Mr. Say Samal, 33, is a National Assembly candidate for the Cambodian People’s Party for the fifth mandate in Kampong Cham province. In accordance with the stand as candidate, he also has a role in the Council of Ministers as well. Samal gives a special interview with LIFT about the youth participation in the political sector.
Do you participate in the political sector, if so, since when? Why did you decide to get involved in this sector?
I started as a candidate to represent the citizens of Kampong Cham for the current fifth mandate after preparation and evaluation from the party. My involvement in the political sector is not my decision alone because in the CPP, leaders research each representative candidate. I am also president of the strengthening committee in Kampong Cham’s Ou Reang Ov. Before that, I was the vice president of the strengthening committee in Chamkar Leu district. So the CPP based in Kampong Cham as well as the strengthening committee, they have selected candidates through internal elections. I was selected to stand in number 10 among the 18 full rights members for the Kampong Cham center. To me, it is a golden opportunity to be involved with building our homeland.
Do you get any support and encouragement from your parents to be involved in a political career?
Political involvement is my natural choice because my parents previously worked as teachers. But because of the civil war, neither was able to continue their employment. My father was out with a weapon to save our nation. So the significant mission of my mother and father was for our homeland, the people and the nation as a whole. Under the leadership of the CPP, Cambodia has been full of peace and social stability. Therefore, it’s my duty to continue the mission for our people as a whole. My parents support my involvement, but every decision I made by myself because this is my life.
What is the importance of youth participation in politics?
The participation of the younger generation will protect our homeland, because structuring the country is required for successors to continue. We are always looking for new ideas to help and continue to lead. Thus, we need youth to participate in the strengthening of development. When youth work in any of the institutions and work with accountability and responsibility, it is also a sign that we will make the future bright.
As a citizen representative candidate,what will you do to improve the situation of young people’s careers in Cambodia?
We have a political point in the program to build and protect the Homeland from 2013 to 2018. We want to enhance youth participation in all sectors, not only in the party. There are many opportunities for the youth to increase their income for by the use of their creativity, and they can also provide opportunities to other young people. My activities as well as the CPP, we support, we love our nation and not only for our own lives but also so that what we are doing every day is to build a brighter future for the next generation.
Do you think the voice of Cambodian youth has been expressed enough in politics? And is it safe enough for them to voice their concern via the media?
That is our right, full freedom of participation. CPP is trying to encourage the country to provide young people with rights without any distractions or pressure. Previously, they dared not show which party they supported, but now we noticed through social networking and driving motorbikes on the streets, wearing clothes representing the party they support. University students are free to express their ideas.
This month the Cambodian elections will take place. There are a lot of youths who have become interested in politics and are not afraid to be involved in political campaigns or voting. What are the reasons behind this?
They have the right to choose their political party – a long-term decision.The rights and freedom are given to them in full. They are not pressured by political propaganda or campaigning. People also understand that a political party they support will continue to lead the country. One more thing, they receive complete and full information. What is important is that young people are thinking about their future as well as the future of Cambodia. So they express their idea a lot for this new mandate and they make their own decisions.
In closing the interview, Say Samal suggested that adults and youth both think clearly about the future of the country as a whole. Thus, the decision for the coming July 28 election is really important.