Opposition leader Sam Rainsy promised supporters in Kompong Cham province on Saturday that if his party comes to power, civil servants and soldiers can be certain that they will keep their jobs, and will be given raises.
Speaking to hundreds of supporters in Srei Santhor district, Mr. Rainsy said that government employees who were given jobs under the ruling CPP did not need to worry about losing their posts under a CNRP government.
“I would like to call for all those who are still unclear and undecided, please brothers and sisters trust the CNRP,” the opposition leader said.
“I start to call on civil servants, police, soldiers, army, military police who serve and protect the nation, please do not be worried when the CNRP runs the country,” Mr. Rainsy said.
“The CNRP will keep brothers and sisters in your position and will not remove or fire brothers and sisters,” he added. “To the contrary, [the CNRP] will increase salary for brothers and sisters who work hard and protect the nation.”
Raising the minimum civil servant pay to $250 was one of the CNRP’s central campaign platforms before the 2013 election, and the CPP government has since begun implementing programs to raise wages for its employees, including teachers and soldiers.
Mr. Rainsy’s promise not to remove current civil servants comes after CNRP officials held a conference on Friday to decide the party’s course in the lead-up to the commune elections in 2017 and national election in 2018.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has also ramped up his rhetoric aimed at the opposition, breaking a “code of conduct” between the CPP and CNRP last month by again warning of war if the opposition party comes to power.
During Friday’s conference, deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha said the CNRP was keeping a list of the CPP’s weak points to use against the ruling party.
“See the strong or weak points of the competitor and respond to those points,” he told the more than 100 party officials present.
“We need to select challenging issues for the nation and for the Cambodian people that today’s government cannot solve,” he said, listing issues including corrupt courts, land rights, poverty, youth unemployment, human rights, education and health care.
In a response to the criticism, CPP spokesman Suos Yara sent an online message to journalists on Saturday in defense of the ruling party.
“The party prevents social incitement and distortion that divides the society and can cause great destruction to the peace of the nation and people,” the message said. “At any cost, we adhere to a sovereign state and the principles of the rule of law.”
Mr. Yara listed the historical achievements of the CPP in returning peace to the country, and cited Mr. Hun Sen’s address to the U.N. last month in which he boasted of continued 7 percent economic growth.
“All this shows that every allegation or negative criticism is an exaggeration to fool the people,” Mr. Yara wrote. “The CPP ignores the repetition of such acts and will continue to maintain its superiority.”