Concerns over Cambodian elections raised in Malaysias Parliament

General Press Releases Thursday July 19, 2018 10:17
Bangkok--19 Jul--ASEAN Parliamentarian Human Rights

The upcoming election in Cambodia were the focus of discussion on the floor of Malaysia's Parliament yesterday, as APHR member Wong Chen, a member of the People's Justice Party (PKR) of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, expressed his concern over the situation and requested that Malaysia's Foreign Minister clarify the government's position on the subject.

"I want to draw the Ministry's attention to recent political developments in Cambodia. The international community and human rights NGOs are very concerned about the recent dissolution of the main opposition political party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and the ban on its members from politics for the next five years," Wong Chen said.

"I urge the Malaysian government to take a more proactive stance on Cambodia in the same way we took a proactive stance against the Myanmar government on the Rohingya refugee issue under the Najib administration," he added.

Wong Chen said the Malaysian government had a duty to support democracy in other ASEAN member states.

"I believe that we, as a new government owe a duty not only to reform our own election laws to safeguard justice and uphold democracy, but that we go further and promote and safeguard free and fair elections in the ASEAN region," Wong Chen added.

Cambodia's national election, scheduled for 29 July, is proceeding without the participation of the CNRP, the country's largest opposition party, and amid a context of voter intimidation and an unprecedented crackdown on independent media and civil society. The CNRP was controversially dissolved in November 2017 and 118 of the party's leading members were barred from politics for five years.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) have previously called the election "illegitimate," and said that the vote would be a "farcical exercise" without the participation of a viable opposition. Numerous international governments and other actors have also criticized the election environment and the associated Cambodian government crackdown.

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