Government supporters will today deliver a petition to the Australian Embassy and National Assembly requesting an apology from an Australian-Khmer politician who called Cambodia’s regime a “beast” while discussing the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
Victoria MP Hong Lim, who was born in Cambodia and first elected to the state’s legislature in 1996, delivered the criticism in a recent interview with Radio Free Asia, in which he spoke about Ley, whom the politician hosted in April when the analyst visited Melbourne.
Recounting that 300 members of the Khmer community in Melbourne gathered following the July 10 murder, Lim said the killing, which many believe was politically motivated, would motivate Cambodians to continue their “struggle” against the “beast”.
“We know that we have to struggle, especially we know that he had started a revolution of the mind, a revolution of feelings, a revolution that doesn’t want Khmer people to be under such a beast . . . like today,” he said.
Yesterday, government spokesman Phay Siphan lashed out at the parliamentarian and said he would be among a group of people visiting the Australian Embassy and parliament to demand an apology.
“[If] regular people say that we don’t mind, it’s freedom of expression, but he’s a politician . . . he sides with the CNRP,” said Siphan. “We cannot take it, because this regime is established by the constitution … It’s not criticism, it’s an insult.”
Lim did not respond to a request to comment by press time.