National Assembly Set to Investigate Anonymous Sex Claims

The head of administration at the National Assembly said on Tuesday that an internal investigation would be launched to determine whether a senior opposition lawmaker had sex with his secretary in the parliament building.

If the accusations prove true, he said, monks will be called in to cleanse the building, apparently in response to comments made by Prime Minister Hun Sen during a morning session of parliament.

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Yem Ponhearith speaks to reporters in 2015 inside a cave on Bokor Mountain. (Alex Willemyns/The Cambodia Daily)

“Now I am preparing to have officials investigate it,” said Leng Peng Long, spokesman and secretary-general of the National Assembly, referring to claims posted anonymously to Facebook accusing CNRP lawmaker Yem Ponhearith of having an affair with his 27-year-old secretary.

“I am not sure yet if there is a punishment for a lawmaker who does that,” Mr. Peng Long added. “If it’s true, I will request Samdech President of the Assembly [Heng Samrin] to hold a blessing ceremony.”

The accusations were posted to Facebook on Saturday on an account that has put out a barrage of embarrassing allegations against opposition lawmakers, most of them about extramarital affairs, which are quickly turned into news stories and published by the online government mouthpiece Fresh News.

Mr. Hun Sen brought the online rumors to the parliament floor on Tuesday as part of a 45-minute meandering speech full of attacks against the opposition, which boycotted the session that stripped the party of its official “minority group” status.

“I saw someone posted a status of using a room for committing infidelity,” the prime minister said, speaking to Mr. Samrin, the Assembly president.

“Oh dear! Brother Heng Samrin, I saw a page named Seiha requesting brother to invite [monks] to bless and get rid of bad luck because there is infidelity in an office at the National Assembly, like doing it three times a day.”

Mr. Ponhearith could not be reached on Tuesday. CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, who has also been anonymously accused of marital infidelity in Fresh News articles, said he was not bothered by the allegations.

“I have no interest in it,” he said. “It is normal. When the election is coming soon, there will be efforts to attack our party’s lawmakers.”

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