Former opposition lawmaker Kong Bora has been appointed undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, more than two weeks after leaving the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Once a lawmaker based in Prey Veng province, Bora was among the 118 senior CNRP officials who were banned from politics for five years after the party was disbanded in November 2017 for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government through a “colour revolution”.
Bora was officially declared a member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in a ceremony presided over by Central Committee member Sak Setha on October 10. He was named unsecretary of state in a royal decree dated October 26.
Setha, who is also a secretary of state at the interior ministry, said its minister Sar Kheng was to delegate tasks to Bora after the appointment.
“It’s official now. The ministry will hold a ceremony to induct him later. Anyone from other parties who wants to join the CPP is welcome to do so.
“We don’t discriminate against anyone because the CPP’s policy is to unite with all patriots regardless of their political affiliation. As long as they are suitably qualified, we will welcome them,” he said.
Bora said he was pleased with the appointment.
“I’m delighted. I don’t want to be with the CNRP anymore. This Sam Rainsy-led party has provoked unrest through its colour revolution movement. Only by joining the CPP can we defend the nation, religion and King,” he said.
Asked why he chose the CPP over the Khmer Will Party (KWP) founded by his younger brother Kong Monika, he said: “The CPP is a nationalist party so I just want to be a part of it. There is no mental pressure or anything. My brother and I are not opposed to each other.
“The KWP is structurally sound and has a lot of youths and resources in every province. It has enough ability to compete in the elections with other parties,” he said.
Bora and Monika are the sons of Kong Korm, himself a former senior CNRP official.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said Bora’s leaving the party could be interpreted by other former CNRP officials as a betrayal.
“This is an individual decision, but everyone can tell whether his defection is meant to serve national or personal interests. For a country that has not enjoyed full and solid democracy, the defection goes to show that few [opposition politicians] have a concrete stance,” he claimed.