Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday defended the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit amid criticism that the body was being used as a ruling party mouthpiece, going so far as to say the recent production of an audio clip mocking the opposition was so funny it would be disseminated on CD.
On Wednesday, the unit posted a 25-minute long audio clip mocking opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, drawing criticism from election monitors and analysts.
Speaking at the inauguration of a pagoda in Kampong Cham’s Memot district, the premier defended the clip, saying it was “true” that the two party heads used to curse one another before joining forces.
“They cursed each other before, then the election analysts said we abused [Rainsy and Sokha]. Don’t be scared – you cursed, abused each other; let’s talk it out,” said Hun Sen.
The audio file, which has gone viral on social media since being posted on Wednesday morning, features clips pulled from speeches made by both men in the years prior to their merger in which they lob bitter accusations at one another.
“I laughed, because they insulted each other before and are good together now,” he said.
In fact, he continued, he found the Ayai Between Two Strong Leaders to be so funny, he was going to be encouraging all radio stations to play it.
“Now, play it on all radio stations. You play; it’s free. Now they are making discs; play it because when they curse each other, it’s good,” he said.
Spokesman for the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, Yim Sovann, dismissed the criticisms and said that, if anything, the willingness of the heads to put aside personal differences and come together demonstrated their strength as a party.
“Some politicians used to condemn the late King, but later on he boasted of respecting the King. This means that politics from one time to another can change,” he said.
“In this case, we have two rivals who can unite as one for the benefit of the nation, working for people’s wills. That’s better.”