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

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’