Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interior minister calls for calm, negotiations



Interior minister calls for calm, negotiations

Interior Minister Sar Kheng (left) and acting CNRP leader Kem Sokha shake hands at a political meeting at the National Assembly last year.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng (left) and acting CNRP leader Kem Sokha shake hands at a political meeting at the National Assembly last year. Heng Chivoan

Interior minister calls for calm, negotiations

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Wednesday delivered an appeal for calm and negotiations, declaring political competition is “not the enemy”.

Seen by many as a moderate voice within the Cambodian People’s Party, Kheng said there needed to be acceptance of the fact that politics are inherently competitive.

“This is competition, and we need to understand this issue and not go beyond that,” he said. “When we go beyond it, there will a break in the nation and it will not become democracy, but anarchy. The competition is to serve people, and it is not the enemy.”

The remarks follow months of political turbulence, with the ruling CPP accused of using the courts to harass the Cambodia National Rescue Party with questionable legal cases.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, in particular, has adopted a tough stance, threatening to “eliminate” the CNRP if it goes ahead with plans for mass demonstrations.

In recent days, however, the CPP appears to have softened its stance, with the premier hinting at possible negotiations at the National Assembly.

Warning against “fighting”, Kheng said it was time to “sit together” and “create a multi-party democracy” where opponents were considered “competitors”, not “enemies”.

Though Kheng was once a leader within a faction of the CPP loyal to the late Chea Sim, once a rival to Hun Sen’s own powerbase, political analyst Ou Virak said he believed the interior minister’s comments were part of a “good cop, bad cop” strategy, rather than a sign of dissent within the ruling party’s ranks.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with