F’pec Attacks Sam Rainsy In Broadcasts

Days ahead of opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s scheduled return to Cam­bodia, Funcinpec’s Ta Prohm radio station went on the attack.

The radio station broadcast a scathing assault on the opposition leader on Wednesday, accusing him of hypocrisy and committing po­litical suicide. The broadcast was one of a series of such assails.

Speaking in the noon broadcast, No­ranarith Anandayath, the station’s director and Funcinpec Pres­ident Norodom Ranariddh’s cabinet chief, called Sam Rainsy a ha­bitual liar who has left his party mem­bers feeling hopeless.

“All [Sam Rainsy’s] words are not authoritative and are tricky lies,” Noranarith Anandayath said in his broadcast. “Opposition party members expressed hopelessness to see their leader whose stance is like an ice block.”

Similar statements were aired by a station newsreader Tuesday.

Sam Rainsy is expected to re­turn to Cambodia on Friday, after hav­ing expressed regret to Hun Sen for linking him to the 1997 gre­nade attack on a peaceful de­monstration in Phnom Penh, and agreeing to tone down his criticism of the prime minister.

“Members of the Sam Rainsy Party are disappointed and say this opposition leader swallowed his phlegm,” Noranarith Anan­da­yath said, though he did not ex­plicitly mention Sam Rainsy’s compromise with Hun Sen.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay defended the compromise and called the broadcast “a waste of time.” He added that Noranarith Anandayath may not be aware that Prince Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy have also reached an un­derstanding, after Sam Rainsy ex­pressed regret for accusing the prince of taking bribes to join the co­alition government.

“I think they should play more music,” on the station, he said. “Incitement or an appeal is useless,” he added. “Sam Rainsy is away from the country, and we have seen some opposition members have left the party for Fun­cinpec, so when Sam Rainsy re­turns, Funcinpec will find it harder to grab [their] support.”

Acting opposition party Pres­ident Kong Korm said he was not surprised by the broadcast. “The Sam Rainsy Party’s popularity is still strong,” he said. “Funcinpec should work more effectively to strengthen their party.”

Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo de­clined to discuss the broadcasts, saying they were the radio station’s responsibility.

Noranarith Anandayath said by te­lephone that he was entitled to express himself freely. “My statement does not fuel any fire,” he said.

Government spokesman and In­formation Minister Khieu Kan­harith also said the royalist party has the right to free expression, adding that the broadcast does not affect the relationship between Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elec­tions, said personal political at­tacks like the broadcasts have proved to be ineffective.

He added that he was still waiting to see how Sam Rainsy’s new approach to Hun Sen will work.

“We still wait and see if the situation benefits Sam Rainsy,” he said. “In the short term Sam Rainsy was seemingly stained but maybe in the long term it’s a chance for him to come back and strengthen the party at the grassroots level.”

 

 

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