Royal Academy denies serving political aims


Royal Academy of Cambodia vice-president Sok Touch has denied claims the organisation is serving the interests of the ruling CPP.

Mr Touch made the rebuttal after an anonymous employee of the academy wrote an open letter criticising the leadership of the organisation for last Wednesday hosting a roundtable to discuss amendments to the Law on Political Parties.

Speaking at the roundtable last week, Mr Touch supported the changes to the Law on Political Parties and said it was a demonstration of maturity when politicians used legal means to solve problems.

“Every other country has such laws and it would be strange if Cambodia did not,” he said at the time.

The open letter accused Mr Touch of behaving like a politician at the roundtable, as opposed to an independent academic “without fear or favour”.

The letter went on to say that the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s job is to carry out research and compile documents in the national interest, not to serve political parties or individuals.

It said the organisation would be devalued if it failed to carry out its proper duties, warning such a move would attract national and international mockery.

However, Mr Touch accused the letter writer of failing to understand the remit of the Royal Academy.

He said the academy comprised six institutes relating to international and political affairs, culture, the national language, agricultural and health, and science and technology.

“If they say I have misused the institute then they don’t understand the Royal Academy,” Mr Touch said.

“It is the opinion of one person who does not know the value of the Royal Academy. One of our institutes exists to study politics and international affairs.”

He said there were well known examples of biased organisations in the country, such as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, which were owned by foreigners, and Bayon TV, which is affiliated to the ruling CPP.

“Don’t accuse the Royal Academy of taking sides like this,” Mr Touch said.

Political analyst Meas Ny said the Royal Academy of Cambodia must always maintain its independence.

“If the Royal Academy was to become a politician’s instrument then it would no longer be a national institution,” he said.

Source