Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the National Assembly Session on New Article 48(III) of Its Internal Regulation’s New Chapter 12

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[Unofficial Translation]

CNV: 

Amendment to New Article 48(III) in Absence of Opposition Party

May be I should welcome the absence of the opposition party (National Assembly members) this morning. This action should show our people the very reason why the Cambodian People’s Party decides to call for the amendment and implementation of some other works. It all started from irresponsible actions as members of the National Assembly. They join the National Assembly for a meeting or leaving at their own free wills. They blamed the National Assembly for a half-full condition. This time if they were to do so, I am warning them of halting their salary. I heard that HE Son Chhay is going to throw a press conference at 9am. I wish he listened to what I had to say.

Internal Regulation’s New Article 48(III): Minority NA Members and Minority Leader Is One

You may all know that this had started when I made a statement from Zurich, Switzerland. What had brought me to think about doing this? It was not an issue of a few days. According to my message exchange with HE Kem Sokha, it started on 7 December 2016. I already shared to different groups to know and understand this matter. On 7 December 2016, at 7:34 am, after Samdech the President of the National Assembly sent out the decision concerning the appointment of the minority NA members and minority leader … I sent a message on WhatsApp to HE Kem Sokha.

It should go like this – “this morning I read the news and noted that some people disagree with the appointment of Your Excellency as the minority NA and minority leader. They requested that Sam Rainsy holds the minority leader position and you are the minority NA leader. The new article 48 allows the two positions held by only one man, not two. In case you cannot accept the appointment, this morning I request for amendment of the new article 48 of Internal Regulation by removing it.” I also sent the decision of Samdech President of the National Assembly. At about 7:57am, HE Kem Sokha replied to me that “there nothing that matters. Leave it as it is.” That was how it all began.

Before entering the NA session, I came across HE Eng Chhay Eang outside and asked “I heard that your side disagreed” and (disagreements) posted in the Sam Rainsy website and Yim Sovann’s website. As far as I know, at about 11pm, there was still comment that HE Sam Rainsy was the minority leader with an equivalent rank of Prime Minister […] Later, on the Sam Rainsy’s website they claimed that “position was not important” and that “we had misinterpreted the Constitution.”

I had said that the new article 48 (III) of the National Assembly’s Internal Regulation could be a problem. While the law has yet to adopt, they had already sought for amendment. For what was it? It was for political gain for the one in a foreign country. There was nothing else. HE Pen Panha already made a report to the National Assembly’s session. They have tried to disguise their motives under “effort to adjust political situation.” The meaning was to release criminals. I am declaring once again that Cambodia does not have political prisoners but politicians who committed crimes and are convicted.

Fives Reasons for Amendment of New Article 48 (III)

… Prior to my departure (for World Economic Forum in Switzerland), Samdech Krolahaom Sa Kheng reported to me of the other side’s response. I could have sent this request for amendment from in the air if I were to have internet access. In Hong Kong, I had other engagements. On Cathay Pacific, unlike in other planes that I used to have internet access, there was none. However, I have prepared everything about two hours before landing. We sent it to the network of the permanent committee (of the Cambodian People’s Party) to think about it and convene an urgent meeting about the amendment. Let me now list all five reasons why I initiated this proposal for the amendment of the article. HE Pen Panha, already hit on one of them. I will share with you all fives.

Firstly – Ending Misinterpretations

The first reason here is for us to end misinterpretations of the article that some have even accused us of making abusive interpretation the new article 48 (III), which stated that only one person hold the minority NA members and minority leader positions, while they tried to divide into two. The CNRP itself also misinterpreted the concept. On our side, there seemed to be a misunderstanding too. We may read it together on this point – “leader of the NA members of the Parties outside the Royal Government that hold 25% of seats and above is called leader of the Minority leader in the National Assembly. Leader of the Minority is a dialogue partner with the Royal Government on national issues. The Minority leader holds an equivalent rank as Prime Minister.” Clearly, it states that it is only one person.

Kem Sokha Admitted Sam Rinsy Was Wrong on Two Points

… In my room, HE Kem Sokha said to me clearly – “he (Sam Rainsy) was wrong on two points. Firstly, he was no longer member of the National Assembly.” This has concluded that HE Kem Sokha admitted that HE Sam Rainsy was no longer member of THE National Assembly and he therefore could hold no such positions. I did not start the discussion on that matter. Kem Sokha brought it up. Secondly, he said – “first, one had to be leader of the (minority) NA Members leader before becoming automatically leader of the minority.” HE Kem Sokha was right but I do not think he would dare tell everyone. If he were to get things out, he may have to get all of it out. (He should know about this phone) by holding some back. So far he only released what served his interest. He should know that I could release everything and he would have to take responsibility […]

I was the one to propose the article. That I request for removal would not be wrong. It will depend on whether the National Assembly supports it or not. Today we do not need their presence. If you would boycott until the national elections in 2018, it would all be fine. We could still make law. When we first established the Royal Government, we made numerous laws without waiting for them […]

Secondly – Ending Abuse of Power through Using Mechanism on Issues Infringing Upon the Court Competency and Royal Government Authority

… Secondly, to end the abuse of power through using such mechanism to discuss issues that infringe upon competency of the court and authority of the Royal Government. HE Pen Panha stressed on this issue already. I wish to add a bit. While in my room, he talked about this and that but more importantly he stated issue of abusing power. He had promised prisoners and two of them had requested to buy them air tickets for the US in mid January.

