Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Many ‘surprised’ by Singapore leader’s remarks




Hun Many ‘surprised’ by Singapore leader’s remarks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Many, the fifth child of Prime Minister Hun Sen and also a National Assembly member for Kampong Speu province. Supplied

Hun Many ‘surprised’ by Singapore leader’s remarks

HUN Many, a National Assembly member for Kampong Speu province, said he was “beyond surprised” at recent remarks by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong regarding the Vietnamese presence in Cambodia following the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

Many was responding to comments Lee made on Facebook on Friday while expressing condolences on the passing of former Thai prime minister and general Prem Tinsulanonda.

Many, the fifth child of Prime Minister Hun Sen, said Lee’s comments regarding the period represented only one angle of a complex situation, in particular, the political stance some Southeast Asian nations held at the time.

On Friday, Lee said Prem’s leadership benefited not only Thailand but the whole region.

He said Prem’s tenure as Thai prime minister from 1980-88 coincided with the then five Asean member states coming together to oppose the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia and the government that replaced the Khmer Rouge regime.

“Thailand was on the frontline, facing Vietnamese forces across its border with Cambodia. General Prem was resolute in not accepting this fait accompli and worked with Asean partners to oppose the Vietnamese occupation in international forums."

“This prevented the military invasion and regime change from being legitimised. It protected the security of other Southeast Asian countries, and decisively shaped the course of the region,” Lee said.

Many responded by saying the atrocities and crimes against humanity, especially genocide, committed by the Khmer Rouge should never be overlooked or forgotten.

The world should not forget how much Cambodians suffered, he said. Close to three million innocent victims died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge over three years, eight months and 20 days because the world turned a blind eye to Cambodia.

“While everyone was playing politics, Cambodians were praying for help. We wanted to be saved from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, and it did not matter from who and from where that help came from."

“It came in the form of the [Cambodian People’s Party] CPP with the assistance of our neighbour Vietnam,” he said.

Cambodian historian Diep Sophal said Lee’s remarks focused on just one part of the complex circumstances involving Cambodia and Vietnam during the cold war.

He said the Asean countries at that time, especially Thailand and Singapore, were concerned with the strength of communist Vietnam and did not care much about the situation in Cambodia.

“We should not look at just one angle in all of this. We must look at the role the Cold War played, with countries vying with each other to further their interests,” Sophal said.

He said that in foreign policy, politicians acted for the sake of their nation, with what happened in other countries a secondary concern.

“There is no doubt for me as to why the Singaporean prime minister said what he did regarding the presence of Vietnam [in Cambodia]."

“He said this to express his opposition to the presence of Vietnam in Cambodia because it affected the security of Thailand and Singapore as Vietnam was a powerful country,” Sophal said.

Documentation Centre of Cambodia director Youk Chhang said Lee’s words showed there was a need to establish an Asean peace and human rights education programme for the region – starting with Singapore.

“There have been many developments recently to promote the respect for human rights in the region, including the Asean Convention on Counter Terrorism, the Asean Human Rights Declaration and the Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates."

“When you don’t learn from history, you seem very uncivilised in the modern world,” Chhang said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM slams HRW ‘double standards’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has chided Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Brad Adams for keeping quiet over protest crackdowns in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Addressing reporters while inspecting infrastructure development in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday,

  • Bank robber of $6M asks to be released

    An accused bank robber who admitted to stealing $6 million has asked the Supreme Court to release him temporarily because he had returned the money. In a court hearing on Tuesday Chan Simuntha, 39, told the judge that on January 18, his wife Teang Vathanaknearyroth told him that

  • WHO: Antibiotics cause more deaths

    Increased antibiotics use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming

  • Children in poverty said to rise by 86M

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children warned that if urgent measures are not taken, the number of children living in poverty across low- and middle-income countries could increase by 86 million, a 15 per cent jump, by the end of the year. In

  • Four more Cambodian peacekeepers get Covid-19 in Mali

    Four more Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeepers in Mali have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Cambodian UN peacekeepers to 10. National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Tuesday

  • Huge tracks of undocumented land a concern for registration officials

    Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith expressed concern that land registration plans for residents scheduled to be completed by late 2021 could not be achieved because 80 per cent of the land had not been registered. Land dispute issues are a major factor that poses a