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Letter: It's really quite clear

Dear Editor,

Re: "Sim Chheang balks while Huot returns to fold" in your issue of Mar

3-16, 2000:

As usual Phnom Penh Post has resorted to hearsay and innuendoes and sources within

Funcinpec for its background on the story. To be precise, allow me to clarify the

following:

1. Contrary to rumors flying around Phnom Penh, he (Sim Chheang) has no intention

of reconciling his differences with Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

To this, I would like to point out that Funcinpec President, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom

Ranariddh has already stated explicitly in September last year that Loy Sim Chheang

will not be welcome back to Funcinpec.

It is felt that the Loy Sim Chheang was one of the worst Secretary Generals the party

had ever had and that under his tenure as Secretary General, Funcinpec lost much

grass-root support and the best evidence to this is the meager support he managed

to get in the July 1998 elections. If indeed Prince Norodom Ranariddh was a weak

and unpopular leader or anything of that sort as alleged by Loy Sim Chheang, Funcinpec,

under the leadership of Prince Norodom Ranariddh would not have managed to fare well

in the July 1998 elections despite enormous difficulties and problems.

The fact of the matter is that Prince Ranariddh has outlined two personalities who

would not be welcome to the party. Loy Sim Chheang is one of them as he has consistently

proven that he is not capable of handling the party issues in a timely and constructive

manner. His performance as the Vice Chairman of the National Assembly was also below

par as he did not protect Funcinpec's interest in any manner, especially after the

events of July 1997 which led to the stripping of HRH Prince Norodom Ranariddh's

Parliamentary immunity and his subsequent trial.

2. If you are the son of the King, can you just say whatever you want (referring

the allegations that HRH Prince Ranariddh called Loy Sim Chheang a traitor).

In this aspect, Prince Ranariddh was acting in his capacity as the president of the

Funcinpec Party and not in his capacity as the son of the King. Prince Ranariddh,

as the president of the party, is in an ideal position and in position of intimate

knowledge of Loy Sim Chheang to have made the comments he was alleged to have made.

The fact that he is the son of the King is just coincidental. To set the record straight,

Prince Norodom Ranariddh never ever labeled Loy Sim Chheang a traitor. It is Loy

Sim Chheang who has bestowed this undignified title upon himself.

3. Because he has become a puppet himself.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh is no man's puppet. He has worked hard at re-establishing

and rebuilding the battered Funcinpec Party and actions of people like Loy Sim Chheang

who abandoned the party during a period of turbulence and crisis is unworthy of that

of a Secretary General. If indeed he was a puppet, he would not have fought hard

through diplomatic channels to get amnesty for leaders like Prince Norodom Sirivudh,

Prince Norodom Chakropong, Sin Song, Sin Sen, Gen Nhiek Bun Chhay and Serei Kosal.

His magnanimity and concern for others who had suffered similarly like him is prevalent

in his actions which resulted in the amnesty being granted for the five mentioned

above. The proof lies in the fact that Prince Norodom Ranariddh has successfully

negotiated, in a peaceful but firm and just manner, positions for most of the party

faithful except those who, on their own wishes, decided to stay out of politics.

This is certainly not the act or traits of a traitor, as alleged by Loy Sim Chheang.

Having established a political platform which is in conformity with that of its coalition

partner is not tantamount to being labeled a puppet as the interest of the nation,

the party's supporters and the party takes precedence before self and Prince Ranariddh

has displayed this consistently.

4. Prince Ranariddh runs the party like a dictatorship and surrounds himself with

"yes men."

This is again far from the truth as Prince Ranariddh only attends the Steering Committee

meetings once in three or four meetings to enable the Steering Committee to have

independent deliberations and make recommendations to the party president. The manner

in which members of the Government and the Senate were chosen is evidence enough

of this non interference, as a committee had made the nominations and forwarded it

to the President, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, for his endorsement. If indeed Prince

Norodom Ranariddh runs the Funcinpec Party like a dictator as alleged by Loy Sim

Chheang, many of those who had left Funcinpec before and after July 1997 would have

already been re-admitted to the party. The fact that they have not been admitted

yet speaks volumes of the democracy in the party as well as the President, Prince

Norodom Ranariddh, giving due consideration to the wishes and recommendations of

the Steering Committee.

5. Funcinpec source said it is not that Hun Sen feels goodwill for Funcinpec.

The Post has consistently made reference to sources and this is no difference. The

fact is that Prince Norodom Ranariddh held out from joining the CPP in a coalition

until Funcinpec's political platform was given due consideration and finally assimilated

into the joint political platform of both parties and finally this platform being

used as that of the Government.

If Prince Ranariddh, as the so-called Funcinpec source has suggested, is easily manipulated

by Hun Sen, then I say that this remark is created to drive a wedge between the good

relations of the Chief Executive and the Chief of the Legislature and can thus be

deemed as a mischievous remark. If Funcinpec could be easily manipulated by anyone,

it would have joined the coalition government as far back as September 1998 under

less favorable terms instead of being an equal partner in the current government.

6. Reconciliation with Sam Rainsy.

It is said that politics is the art of the impossible. However, with Sam Rainsy,

Funcinpec will tread carefully as Rainsy has been prone to make inconsistent remarks

and has a habit of turning around and back-stabbing his partners as seen in the days

before the elections and his membership in the NUF. The fact that Sam Rainsy had

labeled Prince Norodom Ranariddh as a weak leader just before the elections in July

1998 and thereafter, sticking closely to Prince Ranariddh for his (Rainsy's) own

party's survival as well as actively seeking the aid and goodwill of Prince Ranariddh

when Rainsy was virtually under self-imposed house-arrest in the Cambodiana Hotel

speaks volumes of Rainsy's credibility and intentions as a politician.

Having said this, it must be made clear that it is not Prince Ranariddh who has been

abusing Sam Rainsy but on the contrary, it is Sam Rainsy who continues to abuse the

Prince and the monarchy.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, being a seasoned and experienced political leader and a

member of the royalty, cannot adhere to the foot-steps of Sam Rainsy or any other

party for his (Prince Ranariddh's) own political gain or fame. The decisions made

by the Funcinpec President is for the future of the nation and the supporters of

the party as well as the future of the party and the people at large.

7. Ung Huot rejoining Funcinpec.

This matter is still being deliberated by the Steering Committee and until a consensus

is reached, the date of such reconciliation can only be guessed and not determined.

In conclusion, I would like to repeat that politics is the art of the impossible,

and when common interests for the nation, the party and the people are reached, there

can always be a reconciliation or a partnership of sorts.

I would like to suggest that the Post take adequate measures to ensure the clarify

of its sources and the facts of its story. I would also like to see a truly professional

and credible newspaper to further the development of democracy and responsibility.

Kong Vibol, Funcinpec Steering Committee

0

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