Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy returned to Phnom Penh from abroad on Thursday, apparently unconcerned by the public urgings of some officials that he be stripped of his parliamentary immunity.
Speaking to reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport, Sam Rainsy said his recent trip to France was not prompted by statements by National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and others who said he should be held responsible for the abdication earlier this month of retired King Norodom Sihanouk. Sam Rainsy left Cambodia shortly after Prince Ranariddh faulted him for writing to the king with allegations that his rivals had plotted to stage anti-Sihanouk protests and then blame the opposition.
More than 60 parliamentarians want Sam Rainsy to be prosecuted for spreading misinformation in relation to those allegations.
Sam Rainsy is also named in a defamation suit involving Prime Minister Hun Sen and linked to comments Sam Rainsy made in the wake of the Jan 22 killing of union leader Chea Vichea.
“If I had any concerns about this matter, I would not have come here,” Sam Rainsy said Thursday. He said his trip was for medical reasons and to prepare his children for academic examinations in France.
In separate cases, Prince Ranariddh has targeted opposition lawmakers Chea Poch and Cheam Channy, urging that the National Assembly lift their immunity.
Sam Rainsy also took the opportunity to praise King Sihamoni, as well as Norodom Sihanouk.
“The King is still the King. We still can stay under his shade and the new King can also give shade for the nation. Now we have two kings, so I think our country will be richer,” he said.