Former opposition lawmaker Kong Bora yesterday said that he would return to work for the Agriculture Ministry just two days after he and his father had their ban on politics lifted.
Mr Bora was a lawmaker representing the Sam Rainsy Party between 2008 and 2012 before joining the Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2013.
He and his father Kong Korm were among 118 CNRP politicians banned from politics by the Supreme Court in 2017.
Mr Bora yesterday said he now has the opportunity to return to politics.
“I don’t want to live as an outlaw. When the CNRP was dissolved, I no longer had a legal standing to participate in the party,” he said. “I respect the constitution; I respect the law in the country.”
“If I had enough opportunities to participate in politics freely, then I would decide,” Mr Bora added. “If I don’t even have personal freedom, how can I participate in politics with CNRP.”
The return was made possible after he filed a request for a royal pardon via the Interior Ministry after the Law on Political Parties was amended last year.
“After I received this information, I felt happy to see that democracy is open and the political ban was lifted,” he said, adding that he would return to his pre-2008 post at the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry. “I will return to work at my previous place because I used to have a job at the Agriculture Ministry before becoming an opposition lawmaker. I was a civil servant before becoming a politician.”
When asked what position he would fill at the ministry, he said “my specific position is not clear yet, I will submit a request letter and I will let you know later”.
He noted, however, that he would not work for the Khmer Will Party like his father and his brother Kong Monika.
“I don’t have interest in working with KWP yet because my father and my younger brother are already working for the party,” Mr Bora said.
Ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy declined to discuss the topic yesterday.
“I have not heard about this yet, we will find out about it first,” Mr Vuthy said.
Mr Bora and his father were the first to request for a royal pardon.
Mr Bora’s other brother Kong Saphea, who is also a former opposition lawmaker, wrote earlier this month on Facebook that he did not agree with the decisions of his father and brother.
“If we make a request to Mr Hun Sen to reinstate our political rights, it will mean that we have acknowledged the charges against Mr Kem Sokha,” Mr Saphea said. “It will mean that we lost because we were tricked by Mr Hun Sen – we would all be complicit in the destruction of the CNRP and democracy under Hun Sen’s regime.”
Mr Monika, who is the president of KWP, yesterday called the lifting of the ban “making political space for growth” and urged other former opposition officials to make the request.
“We very much welcomed this thing and we hope that other politicians would consider making a request – the political space was opened,” he said, noting that he respects his brother’s decision to attempt to return to the ministry.