Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen chastises Funcinpec president for ambitious campaign promise

Hun Sen chastises Funcinpec president for ambitious campaign promise

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a photograph with garment workers in Kandal province on Wednesday. facebook

Hun Sen chastises Funcinpec president for ambitious campaign promise

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday slammed the Funcinpec party’s promise to pay off the personal debts of Cambodians if it won the July 29 national elections as “deceitful”.

He also derided the party’s claim to be the only one able to protect the Kingdom’s monarchy as a “disgrace to the monarchy”, saying only his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) could do so.

Speaking to 16,000 workers from 10 garment factories in Kandal province on Wednesday morning, Hun Sen said he was surprised when he heard that Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, had made such an election promise.

“I am very surprised that someone would say they would pay off all the people’s debts. This is deceitful,” he said.

While not naming Prince Ranariddh, the premier claimed “that man” had written to him asking to borrow $1.35 million, promising to pay him back in July.

“Just a few weeks ago, [he] wrote to borrow money from me, but now he has promised to pay the debts that people all over the country owe,” Hun Sen said. “Which nation has ever done that?”

He said that because Cambodia was a poor country, it had to depend on foreign loans to develop its infrastructure, and so he had never imagined a political party could make such a promise.

“Oh my God! Where can you get the money, Your Highness? Did you take the wrong drug? Only a fraud could have said that,” Hun Sen exclaimed.

He said even his ruling CPP could not make such a promise, so it had focused on increasing the minimum wage.

He further mocked Funcinpec by saying that not even US President Donald Trump or Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad could do so.

“Such deceit should not be used for the sake of getting votes as it could lead to people borrowing more money because they think somebody is waiting to pay their loans for them.

“I suggest that those who use this as propaganda stop doing so because it could ruin people,” the premier said.

Hun Sen went on to criticise the party for calling itself the only defender of the monarchy, saying the claim is “ridiculous” and “a disgrace to the monarchy”.

“Even members of the royal family do not have the ability to protect the monarchy,” he said. Some of them, such as Sisowath Sirik Matak, Hun Sen said, had even tried to abolish Cambodia’s monarchy as part of the Lon Nol government of the 1970s that deposed Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

“Only the CPP has the ability to protect the throne and the constitutional monarchy. Some people call their party ‘royalist’ just for political propaganda. It is a disgrace to the country’s monarchy.”

Funcinpec lawmaker and spokesperson Nheb Bun Chin said his party’s promise to settle the people’s debts was not “deceitful” but a Funcinpec policy.

“This policy is something we can execute. Funcinpec, as Samdech Krom Preah [Prince Ranariddh] said, guarantees we will honour our words and do it for the people if we win the coming elections,” he said.

He said the policy focused on providing assistance to poor people who owe less than $3,000 to banks or microfinance institutions, and that the party had experience of governing, having won the 1993 national elections.

“We do everything according to the law. A promise made by a small party or a person cannot be trusted, but we used to rule the country and brought peace and justice to Cambodia. We have not ruled since. But the people can try by voting for us,” he said Bun Chin went on to defend his party’s claim that Funcinpec was the only royalist party in the country.

“We have been a royalist party since [becoming a political party in] 1993. If a party was born just a few months ago, it is wrong to call itself ‘royalist’, but Funcinpec has existed since 1993 and stands for neutrality and legitimacy,” he said.

Meas Nee, a political analyst, called the Funcinpec policy “unrealistic” and “charismatic propaganda”.

“With debts at about $4 billion in microloans to families and involving more than 52 microfinance institutions, it is not an easy solution,” he told The Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not