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Opposition strengthens rather than weakens

Dear Editor,

People are not always on the same page. Our thoughts, perspectives and intent are different, and this is what makes mankind unique. A couple who adores one another and shares house, food and bed often does not share the same views. Even if there was no one else on Earth, the couple would still argue. Opposition is, therefore, always present in human society. The world is a better place today because each of us is unique.

On the one hand, it is without doubt that we cannot stop people from having different ideas; on the other hand, it is obviously indispensable to permit contending perspectives. Opponents of government always look for one way or another to express their differing views. If they cannot use democratic ways to communicate their antagonism, they have no choice but to resort to means that are hazardous to the nation. These include separatism, armed struggle or collusion with foreign governments to topple the government. The collapses of Sihanouk’s, Lon Nol’s, and the Khmer Rouge’s regimes were due mainly to factions – backed up by alien governments – with no democratic means to oppose the government. This is a lesson learned in our history.

Providing venues for democratic oppositions would not only ensure peace, but increased prosperity for Cambodia and a stronger and more unified ruling party. Dr Li Zhi-Sui, the personal physician of Mao Zedong for more than 20 years, wrote that the chairman never wished to take over Taiwan. In Mao’s view, the threat from Taiwan was making the Chinese Communist Party stronger and more united. If this is applicable to Cambodia, then allowing opposition would solidify the ruling party.

Ultimately, this would also legitimise a democratic regime. Allowing for democratic opposition is a win-win for opposition parties, the ruling party, Cambodians, and eventually Cambodia.

Chenda Keo
Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security

Send letters to: or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.



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