Ted Ngoy, chairman of the Free Development Republican Party, indirectly blamed garment strikes in Cambodia on corrupt government officials Thursday.
“Some government officials are demanding bribes from factory owners, so that’s why the factory owners force the workers to work hard with low salaries,” he said, speaking to reporters at a press conference.
And the conditions at the factories, in turn, cause workers to strike, he said.
He continued criticism of political rival Sam Rainsy, saying his striking tactics, combined with government corruption, will drive out garment factory owners, leaving workers without jobs.
He repeated an old Khmer proverb: “If you strangle a Chinese person, the Khmer will die.” Many garment factories are owned by ethnic Chinese.
“Hopefully a new government will find good, not corrupt, officials to work in the government,” he said.
Despite his continuous criticism of Sam Rainsy, Ngoy said he likes the opposition politician.
“I like Sam Rainsy because he believes in democracy. He is not a violent person,” said Ngoy, a Cambodian-American businessman who is widely known for supporting the US Republican party.
Ngoy, who is running as a candidate in the upcoming election in Kompong Speu province, said he would still welcome a television debate against Sam Rainsy and said he could spend up to $1,000 of his own money to pay for air time.
He admitted that he has encountered opposition to the idea from supporters of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen who are afraid the outspoken Rainsy would criticize the second premier on television.
Ngoy’s party is aligned with the CPP.
“I still think a debate on public television is the best way to promote democracy. Let the people here see a debate and see what politics is all about,” he said.
Three local television crews covered Thursday’s press conference, while Rainsy rarely is seen or heard on either television or radio.