The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday weighed in on the spat between government spokesman Phay Siphan and Khmer-Australian politician Hong Lim, denouncing the latter as a “persona non grata for the Kingdom of Cambodia”.
Lim, a Victorian state MP for the Labor Party, drew the ire of Siphan for calling Cambodia’s regime a “beast” in an interview about the murder of political analyst Kem Ley, with Siphan on Tuesday delivering a petition at the Australian Embassy calling for the politician to apologise.
Lim hit back, calling Siphan’s conduct “beneath contempt” and “politically motivated”.
In a release, the Foreign Ministry condemned Lim in the “strongest terms” for the “disgraceful statement” and the “humiliation made by Hong Lim upon the” Kingdom.
In a statement of its own, the Australian Embassy acknowledged the concerns surrounding the matter and said Lim did not speak on behalf of the Australian government or embassy.
However, they also noted Australia’s “robust tradition of different views being aired in public discussion”.