Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Politics must mature

Politics must mature

Politics must mature

Dear Editor,

Many observers have assumed current

transitional Cambodian politics will gradually become mature. But I

believe this is an obscure statement. If we say the tendency of

Cambodian politics is towards maturity within a cave of immaturity,

this might be more plausible. However, what we cannot fathom is: How

bad is this cave?

Some Cambodian people and major incumbent

Cambodian politicians will, not reluctantly, concur that they are very

glad as a result of many new emerging things that they didn't have

during the Pol Pot period. This statement is logical, but even wise

people might not see that it is still important to develop Cambodia's

political maturity.

Pol Pot came to power with the intention of

restructuring Cambodian society to build a new, utopian, agrarian

society. The regime's approach has become globally recognised as "year

zero". So how wise and good can we be when the present emerging

development is pragmatically compared to the "year zero" of Pol Pot?

Anything now is socially, economically, politically unmatched to those

of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The current Cambodian hybrid Khmer

Rouge trial has solemnly proclaimed its primary mission is to enhance

national reconciliation, to help heal Cambodians' [Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder (PTSD)], and to eliminate the culture of impunity.

Cambodian people should not be easily exploited by the politically

orchestrated attempt to disfavour the Khmer Rouge and favour the

so-called Khmer Rouge liberators. In reality, we should try and achieve

some insight and understanding of the fact that while the Khmer Rouge

were communist, the Vietnamese who liberated us from the Khmer Rouge

were also communist. They both are communist by origin. Contemporary

Cambodian politicians and people have to protect themselves from both

of these two disadvantaged political influences with the overall

intention of truly democratising Cambodia, developing ourselves to

appreciate this new political trend and nourishing the maturity of

political leaders and their followers.

Regarding the political

parties, no distinction can be made between government party and

opposition party. These two national political parties are

interdependent and inseparable. The Cambodian People's Party (CPP) can

legitimise themselves in front of the Cambodian people as well as

international communities because of the Sam Rainsy Party. Similarly,

the Sam Rainsy Party can have a stage to test the weaknesses and

strength of their future leadership, or that of the CPP. For example,

their current legal movement to reject the result of election was a

brave performance.

The Cambodian people, both old and young,

are observers, referees and owners of this social contract. They should

not be careless and allow an imbalance of power between government and

opposition to continue to happen. If such an imbalance is not dangerous

per se, it is surely not compatible with the principle of liberal


Sophan Seng

Ph.D student of political science

University of Hawaii at Manoa


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of