In an open letter to the nation, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government will do its best to maintain peace and continue its reform strategies as Cambodia and the world grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The seven-page letter dated April 1 wished the people a happy Khmer New Year and covered many topics, including the success of last year, both economically and politically. However, Hun Sen also wrote that an economic slowdown is likely due to the ongoing global Covid-19 crisis.
In the year of the pig, he said, the government successfully maintained national independence, peace, democracy, territorial integrity and social achievements, prevented interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs and attempted revolution in all forms that contradicted constitutional law and democracy.
“As a result, Cambodia remains at peace with independence and integrity and has averted all disasters for the Cambodian people,” he said.
He said in this year of the rat, the government will “try our best to maintain the peace, political stability, security and social order, and to protect the constitution, the monarchy and achievements that have been made thus far.
The letter said the government will pursue its sweeping reforms to strengthen good governance, national institutions, decentralisation, public administration, public finance management, the judicial system and the fight against corruption.
The reforms will also include human resource development and promotion of the education system, digital economy, the fourth industrial revolution, national and international markets and the enhancement of social support systems, public health and infrastructure.
The government will continue to boost electricity supply to cover the whole country, develop industry, commercial transportation, tourism and agriculture.
He wrote that everyone needs peace, except the terrorist who want to destroy peace.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director, San Chey, urged the government to address pressing social problems including corruption.
“I think the government should take issue with officials who keep money overseas and those involved in deforestation. They are persecuting environment protectors and undermining social order. This is power abuse and serious corruption,” he said.
Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the Kingdom might face many challenges this year, mostly arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. He said it will impact social health, which in turn affects the people’s daily lives and the economy.
“Another problem is that some opposition politicians are taking advantage of the situation by misleading the public so they can turn them against the government. That’s why the prime minister has pledged to retain the value of peace at all costs.
“During this Covid-19 crisis, if we cannot manage the situation, we will make this virus spread and it will cause a social and political crisis,” he said.