” he stressed.

“We don’t declare a state of emergency, but please do not travel if not necessary. Please stay home for safety,” said the Prime Minister.

The Royal Government has recently submitted the five-chapter of eleven-article Draft Law on State of Emergency to the National Assembly for approval.

The draft law was discussed and endorsed by the Standing Committee of the Cabinet Ministers in a meeting held on April 1, 2020. The draft law was elaborated in accordance with the new Article 22 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia stipulating that : “When the nation faces danger, the King shall make a proclamation to the people putting the country in a state of emergency after agreement with the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly and President of the Senate.”

Aiming at protecting national security and public order, people’s lives and health as well as assets and environment, the draft law outlines formalities, procedures and conditions for the declaration of a state of emergency, and necessary measures taken by the Royal Government when the nation is in a state of emergency.

As of 07:00 am on April 7, 2020, Cambodia has recorded in total 115 COVID-19 confirmed cases, including 49 Cambodians, 40 French, 13 Malaysians, 5 British, 2 Americans, 2 Indonesians, one Canadian, one Belgian, one Chinese, and one Vietnamese. Of them, 58 have been successfully cured.

Since the first case detected in Preah Sihanouk province in late January, the COVID-19 pandemic has now hit 13 provinces and capital of Cambodia.

By Khan Sophirom