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Social security law talks urged

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Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng speaks during the National Assembly’s plenary session on Tuesday. Photo supplied

Social security law talks urged

A day after the National Assembly approved the draft Law on Social Security Scheme, institutions including unions, associations and civil society organisations expressed frustration over being left out of the preparation process.

The groups claim the draft law was not made public and they were not given the opportunity to participate fully in discussions on the bill.

The Post has been unable to obtain a copy of the draft law.

On Tuesday, the 105 National Assembly members present unanimously approved the draft Law on Social Security Scheme, which consists of 11 chapters and 107 articles, after it was submitted by the Council of Ministers on August 2.

A joint statement released by the institutions on Thursday said they had presented a joint letter to National Assembly president Heng Samrin on September 18 requesting that consultations take place with stakeholders on the draft law.

However, they said they had not received a copy of it, and only saw an announcement from the General Secretariat of the National Assembly on discussions held on the law and its passage, as well as that of some other bills, through the legislative body.

“We again repeat our request that the National Assembly delay the passage of the draft law until the body makes it public and fully consults with stakeholders, especially with worker and community representatives, to ensure its effectiveness for beneficiaries and to consider its impact,” the statement said.

The organisations also said that in line with the principles of accountability and openness, and UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recommendations that Cambodia ensures transparency in the legislation process, the public should be made aware of all draft laws.

This would enable public participation in the law-making process, with their representatives able to monitor bills in detail.

National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long told The Post on Thursday that the draft law had been submitted to the Senate. He said he hoped the Senate would consider the proposals.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

However, Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng said during the assembly’s plenary session on Tuesday that the law aimed to ensure equity, social solidarity and improvements to people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.

He said the law was important for those in the public and private sectors, as well as the self-employed.

“The draft Law on Social Security Scheme aims to create social security in line with the principles of social solidarity and equity in four areas – pensions, healthcare, occupational risk and unemployment for people in the public sector, the private sector and those covered by the Labour Law, including airline, maritime and domestic workers, as well as the self-employed,” Sam Heng said.

Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang told The Post on Thursday that there was not enough time to comply with the request.

“We cannot follow the demands of civil society organisations because workshops at all levels were held before the law was drawn up. They were not interested in monitoring these workshops, but they now ask to be consulted.

“With the draft law reaching the Senate, it will not be possible to meet their request. According to the Constitution, we have only five days before the plenary session of the Senate is held,” Bun Neang stressed.

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