The Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday denied the authenticity of a letter published by a local media outlet purporting to show the party’s youth wing calling for the ouster of deputy leader Kem Sokha’s eldest daughter for criticising party leader Sam Rainsy.
The unsigned and unstamped letter on CNRP letterhead was published by Fresh News, which is often the outlet of official government documents, and claimed it was from “youth representatives” who wished to see Kem Monovithya removed from her party roles.
“We request the permanent and disciplinary committees immediately remove the title and post of Kem Monovithya, to serve as a serious warning for this crazy act of destroying the party, and looking down on, and not respecting president Sam Rainsy,” it reads.
However, Hing Soksan, head of the CNRP’s youth wing, said he had not authorised the letter, and that it was missing the party’s seal. “I would like to condemn the evil people who faked this document in order to incite and split [the party],” he said.
Monovithya is the party’s deputy director of public affairs, and has over the past two weeks become increasingly vocal in her public criticisms – both online and in the media – about Rainsy’s decision not to return to Cambodia for fear of arrest.
In a tweet about the government’s recent ban on Rainsy re-entering Cambodia, she on October 24 wrote: “A year later now he can officially claim to be exiled and has legitimate reason to remain abroad. Govt would call this win-win. Cpp:1, SR:1.”
An October 18 tweet about Rainsy’s offer to be jailed in exchange for the release of other CNRP activists read: “Somebody watches too much movies on their free time. If you respect the audience you at least make your lies sound believable. #insult #sad.”
Monovithya yesterday said only that the CNRP’s position on criticising leaders was reflected in its recent strong opposition to new National Assembly rules penalising lawmakers for insulting the body’s president, Heng Samrin, or other lawmakers.
Asked if her comments or the letter could spark fissures in the CNRP, she said: “No one can afford to split.”
Fresh News CEO Lim Cheavutha said the letter had come from a CNRP activist’s Facebook page but refused to name the person or comment further. The popular news site has in recent days prominently featured a number of pieces about Monovithya’s views on Rainsy.
CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua, who is also the party’s director of public affairs, said that the opposition was open to different points of view and would not punish its members for expressing their views.
“Please do not give it any attention,” Sochua said of the letter. “It is not coming from us.”