CPP vows to cover funeral costs
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has pledged to cover the funeral expenses of Sok An after plans to pay for the event using three billion riel of state cash stirred controversy.
CPP Vice-President Say Chhum wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday, saying the party had agreed to meet the costs and asking he return the three billion riel to the state budget.
The letter said: “I have conducted a meeting of the CPP’s Standing Committee of the Central Committee. The session agreed I should ask for the money to be returned to the state budget so the CPP can handle all the costs of the funeral of Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An.”
Mr. Sok An, who was Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Council of Ministers, died in a Beijing hospital on Wednesday. Shortly after, the Economy and Finance Ministry said it would be releasing three billion riel to pay for the funeral, on the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the CPP wanted to cover all the costs of the funeral because Mr. Sok An played such an important role as a member of the party’s Standing Committee of the Central Committee and was a Deputy Prime Minister.
He said it would have been appropriate for the government to use state money for the funeral, but some “narrow-minded people” disagreed, so the party stepped in to prevent discord.
“This is about honoring Mr. Sok An and his family,” he said. “Legally, lawmakers are actually entitled to a funeral paid for by the state.”
Mr. Sok An was yesterday cremated at Wat Botum Park in the presence of senior government and opposition officials. Family and relatives scattered his ashes into the river in front of the Royal Palace in the afternoon, in line with Buddhist religious rites.
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