Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday issued a directive to national working groups to educate and inform the public across the country to avoid any actions intended to topple the legitimate government through a “Sam Rainsy colour revolution”.
In a letter dated May 7, Hun Sen said Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, had made occasional attempts to return to Cambodia this year to “again lead a colour revolution”.
“[He does so] by appealing to the military and the people to topple a legitimate government born out of free and fair elections according to democratic principles."
“These actions are in serious contravention of the constitution and laws of Cambodia, and could cause the country to fall into unexpected crises, chaos and turmoil,” Hun Sen said in the letter.
It says it is important to put in efforts on good management at the grassroots level across the county to curb a colour revolution.
“To have control of the situation at the grassroots level, national working groups in the capital and provinces must lead and direct [local] working groups, authorities and security forces at all levels by holding public forums in communes and villages to raise awareness of the consequence of toppling the government, and about the return of the convict Sam Rainsy who leads this illegal activity,” the letter says.
The letter instructs authorities at all levels to resolve problems for the people in a timely manner, improve public services, develop communities, and educate local officials and armed forces in serving the public.
Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said he had not seen the letter and so could not confirm its authenticity.
However, Sok Touch, the president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on Thursday that the letter was issued in response to an appeal by Rainsy to the military to topple the government.
He said regardless of whether Rainsy’s appeal had had any effect, the government must still take precautions by informing the public of the consequences of a colour revolution.
If there were to be a revolution or any turmoil, the government, he said, would take action which would see ordinary people become victims, while Rainsy would not be affected as he is living abroad.
Touch said the government had to make efforts to prevent any such incidents because it was the government who would be responsible should there be any bloodshed.
He said the recent “candlelight demonstration” in South Korea by a large number of CNRP supporters could also happen in neighbouring Thailand, and the government should take note of this possibility.
“This message is a reminder to any avoid incidents due to negligence by the government. If the government doesn’t take action by explaining to people [the consequences] and there is bloodshed, the question will be: ‘Why had the government not explained to people about this?’” he said.