Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday accused the opposition Sam Rainsy Party of having a covert plan to subvert passage of next year’s national budget and threatened legal action against any of its members who continued to compare him to Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader killed last month after a months-long revolution.
“It is painful and insulting to be compared to Gaddafi, and to compare my fate to his,” Hun Sen said. “I am not going to take violent action. I will take legal action if I catch you continuing to compare [me] to Gaddafi.”
Hun Sen’s remarks came while he was speaking to about 1,000 villagers at a ceremony opening the refurbished and widened National Road No 3, which connects Phnom Penh with Kampot province.
The premier also said he had obtained “secret information” that the SRP was attempting to subvert the passage of next year’s budget by forcing four parliamentarians to resign from their seats in the 123-seat National Assembly.
This would result in the legislative body not having the 120 MPs necessary for it to function. Article 76 of the Constitution required that the National Assembly have at least 120 MPs, Hun Sen said.
“The most important of its [SRP] intentions is to prevent us borrowing money from China. When four SRP parliamentarians resign, the National Assembly will consist of only 119 members, and therefore it cannot pass [the budget law],” Hun Sen said, adding that the SRP was attempting to “fully destroy the nation”.
Stepping up his attack, he called for all SRP MPs to resign and allow the National Election Committee to divide their seats among other parties.
He also said internal disputes within the SRP would see it split into five factions, and that it was trying to avoid drawing attention to its own problems by creating havoc inside the National Assembly. Once the National Assembly was in crisis, the SRP would then call for the international community to put pressure on the ruling party, and claim it lacked legitimacy.
“You [SRP] want the international community to put pressure on me, but it is not easy, and if international diplomats are not clear [about the SRP’s manoeuvring], please come to pick up [recorded conservations of SRP members] at my Cabinet,” Hun Sen said, referring to alleged secret tapings of conversations between SRP members.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann dismissed Hun Sen’s allegations, saying the SRP was preparing for the Senate elections in January. Some of its MPs would resign to run for seats in the Senate, he said. “We have no intention to prevent the national budget passing at the National Assembly.
“However, we want a more effective and responsible [use of government funds] for the nation and the people, because debt from borrowing from foreign countries, which is included in the national budget, lacks transparency and fuels corruption.”
SRP MP Mu Sochua told the Post on Sunday there was “a concerted effort under way to undermine the party’s effort to expand its influence in the Senate”, whose members are elected by commune councils.
The SRP had made significant gains in the 2007 commune council elections, winning 2,660 of the 11,353 seats nationwide.
It held two seats in the Senate and expected to win 10 or 11, she said.
additional reporting by Kim Yuthana and Vincent Maclsaac