Wednesday, September 28 2016

VietNamNews

NA votes to postpone error-riddled Penal Code

Update: June, 29/2016 - 10:36
National Assembly (NA) members are voting to delay the implementation of the newly amended Penal Code 2016 after several legal loopholes in the code were detected. — Photo tiepthigiadinh.vn

HÀ NỘI — National Assembly (NA) members are voting to delay the implementation of the newly amended Penal Code 2016 after several legal loopholes in the code were detected.

The one-day voting session will end at 3pm today, and President Trần Đại Quang is expected to announce a resolution tomorrow morning to postpone the date the amended Penal Code will take effect if a majority of the NA agrees to do so, NA Office Chairman Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc told Viet Nam News yesterday.

The official decision is expected to come just one day before the initial implementation date of the Penal Code on July 1. The resolution, if there is one, will also state a date for the Penal Code to come into force.

The rushed NA voting session followed an unusual closed meeting Monday between the NA Standing Committee and heads of local NA delegations to discuss how to handle a Penal Code that was found to have many errors and loopholes, especially since it was due to become effective in a few days.

“This is a very rare incident. The Code has so many errors and must be fixed to be implemented,” Nam Định NA delegation head Nguyễn Anh Sơn told the press after the meeting.  

Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper yesterday cited sources saying the NA Standing Committee listed more than 90 items in the Penal Code in need of amending or supplementing in its report given to NA members.

As the NA Standing Committee did not disclose the report, it is unclear which content would be subject to change and whether the controversial Article 292 concerning the start-up community would be put on the table for reconsideration.

Article 292 of the Penal Code recently made headlines in Vietnamese media for stating that any services offered online or via communication networks without prior permission were deemed illegal.

The local start-up community expressed anxiety over that particular article for fear of going to jail, as most start-up businesses provide applications and services online.

Since the newly-elected 14th NA will not have its first session until July 20, deputies of the 13th NA – the very NA that passed the Penal Code in question last year – had to take up the vote.

NA Office Chairman Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc said it was very unlikely the 14th NA would discuss amendments to the error-riddled Penal Code during its first meeting.

“That meeting will last only a few days to work on the cabinet’s positions and the economic and social issues to deal with during the NA’s new term,” Phúc said. – VNS

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