now browsing by month
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 68
This part (68) was broadcasted on June 06, 2016, Mr. Sophan Seng described on his effort to lobby Canada’s government to support Cambodians overseas especially Cambodian-Canadian citizens whose campaign for rights to vote in Cambodia elections must be endorsed.
Through meeting with MP Kennedy Steward who is Burnaby caucus chair of NDP’s opposition party, Kennedy delightfully endorsed by accepting signatures and make a speech out loud to demand for collective support in the Parliament Hill of Canada in the next parliamentary session of commencement.
CRISIS OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUDACITY OF CAMBODIA
At the present, Cambodia political landscape is heading towards constitutional crisis as two official political parties ie. CPP and CNRP have faced challenges on comprehension and implementation of many articles within the Constitution.
As the matter of fact, government-led party CPP interpreted article 80 differently from CNRP on “Parliamentary Impunity”. Hence, the interpretation has happened solely after the Constitution violations were already triggered. For instance, Prime Minister voiced his public rhetoric in many places on arresting or jailing law-makers, news report wrote adamantly on his direct control over arresting Senator Hong Sok Hour and many other figures. Strategists expressed ideas on arresting and jailing dissents and law-makers of Premier as “three steps ahead” such as 1. outpacing all his comrades within the party, 2. disengaging all responsible bodies to ensure constitutionality, 3. leaving opposition party in limbo in catching up their democratic procedures and principal. Premier has played direct role to conduct his political strategies to disengage and to threaten both legal practitioners and law-abiders within his party. As a result, every legal practitioner and law-abider are silent allowing few individuals to interpret laws that could fit well with those initial activities. The initial activities were called by Cambodian popular adage as “cutting head to fit with hat” approach. And the Premier has created “claws” to back up his “political plans”, those claws are grade-one loyalists whom are emerged as “kin relationship”, not “common interest relationship” per se.
Considering “Constitution” as “Head”, such reversal approach is devastating to the nation in short term and future sustainability. Constitutional crisis is in disarray as the body to ensure constitutionality ie. “Constitutional Council” has displayed bad image on “trust”, “impartiality”, and “ability” to work independently and professionally.
The inability to seek competent body to solve issue on “Constitutional Crisis” shall result in: 1- strong built-up concentrated power and consolidated personality regime deadly confronts with principles of democracy, 2- emerging political violence stemming from “black” and “white” politics or “confrontational” regime scenario in which 55 laws-makers of CNRP has likely been forced to give up parliamentary building by going back to street protesting and activism.
Putting aside Weberian school on “Institution” building, or Rousseau’s thought on “Social Contract” principality, I am found comments from CNRP-NA intriguing.
First comment (please click on this link to read the entire comment) on “Parliamentary Impunity” as Article 80 stated “Members of the National Assembly shall enjoy parliamentary immunity. No Member of the National Assembly shall be prosecuted, detained or arrested because of opinions expressed in the exercise of his/her duties. A Member of the National Assembly may only be prosecuted, arrested or detained with the permission of the National Assembly or by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly between sessions, except in case of flagrant delicto offences. In that case, the competent authority shall immediately report to the National Assembly or to the Standing Committee and request permission. The decision of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly shall be submitted to the National Assembly at its next session, for approval by a two thirds majority vote of all Members of the National Assembly. In any case, the detention or prosecution of a Member of the National Assembly shall be suspended if the National Assembly requires that the detention or prosecution be suspended by a three quarter majority vote of all Members of the National Assembly“.
The comment sought understanding of “flagrant delicto”, “due processes of law”, “due diligence and professionalism” of legal practitioners, and “presumption of innocence” etc. More than this, many articles within the ratified Constitution has not been undertaken by the incumbent government which posed questions on “political will” to conduct governance and administration diligently or to comply with the laws.
Second comment (please click on this link to read the whole comment) on “Constitutional Interpretation” conducted by the Ministry of Justice is one of the visible violation on constitutionality especially not only Article 80 that has been violated, the interpretation ignored the duty and ability of the “Constitutional Council” as stated in Article 136 (new). The comment also articulated on how Premier has conducted his political career through repeated contraventions on “Constitution” without having mechanism to handle with. It seems both official parties: CPP and CNRP are lacking comprehension to value “national interest as supremacy” by allowing individual Premier to beat the drum and select his own dancing tune inside his private studio room without worrying any legal reprisal.
As nation means collective social, political and economic burden, individual or spatial activity to claim responsibility of this nation is not due at all. To ensure such claim in concrete implementation, Cambodia is in need “Institution” that is built by and complied with “Constitution”. Thus, any one who has violated the Constitution must be trialed or having mechanism to trial those. Constitution is the supreme law to ensure workable institution, but if each political party is shortage in Institution Implementation within their parties, it is in vain as well.
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 66
Op-Ed: The CEROC
This part (66) broadcasted by CMN Radio on May 23rd, 2016, Mr. Sophan Seng articulated on the ongoing interference of the Cambodia government-led party CPP towards the independent court as the court has executed Ny Chariya, secretary of National Election Committee (NEC), after pro-government Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) interrogated and detained him.
At the present, Rong Chhun who is member of nine high ranking officers of NEC was also reopened the past expiry case involving his status of President of Independent Teachers Association accused by the government on minimum wage protesting by the garment workers in 2014.
Both legal accusations towards NEC’s officers government suspected on their performance is a grave threatening towards the success of next commune election 2017 and national election 2018.
Op-Ed: Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth
Last month, I engaged in an extensive interview by email, responding to questions from Russian journalist Stephan Jarinsky. The convergence of developing responses to those questions and the recent death of a longtime friend with whom I collaborated when fighting Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in the 1980s caused me to be particularly reflective.
One question that I found intriguing was Mr. Jarinsky’s inquiry about how to describe modern day Cambodia’s regime. I chose Cambodia’s Constitution, adopted in Phnom Penh in 1993, as a point of discussion. The contrast between the promises described in the governing document and the execution of governmental functions by an autocratic and unaccountable regime could not be more stark. I spent more than a decade of my life trying to install a democratic regime in Cambodia. Countless friends and brave combatants were lost in that struggle. What we “won” was a government based on a Constitution that was the foundation for hope.
Article 1 says, “Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism.” Article 8 makes the King “a symbol of unity and eternity of the nation”; the “guarantor of national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” “the protector of rights and freedoms of all citizens and the guarantor of international treaties”; and Article 9 assigns the King the “august role of arbitrator to ensure the faithful execution of public powers.” Today the King is a virtual prisoner in the royal palace compound, reminded ominously by the regime in power that his security cannot be guaranteed if he ventures into his country.
Article 31 states, “The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights.” Article 32 states: “Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to life, personal freedom and security”; Article 38, “The law guarantees there shall be no physical abuse against any individual. The law shall protect life, honor, and dignity of the citizens . . .” These rights are not enforced. Thousands have been forcibly evicted from their lands so that the property may be sold or leased to foreign entities that have paid officials for the privilege. Citizens have been beaten and jailed for civil protests, have had their ballots negated. Neither the security of person or property is assured.
An old friend of mine wrote four decades ago about a false choice between the killing fields of Pol Pot and the new killing fields that were created by Vietnamese invading troops that installed the current regime and by the corrupt regime that has endured. My friend referred to that false choice as being caught between the plague and cholera.
Article 150 says, “This Constitution shall be the Supreme law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.” Perhaps one day it shall be. But today it is not.
Gaffar Peang-Meth, Ph.D., is retired from the University of Guam where he taught political science for 13 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.