PM Pledges Answers on Vietnamese Border ELCs

Source: Phnom Penh Post | Thu, 12 May 2016, by Niem Chheng

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Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An (right) attends a press conference about the Cambodia-Vietnam border map at the Council of Ministers last year. P Heng Chivoan

Prime Minister Hun Sen will assign a team to respond to questions about the Vietnamese army’s alleged control of 40,000 hectares of land in Ratanakkiri province submitted by opposition lawmaker Um Sam An, imprisoned in April for his criticism of the government’s border policy.

The letter, signed by the premier and dated March 17, also hints at the possibility of releasing the Cambodia National Rescue Party parliamentarian.

It states the team’s answers would be given orally at a parliamentary session at which Sam An is to be present.

Reached yesterday, the lawmaker’s assistant Mam Machiko said he had taken the letter to his boss, who was not entirely satisfied.

“[Sam An] said he wanted to see that it was prime minister himself who answers the questions,” said Machiko.

Sam An on March 4 requested Hun Sen explain how and why four companies, reportedly linked to the Vietnamese army’s Corp 15 through their chairmen, came to control four economic land concessions comprising 40,000 hectares near the O’Yadav border crossing.

In April, he was arrested and charged with incitement offences for accusing the government of ceding land to Vietnam.

Even if a bail application to be lodged next week is successful, Sam An is still barred from attending parliament thanks to a 15-session ban handed down for “insulting” National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

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