Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on the private sector to lend their financial support to the country’s military in order to better protect the nation.
“This is not a legal duty that you have to do it-the support is voluntary support according to your ability,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
The prime minister’s comments were made before the government held a large reception last night at the Cambodiana Hotel aimed at establishing formal patronage relationships between frontline military units and wealthy Cambodian business leaders.
“Defend the nation for the sake of all, and all are to defend the nation,” Mr Hun Sen exhorted in his address yesterday morning.
During his speech, Mr Hun Sen also blasted Sam Rainsy, accusing the opposition leader of treason for his repeated claims of border encroachment by Vietnam and hinting that another lawsuit against Mr Rainsy could be in the works.
“Now, I say you are treasonous,” the premier said. “We, the government, will take legal action to protect the government’s reputation.”
The government border commission president Var Kimhong said earlier this week that the government was eyeing a lawsuit against Mr Rainsy for posting allegedly false documents about the Cambodian-Vietnamese border on the Internet.
Mr Rainsy, who was convicted last month for his role in publicly uprooting several border posts in October, has repeatedly accused the government of turning a blind eye to the loss of Cambodian land during border demarcation with Vietnam, and has posted maps and other documents on his website in support of his allegations.
The premier went on to urge an unnamed opposition leader to “swear at the risk of being struck by lightning, [dying in] an airplane crash or electrocution” that he had not created false documents.
In his speech, Mr Hun Sen also addressed the re-emergence of retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s elusive friend, Ruom Ritt, a frequent government critic whom many people believe is the retired king himself.
A man claiming to be Ruom Ritt gave a radio interview last week praising Sam Rainsy and criticizing the government’s stance on border issues. The retired king later denounced the interviewee as an imposter.
“Ruom Ritt doesn’t have a voice, but only writes letters,” Mr Hun Sen said yesterday. “No one knows Ruom Ritt better than I do,” he said.
“Excellency Kanharith, what kind of action should we take for those who pretend to be Ruom Ritt?” the premier asked the Minister of Information and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith. “The real Ruom Ritt doesn’t have a voice; he is just a character,” the prime minister continued.