King Norodom Sihamoni has granted the honorary “Samdech” title to Sao Ty, wife of the National Assembly president Heng Samrin, for her contributions to the Kingdom.
The title was handed to her by Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol at her home in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
According to a royal decree signed by King Sihamoni on Thursday, the full title would be “Samdech Thamavisutha Vongsa”, which means “Great Divine Dhamma Lady”.
The decree also highlighted Ms Ty’s contributions.
“She supported the nation – struggled to liberate it and she was loyal,” it said. “Since the beginning, she has been brave in leading. She is a patriot who protected the nation and its religion.”
“She strictly adhered to [King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s] political principle of unity and national reconciliation,” the decree said.
“Sao Ty Heng Samrin is well respected…for her role in developing Buddhism in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” it added. “She donated her properties to society and helped build other achievements to support impoverished and homeless people.”
According to Mr Samrin’s book titled “The People’s Struggle; Cambodia Reborn”, the couple married in March 1957 and had four children.
Sok Eysan, CPP spokesperson, said yesterday Ms Ty deserves the title.
“The granting of the royal title reflects the great constitution of the Kingdom,” Mr Eysan said. “It is the most suitable title to mark her long achievements in helping people and Buddhism.”
He said Ms Ty now joins several senior CPP members who have received the same title, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, Mr Samrin, Senate president Say Chhum, Defence Minister General Tea Banh and Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
“She is the second woman in the Kingdom to have received such a great honour from the King,” Mr Eysan said. “The first is Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany.”
King Sihamoni in 2013 bestowed the “Samdech” title to Ms Rany for her national contributions.
She was given the name “Samdech Kittipritbandit Bun Rany Hun Sen”, which means “Celebrated Senior Scholar Bun Rany Hun Sen”.
Mr Hun Sen in a message on Saturday expressed appreciation for Ms Ty’s contributions.
“My wife and I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Samdech [Ms Ty], who has always exerted her spiritual strength in contributing to the national interest, religion and the King,” he said. “She generously donated her properties to develop the nation.”
Mr Samrin in his message thanked the King with his wife and wished him good health.
“The royal title given to my wife was a great honour,” he said. “His Majesty the King has given maximum support to our efforts in serving the nation.”
Sambo Manara, a history professor, yesterday said Ms Ty began struggling for the country in the 1970s.
Mr Manara said the honourary title of “Samdech” is only given to those who have sacrificed for the Kingdom.
“The royal title is given to encourage those who offered great advantages to society,” he said. “And those who fight against the enemy of the nation – it is a symbol of dignity.”
“Samdech Sao Ty does not hold a high government position, but her achievements in Buddhism and humanitarianism are appreciated,” Mr Manara said.