Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cham lawmaker envisioned

Cham lawmaker envisioned

A man is handed a ticket to vote at a polling station in Kampong Cham province during the 2013 national elections.
A man is handed a ticket to vote at a polling station in Kampong Cham province during the 2013 national elections. Heng Chivoan

Cham lawmaker envisioned

A Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker is calling on young Cham party activists to rally support for the opposition party, expressing a desire to see a politician from the Muslim minority join the National Assembly.

Mao Monyvann, a CNRP parliamentarian representing Kampong Cham province, took to Facebook on Wednesday telling Cham CNRP activists to do outreach work in their communities to “strengthen the support from Khmer Muslims [Cham], and try to find the individuals [who] are willing to serve the people, build their capacity to be ready for the commune election [in] 2017 and become a candidate for member of parliament in the national election [in] 2018.”

Monyvann, in an interview yesterday, said that due to the large number of Cham CNRP members at the grassroots level, he is optimistic about finding a qualified candidate for office.

“We believe that in the coming mandate, there will be candidates who can . . . be elected in some provinces with a high Khmer Muslim population.”

Sos Mossin, secretary of state at the Ministry of Cults and Religion and head of the Cambodian Muslim Association, said that while his own Cambodian People’s Party does not actively encourage Chams to seek office, he recognised that Cham youth are increasingly interested in politics.

All the same, what truly matters is that the ruling party cares about its Cham constituency, he said.

“It is not necessary that there must be a Khmer Muslim to work as provincial governor or to hold [a] minister position if we want to have development,” he said.

Ok Serei Sopheak, an independent political consultant, said that while the CNRP was courting the Cham vote with their minds on 2017-18, the CPP had spent years consolidating loyal power structures within the community.

“The CPP have been mobilising, entertaining, providing jobs, providing political functions, providing membership within the government to the leaders of those Cham communities,” Sopheak said.

Noted Cham scholar Ysa Osman provided a similar analysis of the two parties’ strategies, but noted disapprovingly that “the strategy of the CPP is to give gifts and threaten”.

Indeed, in October, Prime Minister Hun Sen reportedly warned Cambodian Muslims to be wary of political propaganda “similar to the Khmer Rouge’s propaganda in the past”, a reference to the targeted killings of the minority during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, which some saw as an implicit threat and swipe at the CNRP courting Cham votes.

“Having a representative that is Khmer Muslim is important, because Khmer Muslims understand Khmer Muslim issues best,” Osman said.

The last Cham to hold an elected national political office was former Funcinpec education minister Tol Loh, who left government in 2008.



  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all