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

The cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday accepted a petition from villagers from Kratie province’s Snuol district who are requesting intervention in a land dispute with a plantation owner.

Environment Minister Say Sam Al on Wednesday lauded the country’s controversial sugar industry and the jobs it has created, saying that companies operating in the sector need to be defended against the widespread criticism they have been receiving.

As the international community on Wednesday lauded the opposition CNRP’s agreement with the ruling CPP to take its seats in the National Assembly, some of the opposition’s most outspoken allies talked of treachery from a party that months ago was demanding a re-election or the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In the aftermath of the covenant struck between Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP President Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, the opposition was fast to frame the deal as a grudging and rare concession from an authoritarian party deeply protective of its power.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who was banned from running in last year’s national election, will now be sworn in as one of the CNRP’s 55 lawmakers, with Kompong Cham province lawmaker-elect Kuoy Bunroeun standing down to become an opposition member on the new bipartisan electoral commission.

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