Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM’s son evasive about future



PM’s son evasive about future

PM’s son evasive about future

During a rare media interview on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son offered a roundabout denial of his political ambitions while lauding his father’s track record, though independent observers yesterday questioned those alleged achievements.

Speaking to Australia’s ABC News, Hun Manet refused to be drawn on repeated probes about his desire to succeed his father as prime minister.

“The answer is I don’t know,” he told ABC News. “If the Cambodian people decide, then that’s their wish.”

When asked if he was being groomed for the role, as has been widely suggested by political observers over recent years, Hun Manet offered a pointed denial.

“No, actually our father has stated many times that he doesn't want any of his children to follow [him] in politics,” he said.

But when questioned on the corruption that plagues the current government and repression it has regularly resorted to, Hun Manet was more forthcoming.

“Please name a country in this world that doesn’t have corruption,” he said, after suggesting his father was responsible for establishing “peace and prosperity” and “all the liberties” and “freedom of expression” he said Cambodian people currently enjoy.

Meanwhile, in a statement echoing recent remarks by his father, Manet, a lieutenant general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said “peace, stability and security” should be preserved “at any cost”.

According to political analyst Ou Virak, that message ties in closely with recent calls from Hun Sen for security forces to quash any so-called “colour revolutions” that might threaten his government, and the premier’s frequent warnings of a civil war should the opposition win power.

“[The preservation of stability and security] has always been a justification for the government in its actions,” said Virak. “So it may be they are preparing for anti-democratic measures once this government loses public support.”

According to Virak, Manet’s interview would have been carefully planned and was likely intended to bolster both the prime minister’s standing among younger voters and Hun Manet’s profile, given the probability he will make a bid for power in the future.

“Hun Manet doesn’t give this kind of interview without really thinking it through,” he explained.

“I don’t think he was surprised [by any of the questions].”

Other statements made by Manet drew criticism yesterday from Transparency International Cambodia’s executive director Preap Kol, who suggested not enough is being done by the government to address “endemic and systematic” corruption in the country.

“The effectiveness of the fight against corruption remains limited and has fallen far below the people’s expectations,” he said. “There is an urgent need to undertake a robust and holistic approach to tackling corruption.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch’s Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson lambasted Manet’s suggestion his father should be praised for introducing basic rights at a time when the government is pushing through a host of legislation widely criticised for being anti-democratic, including the recently passed Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO).

“If anything, civil and political rights, including basic freedoms to speak out and protest, are facing serious challenges – and when LANGO kicks in, it’s likely civil society will face an onslaught of government repression and control,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants