Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy officially launches Cambodia National Rescue Movement, lays out five-point plan

Rainsy officially launches Cambodia National Rescue Movement, lays out five-point plan

Sam Rainsy speaks to supporters at the official launch of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement in Long Beach, California. Facebook
Sam Rainsy speaks to supporters at the official launch of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement in Long Beach, California. Facebook

Rainsy officially launches Cambodia National Rescue Movement, lays out five-point plan

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy officially launched his new “movement” yesterday, outlining the body’s agenda while continuing to refrain from calling for protests – the body’s original stated aim.

Yesterday, Rainsy said the new Cambodia National Rescue Movement had a five-part plan, starting with appealing to the international community to take action. The next step is to work with “economic” partners to put financial pressure on the government.

Next, Rainsy said the movement will encourage people to protest nonviolently, and appeal to the armed forces not to shoot protesters. Finally, the movement will appeal to members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to defect from the government.

However, Rainsy did not say when the movement would arrive at a stage where it called for protests, nor did he respond to requests for comment yesterday. In his speech, Rainsy claimed some members of the CPP could feel the tide turning, and were preparing to flee the country to live abroad.

“Some leaders of the CPP are getting ready to leave Cambodia to live abroad where they have sent money and bought passports,” Rainsy claimed.

“I appeal to fellow citizens inside the CPP, don’t follow Hun Sen, don’t die because of Hun Sen, don’t die on behalf of Hun Sen,” he continued.

Rainsy went on to accuse Hun Sen of a slew of crimes, including the murder of political analyst Kem Ley and a grenade attack on an opposition rally in 1997 that Rainsy barely survived.

The same day, he uploaded documents to Facebook appearing to show that National Police Chief Neth Savoeun and his family had citizenship in Saint Kitts and Nevis, while Savoeun’s wife – a relative of Hun Sen – also had Cypriot citizenship.

“More and more Hun Sen’s relatives and CPP high-ranking officials are preparing to leave Cambodia to settle abroad because they know that Hun Sen will soon have to step down,” Rainsy wrote in the post.

Rainsy first announced he was founding the movement earlier this month, pledging to use the body to call for protests against the ongoing political crackdown against the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Rainsy, a co-founder of the CNRP, fled the country years ago and stepped down as party president to avoid a slew of politically tinged criminal convictions. His replacement, Kem Sokha, was arrested in September on widely decried charges of “treason”, and the party was dissolved two months later for allegedly attempting to topple the government, though little evidence was presented to substantiate the charge.

Rainsy announced the creation of the new movement in response, although it was met with resistance from Sokha’s supporters, who see it as implicitly accepting the dissolution of the CNRP and possibly jeopardising Sokha himself.

Sous Yara, spokesman for the CPP, said yesterday Rainsy was a criminal and “mentally crazy”.“He is selling his nation to make it meet disaster,” Yara added.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Rainsy’s words, while strong, meant little coming from outside the country.

“The current democratic situation in the country is narrowing as the CPP strengthens security and bans activities of the opposition party,” Mong Hay said, adding that Rainsy’s activities “likely won’t be successful as planned”.

Fellow analyst Meas Nee said the calls for protest were “kind of Sam Rainsy rhetoric”, and didn’t think any mass demonstrations would be possible in Cambodia’s current political climate.

Nee said that the movement may be a strategy to preserve hope and maintain loyalty to the CNRP so that when the situation calms down, it can return.

“I think Sam Rainsy still believes in himself,” Nee added.

Read more: Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Movement labelled ‘terrorists’

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia