Responding to rumours swirling on social media that he had suffered a massive stroke and died, Prime Minister Hun Sen proved to be very much alive during an animated speech in Kampot province yesterday.
Addressing a crowd in Chhuok district, the 63-year-old premier assured listeners that he wouldn’t die for at least another 30 years, and that, far from having a stroke, he was actually shaving a few strokes off of his golf game the day after he had allegedly been whisked away for treatment in Singapore.
“My father died at 90 years old at least, and my grandfather was 93 years old, and I will be more than 93 years old,” he said. “On Friday afternoon, I, along with cabinet members, was having a meeting with the King, and then I played golf on Saturday and Sunday.”
Switching gears, however, the premier warned Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy that in the event of his demise, all hell would break loose.
“I’m the only person who can order all the types of armed forces, and if I really die, you must pack your bags and run away … because no one can control the armed forces,” Hun Sen said. “It is an idiot who prays for Hun Sen’s death.”
Hun Sen also included a dig at Rainsy in his medical history, saying his family had no history of tuberculosis, leprosy, mental illness or – unlike Rainsy, whose father was implicated in a plot to topple King Norodom Sihanouk – treason.
Rainsy could not be reached for comment yesterday, but his deputy Kem Sokha, said the opposition was “not interested in Hun Sen”.
Hun Sen has said in the past that he would lead until age 90, but revised that figure down to his mid-70s last year.
In 2010, he was known to have beaten a case of H1N1 influenza, and to have had an emergency appendectomy in 1998. The then-second prime minister was back at it three days later, cigarette in hand, talking to the press in his hospital pyjamas.