Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit back at claims that he has been out of the country since the start of this month for health reasons, posting a statement and pictures to Facebook of himself relaxing with family and party insiders in what appears to be Singapore.
Three consecutive Council of Ministers meetings have been postponed since June 23, and another scheduled for this Friday will be shelved, according to a council statement, prompting rumours about the premier’s whereabouts.
Chham Chhany – a social media personality who in 2016 ran afoul of the premier’s son, Hun Manet, for accusing him of having ties to illegal logging – speculated in a Facebook post that Hun Sen had left for Singapore on July 1 for health reasons.
Citing an anonymous source, he said the premier had not made Interior Minister Sar Kheng or Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin acting prime minister, as is customary in his absence, “because he does not trust them and even Hun Sen’s children dare not visit him”.
“Because he is afraid of internal problems and dog eats dog in the party,” he wrote.
Seemingly in response, Hun Sen posted a photo album of himself with family members at an unidentified mall.
“Do I have the right to be happy in gathering children and grandchildren in these pictures or not? Must I tell everybody, especially a gangster, whether I am here or there or not?” he asked.
He then added that regardless of his location, he could run the country, “especially cracking down on the chaos caused by a group of gangsters, extremists and national traitors”.
In May, Hun Sen was treated in a Singaporean hospital for “exhaustion”.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan denied yesterday that the prime minister was out of the country and insisted that he was in Phnom Penh, but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan later confirmed the premier was not in Cambodia.
Siphan, however, said he had “no idea” if he had left for treatment, and declined to say where he had gone.
One of the photographs posted yesterday by the premier shows him eating with Land Management Minister Chea Sophara, Deputy RCAF Commander in Chief Kun Kim, tycoon Kith Meng and his middle son Hun Manith, among others, with what appears to be Singapore’s AXA Tower in the background.
Additional reporting by Erin Handley