Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday moved to end speculation regarding his health when making a first public speech since receiving treatment for a shoulder sprain in Singapore more than two weeks ago.
He inspected the under-construction Morodok Techo National Sports Complex, the main stadium for Cambodia’s hosting of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, and spoke for more than two hours.
He said malicious rumours from his rivals had again been proved wrong, with such talk stemming from the knowledge that those who opposed him could never defeat him.
“So those who said Hun Sen had serious health problems, where can you hide your faces now, liars! Our fellow countrymen should wake up now. But it is good – next time we can play this trick and make them faint,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister said while he was away, a man in Kampong Thom province, whose name he declined to reveal, had claimed he had ruptured his stomach.
“If it were like they said, I would now be in an emergency room in Singapore. It’s too much.
“The one in Kampong Thom province, you have to understand and remember, as do others who talked about Hun Sen’s health . . . in this day and age, people can communicate even from airspace and the bottom of the sea, so how can we not find out what you are talking about?” he asked.
The cancellation of a meeting at the Council of Ministers had also triggered speculation about the prime minister’s health.
Some people and unnamed media had claimed he was busy seeing his grandchild off at the airport and had cancelled the meeting, Hun Sen said.
The prime minister also issued a warning to Long Kimkhorn, a former official with the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who used a Facebook account named “So Samyuth”.
He said Kimkhorn had used insulting language against him and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
“Khorn, nephew, you [insulted] Sar Kheng and me and you have to remember clearly . . . you are one of the 118 [banned from politics]. If I take what you wrote seriously, you are one of those who incite to bring about colour revolution.
“If I had wanted to have you handcuffed, I would have done so . . . Now everything is in my hands,” the prime minister said, warning Kimkhorn against insulting leaders of the government.
Hun Sen explained that a Council of Ministers meeting last Friday was cancelled because there were no documents needing to be approved.
He took the occasion to meet Gilbert F Houngbo, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development and then saw his grandchild off at the airport.
Hun Sen also indirectly referred to CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy, saying Cambodian people did not care whether or not he returned, but handcuffs and prison were waiting for him should he do so.
He also warned members of the former opposition party living in Thailand that authorities there had agreed with Cambodia that their territory was not to be used as a base for people intending to act against other countries.
Kimkhorn did not reply to The Post on Monday, but he took to Facebook to respond to Hun Sen.
He said he always chose his words carefully when writing any piece as he gave value to those who had struggled for the sake of the country and its people. He said he only had one Facebook account but noted that there were other accounts similar to his.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said negative speculation regarding Hun Sen’s health came from his rivals.
“When he returned, it proved that the news was ‘fake’ and was made in an attempt to cause turmoil in society.
“It shows that Hun Sen’s rivals only compete in politics by spreading rumours of the prime minister having health problems. They do not have good strategies,” he said.