Through his articles which recently appeared in either the Cambodia Daily or the
Phnom Penh Post, Senator Chhang Song strenuously tried to analyze the event of the
expulsion of four CPP senators and its political implications.
Destined perhaps to the same fate as were Senators Chhang Song and Phay Siphan, I,
too, was dismissed from the CPP membership on Dec 6, and from my position as a member
of the Senate on Dec 12, 2001. In its decision to expel me from the Party, signed
by Say Chhum on Dec 6 and handed to me at the CPP headquarters by Math Ly on Dec
8, the CPP Standing Committee based its judgement on its perception of me as "having
breached the Party's internal regulations" which have never been explained to
me either verbally or in writing.
As far as I am concerned, I never did anything either to jeopardize the smooth functioning
of the CPP, or to stain its image. Conversely, I spent a lot of time and efforts
to reach out to and to convince Cambodian intellectuals living around the world either
to join or, at least, to sympathize with the CPP since my nomination as President
of the CPP Overseas Branch in 1992.
During the past ten years, I had demonstrated to the CPP leadership my unreserved
devotion to the party, my ability to diligently carry out my duties, and my commitment
to success while accomplishing my missions assigned by them.
In order to achieve all this, I firstly had to put the party's interests way above
mine, and, secondly, I had to find myself a way of overcoming my emotional and psychological
trauma caused by the simple fact that I've lived here for the past eight years in
self-denial and in separation from my wife who was left to carry on alone the heavy
task of raising our six school-age children in Sydney, Australia. Therefore, to suggest
that I broke the party's discipline is hypocritical, and to use sheer fabrication
to fire me is all but Machiavellian.
In my opinion, the expulsion of the three of us had very little to do with our support
for Senator Ouk Bun Chhoeun (CPP), Chairman of the Legislation Commission, and for
Judge Dith Munty (CPP), Chief Judge of the Supreme Court, both expressing concerns
about the constitutionality of the Government's draft on Criminal Code and recommending
it be sent back to the National Assembly for re-examination during the Senate's plenary
session on Dec 6, 2001.
Our expulsion had everything to do, firstly, with our expatriate status which has
been regarded by CPP cadres as heavily contaminated by western ideas; and secondly,
our uncompromising stance against corruption, illegal logging, land grabbing, misappropriation
of state properties, the use of elaborate tricks to outwit rights groups, donor countries
and international community etc., was too dangerous for their own survival
To my theory, no proof is more striking than the dismissal of my personal friend,
Senator Keo San, on Jan 4, 2002.
Twenty-four hours earlier, in the Senate's plenary session examining the bill on
the nation's income and expenditure for 2002 financial year, Senator Keo San raised
his hand, the first time ever since the creation of this legislative body, to formally
request from Keat Chhon (CPP), Minister of Economy and Finance, a verbal explanation
firstly on the extravagant budget allocated to the Royal Palace for the year 2002,
and secondly on the question of whether or not Their Majesties the King and the Queen
really needed a fleet of fifty cars to commute.
A few senators from Funcinpec protested that Senator Keo San was in serious violation
of the Constitution's Article 7 which rigorously defends the inviolable status of
the figure of the King. And my friend got the sack the next day.
Let's forget about parliamentary immunity for a moment, and let's talk about this
case as decent men and women. Did Senator Keo San really violate Article 7 of Cambodia's
Constitution? And given that Senator Keo San never said a word in any CPP closed-door
meetings since he was granted full CPP membership in 1991, in what way did he breach
the party's discipline? And finally, did he really deserve to be expelled? I think