Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lay Sreng announces his retirement from politics

Lay Sreng announces his retirement from politics

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former deputy prime minister Lu Lay Sreng (centre) arrives at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Sunday. Lay Sreng said he would retire from politics. DAP NEWS

Lay Sreng announces his retirement from politics

Former deputy prime minister Lu Lay Sreng on Sunday landed in Cambodia and announced his retirement from politics, less than a week after Prime Minister Hun Sen assured him of a safe return and exemption from court cases for defamation and insulting King Norodom Sihamoni.

Also a former senior official of the embattled Funcinpec party, Lay Sreng was charged with defamation by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for claiming in a recorded phone call that the prime minister had given $1 million to the royalist party to take the National Assembly seats of the former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party following its dissolution by the Supreme Court in November 2017.

He also accused Funcinpec members of bribing the party’s leader with $20,000 each to get the National Assembly seats. Lay Sreng faced another charge of insulting King Sihamoni.

The 77-year-old, who fled Cambodia in October 2017 to avoid the legal woes, called the King a “castrated chicken” during the phone call for staying silent on the country’s tense political situations.

The conversation was leaked online by the anonymous pro-government social media personality “Seiha”, who was behind numerous other high-profile leaks widely viewed as damaging to ruling party rivals.

Despite defamation being for public speech, and the fact that his remarks were private and surreptitiously recorded, Lay Sreng was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay Hun Sen 500 million riel (around $125,000) in compensation.

Lay Sreng pleaded for Hun Sen’s clemency late last month, after which the prime minister told the minister of justice to review the case and find a way to annul the compensation by requesting a pardon from the King.

Upon his return at Phnom Penh International Airport, an elated Lay Sreng told The Post he would retire from politics and establish a centre to care for the elderly in the Phnom Srang Mountain area in Kampong Speu province’s Kong Pisei district.

“Nothing is more delighting than living in one’s homeland. I will set up and fund a centre to care for the elderly in the Phnom Srang area in order to reduce the government’s difficulties,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does