The son of Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday chided former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for ruining peace in Cambodia instead of contributing to the country’s development.
Speaking to troops at the closing of a workshop on land border training in Kampot province, Hun Manet, the deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of the army’s infantry, said the former president of the Supreme-Court dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is a destroyer, not a rescuer, of the nation.
He claimed Rainsy has merely incited people to oppose the government in a bid to grab power.
“Some politicians have compared Cambodia to Venezuela. But don’t forget that these actors [opposition politicians] have never helped Cambodia besides destroying [the nation] and inciting [the people] to help them get power."
“The people have been living happy lives, but [Rainsy] led demonstrations at factories and along the border, incited foreign countries to impose economic sanctions that would only make his own compatriots suffer."
“In addition, he’s tried to incite our troops. If you want to win [and gain power], put more effort into serving the people and stop inciting them and the armed forces to destroy the country for the sake of your political ambitions. You can easily flee abroad because you hold a foreign passport, but then you would leave the country and people in suffering,” he said.
Manet encouraged the army to get up to speed with regional and global security development, in particular attempts to overthrow governments through colour revolutions.
He also urged them to fight against foreign interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs, saying such meddling has in the past made the Kingdom suffer.
“I believe that uncles and aunts who are veterans do not want the country and your children to suffer from wars as in the past. You want the next generations to be happy. As the armed forces, we are ready to defend the nation and prevent it from sliding into another civil war between Khmer and Khmer."
“The armed forces must continue to implement strategic plans, policies of national defence, reform plans of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the principles laid out by [Prime Minister] Hun Sen . . . obey the orders, comply with the laws, pay more attention to both physical and psychological trainings and carry out good maintenance of your weapons,” he said.
Manet’s statement came after the Ministry of National Defence condemned Rainsy for appealing to the army to stand up to the Hun Sen-led government, while Rainsy also urged the international community to sanction the government as they had done to the Venezuelan leadership.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said it is normal for the government to control the army, which he said plays an important role in maintaining political instability.
“In Thailand, a coup happens very often and the leadership also changes very often. That is because the army does not act as the government’s tool; it plays its role independently."
“Therefore, it [the army] can thwart all subversions. I think the people should not be afraid of the army; it’s for national defence and is nothing to worry about. Its presence makes our nation more stable,” he said.