Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy's Khmer Nation set for first high-level defection



Rainsy's Khmer Nation set for first high-level defection

Rainsy's Khmer Nation set for first high-level defection

P OLITICAL dissident Sam Rainsy's new party may be about to claim its first major

defector - Funcinpec deputy secretary-general Nuon Soeur.

Soeur is believed to be on the verge of resigning from Funcinpec, and is reportedly

considering joining Rainsy.

At press time, Soeur was in Battambang and could not be contacted for comment. His

wife said Soeur would soon hold a press conference to explain his intentions.

Earlier, the Khmer Conscience newspaper quoted Soeur as saying he had no relationship

with Rainsy but would join his party if it was truly democratic and ready to serve

the nation.

Funcinpec secretary-general Prince Norodom Sirivudh, asked about Soeur, told the

Post: "I fear we may lose someone."

But he said he had not received Soeur's resignation and "I think we should wait

for the resignation letter" before he could comment.

Rainsy was out of Cambodia and could not be contacted for comment.

Soeur is the former National Police deputy chief who, after being sacked earlier

this year, spoke out to the Post about alleged high-level corruption and involvement

in drug smuggling.

Meanwhile, Rainsy unveiled the name of his new party - Khmer Nation - in an Oct 12

press statement but gave no details of its leadership.

"This new party shall be called Khmer Nation," the former Funcinpec MP

announced in the statement.

Reiterating the foreshadowed nationalistic platform of the party, Rainsy said Khmer

Nation would aim to unite ethnic Khmers from all social circles and classes in and

out of Cambodia.

The party would gather all patriotic forces who detested broken promises made at

the last election, and oppose every form of absolutism, inhumanity and corruption.

"Khmer Nation will eliminate all the vestiges of communism, in particular the

use of power, arms or money to violate the law and act unjustly towards the decent,

poor, powerless people," the statement said.

If Khmer Nation won the next election, it would reorganize the country on the basis

of unversival respect for the rule of law, Rainsy said.

The former Finance Minister, ousted from the Funcipec party and the National Assembly,

repeated his party's previously-outlined platform which included strict immigration

policies and seeking the return of Cambodian land "stolen" by its neighbors.

Several Cambodian political observers spoken to by the Post welcomed Rainsy's party

but expressed concern that it appeared "extremely nationalistic."

"I wish him well," said one observer, who would not be named. "[But]

what I fear is that the party could become an extreme nationalist party equivalent

to national fronts in the United Kingdom and France" which pursued racist views,

he said. "I hope it won't go that far. It's not good for the country... Look

at the Lon Nol and Khmer Rouge periods."

While there was nothing wrong with patriotism, "I fear that if we are too nationalistic

we might work against our national interests."

Another observer gave a similar view, and questioned whether Khmer Nation would be

able to deliver on its promise. He described the party's platform as one of "extreme

imagination" which would be difficult to realize.

A foreign observer said: "If this is what he [Rainsy] is saying now, what will

he be promising during the election when he really wants votes?"

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

  • 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

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • 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