Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections


July 23, 2018

COMMENT:

Image result for Din Merican

My advice to this Malaysian MP is that he should deal with the internal problems of his own party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and sort out Malaysia’s mess before interfering in Cambodia’s internal affairs. So far our relations with the Kingdom have been close and fraternal, despite the fact our previous Ambassador Hassan Malek was a bit of an embarrassment, to put it mildly.

Respect Cambodia’s sovereignty and let the Cambodian people choose the government they want. MP Wong should learn more about the politics of Cambodia, its history and culture, and its progress since 1998. To its credit, the Cambodian Government did not comment on Malaysia’s GE-14, but it did congratulate Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when new Malaysia Government took over Putrajaya on May 9, 2018.

MP Wong Chen, come to Phnom Penh and I will be happy to educate you. For starters, you should know that Cambodia is an open country. Unlike Malaysia, it does not discriminate its citizens on the basis of colour, creed, race or religion. How about fixing that in stead of being bloody minded.–Din Merican

Another comment from Murray Hunter in Bangkok, Thailand: “Maybe Mr Wong is better served getting a foreign affairs parliamentary committee working for issues intra-ASEAN and international. Shooting from the hip outside the Foreign Minister of his Government within the ASEAN understanding may not be the most wise thing to do. Anyway knowing the political climate in Kuala Lumpur at the moment, it is a story that will be forgotten tomorrow.”

Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections

A Malaysian parliamentarian raised concerns in his country on Wednesday about Cambodia’s July 29 national elections and urged his government to clarify its position on the subject, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on Thursday.

Image result for PKR's Wong Chen

Wong Chen (pic above), a member of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) which is part of Malaysia’s ruling coalition, said: “I urge the Malaysian government to take a more proactive stance on Cambodia in the same way we took a proactive stance against the Myanmar government on the Rohingya refugee issue under the Najib administration,” he said.

But the Cambodian Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan brushed off the comments, saying that as Malaysia is just a small country, it can’t wade into the internal affairs of Cambodia.

“I believe that we, as a new government, owe a duty not only to reform our own election laws to safeguard justice and uphold democracy but that we go further and promote and safeguard free and fair elections in the Asean region,” Chen, who is also a member of APHR, said.

Siphan countered, saying: “He is just a Malaysian parliamentarian. Malaysia is a full-rights member of ASEAN which will not interfere in the internal affairs of another member state.”

Adding that Chen is of no interest to the Royal Government of Cambodia, Siphan said he is just a representative of a small country, not ASEAN. “[Malaysia] is not America or France, it is just a small country,” he stressed.

In the lead-up to this month’s elections, the international community has expressed concern about Cambodia’s democratic development.

And while China and Japan continue to help fund the National Election Committee (NEC), the US and the European Union (EU) have withdrawn funds.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Chen’s letter will have little impact because ASEAN governments are bound by the bloc’s policy of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

“As it has done before, the Cambodian government would use this principle to ward off what it would call interference in the current election, which is very much the country’s internal affair,” he said.

Hun Sen: No one negotiates better than me


March 29, 2018

Hun Sen: No one negotiates better than me

by Ben Sokhean and Quinn Libson

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/hun-sen-no-one-negotiates-better-me-history-world-leaders

Ben Sokhean, Quinn Libson and Political Analyst Meas Nee would be well advised to read Astrid Noren-Nilsson’s Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination and Democracy for a proper understanding of H.E.Cambodian Prime Minister  Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s political philosophy, his trials and tribulations, his achievements since he took control of the country in 1998, and Cambodia’s contested history since Independence in 1953. Samdech Techo Hun Sen puts democracy building in an explicitly developmental context. For the Cambodian Premier, it is peace, stability and development first. –Din Merican

Prime Minister prepares to speak at a gathering of garment workers in the capital on Wednesday. Facebook

In a boast reminiscent of US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Hun Sen went on a tangent on Wednesday before thousands of garment workers in Por Sen Chey district extolling his negotiating prowess, calling himself one of the top negotiators in the “history of world leaders”, while reiterating that he would not actually be engaging in any such negotiations with the opposition.

The premier emphasised the role he played in negotiating with former members of the Khmer Rouge, saying “Hun Sen’s presence [at negotiations] helped to solve the problems with the soldiers”. He also posited that the job of negotiator, in some ways, is even harder than the role of a soldier on a battlefield, explaining that in battle, the lower-ranked soldiers are the ones in the line of fire, while in negotiation, it’s the high-ranking combatants – like Hun Sen – who are the ones who see the action.

“There is no one using negotiation opportunities better than me in the history of world leaders,” the prime minister told the workers, adding that he had also been carrying out negotiations for longer than any other current leaders.

Political analyst Meas Nee, however, challenged the validity of Hun Sen’s boasts, saying such talks should not just result in a “winner and loser”.

“The negotiator is a person who enables the involved parties to work with one another and solve the problem,” Nee said. “If we look at the current political crisis in Cambodia, if the leader is good, the political crisis would not be stuck in the deadlock it is today, and I think that it would be solved already.”

Image result for Hun Sen and Samy Rainsy

Despite Hun Sen’s claim that his negotiation skills rival all others, the premier is maintaining his position that he will not entertain the possibility of talks with former members of the forcibly dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, which had previously been the only legitimate challenger to Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party in this July’s national elections. On Monday, Hun Sen insisted that there would be no pardons for jailed opposition figures or talks with the CNRP.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan pinned the blame for the lack of compromise on former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, maintaining that Hun Sen is trying to “build a culture of dialogue” with the result that “all Cambodian people are happy and welcome”. Rainsy has been out of the country since 2015, fleeing a host of politically tinged convictions against him, including some in cases levelled by the premier himself.

“The convict Sam Rainsy is the one trying to destroy the culture of dialogue until it’s dead,” Eysan said.

Responding to Wednesday’s speech, Rainsy had a message for the Premier: “[B]eing really effective in negotiations aimed at peacefully resolving national issues requires at least two fundamental skills: intelligence, which he seems to demonstrate, and courage, which he has yet to show.”

“Hun Sen seems to be only guided by fear in his continuous refusal to engage in any negotiation with the CNRP, the only credible opposition party.”

 

This article previously said Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech was given on Tuesday March 27. In fact it was given on Wednesday March 28. This has  been amended.