I have told HE Kem Sokha that we must respect the court measures. We have three different sets of cases here. The first set is relating to individuals of ADHOC non-governmental organization and that of Ni Chakrya (Vice President of the National Elections Committee). When the court closes investigation and the trial begins, we may proceed to carry out similar procedure as we did to the commune head – Mr. Chet. I already whispered the way to do it to HE Sar Kheng on that day […] HE Kem Sokha still owe me something. He promised to do it in three days. He did not. Waiting for the court’s verdict, and for it to pass to the court of appeal, we may need to wait for two months. It is not legal to request for release when the court verdict has not yet been final.

The second set of cases concerns the convicted Boeung Kok protesters with riot nature. The trial had happened and I would proceed to inspecting as to who would deserve to be set free. I would use the power vested in me as Prime Minister to request for release according to Imprisonment Law.

The third set of cases is concerning Hong Sunhour and Um Sam An. Their crimes of falsifying and using falsified documents are serious. HE Kem Sokha responded – “they all are his (Sam Rainsy) men. He used them.” He attacked Sam Rainsy right before me. He said “my people are not that skilful.” As I said this, I would ask HE Sam Rainsy to check and not to say that someone else is dividing them […] It is a serious crime (that they faked documents that) President of the State Council Heng Samrin signed a treaty to abolish the border, which even as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I did not even know about it. HE Kem Sokha said “I understand. I do not touch on that. However, please allow me to say differently out there …” Well, talk as you please. It cannot be done in real though […]

Dialogue Culture Continues

Hence, abuse of power through using such mechanism has gone on and on. We must amend this to end it. For instance, it was difficult to have a agreed-upon agenda (for meeting of the two leaders – minority and majority). I just tell you, why would you need to have to have such agenda set? If one side proposed it, just agree with it and you may bring yours up in the meeting. That is the trick. I have had experiences in negotiation. Who would shut you up? No matter what would happen, you had already brought the matter up […]

… We cannot allow this mechanism to be used to abuse power to infringe upon the court competency. People may talk about this or that but let me affirm that dialogue culture continues. How would it continue? It would happen through the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly. Let us talk to one another. We have this Committee. You never are there. We still talk about they are coming. Now we cannot talk because they are not here. The other day when I received the International Olympic Committee President’s Trophy, HE Kem Sokha sent me a congratulatory message. I sent him my thanks, We have WhatsApp. Let us communicate […]

Thirdly – Ending Culture of Minority Holding Majority as Political Hostage

Thirdly, to end a culture where the minority holds the majority as political hostage and demands endless political solutions for convicted criminals.Anything that matters is political. There are many politicians in Cambodia, why are they not in prison? Why it happened only to the one politician that lives in exile? He made so many statements … If one negotiates with me and the other is stepping on my foot, I do not have the need to work with them. I am waiting for the court to reach its final verdict. This time I am asking for one million USD. However, the first verdict would be on the case sued by Samdech Heng Samrin. If I am to win the lawsuit, we may ask for a verdict to defend property to seize the property and put it for sale.

I heard that the CNRP head office registered under Sam Rainsy’s name. We may wait for the final verdict. HE Hor Namhong too should take what he owed (from lawsuit) […] There will be no more minority voice holding the majority as hostage. We have let them do as they pleased many times already. This time we cannot. We may amend the law on political parties if we have to. We may revise the law to say that prisoners hold no rights to be head of political parties. That is my proposal. I heard many things (he would do). I would ask him to come in anytime […] People said that he is the one who cuff and un-cuff. Yes, it is right. You just happened to know. It is the power given by the Constitution […]

Fourthly – Stop Accusing Each Other for Lacking Intention to Negotiate, Disagreement on Negotiation Agenda

Fourthly, to stop accusing one another for lacking intention to negotiate and to end disagreement on how to set up agendas for negotiation leading to exchange of hostile words in media. For reason of busy schedules of the majority leader, we had requested for a rescheduled negotiation date to 14 January. They went viral extorting political profit from the situation that we did not respond them. It is good to remove it […]

Fifthly – Spend No Money on Cars, Offices, Appointing Assistants and Protocols

Fifthly, there is no need to spend money on cars, offices, appoint assistants, and work out protocols for those who would hold this portfolio of Prime Minister. There was a request the other day for purchasing cars. I instructed to the Minister of Economy and Finance that they could buy them using the National Assembly’s budget. Let me expand on this a bit. The National Assembly is clever. They already have their budgets but they request use of the Royal Government’s budget for some of their expenses. From this day onward, everyone spends from own allocated budgets as adopted by the National Assembly […]

A Message to a Pundit for Analysis on CPP

… I wish to send a message to a pundit whom I need not mention his name and who said that there seemed to be a fracture in the Cambodian People’s Party because every time Mr. Hun Sen left the country, Samdech Krolahaom became acting Prime Minister. Let me tell you if there were no Prime Minister Hun Sen, there would not be Acting Prime Minister Sar Kheng. You may have to read the new 125 article, which is the former 106 article of the Constitution. If you are not informed, how could you be a pundit? The article 125 stipulates – “if the post of Prime Minister is permanently vacant, a new Council of Ministers shall be appointed under the conditions as stipulated in this Constitution. If the vacancy is temporary, an acting Prime Minister shall be appointed.” Who has the power to appoint the acting Prime Minister? It is Prime Minister Hun Sen in this case […]./.