Look beyond fugitive politicians, Mr. Prime Minister

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Sam Rainsy
wikimedia/Nov Povleakhena/VOA Khmer

Prime Minister Hun Sen and the whole government seems to be concerned and occupied with the coup attempts being propagated by Sam Rainsy, who is a populist politician and extremist.

His assault on the monarchy not once but twice, his calls for the armed forces to commit treason, goes beyond the red line and the boundaries of political accountability.

This is a case of high treason against the nation and the king, a death penalty in some countries that practice their own brand of democracy and rule of law.

The Cambodian authorities have issued arrest warrants against Sam Rainsy to all Asean member countries and beyond either to deter him from entering Cambodia or arrest him in cooperation with other countries. However, information is trickling in that some countries may chose to ignore this request for fear of possible future political fallouts. This is shallow thinking on these countries part.

It seems that now everything is under control. The authorities have taken strict measures to punish those who support the return of Sam Rainsy- it aims to preempt mass movement in support of Sam Rainsy’s coup attempt.

The Cambodian government has shown its forces to ensure that peace and stability prevail and there will not much disruption to the status quo, before and after the arrest of Sam Rainsy, if indeed he returns.

Rapid dominance- a tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force- can generate backlashes especially in terms of public fear. Thus, the government needs to use proportionate authority to deter or avert security risks stemming from the coup attempt.

On another note, the government must understand the underlying root causes of public grievances and discontent. Why do those people decide to support Sam Rainsy and his clique in the first place? Why do they believe in Sam Rainsy’s words?

Social justice and social security are critical for political and social stability. The government is responsible for generating employment opportunities for the young, dynamic, fast-expanding workforces. The tripartite consultation among the government agencies, private sector, and the labour unions has proven to be effective and constructive.

Considering the interests and concerns of all parties and developing an inclusive solution to the problems have contributed to stable industrial relations- the relationship between the employers and employees.

The unreasonable demand from some trade unions or labour unions can adversely affect the investment and business climate in the Kingdom.

The Government, particularly the labor ministry, must take heed of the tragic events, which occurred in late 2013 and 2014. From dissatisfaction over polls result and street politics, perpetuated mainly by Sam Rainsy, it became a nationwide nightmare of violent strikes to demand for high wages.

This scenario must not be allowed to fester and manifest into nationwide strikes. It has been understood that this is on the agenda on the radical unions who, while denying that they are under any form of political control, manipulation and support, are doing precisely that.

Several major employers are already beginning to feel this and if allowed to manifest, will become egregious behavior, which could swiftly manifest into something quite unexpected.

This is why the government must not stay fixated on some politicians as they have the situation for any eventualities under control and instead, focus on the underlying issues, some of which have been highlighted here.

The government must genuinely adhere to the rule of law and at the same time address the concerns of those who don’t have a voice.

The danger is, this voice may not resonate with the messages of the government on political stability, rapid economic growth, poverty reduction and rural development.

Understanding the root causes, getting closer to the hard truth helps policy makers develop appropriate and effective policy intervention.

The Cambodian government should look at a bigger picture rather than fixating on Sam Rainsy and his clique. Sam Rainsy is a short-term issue- he will be arrested and gradually vanish. The long-term issue here is how to win people’s heart and give them opportunities.

With tens of thousands of millennials joining the labour market every year and who are potential voters. Quite a number have been educated by western lecturers and professors. Others are returning from abroad with skewed western ideals.

The dangers these generation pose, if left disenfranchised can be fatal in many ways. These issues and the sentiments felt by these millennials must be addressed as rural voters would soon not make the majority of the electorate in the future. Millennials think, behave, rationalize and act differently.

They have not been through the tragic past of the genocide regime or the civil wars which followed. They differing views will have to be recognised and addressed in due course. To ignore their sentiments could be tragic.

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