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Senator puts his case

Senator puts his case

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

not.

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