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Opposition Supporter Says Politics Cost Her a Loan

An opposition supporter in Kandal province says her commune chief refused to sign paperwork for her to get a business loan from a local bank because of her political affiliation.

Moeun Savun claims her commune chief, San Soeun, a member of the ruling Cambodian People's Party, refused to sign necessary documents for a $4,000 loan from Acleda bank “because I am in the Sam Rainsy Party and my whole family voted for the Sam Rainsy Party.”

Opposition officials have long maintained that at the village level their supporters do not receive government services due to their political affiliation, one reason the ruling party maintains such strong grassroots support.

Moeun Savun says that in her case, that meant losing the loan for her trucking company, based in Kampong Chamlorng commune. The bank requires certification for potential loan customers from their local leaders. San Soeun refused to certify her documentation, she said.

“He said he did not have confidence in me,” she said, an allusion to her opposition party affiliation. “He didn’t explain, and I tried to submit the documents to him a fourth time since June 9. I begged him to please sign it for me, because I have to do my business. He said he would not, and that I could file a complaint.”

San Soeun, a member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party who became a commune chief in 2002, denied discriminating against Moeun Savun. “I don’t know which party she’s in,” he said. “She is not an activist.” He said he would not sign her certification documents because she is already deeply in debt.

However, Bun Seiha, an official for Acleda Bank, said local authorities are not typically involved in determining who should or should not get a loan and that this should not affect the certification process.