A coalition of Cambodian Muslim groups joined forces yesterday to pledge their allegiance to the minority opposition Human Rights Party, one of the groups’ leaders said.
Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post
Members of Cambodia’s Cham Muslim community celebrate Ramadan in 2010 at a mosque in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.
Sith Ybrahim, president of the Khmer Islam Movement and former Funcinpec parliamentarian, said he had led representatives from 12 Muslim groups to join as party members of the Human Rights Party.
“I listened to every principle of every party, and the others have always spoken about democracy, but it is democracy for the individual not the public,” Sith Ybrahim said, adding that the HRP offered a unique and appealing political platform.
“HRP has a term limitation for the party president, and the three leaders – party president, president of the central committee and president of the discipline committee – all work in concert and agreement,” Sith Ybrahim said.
“It is different from other parties. The three leaders respect each other’s rights.”
Previously, allegiances of those represented by the Islamic groups were split among the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party and the Sam Rainsy Party, Sith Ybrahim said.
Cheam Yeap, senior lawmaker for the CPP, discredited the claim that all Khmer muslims had pledged allegiance to the HRP.
“I don’t believe that many Khmer Muslim citizens would go with Mr Sith Ybrahim,” Cheam Yeap said, adding that Khmer Muslims supported the CPP, because it was the CPP that liberated them from the Khmer Rouge regime.