Cambodians of Victoria Student Association (COV) in Australia has reacted against an article published on Sept. 13 by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The following is the COV’s full letter dated Sept. 17 to the newspaper’s editor-in-chief:

“We, on behalf of Khmer international students and Cambodians Student Associations in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Canberra would like to express our deepest disappointment with the article published in the Sydney Morning Herald website on the 13th of September 2021 by Mr. Sawathey Ek.

We have given much thought on this recent article and come to a conclusion that the nature of this article is extremely misleading, deceptive and biased. The distorted constituent of this article is politicised and negatively affected our Cambodian-Australian Community, student community, particularly on new students who have just received their visa and planning on coming to Australia in the near future.

This article paints our students in such degrading lights as well as dampens our value as the academic representatives of Cambodia to Australia. We would like to convey this message to all relevant stakeholders that we have never given any instruction, threat or compulsion to attend any political functions as stated by the article. Further, we have not been bribed or incentivised with illicit conducts such as the provision of $UD300 to $UD500 cash or threats relating to the prospects of our future careers.

The availability of student associations, without ties to any parties and operated on volunteering basis, in Victoria and across Australia have facilitated many new and current students in ranges of student support services such as finding accommodations, volunteering opportunities, disseminating job opportunities and arranging legal documents.

In lights of these, we plead the Sydney Morning Herald and Mr. Sawathey Ek consider revising the evaluations and make the necessary adjustments. This we believe shall settle the misinformation once and for all. We also hope to have our voices heard in rebutting such damaging information on our student community in Victoria and across Australia.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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