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Sam Rainsy cannot keep fooling all the people all of the time

A man uses his smart phone to take picture from a television conference of Sam Rainsy, former President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

There are many kinds of politicians. Those who label themselves as patriots, those who brand themselves as nationalists, liberal democrats, political mavericks, or as sheer egoists – more concerned about themselves rather than the people they are purported to serve.

In the case of Sam Rainsy, who claims to be in one of the above categories, let us just summarise his behavior by quoting Plato: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” Does this depict Sam Rainsy’s behavior?

For years he has been deceiving Cambodians who supported him by projecting himself as the messiah – the savior of Cambodians from the Cambodian People’s Party, which to date has still survived and manages to garner the popular vote of the people at every election.

If a politician is to be judged by a modicum of decency, Mr Rainsy would fail on every count. He froths in the mouth when he hears the name of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his vitriolic comments against the CPP-led government are disruptive, unproductive and times infantile.

Mr Rainsy championed himself as a democrat and probably the only one who could ‘rescue’ Cambodia from the clutches of ‘dictatorial rule’.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that Mr Rainsy has spoken out against the introduction of new amendments to the National Assembly Law which would legalise some 118 banned politicians, which gives them a direct open door to a life back in active mainstream politics, minus the CNRP. Mr Rainsy warned that any of the 118 barred CNRP politicians who took advantage of amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties would “betray the party”. This has incensed many former CNRP members who still aspire to see a political future and life.

Many of his once hardcore supporters are wary and are even demanding that Mr Rainsy stay away from the political arena – wary that he might jeopardise their chances of getting back into mainstream politics. Some of the former CNRP have even made it clear that they do not want Mr Ranisy to speak publicly on their behalf. Yesterday’s politician certainly has no place in today’s dynamic Cambodian political scene.

While one among the 118, Kong Korm, has already applied for and obtained his political freedom, others are adopting a wait-see attitude. Some of them are demanding a collective amnesty when this is not provided for in the law. Others do have genuine concerns and their sentiments are not unjustified and, as such, cannot be dismissed nonchalantly.

Nonetheless, it is quite disconcerting to note that many from the 118 continue to dismiss reconciliatory measures from the Government which has had to bend over backwards, again, if one were to add, to amend laws to allow the banned to return back into mainstream politics.

Unfortunately, those who are rejecting the government’s olive branch seem to be oblivious of the fact that they are grossly misplaced in their sentiments as politics about Cambodia lies within the domain of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In Cambodia, CNRP is no more. In The United States, Canada or elsewhere, the CNRP may exist but it is inconsequential to Cambodia in the final analysis as these supporters, the remnants, have no political voice nor ‘locus standi’ on political dynamics within the country.

Their once erstwhile leader, Sam Rainsy, has been a serial deserter who chooses to flee the country, each time the going gets rough. He fled in 2015 and contributed towards the arrest of his then president Kem Sokha who was thrown in jail, where he spent a year and later transferred to house detention.

While Mr Sokha languishes under house detention, Mr Rainsy enjoys French cuisine in his overseas vacation home and traverses the world tarnishing the name of Cambodia internationally. Those willing to hear his rhetoric and stand his verbal diarrhoea are cajoled into believing that he is Cambodia’s saviour. Far from it, this is actually a charlatan duping the world in the name of liberal democracy.

Rainsy lost the battles and probably even the war when the United States allowed Prime Minister Hun Sen to travel to New York to address the United Nation’s General Assembly. Mr Hun Sen also met his supporters in the United States, whose numbers far outweighed the pathetic numbers which turned out to oppose the prime minister’s visit.

Mr Hun Sen’s further foreign travels and visits to Europe and different parts of Asia shows that world leaders have accepted his leadership and as such, there should be no questions about his legitimacy.

By speaking out against the EU and other nations about the use of trade measures such as the ubiquitous ‘Everything but Arms – EBA’ as a weapon instead of a trade tool, shows rising maturity of the premier and Cambodia.

It is time Cambodia bit the bullet and tells the European Union straight in their face, “Take Back the EBA. We will not be held hostage to trade as Cambodia has committed no grave sins such as Iran or others to deserve such a treatment.”

Cambodia is a sovereign nation and not a protectorate of anyone, nor is it an enemy of any state. It is a peace-loving country, as evidenced by the number of diplomatic missions it has established throughout the world.

Sam Rainsy might try to run down Cambodia internationally, sullying the name of the country in the United States and the EU in a bid for sanctions to be imposed. At the end of the day, the true Sam Rainsy will be exposed – an opportunist, a charlatan and a selfish politician who puts himself first before others. He allowed Kem Sokha to be incarcerated for a year and turned him into a sacrificial lamb for his own selfish agenda so that he could continue to bad-mouth the Cambodian government internationally. There is certainly no room for such a kind of politician back home. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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