A remark by an opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) senior adviser that Minister of Interior Sar Kheng would remain deputy prime minister if the opposition party won the 2018 national elections drew a terse response from the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), with the minister saying that this suggestion was “malicious” and tarnished his honour.
In a statement released on Friday, Sar Kheng’s cabinet said remarks from former Sam Rainsy Party leader Kong Korm – delivered in a speech in Kratie on Thursday – had offended the minister, and said that Korm had attempted to “confuse Cambodians to persuade the people to believe him”.
“Kong Korm’s statement violates the honour of Sar Kheng . . . The cabinet appeals to the public not to be cheated by these malicious means for Kong Korm’s personal ambition and for the policy of the CNRP.”
Reached by phone yesterday, Korm said that this was merely a suggestion and that he had “great respect” for the Interior Minister.
“I do not despise His Excellency Sar Kheng, but I respect and love, and promote him,” he said. “It was just a suggestion to benefit the two parties.”
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak, however, said that Korm had used Sar Kheng’s name to bolster his own fame.
“Who is Kong Korm? . . . He is one of the people who died in politics,” he said. “We just want to tell the public that Sar Kheng has never contacted Kong Korm.”