Royalist Parliamentarian Thach Sang, self-confessed leader of the outlawed Kampuchea Krom National Liberation Front, could be stripped of his National Assembly post within weeks, a senior police official said on Thursday.
However, members of the royalist Funcinpec party said Thach Sang, currently residing in the US, will not be expelled from their party.
Assembly President and Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh has requested police evidence of Thach Sang’s links to the US-based ethnic Khmer movement, Interior Ministry General Sok Phal said.
“Now [the prince] requested the co-Interior Minister’s report to give proof so he can decide,” Sok Phal said. The interior ministry had sent an earlier report on the KKNLF to Prince Ranariddh, he said.
“Perhaps next week or the week after the National Assembly will decide. Thach Sang will not be a parliamentarian,” he said.
Two-thirds of Cambodia’s 122 lawmakers must vote in favor of removing Thach Sang, who has been accused of planning to use Cambodia to set up bases to attack Vietnam.
KKNLF emerged from obscurity in June to announce by e-mail its constitution, national flag, anthem and declared goal of forcing Hanoi to allow self-government for ethnic Khmers in southern Vietnam.
Prince Ranariddh has not yet raised the issue of Thach Sang with the Funcinpec steering committee, a royalist party member said on Thursday. Several officials within the party feel that Thach Sang should not be sanctioned as the KKNLF is not an armed movement, the parliamentarian said on condition of anonymity.
Funcinpec steering committee members Ky Lum Ang and Monh Saphan also said the committee will not expel Thach Sang from the royalist party.
“We are not going to do this. We are not going to expel him. We need our unity before the 2003 election,” Ky Lum Ang said.
Monh Saphan claimed the KKNLF was a ploy engineered ahead of next year’s general elections. “I do not accuse my partner in the Cambodian government, but this is a political game,” Monh Saphan said.