Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM doles out cash, caution to capital garment workers



PM doles out cash, caution to capital garment workers

Prime Minister Hun Sen hands out white envelopes containing $2.50 to 7NG factory workers in Kandal province yesterday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen hands out white envelopes containing $2.50 to 7NG factory workers in Kandal province yesterday. Facebook

PM doles out cash, caution to capital garment workers

On the same day Cambodia’s highest court dissolved the main opposition party, Prime Minister Hun Sen was busy campaigning at several garment factories, urging some 10,000 workers to vote for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party and doling out cash to more than 700 pregnant women.

During his speech, he reminded workers that he planned to remain in power for at least 10 more years and repeated lavish promises of additional benefits for garment workers beginning in 2018, including free health care, a higher minimum wage and a $100 bonus to mothers for every newborn child.

The premier also warned workers not to let anybody incite them to protest, and told them not to bow their heads to foreigners – an apparent dig at the foreign powers the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was accused of colluding with to topple his government.

“Don’t fall for any incitement and break your rice pot,” he told the workers. “We will not allow big and small gangsters to do protests and threaten workers into not working and joining the protests.”

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said a politician holding a campaign-style rally, asking for votes and giving away money would be considered blatant vote-buying in most countries.

“But as usual in Cambodia, there’s apparently one set of rules for Hun Sen, and another set for everyone else,” he wrote in an email. “Hun Sen is asserting his impunity to do whatever he wants, and operating above the law like a dictator rather than an elected leader.”

Despite the gifts and additional benefits, Hun Sen is “not an advocate of the working poor, he’s only really concerned about remaining in power any way that he can”, Robertson added.

Paul Chambers, a lecturer at Naresuan University in Thailand, said he found it interesting that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was ousted from power on Wednesday “at a time when Hun Sen is using the same tactics Mugabe utilised to also hang on to a decades long parliamentary dictatorship”.

“So the question is: In the process of trying to stay in power, will Hun Sen also run his country into the ground?” he asked in an email. “Will he move Cambodia in the direction of a Mugabe future?”

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,

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from