Thach Sang Claims He Was Tired of Politics

Former Funcinpec party member Thach Sang said on Thurs­day that disillusionment with the state of Cambodian politics and pressure to step down prompted his resignation from the royalist party and the National Assembly.

Thach Sang’s resignation was made public last weekend and followed a high-level police investigation of his leadership role in a movement bent on independence for the ethnic Khmer population of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.

Efforts to strip Thach Sang of parliamentary immunity for setting up the US-based Kampuchea Krom National Liberation Front were under way in Cambodia, po­lice officials said.

“I saw that I should get away from the political party because none of the parties serve the na­tion, and Khmer people,” Thach Sang said by telephone Thursday from Lowell, in the US state of Massa­chusetts.

Thach Sang said he was not forced to resign from the royalist party because of his demands for ethnic Khmer independence in the Mekong Delta, a territory re­ferred to as Kampuchea Krom by many Cambodians.

“I wanted to get away from Viet­namese pressure on the Kingdom of Cambodia to have my National Assembly immunity lifted,” he said. “I think Funcinpec was under pressure,” he added without elaborating.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Sok Phal denied the claims of foreign pressure.

“We are independent,” he said.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Funcinpec leader and National Assembly president, received Thach Sang’s resignation last week in a short faxed message stating the former parliamentarian wished to devote himself to the “liberation of Kampuchea Krom.”

Thach Sang’s KKNLF em­erged from obscurity in June to announce by e-mail its declared goal of forcing Hanoi to accept an independent ethnic Khmer state in southern Vietnam.

Military analysts and Cambo­dian officials have scoffed at the KKNLF goal of opposing Viet­nam. But Hanoi was infuriated in June when more than 2,000 people protested alleged abuse against ethnic Khmers living in Vietnam.

Ethnic Khmer from Vietnam now living in Cambodia have reported extreme poverty in  Vietnam and unfair treatment after Hanoi’s victory over the Saigon government in 1975.

The Vietnam News Agency reported on Wednesday that officials in Vietnam’s Soc Trang province, home to 350,000 ethnic Khmer, have embarked on a program to reduce to 20 percent the number of ethnic Khmer households living below the poverty line.

It did not say what percentage of the total number of ethnic Khmer households currently live below the poverty line.

By 2005, 80 percent of Khmer household will have access to electricity supplies. In the same period safe drinking water will be supplied to 80 percent of households in urban areas and 60 percent of household in rural areas.

The rate of children under 5-years-old who are malnourished will be reduced to below 5 percent, VNA added.



Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.