Expecting a bitter election campaign this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday claimed that unnamed opponents were training young Cambodians to insult him.
The claim—made during a speech to more than 3,000 students at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh—comes after Mr. Hun Sen earlier this month called for a new law to stop personal insults in politics.
“Normally, we have never taught our youth to insult. We always educated our youth to have virtue, morality and to behave, but a group of people are training people to insult,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
“The season of insults is coming,” he added, in an apparent reference to the campaign ahead of July’s National Elections.
While the prime minister did not specify who was schooling youths in the art of insults, he said that some, likely meaning opposition parties, were rewarding those who were critical of the government.
“Any youths that are good at insults, the more they insult, the faster they are promoted,” the prime minister said. “If they arrive in front of my house and shout ‘please change,’ they will go faster up the ranks.”
He added that both the ruling CPP and opposition parties “should agree on a standard—to teach people to do good things, not to insult each other.”
On January 14, Mr. Hun Sen called for a new law to be adopted ahead of elections that would sanction politicians in the country who use insulting words in public, listing a spate of insults he said had been used against him, including “blind man” and “country-seller.”