Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders

KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders

Hun Manet, the head of the anti-terror department and a deputy commander of Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, distributes winter jackets to troops in Tbong Khmum province on Thursday. Facebook
Hun Manet, the head of the anti-terror department and a deputy commander of Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, distributes winter jackets to troops in Tbong Khmum province on Thursday. Facebook

KPP boss seeks public debates for political leaders

Encouraged by a recent exchange with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son on Facebook, the leader of the fringe Khmer Power Party yesterday suggested Cambodia’s political leaders should stage public debates.

Soun Serey Ratha said that leaders should build on the “indirect democracy” illustrated in a recent back and forth between himself and Hun Manet, Hun Sen’s son and a senior military official.

On Facebook, Ratha had questioned the scion about where he got the money for his recent gift of winter jackets for troops, criticising the use of private cash for what should be an expense borne by the Ministry of Defence.

He also took aim at ruling party officials’ tendency to pass off the work of the state as that of the party, accusing Hun Sen, for instance, of taking the “national budget to build infrastructure and naming himself as the donor”.

In response, Manet, head of the ministry’s anti-terror department and a deputy commander of both the infantry and his father’s Bodyguard Unit, shot back that the clothes were gifted by his parents and another unnamed donor, and that Serey Ratha should use his “time and brain” to think how he could help the troops.

Though Serey Ratha said Manet’s answer “raised more questions than it answered”, he said that such exchanges should move into a public forum to allow people to see the leaders debate.

Although the constitution prescribes that citizens be granted an annual National Congress to grill their representatives, such a congress has never occurred. In recent times, however, the prime minister and various officials have begun garnering – and at times responding to – feedback on Facebook.

Reached yesterday, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan and Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann both dismissed Serey Ratha’s comments, which also included calling Hun Sen a “dictator” and lambasting the opposition for being “afraid” of the ruling party.

Eysan suggested Serey Ratha, who was pardoned last year after being convicted of terrorism, should focus on building enough support to win a seat in parliament.

“He should look at his policy for gaining voters’ support . . . rather than criticising other parties’ policy,” Eysan said.

Sovann echoed the sentiment. “He can say whatever, it’s up to him. Now we are working as is the wish of the voters. If he has new ideas, [he should] wait to have seats in the [National] Assembly and then we can talk.”

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo