Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government: KNLF party move ‘welcomed 100%’

Government: KNLF party move ‘welcomed 100%’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A photograph of Sam Serey posing in military fatigues in front of an altered Cambodian flag. Photo supplied

Government: KNLF party move ‘welcomed 100%’

The president of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), Sam Serey, said he expected the “procedure” to receive a royal pardon to begin soon.

He had recently announced his plan to begin a legitimate political party, a move which was welcomed “100 per cent” on Tuesday by a senior Ministry of Interior official.

Serey has previously been accused of being an “armed rebel leader” and in 2016 set up a “government in exile”.

He had announced plans to register the Khmer National Liberation Party (KNLP), which was also welcomed on Sunday by Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan, who called it the “right thing”.

Siphan compared Serey’s return to form the KNLP with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “win-win” policy of 20 years ago in which armed remnants of the Khmer Rouge were integrated into the government.

Serey, who currently lives in Denmark and was linked to arms trafficking and terrorist acts, told The Post on Tuesday that he was “really happy” that his party’s registration had been received positively by a senior government official.

“I am really happy because knowing that [the government] of Hun Sen has welcomed the registration of the KNLP … I can see the positive attitude of Hun Sen in easing the political tension."

“I want a political solution in Cambodia soon and that is why I am willing to register the party,” he said.

Serey said he could see that the prime minister deciding to request pardons for “political prisoners” meant he wanted to “reconcile the nation” and “ease the [political] tension” through the creation of his party.

“The government has given the green light for us to register the party, and [it] can [soon begin the] procedure to release my members and grant a royal pardon for me,” he said.

Serey, who has been accused of trying to “overthrow the government”, said his officials will register the KNLP as planned on Wednesday at the Ministry of Interior.

He said his party had already set up its structure and bylaws.

“We have prepared the documents for the 80 founding members of the party and those documents are ready for filing at Ministry of Interior for review."

“What I have done, it is from my heart. I want the country to have peace and a solution to its political crisis,” he said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government body 100 per cent welcomed the registration of the new party.

He said the ministry would not oppose the move if it met the requirements of the Law on Political Parties.

“Register or not, it is their business, [but we will] review [the application] first. We welcome all legal political parties and we will not [likely] oppose the registration,” he said.

He said Serey has the “right” to register his new political party in accordance with the law and he has a duty to properly follow the stated procedures.

“As long as they operate properly based on the Law on Political Parties, we will 100 per cent welcome them … if it is in contrast with the law, we do not know what to do."

“For example, if the law does not permit [the registration], the Ministry of Interior is not superior to the law,” he said.

A breakdown of the KNLP’s structure provided by Serey to The Post shows that he would become president of a party consisting of 79 other founding members, including some who are still imprisoned in the Kingdom.

Serey made headlines last month after he announced he would ‘halt activities’ and return to Cambodia if certain conditions were met, including pardons leading to the release of all KNLF members in the Kingdom’s jails.

Serey was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison in 2014 for allegedly “plotting” an attempt to overthrow the government and has been labelled a “terrorist mastermind”.

His “government in exile” reportedly consists of 56 members. He was granted political asylum by Denmark in 2011.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges

  • App to connect farmers to millions

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has soft-launched a mobile app that connects farmers with potential buyers and gives them access to critical market information. The ministry’s Agriculture Marketing Office chief Meach Yady said the ‘CamAgriMarket’ app gives farmers a platform to showcase