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PM rejects claim Korm a ‘spy’

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Former advisor to Cambodian People’s Party Kong Korm speaks at a ceremony in 2017 in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

PM rejects claim Korm a ‘spy’

Prime Minister Hun Sen has rejected a claim by his party’s spokesman that Kong Korm, a former senior adviser to the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) until he joined the opposition in the 1990s and the father of Khmer Will Party (KWP) founder Kong Monika, may be a government “spy”.

The prime minister called the statement “not right”, while KWP president Monika also denied Eysan’s claim, saying his father had no “relations” with the ruling CPP.

Eysan said on Sunday that the public remains skeptical of Korm after he joined the opposition. He was once a senior official in the CPP, serving as foreign minister from 1986-87.

“For dozens of years, the suspicion remained with the public. But just now, the reasons for doubt become more and more obvious,” he said.

Eysan pointed to, among other reasons, the creation of the KWP to compete in the July 29 national elections, claiming the establishment was not a coincidence.

“[Korm and Monika] did not believe the former opposition party would be reinstated, so they didn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Without Kong Korm’s initiative, the creation of this new party would have been impossible.

“[Korm and Monika] lost trust in the leadership of convict Sam Rainsy who had led the party for over 20 years but had only made the party worse off. So for them, enough was enough,” he said.

‘Rainsy naive if true’

Eysan said Korm had slammed Rainsy’s appeal for a withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade deal with the EU to express his frustration with him (Rainsy).

He said Korm’s supportive stance on the national elections was meant to show Rainsy and the world that the elections were a reflection of democracy and not a sham as claimed.

“These are indicators that confirm public suspicions that Kong Korm is the CPP’s spy or CIA [agent] who had remained in the opposition camp [in disguise] for a long time."

“If true, it means Sam Rainsy is so naive and does not know the CPP well enough to compete with the party,” he said.

However, Hun Sen was quick to dispute Eysan’s claims. In an interview with Fresh News later on Sunday, he said his party spokesman’s presumption that Korm was a CPP spy was “not right”.

The prime minister said Korm’s political stance and past statements were a reflection of “his true will” and were by no means anything to do with the CPP.

“Samdech Hun Sen has confirmed that Kong Korm is an educated person and his statement is made out of his true will. Kong Korm left the CPP with a formal resignation letter,” Fresh News quoted Hun Sen as saying.

Korm could not be reached for comment on Monday, but his son, Monika, also dismissed Eysan’s claims as baseless.“I think the CPP spokesman’s statement is merely a [baseless] accusation against the KWP and my father or an attempt to paint us in a bad light.

“We don’t have any relations with the CPP. My father resigned from the CPP with a formal letter in 1991 or 1992 as stated by Samdech [Hun Sen],” he said.

Monika said the KWP’s and his father’s criticism of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party was merely an “expression of opinion”.

“I think we have the right to express opinions on certain things, so although our opinion seems to differ from that of the former opposition party’s leaders, it’s just a matter of opinion. It is not meant to demonstrate that we attack each other,” he said.

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