Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders



KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders

Hun Manet, the head of the anti-terror department and a deputy commander of Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, distributes winter jackets to troops in Tbong Khmum province on Thursday. Facebook
Hun Manet, the head of the anti-terror department and a deputy commander of Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, distributes winter jackets to troops in Tbong Khmum province on Thursday. Facebook

KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders

Encouraged by a recent exchange with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son on Facebook, the leader of the fringe Khmer Power Party yesterday suggested Cambodia’s political leaders should stage public debates.

Soun Serey Ratha said that leaders should build on the “indirect democracy” illustrated in a recent back and forth between himself and Hun Manet, Hun Sen’s son and a senior military official.

On Facebook, Ratha had questioned the scion about where he got the money for his recent gift of winter jackets for troops, criticising the use of private cash for what should be an expense borne by the Ministry of Defence.

He also took aim at ruling party officials’ tendency to pass off the work of the state as that of the party, accusing Hun Sen, for instance, of taking the “national budget to build infrastructure and naming himself as the donor”.

In response, Manet, head of the ministry’s anti-terror department and a deputy commander of both the infantry and his father’s Bodyguard Unit, shot back that the clothes were gifted by his parents and another unnamed donor, and that Serey Ratha should use his “time and brain” to think how he could help the troops.

Though Serey Ratha said Manet’s answer “raised more questions than it answered”, he said that such exchanges should move into a public forum to allow people to see the leaders debate.

Although the constitution prescribes that citizens be granted an annual National Congress to grill their representatives, such a congress has never occurred. In recent times, however, the prime minister and various officials have begun garnering – and at times responding to – feedback on Facebook.

Reached yesterday, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan and Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann both dismissed Serey Ratha’s comments, which also included calling Hun Sen a “dictator” and lambasting the opposition for being “afraid” of the ruling party.

Eysan suggested Serey Ratha, who was pardoned last year after being convicted of terrorism, should focus on building enough support to win a seat in parliament.

“He should look at his policy for gaining voters’ support . . . rather than criticising other parties’ policy,” Eysan said.

Sovann echoed the sentiment. “He can say whatever, it’s up to him. Now we are working as is the wish of the voters. If he has new ideas, [he should] wait to have seats in the [National] Assembly and then we can talk.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital