The Cambodian Case: Ideological Challenge to South-East Asia

At the request of the Phnom Penh authorities, Mu Sochua, a senior figure in the Cambodian opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), was briefly detained by Malaysian immigration officers when she tried to enter Cambodia on 7 November. The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, said that she was detained because Malaysia does not want to be at ‘odds with other governments over their affairs’. Sochua’s detention happened, ironically, despite her planned meeting with Malaysia’s Foreign Minister.

Thailand, which acts as a transit point to Cambodia, has also barred her from entering, along with Sam Rainsy, the leader of CNRP. Rainsy was scheduled to hold a march to Phnom Penh from the Thai-Cambodia border town of Poipet. After Sochua’s release on 9 November, she held a press conference in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta; during the conference the Cambodian ambassador to Indonesia, Hor Nam Bora, not only interrupted, but openly called for Sochua to be arrested.

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