Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM fires back at charity critics

PM fires back at charity critics

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks while visiting flood victims in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday. SPM

PM fires back at charity critics

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday hit back at critics who raised suspicions about donors’ contributions during disasters in the country.

While visiting flood victims and handing out supplies in Banteay Meanchey province, he said the donors were simply acting from their hearts.

“On the way, I saw a person who posted on Facebook that this great party [Cambodian People’s Party] collects money after floods and collects money after building collapses. Let me send this message – if you want to be enemies with money, go ahead.

“I do not make enemies with money. When generous people contribute from their heart, we accept it as a kind act. They [critics] said we collect money to buy cars, we collect money for Covid-19, everything is about collecting money.

“If generous people want to contribute, we accept any amount. We accept one riel, one hundred riel, one thousand or 10 million riel if they want to contribute. If they give it, we take it to help people. It is their generosity.

“As a matter of fact, you are the ones who raise money, put it in envelopes and then in your own pocket. They were seen in video putting [donated] money into their own pockets,” he added.

As of Thursday, nearly $8 million has been donated to help flood victims in the country, the prime minister said.

Regarding the donations to help prevent Covid-19, Hun Sen said he did not call for people to donate. The King and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk contributed money and okhnas followed their lead, he said using the honorific bestowed on those who donate at least $500,000 to the state for development. The money raised to combat Covid-19 is estimated at nearly $20 million.

Hun Sen said okhnas have also participated in protecting the nation as well. He pointed out that military tanks the government had previously bought were sponsored by some okhnas. Some of them, he said, had bought 10 tanks while others bought five.

“So we have tanks to use. I didn’t have to spend money from the national budget. Okhnas help to buy them. I accept that [donations] . . . We need tanks and artillery. We can use the national budget, but all of them [okhnas] are willing to help.

“Most of the solider barracks along the border are donated by generous people. Some of the okhnas provided 20 barracks and some provided 30 barracks. It is called the people’s defence, not just the army,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said: “There is no problem with our culture of assistance to the needy. The problem is with our politicians who have politicised charity and traded it for votes.

“A better way would be to depolarise both charity itself and the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) and let the latter collect donations and organise humanitarian assistance. Let the CRC invite the King, the Queen Mother, the prime minister, or any other prominent public figure to preside over relief distribution ceremonies if it so wishes.

“It’s unethical to squabble when the nation has fallen victim to acts of God and needs urgent relief assistance.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the