Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday slammed former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for calling on the international community to impose economic sanctions and cut off aid to Cambodia if the CNRP is not be resurrected to contest the upcoming national election.
Speaking to nearly 20,000 workers from 32 factories yesterday in Svay Rieng province, Mr Hun Sen said that Mr Rainsy committed treason because he requested that the international community cease importing garment products from Cambodia.
“First, the opposition party instigated workers to protest. Second, they called on foreign countries not to invest and stop purchasing goods from Cambodia. It is treason since he is destroying the workers’ rice pots,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“This treasonous act does not include his signing an agreement to cede four provinces to Vietnamese indigenous [Montagnards],” he added.
Mr Hun Sen also lashed out at Mr Rainsy for calling on people to boycott the election on July 29 and for the armed forces to turn its weapons against the government.
“I do not want to respond to this stupid man, but I have just explained to you, nieces and nephews, that appealing to foreign countries to cut off assistance and to stop buying goods from Cambodia is to kill his own people,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“Sanctions do not hurt leaders, but affect Cambodian people,” he said. “Please listen clearly, all compatriots, if something occurs, that guy has to be held responsible because he dares to commit treason.”
Mr Rainsy has lived in exile since 2015 after being hit with slew of court cases, including by Mr Hun Sen who accused him of defamation.
On Monday, Phnom Penh Municipal Court continued to investigate a treason case against Mr Rainsy, who allegedly agreed to cede four northeastern provinces to Vietnam’s Montagnards if he won the 2013 election.
The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November after its former leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges for allegedly conspiring with the US to overthrow the government through a colour revolution.
Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, disagreed with Mr Rainsy’s calling on foreign countries to sever aid, and the imposition of economic sanctions.
“I do not support sanctions because it does not develop the country and affects people’s livelihoods,” Mr Chanrath said.