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Pen Sovann, former prime minister of Cambodia
Pen Sovann, former prime minister of Cambodia, is comforted by his doctor (left) and CNRP MP Nhay Chamroeun at Raffles Hospital in Singapore. CNRP

Sovann is ‘critical but stable’

Former prime minister and current opposition lawmaker Pen Sovann is in critical but stable condition in a Singaporean hospital after suffering both a heart attack and a stroke on Sunday, according to a colleague.

Nhay Chamroeun, a Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker who flew with Sovann to Singapore late Sunday night, said yesterday that he was still in intensive care.

Chamreoun said that Sovann, 78, had a stent put into his heart yesterday.

“[He is] mostly unconscious. Sometimes when we call out his name, he opens his eyes and then closes them again,” he said, adding Sovann hadn’t spoken.

“[The doctors] don’t say anything [about the outcome]. It’s not good; they need to do something [else].”

But CNRP leader Sam Rainsy said on Facebook yesterday that Sovann was “now out of danger” and that his condition was “no longer life-threatening”.

According to Chamreoun, Sovann had been taken to Central Hospital in Phnom Penh on Sunday after family members found him unresponsive early in the morning. He was later transferred to Calmette Hospital before being evacuated to Singapore at about midnight.

Sovann doesn’t have health insurance and the CNRP are appealing for donations. The medical evacuation alone cost $24,000, the party said.

Sovann served as prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in 1981 before being purged and incarcerated in Vietnam for 10 years. He won a National Assembly seat in Kampong Speu province with the CNRP in the 2013 election.

Separately, Yim Leang, the chief bodyguard of ailing Cambodian People’s Party president Chea Sim, confirmed yesterday that the 82-year-old had recently been checked into hospital.

Sim left to a Vietnamese hospital for a “medical check-up” on Friday and is due back in a few days, Leang said.

Due to Sim’s old age and illness, Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken over his CPP role in all but name.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHEANG SOKHA

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