CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath’s proposal for a memorial for soldiers killed in battle—part of a bid to convince the government to approve his plans for a public statue of slain political analyst Kem Ley—has been forwarded to Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to a National Assembly spokesman.
Leng Peng Long said on Sunday that Mr. Chanrath’s proposal for a veterans memorial, dated August 31, was signed by National Assembly President Heng Samrin and forwarded to the prime minister’s cabinet on Friday. He declined to comment on the idea or its prospects.
Opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath inspects a statue of slain political analyst Kem Ley, in a photograph posted to his Facebook page. Mr. Chanrath drafted the proposal for a memorial park after his request to the Phnom Penh municipal government for a statue of Kem Ley, who was shot dead on July 10 in what many consider a political assassination, ran into stiff resistance from some army veterans and serving generals.
The soldiers complained that the popular commentator, a frequent government critic, had not sacrificed his life for the country like the many dead soldiers for whom there was no memorial. They threatened to remove any public statue of Kem Ley.
Contacted on Sunday, Mr. Chanrath said the soldiers and veterans were right to expect a memorial for colleagues who lost their lives fighting for the country.
“For many generations we have not had a place to display the names and photographs of the veterans who died for our nation,” he said. “So I think we should have a place for their names in order to show our gratitude.”
His request makes no mention of where the memorial should be built, what it ought to look like or who might pay for it.
Mr. Chanrath said the memorial would be an entirely different project from the Kem Ley statue, however, which he hopes to place in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park.
He submitted his request for the location of the statue—already commissioned and paid for with private donations—to City Hall last month.
Deputy Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said on Sunday that City Hall had yet to consider the request.
sony@cambodiadaily.com
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