Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 72
Op-Ed: The CEROC
This part (72) broadcasted by CMN Radio on August 08, 2016, Mr. Sophan Seng articulated on denial of NEC to open special registration date on Pchum Ben Day proposed by CNRP as well as facilitating good accessibility for migrant workers and overseas Cambodians.
The State and the CPP: Cambodia’s Social Contract
In Cambodia, Hun Sen’s CPP — not the government — has a monopoly on providing public goods.
By David Hutt
August 19, 2016
Op-Ed: The Diplomat
Half way through writing this piece, the perfect encapsulation of the points I was intending to make was provided when Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke to a group of 18-year-old high-schoolers on Wednesday. At the Hun Sen Bun Rany High School, named after himself and his wife, he asked: “You have been learning under the schools of samdech; how come you don’t vote for samdech?” (referring to his royally bestowed title that translates roughly as “lord”). He added: “How can you vote for the others when they have never built schools for you? Please help to tell your parents, too.”
Where to begin with such a remark? First, Hun Sen was breaking his own government’s law banning political propaganda at academic institutions. This isn’t the first time, though; in June, students in Pursat province were handed t-shirts bearing the words: “I love the Cambodian People’s Party.” Second, after breaking his own rules, which were reinforced by Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron only a month earlier, the CPP’s spokesman Sok Eysan justified his actions by saying that Hun Sen is above Hang Chuon Naron, the insinuation being that all decisions certainly do lie with the boss. Third, and by far the most significant, his comments reveal the synonymous nature of the Cambodian State and the CPP.
Not unlike the reign of Norodom Sihanouk, or the Angkorean “god-kings” of earlier centuries, the current Cambodian system operates on the basis of noblesse oblige. The vision of society is one where education, health, roads, and other basic services are not provided by the State (as they are, or, arguably, should be, in most modern democratic countries) but by the CPP. Since 2003, there have been more than 4,000 schools built across Cambodia using private funds, and named after the prime minister or his wife. These are the so-called “Hun Sen schools.” The same goes for hospitals, roads, bridges, and other services and infrastructure. Many have been built from donations made by CPP-aligned oknhas. Traditionally the title given by the king to nobles, since a sub-decree in 1994 resurrected the honorific the number of oknhas has swelled, from 20 in 2004 to an estimated 700 in 2014. To become a member of this semantic club, one must donate $100,000 to the “greater good,” often basic infrastructure projects, and in return is granted material gratitude, and the turning of a few blind eyes. The Buddhist concept of merit no doubt has history here, though in the modern day it can be greatly exaggerated. Rather than karma, capital and power fuels the system.
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 71
Op-Ed: The CEROC
This analysis part (71), Mr. Sophan Seng analysed on the Cambodian voters who are not having citizenship identification ready for voter registration. If they missed to register for vote, they shall miss opportunity to vote in upcoming commune election on June 4th, 2017.
National Election Committee (NEC) announced on preparation of voters registration dated between September 1st, 2016 to November 25th, 2016. Ministry of Interior who is responsible for issuing citizenship id said that there are more than 2 millions are not having proper citizenship id and observers are worrying that those are fallen into the old mechanism of doubles names, disenfranchisement, and missing names etc.
តោតទៅលើគណបក្សទាំងពីរនូវលំនាំនៃ ការដឹកនាំជាពិសេសគឺលំនាំនៃការផ្ទេរអំណាចទៅថ្នាក់ក្រោម ការផ្ចិតផ្ចង់និងប្រយ័ត្នប្រយែ ងការងារ នីតិវិធីនៃការសម្រេចចិត្ត និងការប្រមើលមើលលទ្ធផលការងារជា ប្រចាំ ជាដើម។ នៅពេលដែលគណបក្សប្រជាជនជាគណបក្ សដឹកនាំរដ្ឋាភិបាលជាច្រើនអណត្តិ មកហើយ គណបក្សនេះអាចប្រមូលបានធនធានហិ រញ្ញវត្ថុនិងធានធានមនុស្សបានយ៉ា ងច្រើនដើម្បីកេងបន្លំសាធារណៈ ជនបានមហិមាសម្រាប់ភាពស្របច្បាប់ របស់ខ្លួន គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិគឺគ្រាន់តែជា សកម្មជនជួរមុខតាមមូលដ្ឋានអាស្រ័ យលើតំលៃសប្បុរសធម៌និងការលះបង់ធំ ធេង ការហ៑ានប្រឈមនិងសុច្ចរិតភាព ហើយប្រសិនបើការសន្និដ្ឋាននេះជា ការពិត សំណួរសួថាតើគណបក្សទាំងពីរគូសវា សគោលនយោបាយគោលឬមេយ៉ាងដូចម្តេច? ជាការពិត ដោយទុកគណបក្សដែលមានធនធានច្រើនជា ងមួយអន្លើរ គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិហាក់បីដូចជា ផ្ញើរវាសនារបស់ខ្លួនតែទៅលើសមាជិ កនិងអ្នកវិភាគល្បីៗប៉ុណ្ណោះ ប្រសិនយើងក្រឡេកមើលថយក្រោយរវា ងឆ្នាំ២០១៣-១៤។ ជាឧទាហរណ៌ស្រាប់ ការទាមទារអោយមានការផ្លាស់ប្តូ រសមាសភាពគជបតាមរយះដាក់បញ្ចូលអោ យស្ថិតក្រោមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញគឺជា ទស្សនវិស័យវែងឆ្ងាយ តែការដែលយើងមិនបានលឺសំណើរដាក់អោ យក្រុមប្រឹក្សាធម្មនុញ្ញមិនលំអៀ ង កងកម្លាំងប្រដាប់អាវុធអព្យាក្រិ ត ប្រពន័្ធយុត្តិធម៍អព្យាក្រិត ឬបង្កើតច្បាប់ការគ្រប់គ្រង់ថវិ ការបស់គណបក្សនយោបាយជាដើម គឺចាត់ទុកថាជាការខ្វះខាតការស្រា វជ្រាវនិងការផលិតឯកសារ ធ្វើឡើងដោយក្រុមការងារដែលយល់ដឹ ងសីុជម្រៅដើម្បីធានាដល់ភាពរឹងមាំ នៃក្រុមតំណាងប្រជាធិបតេយ្យទាំ ងអស់។ ក្នុងពេលជាមួយគ្នានេះ អ្នកសង្កេតខ្លះផ្ទុះសំណើចទៅលើសំ ណូមពរសុំអង់ទែនទូរទស្សន៌ទៅវិញ។
ពេញការងាររបស់តំណាងរាស្រ្តទាំ ង៥៥រូប របស់គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិក្នុងកំ ឡុងការបំពេញការងារក្នុងអគាររដ្ ឋសភា។ មេដឹកនាំគណកម្មការការងារចំពោះកិ ច្ចក្នុងក្របខណ្ឌគណកម្មការសភាជា ច្រើនរូបបានអោយមន្ត្រីរដ្ឋាភិបា លជាច្រើនតម្រង់ជួរគ្នាដើម្បីសា កសួរ ប៉ុន្តែការយកមាត្រា៩៨ថ្មីមកប្រើ ដូចជាមិនត្រូវគេប្រាប់អោយដឹ ងឬពង្រាងជាគម្រោងដោយគណកម្មកា រឬតំណាងរាស្រ្តណាម្នាក់ឡើយ។ បើនិយាយពីតារាងកាលវិភាគនិងគំរោ ងសកម្មភាព អ្នកទិទៀនឃើញតំណាងរាស្រ្តគណបក្ សសង្គ្រោះជាតិមិនបានដាក់ចេញនូ វវិធានការងារកំរិត១ កំរិត២ អោយជាក់លាក់ឡើយ។ ពេលវេលារំកិលទៅយ៉ាងរហ័យ ដូចដែលអ្នកសង្កេតទស្សន៏ទាយការព្ យាយាមចុងក្រោយរបស់លោកហ៑ុន សែន ក្នុងការបណ្តេញមេដឹកនាំសំលេងភា គតិចនិងតំណាងរាស្ត្របក្សជំទាស់ ចេញពីរដ្ឋសភាគឺជាវិធានការការពា រខ្លួនលោកមិនអោយធ្លាក់ទៅក្នុងមា ត្រាទី៩៨ថ្មី។
- ខណៈនេះ ហ៑ុន សែន ហាក់បីដូចធូរស្បើយអារម្មណ៌បន្ទា
ប់ពីគាត់បានប្រើប្រាស់កណ្តាប់ដៃ ដែកបែបម៉ាច់ឈីវីលានផ្តាច់ការ ទាំងក្រុមការងារតាមខ្សែរសាច់ឈា មនិងខ្សែមានផលប្រយោជន៌រួមគ្នាមិ នអាចគេចចេញពីក្តារអុករបស់គាត់ទេ ហើយគាត់កំពុងតែរំពឹងទុកនូវការបែ កបាក់ ការអស់កំលាំងពលំ និងការស្តីបន្ទោសគ្នាទៅវិញទៅ មករបស់ដៃគូប្រកួតរបស់គាត់។ តែគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិបានប្រមូ លបានពិន្ទុនៃសេចក្តីល្អច្រើនលើ សលប់ ដែលជាចុងក្រោយអាចស្រូបយកសកម្ មជនមូលដ្ឋាននិងសហគមន៌អន្តរជាតិ អោយចូលរួមរហូតប្រែក្លាយរលកសមុទ្ រអោយទៅជាព្យុះសមុទ្រយក្សខ្លាំ ងក្លាមហិមា។ តែលើសពីអ្វីៗទាំងអស់ វានឹងស្ថិតលើគណបក្សនូវវិធីដែ លគណបក្សនីមួយៗដឹកនាំតាមរបៀបស្ថា ប័ន។
EU expressed worry on current NEC in assigning duties to local authority to conduct voters registratingPosted by: Cambodian | Posted on: July 28, 2016
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 70
This part (70), broadcasted by CMN Radio on 26-27 June 2016, Mr. Sophan Seng discussed the deficits of neutrality and effective work performance of the NEC because of political influence by the government-led party.
EU expressed worry on the assignment to local authority to taking part in voters registration following steps of old controversial mechanism. This latest phenomena is one among those irregularities NEC has undergone under the pressure and influence of government. NEC has difficulties to match between ID or voters registration files with database of citizens. NEC has obstacles to access to citizen-database as well as conduct its business independently especially provision laws enacted in March 24, 2015.
Very different from Election Committee of Canada that government and authority respected all its business operations and requests for close incorporation, Cambodia’s NEC has always been under consultations with government in all its business transactions.
Comment: Nicely termed indeed to call Cambodia democracy “gray zone” or “foggy zone”. For me, it is beyond that two zones acclaimed by academicians, it is a “risky ridge zone” between crocodile and tiger. Cambodian people know very well that China is crocodile and Vietnam is tiger. Kampuchea Democratic Party led by Pol Pot has evidenced on humankind devastation when their organ was purely given birth and bred by Vietnam but nurtured and nutrient by China. Under current leadership of government-led party CPP, the history repeat itself.
Cambodian Democracy: Trapped in the ‘Gray Zone’
Op-Ed: The Diplomat http://thediplomat.com/2016/
Cambodian’s democracy is not developing — it is stagnating.
By Chum Chandarin, July 27, 2016
I greatly appreciate that Parker Novak’s interest in Cambodian politics and that he foresees a positive outcome for Cambodian democracy. Unfortunately, as a Cambodian, I believe his article entitled “Cambodia’s Democratic Development: Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain,” fails to engage some facts which could lead to an unrealistic hope about Cambodian society and stagnate democratization.
While Novak observes the absence of violence and removal of some clauses in the cyber law as a positive trend toward democracy, he misses some important issues that are concerning democratic advocates and scholars around the globe. What is happening in Cambodian politics is not unique, compared to what is happening in Latin America as well as other Southeast Asian nations. A quick look at the Freedom House reports would reveal that Cambodia is still classified as an authoritarian state, as it has been for decades. Cambodia does not even fit into the minimalist conception of democracy introduced by Joseph Schumpeter — a ruler elected “through a competitive struggle for the people’s vote” — let alone Robert Dahl’s “polyarchy” which demands free and fair elections as well as the rights to participation, expression, and information.
The positive look at Cambodian democracy is misleading. Cambodia is falling into the “political gray zone,” a term coined by Thomas Carothers in the January 2002 issue of the Journal of Democracy, in an article entitled “The End of the Transition Paradigm.” The political gray zone is a space where countries are “neither dictatorial nor clearly headed toward democracy,” according to Carothers. The regimes have certain democratic institutions but are less accommodated to political opposition and civil society participation. Citizens in this gray zone context do not meaningfully participate in the polity besides voting and the political parties are entertaining each other without making any serious reforms toward a deeper democracy.
Similar to the gray zone, Andreas Schedler in 2002 introduced the term “foggy zone” where two types of regimes, electoral democracy and electoral authoritarianism, are produced in between the poles of closed authoritarianism and liberal democracy. To him, elections are needed for a democratic country, but true democracy has to go beyond the elections to the institutionalization of “other vital dimensions of democratic constitutionalism, such as the rule of law, political accountability, bureaucratic integrity, and public deliberation.”
Cambodia is trapped within the “foggy zone” and qualifies as an electoral authoritarian state as it has failed to institutionalize its democratic institutions. There are recurring free elections but not fair competition. The military is under one-man rule. The court is influenced by politics. Fundamental rights granted by the Constitution have been continuously violated. Clearly, the beatings of opposition members of parliament (MPs) in broad daylight in front of the National Assembly and the detention of opposition politicians are some of the many examples of ways the ruling party is abusing its own law.
Thus, to argue that Cambodia is heading toward a meaningful democracy, and shall merely bear some pain along the way, is to miscalculate the authoritarian’s ability to consolidate his power and manipulate democratic rules to camouflage his dictatorship. It will take a stronger push from both local and international actors to advocate for more meaningful democracy. Cambodians have been enduring enough pain, have lost many lives, and have vigorously spoken for true democracy in their country. If elections are the only road to democracy, yet the election does not reflect the people’s true will, what can Cambodians hope for?
CHUM Chandarin is a senior lecturer in a private University in Cambodia. He is currently undertaking his PhD study in the field of democracy and decentralization in a European university. He used to work with various organizations in the field of community development and education