The newly-established Khmer Rise Party is among 20 parties contesting the upcoming national election. Khmer Times’ reporter Sen David talked to its president Soksovann Vatanasabung, also known as William Guang, about the party’s goals ahead of the poll.
KT: Why did you create the party knowing that there are many experienced contenders for the upcoming election?
Mr Guang: I decided to create the party with other youths because we love our country from our hearts. We think that the country has been led the same way for many years and that it is time for change. We cannot endure to live in a society which has many problems. The people suffer from land disputes, and an unjust court system. That’s we decided to create the party.
KT: Can you tell us your party’s policies?
Mr Guang: My party has seven main policies, such as foreign affairs, national defence, national development, education reform, justice reform and health sector reform.
For foreign affairs, it is related to illegal migration. My Khmer Rise Party has a policy to kick illegal migrants out of Cambodia in 72 hours after we win the election. For national defence, our party will lead Cambodian youths to demand Cambodian territory which was lost along borders and we will demand our Koh Tral island from Vietnam.
For the economy, Cambodia is an agriculture country but farmers struggle to find markets for their crops, and we import too many crops. It is shameful. The products from abroad have many chemicals which affect people’s health. For this point, my party will withdraw economic land concessions from companies to give the land back to farmers.
KT: What about your other policies?
Mr Guang: Well, for education policy, nowadays there are many social problems. Culture is down and social morality is down also. For the health sector, too many people die due to not being able to afford medical treatment. This must change.
Justice reform is another important policy because poor people need justice. We must strengthen laws, and the court system so that it is independent. We do not want to see courts beholden to powerful people and the rich. We want to see poor people get justice just like rich and powerful people.
KT: Do you have any policies for youth and women?
Mr Guang: All my policies have many benefits for youth and women. We must strengthen the education system to get potential human resources for country’s development. So, this policy is for youth. Youth are vital to develop the country. For women, our policy on the health sector can help a lot to make sure women get the proper services they need.
KT: Some people say that the small parties and recently created parties are puppet parties under the ruling party CPP? Do you agree with that?
Mr Guang: I would ask those people a question in return, because before Sam Rainsy used to call Kem Sokha a puppet and then the two joined forces to create the CNRP.
Some people automatically assume new parties are puppets, I don’t understand. But I don’t try to argue with them. I want them to know the truth through my party’s actions. I think that is the only way to change their thinking.
KT: What are your expectations for the national election?
Mr Guang: My party has fielding candidates in eight locations, including Phnom Penh Kandal, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk. I fielded many youth candidates and they are very brave and honest, and ready to serve the country. They will bring the voices of citizens to the National Assembly to debate their problems. I expect 80 percent to win.
KT: Do you have any election campaign plans?
Mr Guang: Our party will have a big campaign in Phnom Penh and other provinces. We have more than 100,000 supporters in Phnom Penh and in the provinces. Our party was just created a few months ago, but we have many supporters and our party is known via Facebook.
KT: What do you think of the current political situation?
Mr Guang: I can say it is a very bad situation, both economically and politically. There is problems with all sectors, such as agriculture, industrial, business and military. I am very hurt when I see my countrymen suffer injustice and corruption. So, it time for me and my party to change this society.