Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Parties question NEC policy




Parties question NEC policy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Representatives of the National Election Committee speak at a press conference last week. Pha Lina

Parties question NEC policy

Opposition party and civil society leaders spoke out on Tuesday against a move by the National Election Committee (NEC) that prohibits supporters of any party from attacking or criticising the platform of another.

Several opposition politicians called it an act against democracy, while the NEC’s spokesman claimed only destructive criticism was being banned.

The ban was put in force after caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen called on people to stop attacking his party and comparing it with others.

Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president Pich Sros said he didn’t understand the reasoning behind the decision.

“Cambodia is a democracy and it should be normal to criticise. In addition to that, when observing the inaction of the ruling party or the demagogic policies of any party, it needs to be criticise for improvement,” he said.

Political parties, he said, should criticise each other, and comparison is unavoidable as everybody wants to talk about the best ways to improve the country.

“If we do not allow criticism, why create new parties? Having one party is enough, if that’s the case. For example, I don’t like the [court-dissolved] Cambodia National Rescue Party so I formed another political party to criticise it. So I disapprove of this ban,” said Sros.

Chen Thon, the secretary-general for the League for Democracy Party (LDP), said that according to the Kingdom’s laws there is no such ban. The laws only prohibit insult, slander, hiding information and speaking with exaggeration.

He claimed criticisms that bring improvement is a good thing.

“We need to criticise for constructive [growth]. It means that when we see wrong, we say it’s wrong. When we see it right, we say it’s right.

“It’s not that when we see them make one mistake, we say it’s two or three mistakes. That’s called painting or slandering. That’s a problem,” Thon said.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said in this context there are constructive criticism and criticism that’s destructive. The former is not a problem, but if the criticism is destructive, it might cause problems.

“We can criticise to the extent that it’s acceptable [from the other side]. As long as there is no lawsuit, it is no big deal,” he said.

Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections executive director Sam Kuntheamy said parties should create policies in line with social situations to attract voters. This could reduce criticism from other political parties.

“The criticism of political parties is unavoidable. We need to allow some constructive criticism as long as it’s not too extreme,” he said.

Hun Sen, in a speech in Kampong Chhnang on June 27, warned leaders of other political parties that, in order to maintain their position, they must stop attacks immediately.

He also banned his officers from responding to party leaders who criticised him.

Attacks from other political parties on him, he said, were politically motivated and if he responded, it would only give them more exposure.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Cambodia, CRF win rice battle in EU Court

    The European General Court has rejected the European Commission’s (EC) request to reject a complaint submitted by Cambodia and the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) regarding the EU’s reintroduction of tariffs on Indica rice exports from Cambodia. A court order uploaded to the European