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

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh