Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM retorts to criticism of royal call from Manet

PM retorts to criticism of royal call from Manet

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his son Hun Manet during a courtesy call to King Norodom Sihamoni and the Queen Mother on January 22. FRESH NEWS

PM retorts to criticism of royal call from Manet

Prime Minister Hun Sen hit back at unnamed critics who took issue with the recent courtesy call to King Noromdom Sihamoni, during which he introduced his son Hun Manet as his future successor.

Hun Sen and Manet paid the courtesy call to the King and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk on the afternoon of January 22.

Speaking while presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony for a new overpass in the capital’s Russey Keo district on January 31, Hun Sen said meeting with the King and Queen Mother was a regular part of his functions as prime minister. He noted that the King and Queen Mother have received both dignitaries and ordinary citizens.

The visit was criticised by analysts who said that Manet, currently deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of the Royal Cambodian Army – has no official duty to report to the King.

“I met the King and informed him that when I retire from politics, my son will continue as leader. It was just a normal meeting, but the analysts and pundits have interpreted it as a subject of some significance.

“The King and Queen Mother receive not only the prime minister but also ordinary people. Why don’t they bother to analyse any of those meetings?” Hun Sen asked rhetorically.

The premier’s response also made mention of the fact that Manet had already been introduced to the leaders of Vietnam and Myanmar – both in his military role and as the future candidate for prime minister following his retirement.

Manet was officially endorsed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) as their prime ministerial candidate at the CPP’s 43rd Central Committee Meeting in Phnom Penh on December 24.

Khin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said there was nothing wrong with Hun Sen introducing Manet to the King, saying that his succession was widely announced and publicised following his father’s explicit endorsement.

“There is nothing wrong with the prime minister doing so. The King often grants the courtesy of an audience to people when convenient. Introducing the ruling party’s future prime ministerial candidate to the King should hardly be judged controversial and it will give Manet further confidence and help prepare him for the future.

“As we know, although Manet is the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, he will not just inherit the position from his father without any opposition. He will need to go through the process of being formally selected by the party and then he will need to successfully contest the national election,” Phea said.

Hun Sen also responded to those critical of the absence of a Victory over Genocide Day celebration in 2021 and 2022.

The celebrations are meant to mark the end of the Khmer Rouge regime’s rule over Cambodia, but they were cancelled the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The absence of the celebrations was interpreted by some political analysts as the CPP “backing away” or distancing itself from Vietnam.

“I would like to reaffirm to all doctoral candidates and pundits that there is no chance that the CPP and the people of Cambodia who survived to see January 7 will ever forget that date. We will always remember the victory over the genocidal regime,” he said.

He stated that he regards the January 7 – which was achieved with the assistance of Vietnam – as the beginning of a new life for the Cambodian people and the second rebirth of the nation.

“Whether you accept it or not is up to you. But the CPP will never forget January 7. While it is true that Vietnam helped Cambodia a great deal, remember that it was Cambodia who reaped the real benefits of our victory that day,” he said.

The premier also defended what some critics refer to as the “iron fist” with which he rules Cambodia and his sometimes strict reactions to criticisms.

“If I had not wielded an iron fist, you would probably have witnessed chaos throughout the whole country. When you commit an offence against the social order – I must use my iron fist. Why? To protect the lives and the happiness of all of the people.

“Should your little group of 10 or 100 people look to make trouble, agitate and cause chaos in Cambodia, then why shouldn’t I use my iron fist?” he asked rhetorically.

Regarding the January 7 holiday, Phea said it is the cornerstone of the CPP’s political legacy. Liberating the population from the genocidal regime remains the CPP’s greatest achievement, he said, and so the party has every right to use the victory in its political messaging.

“There is no way that the CPP will forget the January 7 victory as it is their political legacy. It lends them legitimacy – whether for the current leadership or the leaders of the future,” he said.


  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol

  • Ministry to 'seek justice' for officials indicted in US for 'monkey smuggling'

    The Cambodian government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said they will make the “utmost effort” to seek justice for a Cambodian official arrested in John F Kennedy International Airport in New York for allegedly conspiring to smuggle crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)