In a press conference following the formation of the new government, former Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated the importance of the five core principles for good governance that he initiated in the previous mandate and that he said should continue to be implemented. The five principles literally translate as “look in the mirror, shower, wash, get treatment and undergo surgery”.

Hun Sen, who remains president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), said all CPP members need to steadfastly execute them.

“If we abandon these approaches, it signifies our inability to recognise our flaws,” he said, likening these approaches to self-care routines.

“Look in the mirror to see if we have gotten ourselves dirty. If we have, then shower to clean ourselves up. If unwell, seek treatment. If that fails, have surgery,” he advised.

Emphasising their importance, he said: “Relinquishing these principles equals the party’s downfall. While it’s up to the new government to embrace them, I insist CPP members undeniably adopt them”.

Hun Sen clarified that while he would not mandate the government to adopt these approaches, he expects CPP officials to lead by example.

“I hold expectations that the new government will persist with these principles as they’re crucial for efficient governance and national development,” he shared.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, agreed that these principles could pave the way for effective leadership.

He highlighted that while the government is not mandated to adopt them, it’s imperative for the CPP.

“Being a CPP-led government, if the party continues with these principles, so will the government,” he said.

“These principles are influential in governing and state management, providing a roadmap for officials seeking improvement,” he added.

Reflecting on his transition, Hun Sen revealed that even after relinquishing his prime ministerial role, he remains committed to societal issues.

“I’ll focus on enlightening the younger generation, sharing insights on critical thinking, history and leadership,” he said.

He light-heartedly mentioned a personal change, revealing that from August 22, he plans to retire for the night before midnight, a departure from his usual late hours.

Elaborating on his future plans, Hun Sen stated: “I have a wealth of experience to share. It’s my duty to ensure the next generation comprehends leadership nuances.”

He also expressed his commitment to fortifying the Samdech Techo Sen Volunteer Lawyers’ foundation, aiming to aid the underprivileged in legal battles.

“I’m not just an executor of duties. Beyond my official roles, I actively contribute to social causes, supporting orphanages and other charitable ventures. My wife, too, remains dedicated as the head of the Cambodian Red Cross,” he said.