Despite restrictions imposed by the authorities, the Khmer Rise Party (KRP) has collected nearly 3,000 thumbprints to push its agenda to reclaim the Koh Tral island from Vietnam, said a party official.
The campaign was declared on August 8, but the Phnom Penh Municipal authority did not allow the party to collect thumbprints until August 17, and the drive was only restricted to the party’s headquarters.
In addition, the KRP was not allowed to use loudspeakers to inform the people about its campaign. The restrictions were to prevent any social or security disorder.
However, it complied with the conditions and made a public appeal to Cambodians through Facebook to support its campaign.
Party president Soksovann Vatanasabung told The Post yesterday that his team had started the campaign called “a thumb print for Koh Tral” and it was carried out at its headquarters located at the Tuol Kork district in Phnom Penh.
He said the restrictions led to some hardships for its team who could not approach the people as many lived far from the party’s office.
Once the KRP collects 50,000 thumbprints, the party will file a petition with the Constitutional Council to demand the return of Koh Tral from Vietnam.
“We do it according to the law but can the Constitutional Council review or annul the 2005 agreement on Koh Tral?” he asked.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall’s spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Vatanasabung said there is no deadline for the campaign and it will continue until they reached the 50,000 thumbprint target.
On August 3, the KRP announced it will canvass the support of 50,000 people to urge the Constitutional Council to review the border agreement so that the government can renegotiate with neighbouring Vietnam.
Responding to KRP’s move, Sok Touch, the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s president, had said the campaign was merely a political stunt and Koh Tral was lost during the French colonial period, which was before the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime. Hence, the issue was not related to the current government.
The 48-kilometre territory, also known as the Phu Quoc island, is located about 12km off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. It currently belongs to Vietnam after both nations agreed to resolve the issue using the 1933-53 border agreement.