The new headquarters of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will be officially inaugurated on Sunday after its construction was completed over the weekend. The inauguration comes on its 69th anniversary.
Located in central Phnom Penh, the $30 million building was made possible by contributions from CPP members, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday.
Speaking while visiting the construction site of a new international airport in neighbouring Kandal province, he said: “Some asked where we get the money from. My answer to them is that we get it from all levels of membership of the CPP ranging from workers, farmers and vendors to millionaires and their children.
“It’s not hard to get more than $30 million to build the headquarters of the ruling party,” he said.
Hun Sen also hit back at the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for mobilising money to build The Sun TV station, which has not been operational since the idea was proposed before the dissolution of the party.
According to the CCP website, the new headquarters broke ground in November 2018 and took 20 months to build.
The construction company officially handed the building over to CCP vice-president Say Chhum on Sunday.
The five-storey building sits on 1.6ha on Norodom Boulevard in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune. The building itself covers 50,000sqm.
Hun Sen also clarified his reasons for buying 290 military trucks, which were distributed last week to the Kingdom’s armed forces, including the National Police and Military Police.
He said he had raised nearly $20 million to buy the trucks from China in June last year. They would have arrived in February if Covid-19 did not interrupt shipping.
“It is not a new thing that Hun Sen has done this, and it is so successful. When a negative event happens, the private sector helps the army. That’s why there is a partnership between the private sector and the military. It is an unbreakable partnership,” he said.
The prime minister said he started raising money to buy the trucks in 2018 when Thala Barivat district in Stung Treng province bore the brunt of a dam collapse in Laos. He said the government at that time had difficulty rescuing women, children and the elderly.
He said another reason for the trucks was the building collapses in Preah Sihanouk and Kep provinces.
Hun Sen called those who criticised the purchase of the trucks “beasts”. He said if they were not a “beast”, they would be happy to see the military equip itself with those trucks as they are for national transport, not only for military uses.
“If you are a Cambodian who loves the nation, you should be happy to see transportation vehicles arriving in Cambodia because we no longer lack transportation means,” he said, adding Cambodia still needs more ambulances and fire engines.
He said the government is currently using 157 military trucks donated by China.
Responding to widespread speculations that his oldest son Hun Manet will eventually succeed him, Hun Sen said there were many more prime minister candidates within the CPP. As a father, he said he supported his son and had educated him to have at least 90 per cent of his ability.
He said Manet becoming prime minister depends on the party and support from the general public through a general election. Manet would be 53 years old in 10 years, mature enough to be prime minister, he said.
“The new generation . . . there is not only Hun Manet who is qualified. There are many more within the CPP. Time will tell. You may be bored living abroad and you just keep talking about power transfer,” he said, referring to unnamed critics living abroad.
“Keep in mind that we invested in our structure and human resources not for leading the country for a short time. As you can see, the CPP headquarters from the central to the provincial level are constructed to last 50 to 100 years, not a few years. You should understand,” he stressed.
Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath said while building the CPP to be strong was its internal matter, he was concerned that it could affect the principle of democracy in some way.
But Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the contributions from CPP members to build the headquarters reflected the party’s strong solidarity and its forward-thinking nature.
“Ten years from now, I don’t think there will be another party that is strong enough to compete with the CPP. If we look at how the CPP strengthened itself and its resources, the party is like a big elephant that no other animal can confront,” he said.