Development Policy and International Relations
A mass of people walking on street, it obviously reminds me a picture of water festival that we used to enjoy our cultural performances and celebrate our custom, but it unfortunately hasn’t done for three years so far due to the natural disaster. However, what I see this morning, it is the same mass of people walking on street, but it is different from the points of views and purposes.
In Phnom Penh, the capital city of Kingdom of Cambodia, in the morning of the 25th Dec on Christmas Day, along the way I go to work, as I could see approximately thousand of people are on the main streets of the Preah Noromdom Blvd walking from Songkat Toul Songkae to join the rally at the Freedom Park where all protesters are gathering.
People who are walking on the street I see this morning are mostly young garment labors who demands their minimum wage to be increased to 160USD per month. They are going to participate in protests on the 11th day. Anyway, the rallies are organized by the opposition leaders of CNRP joined by various groups of people from Phnom Penh and other provinces in attempt to relinquish current Prime Minister or to have a snap election as they alleged that there were serious irregularities during the 28th July national election. In this sense, the opposition has conducted round of daily protests and their supporters shout out loud “Hun Sen must step down.”
On the other hand, in response to these demands, Primer Hun Sen last Friday refused to step down or to call a re-vote, saying that he has done nothing wrong. “I have ascended to the prime minister through the constitution. If I descend, it will also be through the constitution,” he said. “Therefore, I confirm that there is no re-election because no one can dissolve the National Assembly and no mechanism states about a snap election before the end of the five-year term,” Xinhau news.
Whatsoever, I am personally of the view that as the movement still carry on its protests, it has obviously reflected that Cambodia is facing with a social problem in which I believe that it starkly divides our society into two as the consequences of a big gap of the benefits from economic development between the rich and the poor, the social justice, voice to be heard in public, etc. In this regard, I strongly encourage both top leaders of ruling and opposition party to have an immediate meeting to put the problem on table for discussing and resolving. Meanwhile, I would also like to call for protesting people that go on their rallies shall continue to do it in a peaceful manner, non-use of force, exercise of self-restraint with respect to human rights and dignity complying with the spirit of healthy democratic process. In return, government authorities shall also obligate to protect the security of protesters and facilitate all means to avoid any possible violence that may occur from any tension.
Hopefully, there should be a possible summit where the two can talk. And hope that the said meeting would be fruitful and bring a compromising resolution that will be successful to end up this political deadlock and to brighten up a new day of Cambodia which all colors of political tendencies can be united as one in order to develop our nation by finding a right track for Cambodia and in that way people from every corner of Kingdom of Cambodia can possibly enjoy their normal daily lives with prosperity together.
Phnom Penh, December 25, 2013
Khov Ea Hai