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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In Rainsy's defence

In Rainsy's defence

The Editor,

I couldn't help feeling ashamed after reading an article

called "Orchestrated end for Sam Rainsy, MP" (June 30-July 13, Phnom Penh Post

by Jason Barber). Could this be the beginning of the end for Cambodia's hard

earned democracy? This kind of thing is very familiar in Cambodia's past where

democracy is unknown. Could Cambodia be returning to its dark and most bitter

history where people are purged for being critical? I certainly hope not! What

had just happened to Mr. Sam Rainsy (should still hold his His Excellency title)

could well happen to any politician in Cambodia's weak political system, where a

small group of people ruled the majority. This kind of "cut throat politic"

could only happen in Cambodia, an anarchy country where those who dare to be

critical faced elimination.

Mr Sam Rainsy is probably one of the most

respected politicians whose popularity is well known throughout Cambodia and

perhaps the world. His record and unequal courage speak for itself in a hostile

environment. The removal from his position, first as the Minister of Finance and

now as a Member of the Parliament, is a heavy blow to Cambodia fledgling

democracy. It appears as a political and personal attack on Mr Sam Rainsy by

both FUNCINPEC and the CPP. It is an attempt to shut down a man from doing the

best that he possibly can for Cambodia.

In my personal opinion, I don't

think that anyone has tried to do more for Cambodia since the election as Sam

Rainsy. This can be proven simply by talking to ordinary people on the street,

both in Phnom Penh and in the provinces. Of course, he is a "maverick" and yes,

he is outspoken, something Cambodia desperately needs. It was his job to be

critical when he felt the government was going the wrong way or when a political

party and individual gain became more important than national recovery and

reconciliation. It was his duty to expose problems, such as corruption, and

speak on behalf of the people he represented.

There are very few

courageous people in Cambodia's political arena today. Of the 120 MP's, only a

handful have the courage and strength of conscience to bring Cambodia forward.

This point can be proven by Mr Sam Rainsy's orchestrated expulsion from the

house. The key players in this political game did not even bother to show up. It

was pitiful from Mr. Jason Barber's descriptive article of the event that may

drastically change the course of Cambodia's history once again.

I am

neither a political scientist nor analyst. I am not a member nor in favor of any

one political party in Cambodia. I may however, have some bias for fairness, for

equal justice under the law, and for due process of the democratic way. It is

something that many politicians in Cambodia probably neglected to remember. I

know a bad political move when I see one, plain and simple.

In a tug of

war between the two major political parties, the CPP and FUNCINPEC, the

strongest and the most clever (not necessary the smartest) will eventually win.

The FUNCINPEC can't afford to lose its promising young politicians, like Sam

Rainsy, nor any of its members for that matter, if it wants to be a competitor

in the 1998 election. The CPP leadership is very clever in exploiting the chaos

in FUNCINPEC. FUNCINPEC self-destructs with the elimination of Rainsy and others

like him. I can see the CPP smiling at this prospect, without having to do much

but simply applaud FUNCINPEC's bad political moves.

If I may offer advice

to Sam Rainsy, his wife, and his political supporters, I would suggest that they

form a new independent political party. He can no longer salvage FUNCINPEC, but

he can probably work with it. Cambodia had 21 registered political parties

during 1993 election, what is one more? The only thing that he must remember is

NOT to join the Khmer Rouge (like King Sihanouk did) or the CPP. It will be a

mistake! He needs to focus his political energy independently. The people of

Cambodia will be behind him all the way if he continues to represent the people

and Cambodia's interest as he did as a member of FUNCINPEC. He certainly has my

utmost support.

- Ronnie Yimsut, Oregon, USA.

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