Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Beehive Radio founder Mam Sonando attends a protest at the Ministry of Labour in 2014. Sonando posted a letter announcing his resignation yesterday, only to take it down hours later.
Beehive Radio founder Mam Sonando attends a protest at the Ministry of Labour in 2014. Sonando posted a letter announcing his resignation yesterday, only to take it down hours later. Pha Lina

Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Often-critical broadcaster Mam Sonando published a letter on Facebook yesterday resigning from his popular Beehive Radio station, only to later delete the post, maintaining he only wanted to “test” the public’s reaction.

Sonando told The Post he was “50-50” as to whether to resign or not.

“It is not an official [resignation]. If it was official I would send the official letter to the Ministry of Information,” he said. “It’s just my survey to test the people’s mind [to see] how they would think . . . if I actually stopped joining politics and resigned as radio director.”

Asked why he had taken down the post after few hours, he said he only wanted to “awaken” his supporters, but refused to disclose how they had reacted before he removed it.

Sonando was recently summonsed as the first witness in the “treason” case against jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha, and said yesterday that the alleged connection had put him “in danger”.

“It is not a joke,” he said.

Sonando did not appear for the first two summonses and yesterday reiterated he would not appear next week for a third as he believed the government would arrest him, as they had three times before.

“Now I am 77 years old. I am not afraid of jail, but if I know that if I return they will put me in jail, why would I return?”

Khieu Sopheak, Ministry of Interior spokesman, insisted Sonando had no reason to fear arrest if he appeared as witness. “So far we don’t have an arrest warrant,” he said. “[But] if he opposes the court to convene . . . the third time, the court will issue an arrest warrant.”

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said Sonando committed a crime “like Kem Sokha” if he ignored the court order, referring to a past case in which Sokha was convicted of failing to honour multiple summonses.

“If he is pure gold, don’t be afraid of fire,” Eysan said, paraphrasing a Khmer proverb about gold being forged into jewellery.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin and Investigating Judge Ky Rithy could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Political analyst Ou Virak suspected Sonando wanted to get attention with his fake resignation to raise money.

“He hasn’t been as critical as he used to be . . . He’s not as popular as he used to be,” he said. “He might just want some attention that he’s been not getting in the past few years.”

But Sonando said his radio station still maintained the same standards, though he admitted it had struggled recently after the government prohibited it from broadcasting Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

“So now my radio gets fewer jobs, less income, and I am thinking about whether to continue it,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • 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

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • 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

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • 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

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • 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.