Cham Clash Cited for Opposition Defection

Proclaiming himself the Sam Rainsy Party’s sole representative for ethnic Cham supporters, former opposition lawmaker Sith Ybrahim said he defected to Funcinpec this week because Sam Rainsy had tried to nudge him out of his position.

The sixth and most recent de­fector to Funcinpec, Sith Ybrahim said his decision to leave the opposition followed the appointment of Ahmad Yahya as representative for Cham affairs in the Sam Rainsy Party.

A prominent member of the Cham Islamic community, Sec­retary of State Ahmad Yahya re­cently defected from the royalists to Sam Rainsy and was put in charge of Cham relations.

“Why is it that Sam Rainsy honors newcomers and abandons old-timers? How long has Ahmad Yahya served the Sam Rainsy Party?” asked Sith Ybrahim during a news conference at Funcin­pec headquarters on Wednesday.

“[Sam] Rainsy really is a dictator because he made every party decision without submitting to the cooperative opinion,” Sith Ybrahim said. “And he never consulted with me over the work that involved my responsibility.”

Parading a dozen Cham supporters before reporters, Sith Ybrahim said they had once formed the Sam Rainsy Party network in Cham communities across the country. They are now working for Funcinpec, he said.

Sith Ybrahim unleashed his bitterest attack on opposition party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang, who, he alleged, had called the defectors “rubbish” and “ripe fruit that falls from a tree.”

“I wish that they will all achieve their goals for power, positions and money in Funcinpec,” Eng Chhay Eang said.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.