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PM dismisses health concerns

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen said rumours about his failing health were ‘stupid’. Supplied

Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out yesterday at foreign analysts who recently commented on his health, labelling them “stupid”.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the National Cancer Centre at Calmatte Hospital, Mr Hun Sen said three analysts, including historian and author David Chandler, Sebastian Strangio, author of Hun Sen’s Cambodia, and Paul Chambers, a lecturer at the College of Asean Community Studies at Thailand’s Naresuan University, had been interviewed for Southeast Asia Globe magazine, in a story headlined “Why the West was doomed to fail in Cambodia”.

Mr Hun Sen said the three attempted to raise concerns about his health.

“I’m grateful you pay attention to my health, but if we keep creating football or volley teams, there it is,” the premier said.

“Now if we could sit and talk together, who would go to the bathroom first?” he asked.

“I can walk on a machine for two hours non-stop. I am just sending you a message: Don’t be worried about my health, please take care of yourself first,” Mr Hun Sen said.

Southeast Asia Globe published the article on January 1, which said that long-running rumours of Mr Hun Sen’s declining health could be more worrying to Beijing than the state of its vassal. “After several abrupt visits for medical treatment in Singapore last year, a visibly frail Hun Sen presided over an immense Buddhist prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat, the seat of the mighty Khmer Empire, in December. Despite the majesty of the setting, though, the premier moved haltingly, looking frailer than his 65 years‚” the article said.

“I have heard lots of stories from Cambodians about the health of Hun Sen,” Paul Chambers, a lecturer at the College of Asean Community Studies at Thaland’s Naresuan University told Southeast Asia Globe.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly said he would continue to stay in power on for another decade.

“In Cambodia, there is no constitution to stipulate the mandate of prime minister,” Mr Hun Sen said.

“I have served as Prime Minister 33 years, so if I add another ten it doesn’t matter.”

The premier also said the February Senate election as well as the July general election would be secure, transparent and democratic.

“Lots of political parties will join the July election so it will be better than before,” Mr Hun Sen said.

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