National Defence Minister General Tea Banh has warned opposition supporters who want to destroy the peace built by the ruling CPP that they will face legal action.
Setting out national security issues for 2018 yesterday, Gen Banh said some opposition CNRP supporters needed to hear the warning.
“There are some people who it is necessary to warn,” Gen Banh said, citing the opposition but also civil society groups that criticised the recent commune elections as not fully free and fair.
Prior to the June 4 ballots, Gen Banh had also threatened to “break the teeth” of anyone who contested the election results.
Gen Banh yesterday added that those fuelling incitement only had words as weapons and were outmatched by military forces.
He also cited the now-banned situation room, a consortium of NGOs that monitored the commune elections and was then investigated and banned from reforming prior to the 2018 general election by the Interior Ministry. “Samdech Hun Sen said we are not allowed to have somebody destroy peace,” he said. “At whatever price, we have to maintain peace.”
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of elections watchdog NICFEC, said Gen Banh can express whatever opinions he wants, noting his words would not deter human rights activists.
“Our civil organisation is working on election affairs and we will still continue our work,” Mr Kuntheamy said.