Kem Sokhon, the estranged brother of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) acting president Kem Sokha, has been appointed to a senior role within the Interior Ministry’s national police department, a week after he gave a televised speech lambasting his sibling.
According to a May 22 sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni that was obtained Tuesday, Mr. Sokhon was appointed deputy director of the national police’s department of central security—a role created specifically for him—and given the senior title of major general.
The sub-decree was signed just days after the newly minted Maj. Gen. Sokhon appeared on Bayon Television, which is owned by Mr. Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana, and warned viewers that the opposition SRP and Human Rights Party—both of which he was previously a member of, and which merged to form the CNRP—were useless, including his brother, and that only the ruling CPP works for the people.
Prior to his promotion, Maj. Gen. Sokhon was an adviser to the government and a brigadier general in the Interior Ministry’s secretariat.
“He has been a brigadier general for many years,” national police spokesman Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith said by telephone Tuesday.
“It is the right time [to promote him], because he has worked for many years,” Lt. Gen. Chantharith added, without specifying how many years Mr. Sokhon had been a brigadier general.
Maj. Gen. Sokhon declined to comment on his promotion, or relations with his politically active brother.
In his televised speech, which Mr. Hun Sen on Friday said should be replayed in villages around the country in the lead up to the July 28 national election, Mr. Sokhon said: “You have to decide between the CPP and the opposition party. Who is working to help you, and who is just lying and cheating on you?”
Reached by telephone, Mr. Sokha chose not to comment on his brother’s promotion. “I would not comment, but citizens can make their own evaluation and know the tricks of the CPP,” he said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the ruling party is merely using Maj. Gen. Sokhon in order to attack the opposition.
“In the CPP, anyone who is good at insulting the opposition party gets a position and a promotion,” he said. “It does not affect the party. Cambodian citizens know about the national and world history.”