Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sar Kheng warns officials, security forces against complacency

Sar Kheng warns officials, security forces against complacency

Interior Minister Sar Kheng poses with new Kratie Governor Va Thorn. Fresh News
Interior Minister Sar Kheng poses with new Kratie Governor Va Thorn. Fresh News

Sar Kheng warns officials, security forces against complacency

Interior Minister Sar Kheng told provincial security forces in Kratie on Thursday to remain vigilant for any opposition activity in the run-up to July’s national elections, while also warning that a popular opposition movement would only come about from the government’s failure to cater to people’s needs.

“We must join together to keep, protect and strengthen peace, sovereignty and political stability,” he said. “That is the main condition for supporting the process of multiparty liberal democracy and socioeconomic development.”

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of new Kratie Governor Va Thorn, Kheng warned that revolution would only be possible if the people are dissatisfied with the government, though he maintained that the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which secured 44 percent of the popular vote in the 2013 elections, was an illegal entity attempting to sow chaos.

The CNRP was forcibly dissolved last November at the government’s behest for allegedly fomenting a foreign-backed “colour revolution”, though little evidence has ever been presented.

Kheng on Thursday said the decision was right and lawful.

“The competent authorities . . . must pay attention to prevent and take legal action against any activities that attempt to make Cambodian society fall into chaos [and] turmoil,” he said.

However, he noted that any successful anti-government movement would be “born from our inactivity or weakness – from a small issue becoming a big issue”.

“Therefore we need to check even the smallest problem, from the tip of our hair to the tip of our toes,” he said.

Kheng maintained that the Cambodian People’s Party has ruled successfully for decades because it has served the will of the people and made no major mistakes.

“There have been some small mistakes, but they are not serious and it is not dangerous for the country,” he said, going on to call for reform at all levels of government.

“I am not blaming but we need to study and learn what we have done that may have made them not vote for us,” he said.

This is not the first time Kheng has called for government officials to look inward to find the causes of unrest in Cambodia. In 2016, he also warned that government “inactivity” could lead to revolution.

At the time the comments were in stark contrast with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s own rhetoric, which has laid the blame for popular discontent at the feet of criminals and foreign powers.

Paul Chambers, a Southeast Asia expert and lecturer at Naresuan University, said the comments reflect a “personal judgment that the Hun Sen government cannot simply take the people for granted”.

“If it is Sar Kheng’s standpoint, then this could reflect a distancing of opinion between himself and Hun Sen.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Num banh chok pizza a new fusion hit

    Num banh chok is a traditional fish curry with fermented rice noodles, prahok fish paste, kroeung paste, flowering plants and seasonal vegetables that is arguably a strong contender for “national dish” status in Cambodia and typically served for breakfast or eaten as an afternoon snack.

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Higher education leaders tour US

    With support from the US Department of State, 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education participated in the 10-day International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) in three US states from June 19 to July 1. They included nine university rectors and directors of higher education institutions who are members of