Chea Sim (C) presses the flesh in the capital’s Chamkarmon district during March’s commune council elections. Photograph: May vireak/Phnom Penh Post
Reports of Senate President Chea Sim’s death have been greatly exaggerated, at least according to sources close to the octogenarian.
Rumours were flying around Phnom Penh and on various anti-government blogs yesterday that Chea Sim, who has long suffered from blood circulation problems, was either dead or in need of a leg amputation.
Chea Sim’s bodyguard, Yim Leang, said yesterday that his boss was both alive and un-phased by the rumours.
“I reported about the rumour to Samdech [Chea Sim], and he said to me that he may have a long life, up to 100 years,” he said, denying Chea Sim was in a serious condition or required an amputation.
Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker, Cheam Yeap, said the Senate president’s health had been improving at his house in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district since he returned home from medical care in Singapore some time ago.
“He has experienced pain in the joint of his legs [knees] and the doctors have thoroughly examined his condition – no problem,” he said.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the people behind such rumours had “bad hearts” and were trying to destabilise Cambodian society.
“We’re living in the free world, every one has full responsibility, people should not create rumours to jeopardise the social order,” he said.
“Those people abuse their freedom of expression.”
Earlier this year, Chea Sim’s wife, Nhem Soeun, passed away at the age of 71.
Chea Sim, 80, has flown to Singapore several times in the past few years for emergency medical care because of problems related to his blood pressure.