Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Old vote kindles fresh outrage for LDP head

Old vote kindles fresh outrage for LDP head

LDP leader Khem Veasna speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in May in Kandal’s Takhmao town.
LDP leader Khem Veasna speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in May in Kandal’s Takhmao town. Heng Chivoan

Old vote kindles fresh outrage for LDP head

League for Democracy Party (LDP) leader and eccentric firebrand Khem Veasna has demanded that Facebook users stop making references to his support of a controversial 2005 border treaty with Vietnam or else face legal action.

In 2005, Veasna, who then still occupied a seat in the National Assembly despite his recent dismissal from the Sam Rainsy Party, joined a Cambodian People’s Party and Funcinpec coalition approving a border treaty with Vietnam that SRP lawmakers criticised as a threat to Cambodia’s territorial integrity.

So controversial was the agreement that when King Norodom Sihamoni faced pressure not to sign off on the treaty, Hun Sen publicly suggested he might abolish the monarchy.

Accusing unnamed Facebook users who apparently referenced his role in approving the treaty of “ruining the social environment” by trying to tarnish his reputation, Veasna appealed to his supporters in a post on Sunday to “launch a massive campaign against them . . . [and] take them to court so they do not pollute the Cambodian society”.

This prompted a VOD article titled Khem Veasna launched a massive campaign to sue critics, with Veasna on Monday addressing a letter to the news outlet arguing that he did not target critics, but rather those attempting to slander him.

Pov Meta, the VOD reporter who wrote the article, said he did not retract the story or the headline, but instead wrote another piece clarifying the article’s meaning.

Veasna, who could not be reached for comment, has not yet confirmed the filing of any lawsuits. LDP Party Secretary Chin Thon said LDP members were in the process of identifying social media users who referred to Veasna’s support for the 2005 agreement. Thon said that while he could not confirm the names of the users in question, four had already been identified. .

Ou Virak, a political analyst and head of the think tank Future Forum, said the lawsuits will likely prove fruitless. “He wouldn’t have a chance to clear his name by filing the lawsuits against those who basically just repeated what was reported [in 2005],” Virak said.

Should Veasna move forward with any lawsuits, they would add to a legally animated year for the LDP leader, who last June was sued by a former newspaper publisher for posting a Facebook video in which he called Khmer people “dogs” and declared his intention to build a new society.

Additional reporting by Martin de Bourmont

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,