Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk and activist trade invectives in a row over Kem Ley stupa funding



Monk and activist trade invectives in a row over Kem Ley stupa funding

Mourners surround a vehicle carrying the body of slain political commentator Kem Ley during his funeral in July last year. heng chivoan
Mourners surround a vehicle carrying the body of slain political commentator Kem Ley during his funeral in July last year. Heng Chivoan

Monk and activist trade invectives in a row over Kem Ley stupa funding

Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) President Pich Sros labelled activist monk But Buntenh a “liar” during a nearly two-hour rant over accusations that Sros laundered money raised for the late Kem Ley’s funeral stupa.

The popular political analyst was gunned down last year in an assassination widely believed to be politically motivated. Sros announced last month that he would participate in 30 days of fundraising to help pay for Ley’s stupa.

“I don’t want to argue with a monk, but you are the monk who wants to make war with people . . . But Buntenh is a liar monk,” Sros said in the video uploaded to Facebook on Saturday.

In the video, Sros turned the accusation of money laundering back at Buntenh.

“You are not answering where the money goes, but you come to attack me,” he said.

Sros stood by the comments in an interview yesterday, but admitted his fundraiser spent far more money than it raised.

Sros only raised $750 after spending $2,300 on food, gasoline, transportation and general “support”, but claimed the fundraiser’s failure was an honest one.

“I hoped the supporters of Dr Kem Ley would support this effort to bring money . . . but actually Kem Ley supporters are not interested in this fundraising effort. I invited them to donate . . . I can’t force them to donate,” he said, adding he was “very disappointed”.

Cham Bunthet, an adviser to the Grassroots Democracy Party founded by Ley, said many groups have tried to take advantage of Ley’s death for political capital, and many fundraising efforts have been less than transparent.

“They use him as a means to build political popularity . . . there are a lot of hidden agendas behind the Kem Ley fundraising . . . not only the Cambodian Youth Party, but other groups too,” Bunthet said.

The CYP has previously been known as a thorn in the CNRP’s side, with Sros filing a lawsuit against opposition leader Kem Sokha over comments implying that a vote for a minor party was a “wasted” vote.

“I’m not sure about their political values, they just attack the opposition,” Bunthet said.

Upon Sokha’s arrest, Sros was quick to post a statement on Facebook approving of the opposition leader’s detention.

The monk Buntenh could not be reached yesterday, but took to Facebook over the weekend to condemn both Sokha’s arrest and Sros’s video in separate posts. The monk called Sros “illiterate” and warned that Sros’s “words and actions” would reveal his true intentions.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and