Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘CNRP support will not be tolerated’




‘CNRP support will not be tolerated’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng speaks to reporters. Heng Chivoan

‘CNRP support will not be tolerated’

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Thursday said action will be taken against any gathering in support of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) or its sister group the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM).

A senior CNRP official on Thursday said that under the government “everything is illegal”.

Sar Kheng was speaking to the press after attending the third meeting between the Ministry of Interior and NGOs.

He said it was understandable if people gathered to talk about future elections as this was in line with the democratic process.

“However, any gathering under the umbrella of a dissolved party would be illegal and against democratic principles, as would any gathering in support of the illegal Cambodia National Rescue Movement.

“Gathering to topple a government born from elections was likewise illegal,” Sar Kheng said.

The CNRM was formed by Sam Rainsy in January last year after the dissolution of the CNRP.

Rainsy, the “acting president” of the CNRP, has announced he is to return to the Kingdom on November 9, telling supporters to get ready to welcome him.

He has said he is returning “not to be arrested but to arrest Hun Sen”. Sar Kheng did not make clear what action would be taken should Rainsy return.

“The government must ensure peace and stability, and we also have to ensure that multi-party democracy is alive in Cambodia,” he said.

He did not answer journalist’s questions on whether posters of senior CNRP leaders, including Rainsy, had been posted at border crossings.

“When illegal activities are being carried out to gather ‘people power’ to topple the government, this is wrong. It is not within their rights as stated in law,” he said.

If the government did not take action, the country could collapse into chaos and the people would suffer the unforeseen consequences, he said.

“We should not blame the government by saying it is applying pressure. But we should foresee the possible problems born from negligence. Our country could be in turmoil. Peace and stability is the most important thing, but we are still strengthening democracy,” he said.

CNRP deputy president Mu Sochua told The Post on Thursday: “Under the government’s laws, everything is illegal while the constitution protects the rights of the people.

“Change does not mean toppling the government. Peaceful and democratic change is the right of the people.”

A police officer at the Phnom Penh International Airport said on condition of anonymity that a list existed with the names of people to be arrested should they arrive.

He said he could not remember all the names on the list but Rainsy’s was included.

National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun on Thursday said police must take action against all illegal activities when there is clear evidence.

However, he said the police normally took a softer approach with those whose gatherings were deemed illegal, such as by educating them. He said it was normally local authorities who brought cases to court.

“Generally, [CNRP supporters] are clever. When they have a gathering, they don’t make it obvious to us that they are doing so in the name of the party.

“But if we know they are gathering in the name of the party, we will implement the law because there is no CNRP anymore,” Kim Koeun said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said there was nothing wrong with Sar Kheng saying gathering in support of the CNRP was illegal.

However, he said outlawing the CNRM should first be approved by parliament, as happened in 1990 with the Khmer Rouge.

He said the courts could also ban the CNRM “if the country is governed by the rule of law of a free society”.

Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said both the CNRP and CNRM were illegal.

He said Rainsy could return at any time as he was Cambodian, but he must face arrest because warrants had been issued by the courts.

“For those who come to welcome Rainsy in large numbers, it would be against the Law on Political Parties and the Criminal Code. They would be accused of causing turmoil and affecting national security,” Phea said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.