CNRP Lawmakers Draw Parallels With KPNLF

KIEN SVAY DISTRICT, Kandal province – Former members of the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) and CNRP officials gathered on Thursday for a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the front’s inception, praising the ideals of the armed political movement that opposed the Hanoi-backed communist regime after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge.

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, among a number of opposition politicians who cut their teeth with the KPNLF, addressed about 200 people during the ceremony at the Son Sann Memorial Stupa in Kandal province, named after the former prime minister who founded the front in 1979.

Son Sann, leader of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front, greets supporters below a sign that reads, 'Bravo! A Real Nationalist and Patriot' in this undated photograph posted to the Facebook page of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha.
Son Sann, leader of the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, greets supporters below a sign that reads, ‘Bravo! A Real Nationalist and Patriot’ in this undated photograph posted to the Facebook page of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha.

“Had the KPNLF never stood up after the invasion of the Yuon in 1979, [Cambodia] would not be here today,” said Mr. Sokha after the ceremony, using a term for Vietnamese that can be derogatory.

“The KPNLF wanted Cambodian people to be free from foreign invading nations, to be free from dictatorship, to be free from corruption and to build an independent country with true democracy,” said Mr. Sokha, who was a member of the KPNLF’s underground resistance in the early 1980s.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, who also attended the ceremony, lauded the KPNLF’s “sacrifices for territory, justice and against foreign invasions,” and said Cambodia should remain wary of its eastern neighbor.

“Vietnam has never had good intentions toward us. In history they have been the ones who invaded and conquered Cambodia,” he said.

The current census on foreigners, which has led to more than 160 Vietnamese living illegally in Cambodia being deported, was also on the agenda.

“We have seen some Vietnamese sent back to their country and this is a positive step but compared to the amount of people living illegally in Cambodia, this is very little,” said Mr. Sovann.

Former Funcinpec Information Minister Lu Lay Sreng also criticized the current census.

“I think they will say there are 200,000 Vietnamese in the census, but there are millions,” he said during a speech, calling on those in attendance to “follow the original principles of those that died.”

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