Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen on offensive again

Hun Sen on offensive again

Meach Sovannara is escorted out of court after a hearing in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Yesterday, Hun Sen mocked Sam Rainsy for his inability to secure the release of detained CNRP activists and supporters.
Meach Sovannara is escorted out of court after a hearing in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Yesterday, Hun Sen mocked Sam Rainsy for his inability to secure the release of detained CNRP activists and supporters. Pha Lina

Hun Sen on offensive again

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday mocked Cambodian National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy for failing to secure the release of CNRP activists and an opposition senator, who, the premier added, were imprisoned because of the party’s “troublemaking”.

In his latest goading of Rainsy since their so-called “culture of dialogue” took a backseat to disputes over the Vietnam border, Hun Sen called his counterpart’s pledge to free his imprisoned troops a “lie” and mocked his impotence thus far.

“If you are good at lying [to people] like this, how can you rule the country? It is impossible,” Hun Sen said.

“You said you would free [the imprisoned opposition figures] by August, but now it is September and you still cannot do it. This is lying.

“What are you thinking about people who supported you?”

The premier and Rainsy were on seemingly good terms earlier this year, trumpeting their “culture of dialogue” as a step forward in the Kingdom’s combative politics.

But recently, tensions have flared and arrests have followed.

On August 15 – after being accused of treason by Hun Sen – Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour was arrested, despite his parliamentary immunity, for posting a “fake” copy of a 1979 border treaty online.

This came on the heels of the arrest of three opposition activists over accusations they participated in violent anti-government protests in Freedom Park last year.

They joined 11 more activists sentenced to hefty jail time in July on “insurrection” charges for the same protest.

The opposition has linked the crackdown to their campaign highlighting alleged Vietnamese territorial encroachment, which includes claims that the government had ceded land by using the wrong demarcation maps.

Although the government has often denied a hand in the arrests, citing judicial independence, Hun Sen yesterday said Rainsy had provoked him to react.

“You are good at making trouble and confessing to tickle [Hun Sen], therefore when you tickled [Hun Sen] and Hun Sen reacted, [the opposition members] were [sent to] prison and [their] fate is jail,” said Hun Sen.

He again likened Rainsy’s pledge to ease up on border rhetoric, made after visiting the prisoners in August, to a gang of thieves confessing their crimes.

He added: “We were asked to work together, but you lied and you cheated, therefore it is impossible for Hun Sen, who has a lot of experience.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment on the speech.

“I can answer only to the issues that are relevant to the interest of the nation,” said Sovann.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia