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Posted by: | Posted on: July 13, 2018

Threats and corruption: Behind the scenes of Cambodia’s election crackdown

Threats and corruption: Behind the scenes of Cambodia’s election crackdown

Cambodia ranks as one of the world’s most corrupt countries – but after an extensive forensic investigation, Al Jazeera found that corruption stretches far beyond the country’s borders, all the way to Australia.

In 2016, the anti-corruption NGO, Global Witness, released a ground-breaking report exposing the widespread business interests of long-standing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, his family and their cronies.


Cambodia’s Deadly Politics

Hun Sen’s family was shown to have links to more than 100 companies across all sectors of the economy including tourism, agriculture, mining, electricity and the media as well as affiliations with top international brands.

The family’s combined wealth is estimated to be anywhere from $500m to $1bn.

Kem Ley, a popular Cambodian social commentator and fearless critic of the Hun Sen government’s corruption and nepotism, went on radio calling for a full investigation into the family’s business interests.

Two days later, he was shot in broad daylight in a Phnom Penh cafe.

Human beings are like animal, without law and moral, are worse than animals – Thomas Hobbs

Vibol Kong, Cambodia's director general of taxation [Al Jazeera]

Vibol Kong, Cambodia’s director general of taxation [Al Jazeera]

Thank you very much for sharing this very impressive documentary by Al Jazeera.
Like I have previously emphasized, the code of ethic and professionalism for those high ranking officers are zero. Mr. Kong has come out with  his genuine behaviour of flip flop tactic illustrating at the same level of many other high ranking officers including the PM who has been so outstanding in such political behaviour.
He should know that in democratic countries such as Australia, Canada, USA, France, England etc. all corporate registrations and court verdicts are available for public to review or to research in complying with their law of “transparency” to the public, in which in Cambodia, the liars have become the big brothers and enjoy lucrative wealth while the honest have become desperate and the underprivileged. Those activities have been condoned and impunitive because the court is used as tool for the powerful, not for the honest or the underprivileged.
Right now, Cambodian youths have not been easily bought out in term of peace and security or Cambodia is a post-conflict war which need another 10 years to develop at all because how those youths are expecting when those liars are remained in power and they can be passing such lying tactics to their young breeds to grip future power irresponsibly for decades to come?
– First of all, very risky but invaluable work by Mary Ann Jolley. This is her masterpiece that her love for justice is omnipotent and omnipresent regardless of Cambodians or non-Cambodians.
– Mr. Vibol Kong and many others are good in tricking Cambodians and they have assumed that all other countries are also siding with them in dirty business and lying or what they have employed in their power-business that “money can buy everything”. In Cambodia, they can lie thousand times to extract wealth and power at the expenses of innocent Cambodian people. But in developed countries, the justice system will never condone any wrong-doers. Now, their dirty business and money laundry and other illicit activities will be disclosed, sanctioned, and frozen etc. not caused by anything else but by their thirst for illegitimate power.
Database of all court convictions and procedures are live online for Australia, or Canada as well as other democratic countries. All corporate registrations are free access for the public to review and study those entities.
– Congratulation to Mrs. Kalyan Ky for her strength to stand up and talk to the public on issues that are illicit activities of those immoral elites of Cambodia. Her mission is not done just that, the Australia government must follow suit the laws it must abide by from this public complaint.
– The lady again, Ms. Sin Pov Rozeth, for her bravery to stand up against injustice and showing her genuine patriotism.
– Ann did mention the Paris Peace Agreement at the end, which this accord has enabled Cambodia to this stage while the free riders of this imminent PPA have twisted it to boast their own merits and turn down this very viable backbone for future of Cambodia.
Posted by: | Posted on: July 12, 2018

The hard choice facing Cambodia’s opposition voters

The hard choice facing Cambodia’s opposition voters

Featured image by Southeast Asia Globe after a photograph by Erika Pineros

Interviews conducted by Southeast Asia Globe across three provinces revealed a growing climate of fear driven by local CPP officials allegedly abusing their power to deprive suspected opposition supporters of essential government services. Those who have grown frustrated with 30 years of CPP rule now find themselves forced to choose between being complicit in an election they see as illegitimate and facing the consequences a boycott could bring down on their families. 

