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Minority Group Wants Lawmaker To Partake in Apology Rites

An ethnic minority Cambodian boy, left, stands next to his mother at a village in Mondul Kiri province some 265 kilometers (165 miles) northeast Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Members of the Phnong minority group who were insulted by a ruling party lawmaker last month say the parliamentarian must take part in a local ceremony in order to make amends.

Chheang Vun used the word “Phnong” to insult a group of opposition lawmakers during a National Assembly session, implying that they were ignorant. His remarks have angered advocacy groups for minority rights and the lawmaker has since apologized before the Assembly, saying he had not intended to insult the community.

But Phnong leaders say they need him to come to their home province of Mondolkiri to take place in rituals that would excuse him in front of their ancestors.

“The lawmaker must apologize as quickly as possible,” Nak Ven, a community leader for the Phnong, also called the Bunang, told reporters Tuesday. “This is not a punishment or to dishonor him, but for reconciliation.”

Chheang Vun, who is traveling in Italy, could not be reached for comment.