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Ailing Chea Sim, Pen Sovann due home this week

Ruling party president Chea Sim and former prime minister Pen Sovann are both expected back in Cambodia this week after receiving treatment in Vietnam and Singapore, respectively.

The two veteran politicians, who were once colleagues in the 1980s in the Vietnam-installed People’s Republic of Kampuchea regime, are increasingly frail. Sovann, 78, suffered a stroke on January 18 and was left paralysed on one side of his body, according to the opposition CNRP, with whom he was elected to the National Assembly in 2013.

Sim, 82, missed the ruling CPP’s national congress on the weekend, and has been receiving treatment for a bad cold and lung problems in Vietnam for more than two weeks.

“He is getting better and is coming back tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Yim Leang, his chief bodyguard, said.

Sovann will return on February 5 or 6, according to CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith. Despite his condition, the party will not remove him from his parliamentary position, Ponharith added.

“We have saved his life, but he is disabled on one side of his body,” he said.

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