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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Women in power support ban on beauty competition

Women in power support ban on beauty competition

Women in power support ban on beauty competition

PM renews his ban on the Miss Cambodia contest - and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs agrees the money could be better spent

A RENEWED ban on beauty pageants by Prime Minister Hun Sen has received support from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, who claim that the money could be spent on things other than a contest that undermines women.

The prime minister renewed the ban Friday, which he claimed brought bad luck to the Kingdom after the capital's Tonle Bassac Theatre burned down a year after it hosted the contest in 1993.

"Don't spend money and don't hold a Miss Beauty contest," Hun Sen told officials during the first meeting of his government's new Cabinet on September 26.

San Arun, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, supported the ban, saying the contest was superficial.

"I strongly support the ban.

"The prime minister wants to promote women based on their work, knowledge and intelligence, not on their beauty," she said.

Development before beauty

The prime minister has used the nation's poverty, as well as superstition, as a reason behind the ban. In 2006, he cancelled the pageant because he claimed it was a waste of funds that were better spent on farming.

Chea Vannath, former director of the Center for Social Development, believed this was still an issue.

"At this time we have to think about the development of our country," she said.

"We should spend our time, money and power trying to solve the country's many problems rather than on a contest that judges women on their looks," she said.

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