Prime Minister Hun Sen’s continued push for dramatic reforms and structural change needs to be sustained and extended to all branches of the government. A whole-of-government approach is needed.
Several senior officials have been summoned to court for statements and fact findings and one can only hope that it would not stop there. It should reach across all sectors and all levels of the government, national and all the way down to the sub-national level where little napoleons are deeply entrenched.
These little napoleons are hurting the government, the CPP and ultimately the Prime Minister as the buck stops with Mr. Hun Sen.
The game-changing ban on online gambling has forced “bad” Chinese to leave the country and they are being replaced with real Chinese tourists and investors who are genuinely interested in promoting people-to-people ties between the two countries.
While undertaking these seemingly harsh but necessary policies to clean up its act against corruption and a tainted judiciary, the Prime Minister must also be weary of the war lords within the party and the government and along with it the power brokers. The corrupt officials might form alliances to challenge the powerbase of the Prime Minister.
These two categories of officials in both the party and the government must be brought down to size, disciplined and contained. They must be made to understand loud and clear that the Prime Minister and President of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) means what he says and will walk the talk.
If this does not happen, the possibility of a push back by the unsavoury characters would hurt the government and its reform agenda. The political risk for the government is high if it fails to reform its public institutions.
These characters could negate and oppose what Mr. Hun Sen and the government is pushing for. In this respect, the Prime Minister must withstand all pressure from within and from external sources and not succumb to parochial interests.
The Government must continuously strive to reinvent itself as it gears up to face the multiple challenges of a looming trade war and the possibility of a global recession if this ridiculous trade sanctions amongst trading giants continue unabated, the real threat of losing EBA, the possibility of economic slowdown in China, the EU and the US and continued instability rearing its ugly head almost in every corner of the world, including the effects of climate change.
To overcome all these challenges and more, Mr. Hun Sen and his government must be resilient in facing them and take preventive and preemptive measures and not count on reactionary moves to counter these exponential threats.
It must be to everyone’s concerns that in the event of a global recession and lack of preventive measures to navigate through it, maintaining social order amidst job losses and rising inflation is urgently needed.
These threats may well be from within the party and disenfranchised segments of the population and civil service. In times of crisis and turbulence or economic hardship, memories will be clouded and past achievements will be quickly forgotten.
This will lead to circumstantial threats and challenges which may be hard to tackle as many have grown accustomed to their current lifestyle of comfort. As such, at the first sign of these people being dislodged from their comfort zone would spell trouble for the whole country.
On this aspect, one would be wise to pay close attention to what is transpiring in Hong Kong as in hindsight, the lack of use of proportionate force at the onset of protests, quickly led to the spiraling of protests into riots.
The experiences that the Hong Kong people are going through can happen in Cambodia. It is a matter of urgency that the government take all preventive and preemptive measures.