Prime Minister Calls Immunity Request for Past Premiers an Insult

Prime Minister Hun Sen called a request by a retired official of the royalist Funcinpec party to give former premiers legal immunity a “serious insult” to the ruling CPP and the dream of a “deranged old man,” according to a local media report.

“A proposal to make this law is a bad trick, confusing the people that the incumbent premier has been committing something very wrong,” Mr. Hun Sen said in an interview published by government-aligned Fresh News on Saturday.

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Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses supporters in June, in a photo posted to his Facebook page.

“It is a serious insult to the Cambodian People’s Party that shows that the CPP prepares to lose while the opposition prepares to vie for victory,” he said.

Mr. Hun Sen dismissed the request by Lu Lay Sreng, 82, a former senior Funcinpec official, as “nonsense” and “a dream of a mentally deranged old man.”

“Don’t deem yourself as dean and veteran politician and don’t act as if you are knowledgeable of politics,” the prime minister said, referring to Mr. Lay Sreng.

In letters to Mr. Hun Sen, the CPP president, and opposition CNRP President Kem Sokha, which were published by Fresh News on Saturday, Mr. Lay Sreng said Cambodia had experienced war and conflicts in the past because leaders did not tolerate each other and struggled for power.

“To maintain the country’s peace forever, I would like to ask Samdech Techo [Mr. Hun Sen] on behalf of the Cambodian People’s Party to request the National Assembly to make a law to protect all prime ministers whose mandates have expired with immunity and elevate them to the title of national hero,” the former information minister wrote.

“I want the country to enjoy peace and do not want any problems. It is only a request,” Mr. Lay Sreng said on Sunday.

At the time of the July 5 and 6, 1997, factional fighting between forces loyal to Mr. Hun Sen, then second prime minister, and First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Mr. Lay Sreng was the government’s commerce secretary of state and a member of Prince Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann could not be reached on Sunday, while CNRP Vice President Mu Sochua declined to comment.

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