Gov’t Asked to Invalidate VN Group’s Permit

A Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker has appealed to the co-Ministers of Interior to temporarily invalidate a permit allowing the Viet­nam­ese Association in Cambodia to open branches throughout the country.

The Interior Ministry’s formal recognition of the association and authorization that allows it to expand to 19 municipalities and provinces sparked concern over the spread of Viet­namese political ideology and illegal immigration.

“I want the Ministry of Interior to temporarily invalidate the permission to allow the Vietnamese Association to operate until we have a new government,” opposition parliamentarian Keo Remy said Thursday.

“I am afraid that the Viet­nam­ese associations will use the associations to help the illegal Viet­nam­ese immigrants to live in Cambodia,” he said.

Association President Sim Gy said last month the group will en­courage Vietnamese living in Cam­bodia to respect Khmer tradition. He denied that the group has political leanings.

But Khmer Front Party Deputy President Sun Sokunmealea has argued that the association’s expansion will promote Vietnam­ese migration. This would result in lost jobs and border encroachment in Cambodia, and saturate the 2008 general election with Vietnamese votes in favor of the CPP, she said.

Keo Remy suggested that the as­sociation could enjoy a place in Cambodia if the new government restricts illegal Vietnamese immigration and conducts a comprehensive census.

“I don’t discriminate with the Vietnamese people, but they have to respect the Cambodian law if they want to live in Cambodia,” he said.

He said he will wait until after the National Assembly selects a new president to formally make his request. Until then, Keo Remy is calling for a temporary ban.

“If they are Khmer ministers, they will think about the Khmer interest. Then they will temporarily stop the association,” he said.

Sak Setha, Interior Ministry director general, accused Keo Remy of criticizing the Vietnam­ese institution for political gain. “The association has been formed since 2002, so why didn’t they protest [before]?” Sak Setha said.


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