PM re­jects claim Korm a ‘spy’

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Ben Sokhean

PRIME Min­is­ter Hun Sen has re­jected a claim by his party’s spokesman that Kong Korm, a former se­nior ad­viser to the Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple’s Party (CPP) un­til he joined the op­po­si­tion in the 1990s and the fa­ther of Kh­mer Will Party (KWP) founder Kong Monika, may be a gov­ern­ment “spy”.

The prime min­is­ter called the state­ment “not right”, while KWP pres­i­dent Monika also de­nied Eysan’s claim, say­ing his fa­ther had no “re­la­tions” with the rul­ing CPP.

Eysan said on Sun­day that the pub­lic re­mains scep­ti­cal of Korm af­ter he joined the op­po­si­tion. He was once a se­nior of­fi­cial in the CPP, serv­ing as for­eign min­is­ter from 1986-87.

“For dozens of years, the sus­pi­cion re­mained with the pub­lic. But just now, the rea­sons for doubt be­come more and more ob­vi­ous,” he said.

Eysan pointed to, among other rea­sons, the cre­ation of the KWP to com­pete in the July 29 na­tional elec­tions, claim­ing the es­tab­lish­ment was not a co­in­ci­dence.

“[Korm and Monika] did not be­lieve the former op­po­si­tion party would be re­in­stated, so they didn’t stand a ghost of a chance. With­out Kong Korm’s ini­tia­tive, the cre­ation of this new party would have been im­pos­si­ble.

“[Korm and Monika] lost trust in the lead­er­ship of con­vict Sam Rainsy who had led the party for over 20 years but had only made the party worse off. So for them, enough was enough,” he said.

‘Rainsy naive if true’

Eysan said Korm had slammed Rainsy’s ap­peal for a with­drawal of the Ev­ery­thing But Arms (EBA) pref­er­en­tial trade deal with the EU to ex­press his frus­tra­tion with him (Rainsy).

He said Korm’s sup­port­ive stance on the na­tional elec­tions was meant to show Rainsy and the world that the elec­tions were a re­flec­tion of democ­racy and not a sham as claimed.

“These are in­di­ca­tors that con­firm pub­lic sus­pi­cions that Kong Korm is the CPP’s spy or CIA [agent] who had re­mained in the op­po­si­tion camp [in dis­guise] for a long time.

“If true, it means Sam Rainsy is so naive and does not know the CPP well enough to com­pete with the party,” he said.

How­ever, Hun Sen was quick to dis­pute Eysan’s claims. In an in­ter­view with Fresh News later on Sun­day, he said his party spokesman’s pre­sump­tion that Korm was a CPP spy was “not right”.

The prime min­is­ter said Korm’s po­lit­i­cal stance and past state­ments were a re­flec­tion of “his true will” and were by no means any­thing to do with the CPP.

“Samdech Hun Sen has con­firmed that Kong Korm is an ed­u­cated per­son and his state­ment is made out of his true will. Kong Korm left the CPP with a for­mal res­ig­na­tion let­ter,” Fresh News quoted Hun Sen as say­ing.

Korm could not be reached for com­ment on Mon­day, but his son, Monika, also dis­missed Eysan’s claims as base­less.“I think the CPP spokesman’s state­ment is merely a [base­less] ac­cu­sa­tion against the KWP and my fa­ther or an at­tempt to paint us in a bad light.

“We don’t have any re­la­tions with the CPP. My fa­ther re­signed from the CPP with a for­mal let­ter in 1991 or 1992 as stated by Samdech [ Hun Sen],” he said.

Monika said the KWP’s and his fa­ther’s crit­i­cism of the dis­solved Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party was merely an “ex­pres­sion of opin­ion”.

“I think we have the right to ex­press opin­ions on cer­tain things, so al­though our opin­ion seems to dif­fer from that of the former op­po­si­tion party’s lead­ers, it’s just a mat­ter of opin­ion. It is not meant to demon­strate that we at­tack each other,” he said.

SUP­PLIED

Former ad­vi­sor to Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple’s Party Kong Korm speaks at a cer­e­mony in 2017 in Ph­nom Penh.

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