An opposition lawmaker said he would begin collecting parliamentarians’ signatures next week in a bid to have Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong questioned by the National Assembly over his recent proclamation that a 16.6-hectare plot of land farmed by Cambodians in Tbong Khmum province actually belongs to Vietnam.
On April 19, a group that included three Vietnamese soldiers sprayed toxic chemicals on crops that had been planted by Cambodian farmers along the eastern border of Memot district, leading CNRP lawmakers to ask Mr. Namhong to look into the situation.
In a letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin on May 4, Mr. Namhong wrote: “Recently, in 2015, our citizens grew crops on 16.6 hectares of land on Vietnamese soil that caused Vietnam to react by spraying chemicals on our farmers’ crops.”
However, farmers along the disputed border area insist they have farmed the land for years, and the opposition party has seized on the dispute.
Apart from seeking to summon Mr. Namhong by collecting the signatures, CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann said on Friday that the party plans to hold a public forum near the disputed border area on Saturday.
“People who are victimized by any issues are eager to meet lawmakers to share their concerns,” said Mr. Monyvann, adding that the CNRP’s forum was not related to a planned trip by a group of students and activists to the area on Sunday.
“The trip of…university students scheduled to go and see the border is unrelated to my event,” he said. “My event is a forum for lawmakers to meet people and voters.”
Mao Pises, head of the Federation of Cambodian Intellectuals and Students, which is organizing Sunday’s trip, said he had rejected efforts by member of the CNRP to join him.
“I firmly clarify that our schedule is to have 150 students travel in three vehicles, without political involvement, to study the history of the border and seek to collect information from affected people,” Mr. Pises said.