Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday threatened political rivals with criminal charges should anyone campaign on the promise of cancelling household loans.
Speaking at a microfinance conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, Hun Sen spoke out against unnamed parliamentarians and individual party officials he said were spreading propaganda with promises of cancelling loans people have taken from the microfinance or banking industry.
“To do such a cheap act, going door to door and cheating people, by saying they will cancel debt if they will win in the election; I think that this act . . . [requires] immediate arrest, because it is in violation of financial regulations,” he said.
The premier said that the police would arrest anyone caught spreading such propaganda “on the spot”.
“It is unacceptable that they cheat people for their own political gain, that drags people into worse debt,” he said.
The prime minister said someone had been making such claims in recent weeks but did not reveal who it was.
Kuol Panha, head of election watchdog Comfrel, said that the premier had raised an “extreme” example, but that debating household debt among politicians should be encouraged to ensure “best practices” emerge from the finance industry.
“Politicians have the right to talk about that,” he said, citing previous government intervention into the microfinance industry following drought season to alleviate the burden among Cambodia’s poor as well as requests from the government to donor countries to restructure its own loans.