Government spokesman Pen Bona is of the view that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has lifted Cambodia to a level of development that is “unprecedented in over 500 years”.

He shared his remarks on February 19 while addressing a press conference, held to describe the accomplishments of the first six months of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s seventh-mandate government.

Bona explained that modern Cambodian history began in the late 15th century, with the end of the Khmer Empire and the following Chaktomuk, Longvek, and Oudong periods, none of which saw a lasting peace like the one which began under the leadership of former Prime Minister Hun Sen, and continues today.

He added that under the leadership of Hun Sen, the Kingdom had developed highways, expressways and modern communications systems. In addition, it now has numerous high-rise buildings in Phnom Penh and the provinces, just like other developed countries. 

Moreover, it enjoys food security, and Cambodians are free to travel the length and breadth of the country in safety. They can also travel abroad, he continued.

“These are clear indicators of progress, and can all be verified. I am not making this up – we can all see the truth together. Therefore, we can all agree that under the leadership of Hun Sen, Cambodia reached its highest level of development in over 500 years,” he said.

“Let me make it clear: Hun Sen was behind the rapid development of the country. I believe that his leadership is at the top level in the modern history of Cambodia. He steered the country from the ashes and tears of blood after the fall of the genocidal regime of Pol Pot,” he added, noting that the new government of Prime Minister Hun Manet came into existence just six months ago. 

Seun Sam, a policy researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, acknowledged on February 20 that given Cambodian history, Bona’s opinion is correct.

He considered Cambodia unfortunate, due to the wars that hindered its development.

“It is certainly true. We cannot deny it, because the history that the government spokesperson mentioned is entirely accurate,” he said.

He added that although the leadership of the country had inevitably experienced problems, just as the leaders of any other nation have, it has done an excellent job.