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 government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville on Wednesday afternoon for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after luring them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip, police said.

About 50 fired factory workers protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal court Wednesday after two of the factory’s five union representatives were summoned for questioning following strikes in February.

The appointment of General Sok Phal to head the Interior Ministry’s newly formed department to monitor migrant workers has raised concerns over his close familial connection to a labor recruitment industry fraught with human rights abuses.

As military police with AK-47s descended on protesting garment workers during their nationwide strike on January 3, Sam Ravy, a manager at one of the many factories along Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, was on the phone with his mother-in-law.

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