The Butcher claimed that his local commune officials had threatened to withhold their services as essential notaries and mediators to citizens not bearing the telltale ink on their index finger following this month’s commune elections. 

“If you’re not going to vote, they say, you’re not a legitimate citizen,” he said. “So they mark down your name and they don’t help you with papers or approval on anything.”

Commune councils are responsible for ensuring their constituents have access to essential health and social services, and oversee the bureaucracy of day-to-day life. Commune chiefs, deputies and clerks serve as mediators in business and family life, overseeing marriages and divorces. Hun Sen’s Cambodia author Sebastian Strangio said that the ruling party had long used its stranglehold on local government to pressure Cambodian citizens.

“In the past, the CPP has used its local organisations and working groups to forcibly enroll people in the CPP, as in the ’93 and ’98 elections,” he said. “I presume the CPP will deploy the many local government and party offices to encourage people to come out and vote.”


“It’s bad, because we have been discussing not going to vote,” he said. “But we also have a backup plan: we go and scratch the papers [leaving the ballot blank or invalid]. But I’m afraid they’re going to count that as a ruling-party vote. I feel very hopeless. I don’t know what to do.”

With the CNRP leadership in prison or scattered across the globe, and the nation’s military and police dominated by the ruling party, it seems unlikely that a CPP win would be greeted by the same widespread street protests that followed the controversial 2013 result. Strangio said that for many Cambodians, ways of expressing dissatisfaction with the CPP’s actions were running thin. 

“What we are more likely to see than an uprising in the street is this sort of passive resistance where people drag their feet,” he said. “People have been doing this for years – this isn’t a new thing. When you talk to people in villages, they will express critical views of the CPP and the authorities and a great deal of skepticism about their pretensions and claims. Whether that actually affects the CPP’s grip on power in this election remains unclear. I do think a boycott is a potentially embarrassing thing for the CPP if it gathers momentum and a large portion of the public buy into it.”


For the Barber, it’s not enough. Staring out across the dusty roads of Sen Sok, he describes a future that feels all too familiar to those who have grown up under the thumb of a one-party state.

“It’s just a one-man show – you’ll win anyway, and so no one is going to criticise you,” he said. “You don’t know what flaws you have. If there were a strong opposition party like before, there would be someone to criticise you and your policies and have some impact on decision-making in parliament, but now you’re alone – you don’t know what you lack or how you could make it better. You just live in your own world. Everything else, you’ve shut down.”

Read more details at Southeast Asia Globe…

Posted by: | Posted on: June 11, 2018

«នៅពេលមនុស្សល្អនៅស្ងាត់ស្ងៀម» ទី ២

«នៅពេលមនុស្សល្អនៅស្ងាត់ស្ងៀម» ទី ២Gaffar Peang-Meth A. 02
និពន្ធដោយលោកបណ្ឌិត ហ្គាហ្វារ ពាងម៉េត

ថ្ងៃទី១០ ខែមិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៨

freedom is not free 1លទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យលើកតម្កើងប្រជាពលរដ្ឋជា «អធិបតី» ពោលគឺជាធំ ។ នៅក្នុងការគ្រប់ គ្រងនគរ លទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យប្រកាន់យកឆន្ទះប្រជាពលរដ្ឋជាកំពូលនៅក្នុងសេចក្តីសំរេច នយោបាយ ឬមាគ៌ានយោបាយរបស់ប្រទេស ។

ខ្ញុំបានរំឮកនៅក្នុងអត្ថបទខ្ញុំកាលពីមុននេះថា អង្គភាពភូមិសាស្ត្រក្រិកបុរាណឈ្មោះ Athens ជាប្រទេសទីមួយក្នុងលោកដែលបានឱបក្រសោបលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យតាំងតែពីក្នុងសតវត្សទី ៥ មុនគ្រឹស្ទសករាជមកម្លេះ ។ ពោលគឺពលរដ្ឋក្រិកបុរាណដែលបានប្រសូតទស្សនៈ «សេរីភាពរបស់បុគ្គលមនុស្ស» ដែលបានក្លាយទៅជាមូលដ្ឋានគ្រឹះនៃអរិយធម៌ពិភពលោកខាង លិចហើយពាក្យក្រិកមានន័យថា «ប៉ូលីទីកូស» politikos ដែលខ្មែរយើងនិយមហៅថា ប៉ូលីទីក គឺសំដៅទៅលើការទំនាក់ទំនងរវាងពលរដ្ឋក្រិកនិងអង្គភាពភូមិសាស្ត្ររបស់គេ ។ រដ្ឋ Athens ឈរនៅលើមូលដ្ឋាននៃពលរដ្ឋដែលមានសេរីភាពនិងមានការយល់ដឹងសមល្មម ហើយដែលមើលឃើញថា ការចូលរួមនៅក្នុងកិច្ចការរដ្ឋគឺជាកិត្តិយសនិងជាភារៈកិច្ចរបស់ ពលរដ្ឋ ។

នៅក្នុងគំនិតបណ្តុះបណ្តាលលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យឱ្យបាននៅគង់វង្ស នៅទ្វីបអឺរ៉ុប លោក ហ្ចន ឡក់ John Locke (១៦៣២-១៧០៤) ទស្សនវិទូជាតិអង់គ្លេស និងលោក ហ្សារ៍លស៍ ដឺ ម៉ុងតេសគីយើ Charles de Montesquieu (១៦៨៩-១៧៥៥ ) យុត្តិវិទូបារាំង បានផ្តោតទៅលើគំនិតបែងចែកអំណាច ឬ separation of powers; ការត្រួតពិនិត្យនិង តុល្យភាពនៃអំណាច ឬ checks and balances; និងការគ្រប់គ្រងរដ្ឋាភិបាលដោយ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ឬ popular control of government ។ រីឯនៅទ្វីបអាមេរិកវិញ បិតាស្ថាបនាសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកដែលបានសិក្សាយល់ដឹងអំពីគំនិតរបស់ទស្សវិទូអង់គ្លេសនិង យុត្តិវិទូបារាំង ក៏បានខិតខំប្រឹងប្រែងដោយឥតសំចៃកម្លាំងកាយនិងកម្លាំងប្រាជ្ញាក្នុងការបង្កើតរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញមួយដើម្បីគ្រប់គ្រងប្រទេស ហើយបានដាក់ចេញនូវប្រព័ន្ធនយោបាយមួយក្នុងឆ្នាំ ១៧៨៧នៅទីក្រុងហ្វីឡាដែលហ្វីយ៉ា ដែលនៅគង់វង្សជាប់លាប់រហូតមកដល់បច្ចុប្បន្នកាលនេះ ដោយបានបញ្ចូលទៅក្នុងរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញអាមេរិកាំងឆ្នាំ ១៧៨៩ នូវមូលដ្ឋានគោលការណ៍ គ្រឹះមាន ៖ «រដ្ឋាភិបាលមានកម្រិត» ឬ limited government; «ការបែងចែកអំណាច» ឬ separation of powers; «ការត្រួតពិនិត្យនិងតុល្យភាពនៃអំណាច» ឬ checks and balances; និង «ប្រព័ន្ធសហព័ន្ធ» ឬ្ federalism បែងចែកអំណាចសហពន្ធពី អំណាចខេត្ត ។ អ្វីដែល បិតាស្ថាបនាសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកខ្លាចហើយចង់ជៀសវាងណាស់គឺរបបជិះជាន់និងឃោរឃៅ ដែលគេឱ្យឈ្មោះថា tyranny ហើយនិងអ្វីដែលគេបានឱ្យឈ្មោះថាជា «elective despotism» ឬ របបជិះជាន់តាមរយះបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសរើស ។ លោក ហ្ចេមស៍ ម៉ាឌីសុន James Madison (១៧៥១-១៨៣៦) ដែលបានជាប់ឆ្នោតជាប្រធានាធិបតីអាមេរិកាំងទី ៤ ក្នុងឆ្នាំ ១៧៨៩ លោក អាឡិចហ្សាន់ឌ័រ ហាម៉ិលតុន Alexander Hamilton (១៧៥៧-១៨០៤) ដែលបានធ្វើ ជារដ្ឋមន្ត្រីក្រសួងហិរញ្ញវត្ថុក្នុងឆ្នាំ ១៧៨៩ ហើយនិង លោក ហ្ចន ហ្ចេយ៍ John Jay (១៧៤៥-១៨២៩) ដែលបានធ្វើជាមន្ត្រីយុត្តិធម៌ទីមួយនៃតុលាការកំពូលអាមេរិកាំងនៅឆ្នាំ ១៧៨៩ ជាបិតារដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ។ លោក James Madison បានផ្តល់អត្ថន័យ ដល់ពាក្យ tyranny ដូចតទៅនេះ ៖ tyranny គឺ «ការប្រមូលផ្តុំអំណាច (គ្រប់គ្រង)ទាំងអស់ ទាំងអំណាចនីតិបញ្ញត្តិ អំណាចប្រតិបត្តិ និងអំណាចតុលាការឱ្យនៅក្នុងកណ្តាប់ដៃបុគ្គល មនុស្ស ទោះបីតែមួយនាក់ ឬបី-បួន-ប្រាំនាក់ ឬច្រើននាក់ ហើយទោះបីជាក្នុងបុព្វហេតុ តំណពូជ hereditary – តែងតាំងខ្លួនឯង self-appointed – ឬដោយវិធីជ្រើសរើស  elective» ។

បិតាស្ថាបនាសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកភ័យខ្លាចថាការផ្តុំអំណាចនឹងអាចជាន់ឈ្លីសិទ្ធិមនុស្សនិងកម្មសិទ្ធទ្រព្យសម្បតិ្តរបស់ពលរដ្ឋ ។ គេជឿថា បុគ្គលណាដែលកាន់ក្តោបអំណាចតែងតែ លំអៀងយកអំណាចនោះទៅប្រើនៅគ្រប់ទីកន្លែងផ្សេងៗតាមតែខ្លួនអាចធ្វើទៅបាន ។ ជំនឿនេះបានជម្រុញគេឱ្យបង្កើតជា «រដ្ឋាភិបាលមានកម្រិត» ឬ limited government ដោយគេបែងចែកអំណាចជាបី ៖ គឺនីតិបញ្ញត្តិ ប្រតិបត្តិ និង តុលាការ ហើយគេបង្កើត ប្រព័ន្ធ «បែងចែកអំណាច» មិនឱ្យអំណាចណាមួយអាចវាតទីឈ្លានពានទៅលើអំណាច ឯណាទៀតដែរ ពោលយ៉ាងខ្លី គឺការចែកតួនាទីនិងភារៈកិច្ចផ្សេងៗដោយសភាបង្កើតច្បាប់ រដ្ឋាភិបាលអនុវត្តច្បាប់ តុលាការធ្វើ សេចក្តីសំរេចអំពីច្បាប់ ឬកាត់សេចក្តីការរំលោភលើច្បាប់ ។ តែនេះមិនមែនបានសេចក្តីថា មានឪខ្លាត្រីកាន់អំណាចមួយៗនោះទេ ។ គេបានបង្កើតប្រព័ន្ធ checks and balances ឬ «ការត្រួតពិនិត្យនិងតុល្យភាពនៃអំណាច» មិនឱ្យមានឪខ្លាត្រីជិះសេះលែងដៃឡើយ ពោលគឺអំណាចនិមួយៗមានភារៈត្រួតពិនិត្យអំណាចផ្សេងទៀត គឺថា សភាបង្កើតច្បាប់ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែអំណាចប្រតិបត្តិអាចជំទាស់ ហើយសភាអាចប្រមូលសម្លេងពីរភាគបីទាត់ចោល ទំនាស់របស់អំណាចប្រតិបត្តិ ។ ម៉្យាងវិញទៀត អំណាចប្រតិបត្តិអាចតែងតាំងមន្ត្រីតូច ធំហើយអាចស៊ីញ៉េសន្ធិសញ្ញាក៏ប៉ុន្តែព្រឹទ្ធសភាត្រូវឱ្យឬមិនឱ្យសច្ចានុមតិ ។ អំណាច តុលាការត្រូវពិនិត្យមើលថា តើសេចក្តីសំរេចរបស់សភានិងកិច្ចអនុវត្តរបស់អំណាចប្រតិបត្តិ វាត្រឹមត្រូវស្របតាមច្បាប់រដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញដែលជាច្បាប់កំពូលរបស់ប្រទេសជាតិដែរឬទេ ។ ម៉្យាងវិញទៀត ចៅក្រមសហព័ន្ធសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកត្រូវបានតែងតាំងដោយអំណាចប្រតិបត្តិ និងទទួលការយល់ព្រមពីសភាជាតិដែលមានអំណាចលើកម្លាំងធុងប្រាក់ ។ សមាជិកនៃ សភាជាអ្នកតំណាងនិងជាអ្នកទទួលឆ្នោតជ្រើសរើសដោយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ។ នៅទីបញ្ចប់ គឺរូបអ្នកនិងរូបខ្ញុំដែលជាប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ។

នៅក្នុង Federalist Paper ឬ «សន្លឹកឯកសារសហព័ន្ធ» លេខ ៥១ លោក James Madison បានសរសេរថា៖ «ការការពារមួយយ៉ាងធំបំផុតកុំឱ្យមានការប្រមូលផ្តុំអំណាចបន្តិចម្តងៗ គឺត្រូវផ្តល់មធ្យោបាយដែលចាំបាច់តាមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញ . . . ដើម្បីទប់ទល់នឹងការឈ្លានពាន អំណាច . . . មហិច្ឆិតាមួយត្រូវទប់ទល់នឹងមហិច្ឆិតាមួយទៀត . . . បើមនុស្សលោកជាទេវតា មិនចាំបាច់មានរដ្ឋាភិបាលគ្រប់គ្រងទេ ហើយបើទេវតាជាអ្នកគ្រប់គ្រងមនុស្ស ក៏មិនចាំបាច់ មានការត្រួតពិនិត្យរដ្ឋាភិបាលពីក្នុងឬពីក្រៅដែរ ។ ដោយហេតុថា យើងត្រូវបង្កើតរដ្ឋាភិបាល មួយដែលមានបុគ្គលមនុស្សគ្រប់គ្រងលើបុគ្គលមនុស្ស . . . ការពឹងផ្អែងទៅលើប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ជាការត្រួតពិនិត្យលេខមួយដោយឥតសង្ស័យទៅលើរដ្ឋាភិបាល ហើយការពិសោធន៍ក៏បាន បង្រៀនមនុស្សលោកដែរអំពីការចាំបាច់ឱ្យមានជំនួយដ៏ប្រយត្ន័ប្រយែងផងទាំងឡាយ»

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 10, 2018

Malaysia’s Election and Impacts on Democracy and Geopolitics in Southeast Asia

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Two things to be considerate on the recent election in Malaysia: the overseas Malaysians voters and the national institution.

Malaysian Election Commission is appointed by the King of Malaysia to conduct nationwide election. This election of May 9, 2018, 14 millions were registered to vote and 82% voter turnout. There are 7,979 Malaysian voters overseas according to the EC. Malaysia has allowed overseas citizens to vote since 2012 except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore, have allowed overseas citizens to democratically vote during national elections.

Malaysia is Constitutional Monarchy like Cambodia. The King is the Head of State who exercises power through the provision of constitution to ensure rights and freedoms, commander-in-chief of the national arm-force, and chief of magistracy to ensure judiciary system is capable and competent.

លទ្ធផលនៃការបោះឆ្នោតនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ីកាលពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែឧសភាកន្លងទៅនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យមានការភ្ញាក់ផ្អើលច្រើន ដោយសម្ព័ន្ធភាពនៃគណបក្សប្រឆាំងបានយកឈ្នះគណបក្សកាន់អំណាចជាលើកដំបូងក្នុងរយៈពេលជាង៦០ឆ្នាំ។ ការណ៍នេះមានឡើងស្របពេលដែលនិន្នាការនៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានថយចុះនៅបណ្តាប្រទេសផ្សេងទៀតនៅក្នុងតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍។ អ្នកតាមដានការបោះឆ្នោតពីររូបគឺលោក យឿង សុធារ៉ា អ្នកជំនាញខាងកិច្ចការបោះឆ្នោត និងលោក សេង សុភ័ណ នាយកប្រតិបត្តិនៃប្រធានគណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស (CEROC) ថ្លែងថា ប្រទេសកម្ពុជានិងប្រទេសអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍ផ្សេងៗអាចរៀនសូត្របានច្រើនអំពីដំណើរការបោះឆ្នោតឯករាជ្យនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ី សិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតនៅក្រៅប្រទេសរបស់ពលរដ្ឋម៉ាឡេស៊ី ការផ្ទេរអំណាចដោយសន្តិភាពទៅកាន់រដ្ឋាភិបាលថ្មី និងការធ្វើតុល្យភាពនយោបាយការបរទេសក្នុងទំនាក់ទំនងជាមួយប្រទេសចិន។ (សឹង សុផាត, Hello VOA, វ៉ាស៊ីនតោន, ៧ មិថុនា ២០១៨)

Posted by: | Posted on: June 8, 2018

Monarchy stuck in middle of Cambodia’s conflict

Monarchy stuck in middle of Cambodia’s conflict

Op-Ed: Asia Time

Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest serving leaders, has had notoriously rocky relations with the royal family. In 2003, King Sihanouk claimed CPP soldiers and police were threatening him when he refused to inaugurate the National Assembly after a controversial election.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni (L) shakes hands with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who bows, (R) during a ceremony marking Cambodia's Independence Day in Phnom Penh on November 9, 2016. Photo: AFP/Chhin Tang Sothy

King Norodom Sihamoni (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Hun Sen, who bows, (R) during a ceremony marking Independence Day, Phnom Penh, November 9, 2016. Photo: AFP/Chhin Tang Sothy

Cambodia Governance Dr. LaoTwo years later, Hun Sen said he might dissolve the monarchy entirely when newly crowned Sihamoni did not immediately agree to sign a controversial border treaty with Vietnam.

Hun Sen’s about-face from would-be monarchy dissolver to stout monarchy defender has raised concerns that the stiffened law is designed more to stifle political opponents than preserve the dignity of the monarch.

Paul Chambers, a regional analyst and lecturer at Thailand’s Naresuan University, said it is now evident the lese majeste law “is being used to intimidate and imprison members of the political opposition.”

“Rather than really protecting the king’s dignity, the implicit intent of these arrests is to merge anti-CPP activity with insulting the king, as if the CPP were the political party of the king,” he said via email.

Chambers said this is similar to how the lese majeste law is sometimes abused in Thailand, where politicians and officials have hurled anti-royal charges to undercut rivals and opponents.

“The only difference between the Cambodian and Thai case is that for Cambodia the lese majeste law was constructed by a prime minister for his own benefit,” Chambers said.

The anti-royal law’s amendment was first proposed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng in December, along with a series of other controversial laws.

When called for comment on the law’s recent use, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak lambasted this reporter. “You are a pig from a European country,” he repeatedly shouted.


Sam Rainsy, then president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, speaks to his supporters upon his arrival in Phnom Penh on 19, July 2014. Photo: AFP/Kimlong Meng/NurPhoto

Sam Rainsy speaks to his supporters upon his arrival in Phnom Penh on July 19, 2014. Photo: AFP/Kimlong Meng/NurPhoto

Former CNRP president Sam Rainsy said the law was passed to give the ruling CPP legitimacy as the defender of the monarchy because it has lost popular legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

“The regime needs to secure some kind of cheap legitimacy — such as the one derived from the CPP’s allegedly defending a tamed monarchy — at a time when the only real and indisputable legitimacy that is based on popular support is vanishing with the elimination of the opposition and the civil society,” he told Asia Times.

Rainsy, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2015 to avoid a series of politically-tinged charges and convictions, penned an open letter to Sihamoni urging him not to support the upcoming election. In the letter, dated May 23, he wrote: “Everyone knows that the vote in question does not constitute a real election.”

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: May 25, 2018

News On The Upcoming Fake Election Of Cambodia And The Election Boycott

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Lee Morgenbesser, an expert on authoritarian regimes, said the elections would “absolutely not” be free and fair, even with the CNRP’s participation.

Janet and LP 6 “The minimum standard requires that all parties and candidates be subject to the same procedures for registering and appearing on the ballot; all campaign and compete on a level playing field; all have equal access to the media; voters be free to vote for their preferred candidates; and official results accurately reflect the votes that were cast,” he explained.

Cambodia has failed to satisfy each of these requirements – and few would be resolved even if the CNRP were revived.


The government has even abandoned symbolic gestures such as Phnom Penh’s “Freedom Park,” established in 2010 to satisfy the country’s Law on Peaceful Demonstrations. The park, which hosted mass protests following the disputed 2013 elections, is supposed to be a designated area for citizens to gather in protest. It was closed down after Hun Sen ordered it to be relocated to the outskirts of the city, around 4 kilometers away from the original park. The relocation seems to violate a clause in the law that requires the park be easily accessible to the public. Today, 10-foot high metal walls have cropped up around the park, blocking access entirely.

The closure of Freedom Park may make little difference, given that Hun Sen has expressed his willingness to kill 100-200 people to maintain stability, and Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak bragged that nobody “dares” to protest.

The forced exclusion of the CNRP has understandably grabbed headlines. But the restrictions on free speech, media, civil society, freedoms of association and assembly, and the possible absence of election observers indicate that even if the CNRP were miraculously resurrected, the Cambodian elections would still be a far cry from free and fair.

Read more the Diplomat…


If passed, the bill must be enacted into law within 180 days, although it is not yet clear when the House will vote on the legislation.

The Cambodia Democracy Act 2018 states that democracy has failed in Cambodia despite “decades of international attention and assistance,” and condemns the deteriorating situation for political rights, civil society and the free press.

The legislation’s co-sponsor, Alan Lowenthal, called the bill a “major step” towards holding Hun Sen and his associates accountable.

“I believe these sanctions will get the attention of the Cambodian government,” Lowenthal said in a statement, stressing that the US and world must act urgently. “I also believe that our action today will encourage other members of the international community to take similar actions and bring additional pressure to bear on Hun Sen.”

Cambodian officials identified as being involved in undermining democracy are already banned from traveling to the US following a December decree from the State Department.

There are now bills in both the US Senate and House that would impose asset freezes, although the Senate bill goes even further by requiring that the US oppose loans to Cambodia from international financial institutions. It also bans any negotiations on the more than US$500 million debt Cambodia owes America dating back to the 1970s.

Cambodian officials’ assets are difficult to track given that asset “declarations” sit in a closed envelope in the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit. Some high-ranking officials like Siphan are dual US-Cambodian citizens.


Rainsy also said Hun Sen “is holding his people hostage and blackmailing donor nations” by flaunting the negative effects sanctions would have on average Cambodians.

“I am calling on the Cambodian people to be prepared for some additional hardship in our current fight for a democratic and peaceful change,” he said. “As in any battle for a just cause, a short-term sacrifice may be required to secure a better future.”

While the US hasn’t threatened the garment industry specifically, officials have warned that further action is on the cards.

Sophal foresees more sanctions coming after the July elections, which he doesn’t expect the US to recognize as free, fair or legitimate. “It’s clear as day the US will reject the results of the election and I expect more sanctions as Cambodian democracy is not only undermined but completely gutted.”

Read more on Asia Times…


Voters and abstainers

Rather than a competition between the CPP and another party, the election is shaping up to be a competition between voters and abstainers. With the CPP all-but-guaranteed a win, it is voter turnout that counts. As Cambodian political analyst Meas Nee points out, the CPP’s concern is no longer winning the election, but maintaining legitimacy and “minimum recognition” from the international community.

Read More …