Kem Sokha Takes on Opposition, Vietnamese

wat baray vihear, Takeo pro­vince – A senior Son Sann Party official on Monday said the party would not join an opposition coalition government that includes officials with dubious backgrounds.

Kem Sokha, the outspoken Son Sann Party secretary-general, also played heavily on anti-Viet­namese sentiment and paranoia in this southern border province he calls home.

Speaking to nearly 200 people at this Treang district pagoda, Kem Sokha said his party will oppose the inclusion of prominent former CPP member Sin Sen and “corrupt” Funcinpec officials in the cabinet if his party helps form an opposition coalition government.

“If Sam Rainsy brings communists to work with him, we will not work with him,” the National Assembly Human Rights Chair­man told monks, nuns and party faithful at this wat about 60 km south of Phnom Penh.

Sin Sen was an influential CPP-appointed commander of police units until 1994, when he was accused and convicted of plotting a coup d’etat. He was pardoned and on April 16 ejected from the CPP while being strip­ped of his responsibilities on its internal affairs committee. On June 29, he publicly urged voters to vote for opposition politician Sam Rainsy.

Turnouts on Monday for Kem Sokha were less than expected, with fewer than 200 supporters at each of two venues. A third stop was canceled due to low turn­out.

Kem Sokha blamed miscommunication with local staff, not political intimidation or a lack of support. Instead, he said he ex­pects his party to win 15 National Assembly seats in the elections.

Kem Sokha ruled out forming a coalition cabinet with Funcin­pec members whom he believes to be corrupt. He declined to give names, but said later he was re­ferring to certain Funcinpec members who have held top posts in the current government.

His party also will not form a coalition with the CPP if Second Prime Minister Hun Sen is its candidate for prime minister, Kem Sokha said. He said the party would consider a coalition with a CPP moderate like Interior co-Minis­ter Sar Kheng.

At Wat Prey Thom in neighboring Koh Andet district, Kem Sokha told more than 100 listeners that his party will push for the deportation of ethnic Vietnamese.

“If we win, we will send all the yuons to Vietnam,” he said, using a common derogatory term for ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia.

In a reference to a CPP membership drive, Kem Sokha said government “leaders” have illegally sold hard-wood logs to Vietnam and used profits to hand out food seasoning to the people.

He also said Japanese-made fertilizer sold to Vietna­mese tra­ders had been mixed with dirt, and repackaged and sold to Cam­bodian farmers.


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