Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Saturday called on the public to ignore former opposition party rhetoric, comparing the now-dissolved party’s “positive change” message to the Khmer Rouge.
During a speech marking the achievements of a temple in Battambang province’s Mong Russei district, Mr Kheng said the message reminds him of the Khmer Rouge’s “year zero” political notion that aimed to demolish progress in order to rebuild the nation from scratch.
“Demolishing everything and rebuilding is like Pol Pot’s regime,” Mr Kheng said. “There are some people there who are doing it under the pretense of ‘positive change’.”
“These words are not hard to use, but the meaning is exactly the same,” he added. “Please don’t rush to believe it. We experienced this very painfully in the past, and now we are developing so we have to continue developing.”
On Friday, during the appointment ceremony of Banteay Meanchey provincial Governor Oum Reatrey at the Interior Ministry, Mr Kheng said legal action will be taken against any group attempting to overthrow the government through a colour revolution.
He highlighted street demonstrations disputing the July 2013 election in which CNRP supporters handed flowers to security forces.
“Do not try it again. You failed in 2013. I dub those days as colour revolution because protestors handed roses and lotuses to police officers and soldiers who were doing their duty to ensure safety,” Mr Kheng said.
The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November 2017 after its leader Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges for allegedly conspiring with the US to topple the government. Its 118 senior members were also banned from politics for five years.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the government should focus on developing the country, instead of responding to pro CNRP supporters.
“A better response would be no response, no reaction, […], and do good for the people and the country,” Mr Mong Hay said. “Which should be the sole concern of the country’s leaders.”
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said he does not support a colour revolution.
“I do not support this because when there is a colour revolution, the country will move backward,” Mr Chanrath said, adding that a colour revolution would never take place. “Cambodians are worried about security and peace, so it’s impossible to have a colour revolution.”