Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy: Return to Cambodia imminent

Rainsy: Return to Cambodia imminent

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Rainsy held a press conference in 2013. Heng Chivoan

Rainsy: Return to Cambodia imminent

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy once again claimed he will return to the Kingdom this year. But critics derided his claims saying Rainsy had neither the ability nor the means to return to Cambodia.

His latest claim to return came while Rainsy was in Seattle, US, this week, where he reiterated his intention to “give the country back to the people”.

In a video clip posted on his official Facebook page, Rainsy said: “From Seattle, today I would like to affirm to my compatriots that my return to Cambodia will serve to give it back to the Cambodian people. Join this mission together brothers and sisters! Compatriots in Cambodia wait for us."

“I will go back to Cambodia in 2019, not to let Hun Sen arrest me, but to ensure that millions of Cambodians will rise up to arrest Hun Sen and prosecute him for treason,” he claimed.

Rainsy said millions of exiled Cambodians in Asean and worldwide will return with him.

However, at a Royal Academy of Cambodia forum to discuss the possibility of Rainsy’s return that was held on Friday, widespread scepticism was the order of the day.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan, a speaker at the forum, predicted six outcomes should Rainsy attempt a return.

These included him facing legal action brought against him by the courts; being barred from boarding a flight to Cambodia and facing protests by supporters of CNRP president Kem Sokha.

The other predictions are Rainsy facing possible protests by the 83.2 per cent who voted in the national elections last year; and facing the resistance of the armed forces that have vowed to protect Cambodia’s peace, political stability and public order under Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Read more:

Sar Kheng: Only ‘fifty-fifty’ chance of Rainsy returning

 

As for his sixth prediction, he said: “Only Prime Minister Hun Sen has the privilege of requesting a royal pardon [for Rainsy] after the Supreme Court’s verdict goes into force,” referring to the slew of legal charges and convictions Rainsy faces in Cambodia.

Royal Academy of Cambodia President Sok Touch also provided four reasons that made him doubt Rainsy would return.

He said Cambodians were busy with their daily business, leaving them little time to be concerned about Rainsy’s return and that the next national election is scheduled for five years from now, so the opposition party is currently less significant.

Touch also said that as Cambodia is currently enjoying more than seven per cent annual economic growth, there was little desire for change and protest among the Kingdom’s citizens.

Finally, he said that as the government was easing Cambodia’s business environment to compete in the globalised world, foreign powers would care less about Rainsy nor would want to interfere in Cambodia’s internal affairs.

Touch speculated that Rainsy’s claims of returning were just a strategy to collect money.

“He is collecting money from his supporters because he has been spending it for a long time already. [Rainsy is suggesting] 'if you contribute to me, I will come back. I need $300,000 to support my return."

“What are you going to do with $300,000? It’s not enough to rent trucks to transport 400 factory workers to join your protests,” he said.

Read more:

Sam Rainsy would be ‘beaten or killed’ if he ever returns

 

He added that the likelihood of Rainsy returning will become less predictable the closer the Kingdom gets to the 2023 national elections.

Kong Korm, a former close ally of Rainsy’s at the Sam Rainsy Party and the CNRP, on Saturday also slammed Rainsy, saying he was a liar, protector of impunity, destroyer of Cambodia’s democracy, a colluder with foreign powers, and delusional.

“I predict that there is no third pardon for Sam Rainsy because there was already a clear determination [of this]."

“I believe that parliament and the government in this sixth mandate will function as normal until the end,” he said, adding that he didn’t believe the CNRP would be reborn.

Meanwhile, when speaking at a police ceremony in Prey Veng province on Friday, national police chief Neth Savoeun said he had already received three court orders to arrest Rainsy.

“The outlawed party is now taking part in political warfare by creating a movement calling for Rainsy’s return to Cambodia."

“Currently, there are three court verdicts issued [against Rainsy] for the police to welcome him [if he returns],” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • 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

  • 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

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • 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