So Khun, the former minister of posts and telecommunications who helped the country’s fledgling phone access grow from just a handful of landlines to a competitive mobile market, passed away yesterday in his home after a long illness, according to a letter sent to the National Assembly. He was 71.
A ruling party lawmaker from Takeo, Khun headed up the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for 20 years until 2013. Under Khun, the first internet service provider CamNet arrived in Cambodia in 1997. He also oversaw the advent of wireless broadband as well as 3G and 4G networks.
His tenure at the ministry was not without scandals.
In 2001, Khun became the subject of an opposition lawsuit when it was discovered he was a paid adviser to Mobitel, a leading private mobile operator. The lawsuit never made it to trial. In 2011, he allegedly requested internet providers help block opposition-aligned websites.
But colleagues remember Khun fondly.
“This means that we lost a good person who has been trying to develop the ICT in Cambodia from an empty hand after 1979,” said Phu Leewood, former secretary-general of the National Information Communication Technology Development Authority.