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

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman