‘Tol­er­ant’ PM calls for ‘unity’

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Ben Sokhean

IN HIS mes­sage on cel­e­brat­ing the 40th an­niver­sary of the Kam­puchean United Front for Na­tional Sal­va­tion, known by its French acro­nym FUNSK, Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen said for the sake of unity in the King­dom, he is “tol­er­ant” to those who “ac­knowl­edged their mis­takes”, and that he may be the “only leader” to ex­hibit such a trait in Cam­bo­dian his­tory.

Via his of­fi­cial Face­book page on Sun­day night, the Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple’s Party (CPP) pres­i­dent also ap­pealed to Cam­bo­di­ans to “pro­mote na­tional unity”.

“Na­tional sol­i­dar­ity re­quires tol­er­ance. Have you ever al­lowed peo­ple mak­ing mis­takes to apol­o­gise to you? Since an­cient times, among Cam­bo­dian lead­ers, I am per­haps the most tol­er­ant leader,” he said.

Hun Sen said pre­vi­ously, traitors were sen­tenced to “death”, but he has for­given the peo­ple who com­mit­ted “mis­takes”.

While not men­tion­ing him by name, he said he has for­given one per­son twice, seem­ingly re­fer­ring to out­lawed for­mer op­po­si­tion leader Sam Rainsy.

Be­fore re­turn­ing to Cam­bo­dia in 2006, Rainsy re­ceived a royal par­don from King Norodom Si­ha­moni, in re­la­tion to a “defama­tion” con­vic­tion, at the re­quest of Hun Sen.

In the sec­ond case, be­fore the 2013 na­tional elec­tion, Rainsy re­ceived a sec­ond royal par­don from the King which ended the for­mer Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party (CNRP) leader’s al­most four years of self-ex­ile abroad and paved the way for him to re­turn and take part in the polls.

The charges against Rainsy came in late 2009 af­ter he up­rooted de­mar­ca­tion posts on the Viet­namese bor­der and dis­sem­i­nated maps al­leg­ing Cam­bo­dia’s eastern neigh­bour had en­croached on Cam­bo­dian ter­ri­tory.

“I for­give the peo­ple who re­alise their mis­takes. Some­times it is once and some­times it is twice. But it can­not be the third time. I hope that neph­ews and nieces and our peo­ple can un­der­stand clearly about such tol­er­ance for the sake of na­tional sol­i­dar­ity.

“Fi­nally, na­tional sol­i­dar­ity re­quires the peo­ple to dis­tin­guish be­tween the role of the op­po­si­tion in na­tional pol­i­tics and when the op­po­si­tion goes against the di­rect na­tional in­ter­ests of the King­dom,” Hun Sen said.

He said all Cam­bo­di­ans have the free­dom to vote and need to vote with re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We also have free­dom of ex­pres­sion, but we need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for it so that we can pro­mote na­tional sol­i­dar­ity,” Hun Sen said.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Meas Nee said he ad­mits that the prime min­is­ter pre­vi­ously re­quested par­dons for many con­victed po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers. He said a leader’s suc­cess is also to pro­mote na­tional unity.

“Lead­ers who are go­ing to be con­sid­ered heroes in the fu­ture are those who could unite the whole coun­try. When Cam­bo­dia re­mains split and fights each other, we can­not base lead­er­ship on 100 per cent hero­ism,” he said.


Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen ad­dressed gar­ment work­ers in Kan­dal province in July. He ap­pealed to Cam­bo­di­ans on Sun­day to ‘pro­mote na­tional unity’.

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