Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM’s sexist epithet raises ire

PM’s sexist epithet raises ire

Prime Minister Hun Sen waves to members of the public in Kandal province on Monday before delivering a speech in which he used derogatory language when discussing a female protester.
Prime Minister Hun Sen waves to members of the public in Kandal province on Monday before delivering a speech in which he used derogatory language when discussing a female protester. Heng Chivoan

PM’s sexist epithet raises ire

Women representing dozens of civil society groups met yesterday to discuss Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent use of derogatory language when discussing a female protester accused of injuring a security guard.

Following the afternoon meeting, Ros Sopheap, executive director of local rights group Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC), said a joint statement would be released to express concern at the remarks, which included labelling the woman nhee, a term reserved for female animals, and mee srey, a phrase used to express anger at a young woman.

The premier’s language “sets a bad example for lower officials and the younger generation to follow … because this is the word of the top leader”, she said.

Yesterday’s outcry followed a speech on Monday during which Hun Sen called for the arrest of an unnamed woman who allegedly kicked a security guard during a violent protest next to Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park in July 2014.

Sopheap said yesterday that the woman should be punished by the law, rather than by degrading language.

“Women are human beings like men are, so if anyone commits an offence, we should enforce the law.”

Thida Kus, executive director of rights group Silaka, said the offensive language could set a dangerous precedent and affect women across the country.

“Although that woman is a criminal, it affects women in the general population, too,” she said. “The leaders should be careful with their words.”

This week is not the first time that Hun Sen has been in hot water for using derogatory remarks against women.

In 2009, prominent opposition politician and women’s rights activist Mu Sochua filed a defamation suit against him for allegedly using the term cheung klang – a Khmer term meaning “strong leg” but considered derogatory when used in relation to women – to describe her.

The premier later filed his own countersuit, and Sochua was convicted of defamation.

Sok Eysan, spokesman of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, yesterday defended Hun Sen’s most recent remarks.

He “was only commenting on a tree, not on the whole forest. That woman is just a rotten tree, but it has not spread to women in general”.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when