Australian Parliament teaches parliamentary role to Cambodian MPs
Thursday, September 03, 2009
By Ly Meng Huor
Radio France Internationale
Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy
Australian Parliament experts shared their experience on the efficient oversight role to Cambodian MPs. During the 2-day presentation which ended on Thursday, Australian Parliament experts showed the important role of the parliament in the oversight of the government action. Nevertheless, an independent observer indicated that the Cambodian parliament does not have the ability to fulfill such a role.
Dr. Brendan Nelson, an Australian MP, and Ian Harris, Secretary of the Australian Parliament, indicated the Parliament plays an important in role: it forces the government to be responsible to the people. [In this manner,] the government policy and action would also be efficient. The parliament must also ensure that the government fulfills the needs of the people, i.e. the voters.
During the 2-day presentation, Ian Nelson, an Australian MP with a record of 13-year office mandate, provided in-depth knowledge on the techniques used to efficiently oversee the government’s work. These techniques include the discussions on draft laws and the review of state budgets, as well as the questioning of the government on the National Assembly floor, etc…
Nevertheless, Mar Sophal, an independent observer, indicated that the role of the Cambodian National Assembly has significantly degraded during this 4th mandate, when compared to the previous mandates. He indicated that non-ruling parties saw their freedom of expression tightened and MPs have difficulties sending their written questions to the government, and when they could, only a small number of these questions are answered by the government.
Nevertheless, Ian Nelson noted that Cambodia is a young democracy, and that it is a good start and that it could bring in good development in the future.