• June 13, 2024
 Ninety years in the life of Samdech Heng Samrin

Ninety years in the life of Samdech Heng Samrin

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Heng Samrin — Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party, the Supreme Privy Council to His Majesty the King, and the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland — celebrates his 90th birthday on Saturday.]

Below are highlights of the life of one of Asia’s most senior elder statesmen, who founded the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea in Snoul in Kratie Province in 1978. He later served as Secretary General of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (1981 to 1991), as President of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (1981 to 1991), and ultimately as President of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2006 to 2023):

1934: Born in AnlongChrey Village, Kak Commune, PonheaKraek District, Kampong Cham Province, now ThbongKhmum Province (25 May)

1946: Begins studying under the assistant abbot of the monastery at Wat Trapeang Pring in neighbouring commune of Trapeang Phlong

1949: Enters monkhood at Wat Trapeang Pring; begins five years of study at a Buddhist elementary school

1955: Campaigns for Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party in National Assembly elections; later employed as a rubber plantation worker in Kraek Commune in PonheaKraek District

1956: Returns to AnlongChrey to work as a farmer

1957: Marries Sao Ty (four children, three girls and a boy)

1959: Joins clandestine meetings of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party with the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam to build a secret base which would later serve as headquarters for So Phim, commander of the Eastern Zone

1961: Accepted as a member of the Party, later conducts clandestine activities as deputy head of a courier team in the Eastern Zone while holding positions of government militia captain and teacher of village children

1964: Subjected to airstrikes by American and South Vietnamese forces in AnlongChrey

1968: Avoids arrest by government forces after Party urges people to rise against brutal crackdown, promoted to Section Commander in People’s Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea

1969: Appointed director of new field hospital built by So Phim in the village of Samrae in Kak Commune in PonheaKraek District, later appointed Deputy Platoon Commander in charge of political affairs

1970: Promoted to Company Commander in the People’s Revolutionary Army

1971: Promoted to Deputy Battalion Commander of People’s Revolutionary Army

1972: Promoted to Battalion Commander in People’s Revolutionary Army, defeats Lon Nol troops on the right bank of the Mekong River in Kampong Cham Province in cooperation with Viet Cong Ninth Division

1973: Promoted to Commander of 126th Regiment of People’s Revolutionary Army based in O’ReangOv District in Kampong Cham Province

1974: Redeploys to Kandal Province to fight Lon Nol forces on the western side of the Mekong River and along the Bassac River

1975: Enters Phnom Penh from Takhmao as commander of the regiment from the Eastern Zone amid tensions with forces from the Southwestern Zone; ordered to withdraw and return to Eastern Zone after three months

1976: Promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff of Eastern Zone and Commander of Fourth Division based in PonheaKraek District in Kampong Cham Province; responsibilities include guarding and repairing National Road No. 7 and farming to support the unit.

1978: Forms resistance movement with Chea Sim as deputy; seeks assistance from Vietnamese leaders; nominated chairman of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea; announces 11-point program to overthrow Pol Pot and build a new democratic country (2 December)

1979: Elected to newly revived Party Central Committee, becomes Chairman of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Council a day after Phnom Penh liberated from Pol Pot’s forces (7 January)

1981: Elected to National Assembly and Party Politburo; becomes President of State Council of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and Honorary President of the National Council of the United Front for the Construction and Secretary General of the Party Central Committee

1985: Re-elected Secretary-General of the Central Committee; chairs Fifth Party Congress which approves economic reforms and social welfare measures

1989: Chairs meeting which decides to withdraw remaining Vietnamese volunteer troops from Cambodia and adopt policies for private transport and agriculture as well as small industries and handicrafts; country changes name to State of Cambodia, and forms Supreme National Council with three resistance groups along the Thai border

1991: Chairs extraordinary meeting of Party which changes name to Cambodian People’s Party (CPP); elected Honorary President of the Party with former Interior Minister Chea Sim as President and Prime Minister Hun Sen as Vice President

1993: Elected to National Assembly and appointed Senior Privy Councillor to King Norodom Sihanouk under the new constitution for the Kingdom of Cambodia

1994: Awarded royal title Samdech

1996: Promoted to Four-Star General in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces

1998: Elected First Vice President of the National Assembly

2004: Re-elected as First Vice President of the National Assembly

2006: Elected President of National Assembly, becomes President of National Council of the newly renamed Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland

2007: Awarded royal title Akka Moha PonheaChakrei

2008: Re-elected President of the National Assembly

2009: Promoted to Five-Star General

2010: Assumes Presidency of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) for one year

2011: Awarded title Kittiprittpundit by Royal Academy of Cambodia

2013: Re-elected President of the National Assembly

2015: Assumes two-year Presidency of Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA)

2018: Assumes Presidency of Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)

2021: Co-chairs Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting and assumes Presidency of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) for one year

2023: Re-elected to National Assembly, retires as President but remains active as Honorary President of newly formed Supreme Privy Council to His Majesty the King and the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland. AKP

 

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