T HE wife of Buddhist Liberal Democrat Party (BLDP) MP Meas Chan Leap hid her
husband's guns a month ago at his own urging. He asked her "not to let him die";
she was fearful he would carry out his threat of suicide.
54, only gave Chan Leap back his guns after he gave his word not to commit
suicide - a promise he broke when he shot himself through the head in the
offices of the National Assembly on August 9.
The Kandal MP was cremated
in a ceremony at Wat Langka in Phnom Penh on August 10.
Leap could no longer stand the bitterness between the Ieng Mouly and Son
Sann-led cliques as Cambodia's third-largest political party was tearing itself
Tajika told the Post of her husband sitting quietly and alone in
thought in his bedroom of their Tuol Kork home.
He wrote letter after
letter, screwing them up and throwing them away before beginning to write
another, she said.
"He refused to meet any guests but instead
concentrated on his writing," said his son, who did not want his name
"He said to me not to let him die. I supposed he was joking
and did not care at all," said Tajika.
"He expressed many strange signals
that he had never shown before but eventually I began to suspect something [was
wrong]," she said
A month ago, Tajika felt uncomfortable with his
behavior and hid Chan Leap's guns from him. For a while, his behavior improved
and he asked for the guns back, promising not to do anything bad, she
"He never broke his promise from the time we were married so I gave
him back his guns," she said.
"Since we were married he never took good
care of the family but during that month before he died he was very nice to us,"
Tajika said her family would not return to Japan because she
wanted to see whether her husband's devotion would have a good bearing on the
BLDP. She wanted to see if anyone used her husband's death to serve their own
His son said his father loved the nation more than he loved his
He had never used his salary (either in Japan or Cambodia) to
feed his family, the son said, but instead devoted the money to the
Chan Leap's son remembered his father telling him: "Don't mind me.
I haven't looked after you well but you can look after yourself. We have to
consider the nation's interest. We were born in the Khmer nationality, we must
die for Khmer."
His wife said her husband had served Cambodia for 15
years, despite suffering a stroke that paralyzed half his body ten years
"Though he could not use his dead hand and leg, he still served his
country," she said.
Before he killed himself Chan Leap left five letters:
one for Ieng Mouly; another for both Mouly and Son Sann; one to National
Assembly chairman Chea Sim, vice-chairman Loy Sim Cheang, and both Prime
Ministers; one for his family and the other one for the public.
letter to Mouly talks about his disappointment at the "unjust" allegations that
he was among those who originally expelled Mouly from the party. In a postscript
he said he was worried about international concerns that Mouly was moving to
expel the Son Sann faction from Parliament.
The letter to both Mouly and
Son Sann appealed for BLDP's re-unification, asking both to begin serving the
poor. The letter said he scarified his life for re-unification, and if they did
not accept his request his spirit will not them live securely.
letter said he was suffering heavily because his party did not reunite to serve
The fourth letter - written probably with a trembling hand,
according to his wife, who dismissed reports by Son Sann's group and some Khmer
media that it was fake - is severely critical of Son Sann.
It said that
scarcely had Son Sann arrived in Phnom Penh before he demanded his house back
and asked for the rent because the government had used it since 1979. In the
letter Chan Leap asked Son San to retire from politics because he had no new
ideas, and that 90 percent of BLDP's members had left Son Sann.
also asked for $2,500 which he said Son Sann owed him since February last year,
and for reimbursement for Chan Leap's car that Son Sann had used.
letter ends: "[In the] next world, I wish I would not have such a boss as Son
Sann who usually takes advantages from his followers."
Tajika said the
references to money was just a reminder to Son Sann to repay because her family
had ran out of money.
"My husband never provided our family with money
so before he left us he must have thought of leaving us that money," she
Chan Leap finally asked the government to arrange his funeral and
Born in Phnom Penh on January 29, 1940, Chan Leap was 22 when
he won a scholarship to Japan, spending five years learning explosive
engineering and gaining a Master of Commerce degree.
He returned to
Cambodia and served in the army till 1974. In 1975 he fled to Japan where he
worked successfully for 16 years, during that time joining the KPLNF, raising
money and later becoming the KPLNF ambassador to Japan. He returned to Cambodia
Chan Leap's death has not resulted in party unity, but both
sides are making conciliatory noises.
Son Sann arrived back in Phnom Penh
from France on Aug 20 and told the Post he would invite all BLDP supporters to
his congress, planned for October.
He said he had long wanted
reconciliation, and not only because of Chan Leap's suicide appeal.
want our people to live in peace. I do not consider anyone as my enemy. I agree
with Chan Leap's proposal," he said.
He said he would resign - if all
other BLDP office holders agreed to resign as well - and the congress would
elect a unanimous leader.
Son Sann said he did not want to comment on
specific points contained in Chan Leap's suicide notes. "I respect his spirit so
I do not want to talk of anything related to him, whatever faction he supported.
I want his spirit to be peaceful," he said.
Kampong Thom MP Pol Ham, a
Son Sann supporter, said he believed the congress would be possible because "the
government understands what is legal and what is illegal."
government] does not allow us to hold the congress, it means they will be
restricting our freedom and interfering into our internal affairs," he
About possible moves to expel the Son Sann MPs from Parliament, Ham
said: "Mouly is the illegal president and I am a legal MP, so how can an illegal
person expel a legal person?"
Mouly declined to give any comment about
the reconciliation saying his spokesman, Sieng Lapresse, could answer
Lapresse said he could not give any comment because Chan Leap's last
letter seemed to condemn Son Sann more than it asked for party
He said reconciliation could be achieved if Son Sann
asked officially "and if it came from his heart, not because of Chan Leap's
Sources say Mouly wanted to expel the six Parliamentarians
aligned with Son Sann, but lately has backed off and is looking at
reconciliation as a possibility.
"I think the reconciliation will be
possible if only Son Sann resigns and Mouly replaces him as president," one