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Hun Sen and Rainsy continue 'honeymoon' in Malaysia

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday announced he would be taking a weekend jaunt to Malaysia with Prime Minister Hun Sen to spread the gospel of the “culture of dialogue”, days after facing accusations that pair’s recent friendliness amounted to a “honeymoon”.

In a special reception in Kuala Lumpur today, Hun Sen and Rainsy are scheduled to meet with Cambodian workers in the country to spread their message of cooperation by discussing national unity and their mutual respect for one another.

“It is our hope to see this culture of dialogue also prevail in all friendly countries as evidence of a mature democracy,” Rainsy said in an email.

The appearance comes just two weeks after Hun Sen and Rainsy rang in the New Year together in Siem Reap, after which Rainsy was forced to reject criticism that the friendliness with his political foe was compromising his opposition party’s integrity.

Speaking yesterday, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Rainsy was in Kuala Lumpur for an event by the Council of Asian Liberal Democrats, while Hun Sen was attending the 26th Asean Summit, but both would seize the opportunity to display their unity.

Observers, however, have noted that while Rainsy has enjoyed recent close ties with the Prime Minister, CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha, who earlier this month faced grilling at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over his role in opposition protests, has been snubbed.

An independent political analyst, who declined to be named citing sensitivity surrounding the subject, said both sides harboured divergent agendas.

He said the CPP and Hun Sen were working to split the leaders of the opposition, while Rainsy was biding his time with the “soft game” until party leaders were prepared for the next election drive.

“For the time being, I think that everybody [will] play the soft game but it’s very short lived. In the next few months they will have to go back to the real game, one against the other,” he said.

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