Saying he had been treated like a heretic “to be burnt alive like in the Middle Ages,” Sam Rainsy promised Sunday to be more careful about his words in future—if the CPP and Funcinpec would be “more careful about [their] judgment.”
“Please make a distinction between Funcinpec (as a relatively ephemeral political party among others) and the Monarchy,” he wrote in a letter addressed to the parties’ leaders.
He also urged party leaders not to violate Buddhist moral principles, by “robbing the country and our people through corruption, assassinate[ing] political dissidents,” trafficking drugs and committing adultery. Such activity has caused “many scandals among government officials,” the letter states.
In the letter, described as a “message of gratitude,” Sam Rainsy thanked his opponents for their scathing rebukes of his New Year’s message, saying they helped publicize the issues he wanted to raise.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks—I am very serious,” he wrote.
Co-Minister for Defense Prince Sisowath Sirirath (Fun) described Sam Rainsy’s most recent letter as an effort to recover his reputation, which the prince says was damaged by his New Year address.
“He is still trying to readjust his statement, but the harm has already been done,” he said Sunday.
“It is very difficult to point the finger at Prime Minister Hun Sen or [National Assembly President] Prince Norodom Ranariddh because [Sam Rainsy] started the whole thing by criticizing the monarchy,” he said.
CPP and Funcinpec made a joint statement last week denouncing Sam Rainsy’s New Year’s greeting, describing it as an attack on the monarchy and an insult to the Cambodian people in general.
In the Jan 1 greeting to the Cambodian people, Sam Rainsy wrote of “unscrupulous princes [who] compete to be the next king, who will be nothing other than a puppet in the hands of the communists.”
He also called current government leaders “criminals, crooks and clowns.”