Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Comfrel head Koul Panha (centre) talks at a conference in Phnom Penh in February last year. Pha Lina

Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Election monitor Koul Panha said on his Facebook page that he considers Cambodia a “weak state”. He compared the Kingdom to dictatorships in Africa and claimed it practised human rights violations and nepotism.

But his comments were quickly dismissed by a government spokesman, Phay Siphan, who said they were merely Panha’s tactic to seek political asylum.

“He is in Thailand now, where he works for others. They asked him to say something to wash himself clean. Therefore, he wishes to become a political victim in order to have rights to live in a third country,” Siphan said.

Panha is executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) and currently lives in exile. He posted his remarks on Wednesday in a video explaining his opinion.

“A strong man makes a weak country. Strong countries are made strong by independent and effective institutions and officials. When the country is weak, there are always political conflicts which need mediation from international organisations. Cambodia is among those weak countries,” he said.

He claimed the Kingdom could be considered a dictatorship in a similar vein as Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda and some countries in Eastern Europe.

“Weak states often violate the rights of their people. This is an issue of respecting international human rights. There is a grave concern regarding a weak state which often violates human rights and threatens peace. The international community is worried,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay claimed Panha was not far off in describing Cambodia as a weak state with an overly-powerful leadership, adding that underdevelopment seemed to be a symptom of this.

But Siphan shot back, saying that the culture of the opposition is to always create an environment which is not in line with democratic values. “The culture of NGOs which receive foreign funds always serve the interests of foreigners,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in