Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Beehive Radio founder Mam Sonando attends a protest at the Ministry of Labour in 2014. Sonando posted a letter announcing his resignation yesterday, only to take it down hours later.
Beehive Radio founder Mam Sonando attends a protest at the Ministry of Labour in 2014. Sonando posted a letter announcing his resignation yesterday, only to take it down hours later. Pha Lina

Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

Often-critical broadcaster Mam Sonando published a letter on Facebook yesterday resigning from his popular Beehive Radio station, only to later delete the post, maintaining he only wanted to “test” the public’s reaction.

Sonando told The Post he was “50-50” as to whether to resign or not.

“It is not an official [resignation]. If it was official I would send the official letter to the Ministry of Information,” he said. “It’s just my survey to test the people’s mind [to see] how they would think . . . if I actually stopped joining politics and resigned as radio director.”

Asked why he had taken down the post after few hours, he said he only wanted to “awaken” his supporters, but refused to disclose how they had reacted before he removed it.

Sonando was recently summonsed as the first witness in the “treason” case against jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha, and said yesterday that the alleged connection had put him “in danger”.

“It is not a joke,” he said.

Sonando did not appear for the first two summonses and yesterday reiterated he would not appear next week for a third as he believed the government would arrest him, as they had three times before.

“Now I am 77 years old. I am not afraid of jail, but if I know that if I return they will put me in jail, why would I return?”

Khieu Sopheak, Ministry of Interior spokesman, insisted Sonando had no reason to fear arrest if he appeared as witness. “So far we don’t have an arrest warrant,” he said. “[But] if he opposes the court to convene . . . the third time, the court will issue an arrest warrant.”

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said Sonando committed a crime “like Kem Sokha” if he ignored the court order, referring to a past case in which Sokha was convicted of failing to honour multiple summonses.

“If he is pure gold, don’t be afraid of fire,” Eysan said, paraphrasing a Khmer proverb about gold being forged into jewellery.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin and Investigating Judge Ky Rithy could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Political analyst Ou Virak suspected Sonando wanted to get attention with his fake resignation to raise money.

“He hasn’t been as critical as he used to be . . . He’s not as popular as he used to be,” he said. “He might just want some attention that he’s been not getting in the past few years.”

But Sonando said his radio station still maintained the same standards, though he admitted it had struggled recently after the government prohibited it from broadcasting Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

“So now my radio gets fewer jobs, less income, and I am thinking about whether to continue it,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument