The Royal Academy of Cambodia president yesterday said he is ready to challenge a lawsuit brought by the Khmer Rise Party after he slammed the party’s “One Thumbprint for Koh Tral” campaign as politically motivated.
The KRP on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Mr Touch at Phnom Penh Municipal Court over incitement and abuse of power after he criticised the thumbprint movement, which aims to reclaim Koh Tral, known as Phu Quoc island, from Vietnam.
KRP honorary president Prum Piseth last week called for the collection of 50,000 thumbprints in order to request support for the reclamation of Koh Tral, which some believe still belongs to Cambodia.
Mr Touch said that he did not meddle in the KRP’s internal affairs and will deliberate the issue in court.
“I did not interfere with the party’s affairs,” he said. “Political parties were already given a chance to disseminate their platforms and we are waiting for the election results from the National Election Committee.”
“The resolution of Koh Tral is an issue between the government and the government. It is not for one party to do; that will cause social unrest and instability,” he added. “I think that if I were the government, I would throw them into prison.”
He noted that the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam agreed to use the 1993-1953 demarcating borders, meaning that the island belongs to Vietnam.
Mr Piseth said his party has sought permission from the Ministry of Interior for the campaign.
“Our party officials have yet to receive thumbprints because we are waiting for permission from the government,” Mr Piseth said.