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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

democracy.

Sophan Seng

Ph.D student of political science

University of Hawaii at Manoa

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