Hun Sen Reminds Cambodians of Darker Times—Again
By | June 7, 2013

As the July 28 national election draws near, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday again lauded the ruling CPP for taking Cambodia from the post-Khmer Rouge era to an economic success story. Without the CPP, he said, Phnom Penh would have “become a coconut plantation.”

Speaking from Prey Veng province’s Komchay Mear district at the inauguration of two CPP-supported school buildings—named after Mr. Hun Sen and Senate President Chea Sim—the prime minister contrasted today’s Cambodia with the ruined country that emerged after January 7, 1979, when Pol Pot was toppled.

“Now we can see the completely different situation compared to the period of liberation from the Pol Pot regime in 1979,” Mr. Hun Sen said, using in his speech the Khmer word for “genocide,” a crime which has not been included in a draft law to criminalize denial of the regime’s crimes.

“As all compatriots here know, the Pol Pot genocidal regime destroyed every sector including education—schools were destroyed, teachers and students were killed,” the prime minister said.

And, in a familiar reminder of Cambodia’s darkest period, Mr. Hun Sen said that if Vietnamese-backed forces, which later formed the government, had not taken Phnom Penh, the city would still be empty of people.

“For the last 30 years, if there was no January 7, Phnom Penh would have become a coconut plantation. People would have been killed. Nobody would have survived since the regime had begun internal purges,” he said.

He said development had been a “step-by-step” process, and pointed to Cambodia’s promotion to a lower-middle income country this year.

“We are looking forward to be­ing an upper-middle income country in 2030 and moving on to be a developed country in 2050,” he said. For Cambodia to reach upper-middle income status by 2030, gross domestic product would have to grow by more than 9.5 percent a year between now and then.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

LATEST

Landmines and other ordnance killed or injured 40 people during the first two months of the year, according to the latest figures from the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Authority.

The government is planning to create two new departments within the Ministry of Interior that will be charged with handling immigration issues and the provision of identity documents, a police spokes­man said Tuesday.

As far as Prey Sar prison authorities are concerned, the three days of Khmer New Year are just like any other days. But for two prisoners—a rogue Cambodian-American lawyer locked up for assaulting journalists and a British businessman accused of defrauding millions from U.K. pension funds—the average day can be quite odd.

Killings over environmental and land disputes around the world are on the rise and Cambodia ranks near the top, according to a new report by Global Witness.

Ath Thorn, the embattled president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), said yesterday that he plans to call on his members—mostly garment factory workers—to help fund a $25,000 bail order that would keep him from being detained on allegations of incitement.

The Cambodia Daily | All the News Without Fear or Favor | The Daily Newspaper of Record Since 1993