Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM takes CNRP to task for racist claim

PM takes CNRP to task for racist claim

PM takes CNRP to task for racist claim

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday mocked an alleged claim made by the opposition that more than 4.5 million illegal immigrants from Vietnam are living in Cambodia, before threatening to send related “racist” audio clips to foreign embassies in Phnom Penh.

“[Their allegations] mean teachers, students and elderly people here in Ang Snuol district are Vietnamese immigrants,” he said at school inaugurations in Kandal province. “We’ve all been insulted by being branded Vietnamese immigrants.”

The premier said he believed that between 70,000 and 80,000 Vietnamese immigrants resided legally in Cambodia and he vowed to expose the opposition’s “racism” by way of yet another “incriminating” audio clip.

“We copied an audio clip [of a speech] and will send it to foreign embassies as a message about the opposition party’s racism,” he said.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that there were tens of thousands of “illegal” Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia.

“If the CPP does not believe it, we must conduct a census,” he said.

Sovann added, however, that the CNRP was not trying to spark trouble.

“We are not creating war, we are not creating violence with anyone, but we want them [illegal Vietnamese immigrants] to respect the law.”

The Prime Minister also said any seats won by the CNRP at the National Election on July 28 would be given to other parties if the opposition refuses to recognise election results – something it has threatened to do in protest against what it calls unfair processes.

“The NEC will divide your ballot up and give it to other parties,” he said.

Tep Nytha, general secretary of the National Election Committee, echoed the premier’s statement, saying such action would be followed through on within 14 days of a party officially refusing to recognise the result.

In a final dig at the opposition – for now – Hun Sen said he had no interest in a social media popularity contest with CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, following revelations that the self-exiled opposition leader’s Facebook popularity was soaring.

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