Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM history book has message

PM history book has message

PM history book has message

In power since 1985, Hun Sen may be the only prime minister many Cambodians have ever known. However, the latest book from veteran journalist and author Chhay Sophal, released yesterday, seeks to tell the stories – and, often, the nasty ends – of all 36 Cambodians to ever hold the office.

Sophal said at a news conference that the book’s subtext was intended to offer a message to contemporary politicians: The idea that “when the water is up, the fish eats ants, and when the water is down, the ants eat the fish” should be eliminated from politics.

“No less than 10 prime ministers were assassinated or poisoned. Others were arrested and sent to jail, or to live in exile until their death,” he said.

“This is because they took revenge on each other,” he added, calling such tumult a dangerous opportunity for outside forces to take advantage of.

While some of the book’s history is well-known to many, much is novel. For example, Ek Yi Un in 1958 served for only a week, replacing 103-year-old Sin Var, who resigned.

The book characterises Hun Sen as prone to playing enemies against each other and highly concerned with personal security after three assassination attempts.

Although he has never been prime minister, Sam Rainsy is included, since “he is only the main candidate [aside from Hun Sen] vying for power since 1998”, Sophal said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all