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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bun Chhay sets up club for ANKI veterans

Bun Chhay sets up club for ANKI veterans

Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh expressed support for the recently launched

"Club of Nationalist Resistance" as a means to assist former Royalist resistance

fighters and to strengthen his party for next year's national elections.

"This assistance would streng-then Funcinpec's movement, especially the former

Funcinpec resistance [members]," said Ranariddh on Nov 13. "What they will

do [is work on solving] the poverty issue."

Senate Second Deputy President and former Funcinpec commander Nhiek Bun Chhay established

the 'social club' on November 9.

"I think that this club is not just for social work to improve the living conditions

of resistance supporters, but it is also aimed to gather all former Funcinpec resistance

and then [move] to strengthen the party for elections," Bun Chhay said.

He said that the club would assist with small amounts of funds and material to former

fighters who were not integrated into the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and others

who had lost family members during the civil war.

He said funds would be sought from members of the club who were in government positions

such as governors, ministers, parliamentarians, senators, police and soldiers.

"We have the same policy as the government - to reduce poverty," said Bun

Chhay.

However, one Funcinpec official who requested anonymity said that the prince has

not officially decided on the status of the club as he had to file the proper forms

with the Ministry of Interior and check with his CPP coalition partner.

The source said there were indications that several senior Funcinpec officials were

considering leaving the party, including Kieng Vang, secretary of state at the Ministry

of Interior, Khan Savoeun, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, and Lay Virak, Governor

of Uddor Meanchey.

"I think that they don't want to resign from the party because they are concerned

about losing jobs within the government, and they would wait until they get fired

by the party, then there will be enough reason to use words to attack Funcinpec,"

said the source.

Savoeun and Virak were unavailable for comment, but Kieng Vang flatly denied any

such possibility.

He said that within Funcinpec there were some officials who were trying to destroy

the relationship among the former Funcinpec resistance members.

"I am deputy of the club," said Vang. "Our club is aimed to protect

each other among the former resistance [members], and we have to stay together and

there is no reason for us to make a dispute."

He said that the club would also help Funcinpec to rebuild the confidence among the

former resistance supporters for next year's elections.

Bun Chhay denied rumors that he plans to leave Funcinpec after the formation of his

club.

"I heard that some people were not happy, but those [people] have never identified

[themselves] in public," said Bun Chhay.

"Now, the political environment is stable, the country has peace, therefore

it was the right time for me to set up the club," said Bun Chhay. "This

club will serve Funcinpec; there are no other intentions."

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