Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Campaign forces, merchandise deployed en masse

Campaign forces, merchandise deployed en masse

A Cambodia National Rescue Party supporter affixes a party sticker his vehicle in Phnom Penh yesterday. Pha Lina
A Cambodia National Rescue Party supporter affixes a party sticker his vehicle in Phnom Penh yesterday. Pha Lina

Campaign forces, merchandise deployed en masse

Chhay Rachana remained in constant motion at Daiy Ek Silk Screen in Phnom Penh yesterday morning as a stream of customers filtered in to pick up T-shirts, hats and car decals emblazoned with the Cambodian People’s Party logo in preparation for today’s kick-off of the month-long campaign period.

In just 10 days, the shop has sold 10,000 CPP T-shirts, said Rachana, who, like many merchants selling CPP products, has seen business skyrocket.

Outside the shop, 18-year-old Mon Keo Ravy used soap and water to paste CPP window decals onto each window of a silver Toyota 4-Runner as Hem, a 49-year-old employee with the government’s anti-terrorism department, watched his handiwork. A CPP member, Hem said he spent about $100 on party merchandise of his own volition. The logos turn his car into a rolling advertisement that familiarises people with the party’s logo, he said.

Plenty of campaign gear will likely be on display today, as parties launch scores of rallies across the country. The CPP is holding nine separate events in nine different districts in Phnom Penh, said Ork Kimhan, CPP cabinet chief in charge of Statistic Central Department.

Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann expects about 10,000 CNRP supporters to gather at Freedom Park, for a rally beginning at 8am. Rallies will take place throughout the capital’s main streets until about 6 pm, Sovann said.

Meanwhile, some 70,000 police, military police and soldiers will be deployed to maintain security and public order during the month long campaign period, the National Police announced yesterday.

Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, told reporters that a heightened police presence will help curb politically motivated crime. A set of instructions signed by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng ordered authorities from national to village level to focus on election-related crime ranging from vandalism to voter intimidation.

“[All levels of authority] have to pay strong attention to providing equal service of security to all political parties during the election campaign,” the instructions read. “Focus on dividing forces to ensure security … of the election campaign in order to make sure it is free of violence, intimidation and threats.”

Alluding to recent instances where CNRP signs were defaced or torn down in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces, Chantharith specifically mentioned destroying campaign signs as a crime police will thoroughly investigate.

Soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces will be sent to remote areas that are lacking police resources, Chantharith said.

Security forces will earn an extra 8,000 riels ($2) per day from today until the election.

The local European Union delegation released their own set of instructions yesterday, asking Cambodia’s National Election Committee to implement outstanding recommendations the EU Election Observation Mission made in 2008.

Cambodian People’s Party supporters adorn trucks with party flags and banners in Phnom Penh
Cambodian People’s Party supporters adorn trucks with party flags and banners in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

“A transparent and credible election is a major opportunity to consolidate democracy and secure Cambodia’s future development,” the EU statement said. “[The EU] wishes to underline the importance of the NEC in implementing … equitable media access and to prevent use of state resources in the campaign.”

Stores selling political merchandise have been ramping up their workforce for the influx of customers they’ve served in the past couple of weeks.

Purchases typically surge by 60 to 70 per cent during national elections, said Ve Savath, 61, who works at Piseth T-Shirt Printing and Computerized Embroidery.

A bead of sweat clung to the tip of Savath’s nose as he folded banner after banner of metre-long CPP banners. The store began printing CPP shirts and banners ahead of time so employees would not be too overwhelmed when orders began rolling in, Savath said. They have not sold merchandise for any other party.

The store holds no specific party affiliation but has received no orders for merchandise for any of the other seven parties vying for assembly seats, Savath said.

Merchandise for the opposition party were conspicuously absent from storefronts near the Independence Monument yesterday.

But the party has produced about 200,000 T-shirts and 250,000 banners sporting the sunrise logo, said the CNRP’s Sovann, who is also a Phnom Penh candidate for the National Assembly.

More people than ever are buying them from their headquarters in Phnom Penh, he added.

“It’s important to … make people aware of the party logo,” Sovann said.

CNRP members also saw a bright spot yesterday when Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions appealed to his more than 50,000 members, teachers, workers and civil servants to vote for the CNRP.

As Chhun spoke to the press yesterday morning, outlining his ambitious plans to print 30,000 opposition appeals for his members – workers for whom the CNRP’s promised minimum wage increases would likely appeal – others scrambled for a quieter campaign.

In a T-shirt shop across town, a 52-year-old civil servant who declined to give his name unfolded extra-large and XXL white polo shirts bearing the CPP logo, eyeing out which would better fit him.

The party suggests, and in some cases requires, members to outwardly display their party loyalty through clothing and banners during election season, he said.

“I’m CPP. I need to show that I am participating.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MEAS SOKCHEA


  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea