The Ministry of Interior on Friday accused CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha of trying to topple Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, posting on its website excerpts of speeches the opposition leader has given abroad as supposed evidence of his plot.
The website posting, which appears in both Khmer and English, provides written samples from speeches Mr. Sokha reportedly gave in Australia last November and in the U.S. in December.
The ministry editorialized in the post that Mr. Sokha had “boasted without shame of the national conscience” that he had received input from professors in the U.S. and Canada, and the U.S. government, “in formulating a strategy in order to change the tyrant leader in Cambodia.”
“Moreover, Mr. Kem Sokha revealed important mysteries about the support from overseas in the cause of toppling the Royal Government of Cambodia by asserting that ‘the government of the U.S. invited me to the U.S. before any others,’” the article continues.
“Furthermore, Mr. Kem Sokha finally revealed the money received from abroad to topple the government” by saying that he gave $50,000 donated by American supporters to Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando “to set up a stronger radio and broadcast my voice everyday,” the post, which is not signed, maintains.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said the article was to share an interpretation of Mr. Sokha’s words.
“People can have their own perspectives and evaluation of the statement by Kem Sokha,” he said.
“We want to share with the people that he wants to topple the government illegally, not by votes. You can read the story, then you can understand,” he added, before hanging up on a reporter.
Lt. Gen. Sopheak did not respond to a follow up question on the legal requirement for civil servants, including staff at the Interior Ministry, to be politically neutral in the execution of their duties.
Mr. Sokha could not be reached, but his daughter, Kem Monovithya, deputy director of public affairs at the CNRP, said the allegations by the ministry against her father were baseless.
“It is not the first allegation,” she said. “There have been many government institutions that have accused him of trying to topple the government. Such allegations are groundless and baseless. It is not a coincidence. This latest allegation is aiming to intimidate and paint him,” she said.
The Ministry of Interior exists to serve the people, not the ruling party, Ms. Monovithya added.