Foreign minister confirms custody of Cambodian Opposition leader, yet to decide deportation

Radzi Razak
Foreign Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah shares a light moment with Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican (right) at Parliament November 7, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) vice-president Mu Sochua is being detained in Malaysia, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed today.

The foreign minister said the Cambodan government has also requested she be sent back, but added that Putrajaya has not made any decision on that.

Malaysia and Cambodia do not have an extradition treaty.

“As far as Wisma Putra is concerned, we are not in the position to deport people and neither do we like doing that.

“We make our own decisions, not because of any request or any kind of interference from foreign countries, so I think what the immigration is doing is strictly speaking on our interests,” Saifuddin told reporters in Parliament.

The minister said the Cambodian politician is currently being interviewed by immigration officers at the airport, but is unaware if she will be charged.

“She is now at the airport. I think the immigration officers want to interview her. I think she came on the American passport, I am not so sure.”

Saifuddin said that as far as he knows, Mu only arrived in Malaysia last night and that he is unaware of the whereabouts of another Cambodian Opposition leader, Sam Rainsy.

The self-exiled CNRP founder, whose party was banned this week, was reportedly travelling with Mu and was supposed to return to Cambodia this weekend.

Rainsy fled to France four years ago following a conviction for criminal defamation in which he was ordered to pay US$1 million in compensation and also faces a five-year prison sentence in a separate case.

Saifuddin asserted that Malaysia is a pro-democracy government and follows current international affairs closely but practises a non-interference policy.

At least 48 Cambodian Opposition activists have been arrested this year over an alleged plot to oust the government led by its prime minister Hun Sen who has been in power since 1985.

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