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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP asks Hun Sen to clarify remarks

SRP asks Hun Sen to clarify remarks

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Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua at a recent press conference. TRACEY SHELTON 

It says comments about unnamed opposition MP point to Mu Sochua and a case now in court.

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party on Monday submitted a letter of complaint to the National Assembly seeking clarification of comments made by Prime Minister Hun Sen over the weekend seemingly directed at SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua.

In a speech made during his visit to Kampot Saturday, Hun Sen said a "strong female MP from the opposition party in Kampot" who was a "skilled troublemaker" lost a button on her shirt while running around embracing people.

Hun Sen's remarks were interpreted by the SRP to reference its only female parliamentarian in the province, who has been outspoken in support of villagers in land disputes with the government.

It also seemed to refer to an altercation during last year's election when Mu Sochua says she saw an RCAF vehicle used  for CPP campaign purposes. When she tried to photograph the vehicle, she says, an army general shoved her, tearing a button from her blouse and exposing her bra.

A case against the general is currently in the Appeal Court.

"Although Samdech [Hun Sen] declined to use my name, the circumstances in which he raised it make it clear it was me because there are no other women opposition parliamentarians in Kampot," Mu Sochua told reporters at SRP headquarters Monday.

 "I regret that Samdech is not brave enough to use a specific name."

Mu Sochua said Hun Sen also referred to the unnamed politician as cheung chat, a derogatory term she said translated as something between a "gangster" and a "prostitute".

She said also that Hun Sen knows the case against the general is being heard at the Appeal Court, and as leader of the executive, he should have refrained from any comment.

His words would make it harder for her to get justice, she said.

"This [event] was shameful for me as a woman, and Samdech has always said that he glorifies women. How does this glorify women?" she asked.

The first vice chairman of the National Assembly, Nguon Nhel, said Monday that parliament had not yet seen the letter. He said that if the opposition had proof, it should lodge a complaint with the courts.

Koul Panha, executive director of election monitor Comfrel, said Hun Sen should refrain from repeating the story, as it had happened many months ago.

"This is a personal story and should not have been commented on," Koul Panha said.

"What should be raised are discussions to encourage all women to work in society without focussing on their political affiliation."

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