6 June 2024

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy has vowed to try to return to Cambodia from self-imposed exile on Saturday despite Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s refusal to grant him entry into Thailand through which he plans to travel across the border to the neighbouring counry.

 

“I have no alternative,” the veteran politician told Al Jazeera from the French capital where he has lived since 2015. “I have tried all the different possibilities: the peaceful, the mature, the real democratic one, but it doesn’t work with Hun Sen … I have to try to create People Power in 2019, because there is no election now.”

 

Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), insisted that he will board a flight from Paris to Bangkok on Friday and will make his way to Cambodia on Saturday.

Prime Minister Prayut said Thailand subscribes to non-interference policy of ASEAN and would not allow Rainsy to enter Thailand. Rainsy has written a letter to the Thai leader seeking permission to pass through the country to Cambodia.

 

“We have a commitment among ASEAN countries. We will not allow an anti-government person to use Thailand for activism. I have ordered this, so he probably won’t get in,” he said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Khmer Times reported that the Cambodian Interior Ministry has reiterated its instruction to police officers to warn the public not to get involved in what it described as Sam Rainsy’s “coup plot.”

 

Speaking yesterday at a meeting with hundreds of police officers and department directors at the Ministry of Interior, Huy Vannak, a secretary of state at the ministry, said police officers must be vigilant and continue educating people to refrain from anti-government activities.

 

Vannak said police officers at all levels have to be ready and prevent any attempt to destroy the kingdom’s peace.

“Rainsy has tried again and again to split the CPP through a call for an uprising, a call for the army to turn their guns on the government, and a call for an arrest of the Prime Minister and over thrown the monarchy regime” he said.

“We must educate the people and make sure that Rainsy and his supporters could not cause harm to the nation,” Vannak added. “Rainsy has now revealed his plan to undermine peace and democracy. We must monitor the situation.”

 

Security across the kingdom has been beefed up in the past few weeks while wanted posters of Rainsy and his colleagues have been posted at all checkpoints along the Thai border, Khmer Times reported.