An opposition official has hit back at claims made by “Khmer for Khmer” founder Kem Ley last week that CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha has collected a salary of $15,000 per month since the opposition joined parliament in August.
Mr. Ley made the claim on Thursday during a talk about the CNRP’s perceived recent inactivity in public.
In response, CNRP Youth President Hing Soksan, who has served as the deputy secretary-general of the National Assembly since August, on Monday released an official document listing Mr. Sokha’s salary as the parliament’s vice president.
According to the document, Mr. Sokha in fact draws a salary of 4.73 million riel (or about $1,180) and allowances totaling 4.76 million riel ($1,190).
The $1,190 in allowances are divided into about $500 for use of a car, $87.50 for a driver, $352.50 for “missions,” $150 for health care, and $100 for “assistance.” They boost Mr. Sokha’s $1,180 basic salary to a figure of $2,370.
The figure is slightly less than the total $2,384 that National Assembly President Heng Samrin receives. A lawmaker with no committee responsibilities takes home a $975 salary, but allowances (including $500 for gasoline) boost the figure to $2,650.
Mr. Samrin and Mr. Sokha are each given an additional $500 per month for gasoline in addition to their compensation packages, Mr. Soksan said.
Mr. Ley, who maintains he is not planning to turn his “Khmer for Khmer” group into a rival party to the CNRP, said Monday that he stood by his claim. He said Mr. Sokha’s office was entitled to further benefits that total $15,000.
“That calculation is correct,” he said. “For the [deputy president or the president] of the National Assembly, they have at least one driver and I don’t know how many bodyguards.
“When we talk to the general public we have no time to declare what is the net salary and what are the packages for each parliamentarian,” he said. “I agree the net salary for each is small but if you calculate the package, it’s enormous.”
Mr. Soksan said the document he published covered the entirety of benefits afforded to Mr. Sokha by the assembly.
“What Kem Ley said is completely wrong. What I published is an official document,” Mr. Soksan said.
“His bodyguards are his personal expense, and there is no salary from the National Assembly. If he says like that, he should have documents and proof.”