Funcinpec has condemned opposition party lawmaker Khem Veasna’s criticism of the King and the royal family and called for charges to be brought against him, according to a royalist party statement.
The statement, dated June 4, quoted Khem Veasna as saying: “King’s regimes were created by men who think citizens are ignorant and so they find means to suck people’s blood.”
Funcinpec said the remark was immoral, arrogant and inflammatory and insulted the King, the royal family and all Cambodian people.
“Such actions cannot be tolerated and must face a legal penalty,” the statement said.
Khem Veasna denied Tuesday that he had criticized Cambodian kings and insisted that he was talking in general about kings and royal families around the world.
“Listen to the tape again,” he said, adding that he would not criticize the King because the Constitution forbids it.
Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Chhim Seak Leng disputed the sincerity of Khem Veasna’s defense.
“He was speaking in Khmer. He was speaking in Cambodia,” he said. “So he was speaking about Cambodian kings.”
Chhim Seak Leng also claimed the National Democracy Institute and the Sam Rainsy Party would not have reacted so strongly if Khem Veasna had slandered someone other than the King.
Khem Veasna allegedly made the remark at a forum sponsored by the US-based NDI. The group informed the opposition that Khem Veasna was no longer welcome at NDI events, and the party responded by publicly chastising the lawmaker.
Khem Veasna said he did not care what people thought of him.
“I don’t care what they understand from my speech,” he said.
He claimed he was not worried about the potential charges against him either. Instead, he saved his now infamous venom for Sam Rainsy, calling the opposition leader a “self-appointed democrat” and accusing his own party of cronyism.
Opposition Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Khem Veasna is still a party member and denied there were plans to oust him.
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