PM: Other Parties Desire Land Redistribution

Prime Minister Hun Sen made a plea for votes Saturday by accusing parties other than the CPP of desiring to redistribute property from the rich to the poor.

Speaking at a school inauguration in Battambang province, Hun Sen said these alleged plans were in line with those of the Khmer Rouge regime.

“Some political parties, they have claimed that they will take from the rich and give to the poor. They will confiscate land from the rich and give it to different owners. This message is like Pol Pot…. Pol Pot did that,” he said.

Hun Sen added that the government is working to narrow the gap between rich and poor in Cam­bodia, but that confiscating goods from the rich was not a viable way to do so.

“We will encourage [government officials] to improve the rural poor to reduce the gap between the two,” he said.

SRP President Sam Rainsy said Sunday that if his party came to power, it would seek to audit individuals who own more than 100 hec­tares of land, but had no intention of stripping property from the wealthy.

“It would not affect the poor. Those who have more than 100 hectares of land must be rich, and they may have stolen land from people,” he explained.

Hun Sen said the CPP stands apart from the opposition in terms of how they raise and spend their funds.

CPP members voluntarily give money in order to finance the building of schools, while SRP members are pressured into contributing money that is then used to finance lavish lifestyles of party leaders, the premier claimed.

“You are taking money from your members to gamble and become rich. You are buying tickets with the money to fly first class and to stay in five-star hotels,” he said.

Sam Rainsy responded that it was the ruling party that engaged in dishonest fundraising by collecting party donations in place of taxes. He added that if the CPP-led government did a better job collecting revenue from the wealthy, there would be no need to rely on donations to build schools.

“Where does the money come from?” Sam Rainsy asked. “During his speeches, [Hun Sen] turns to an okhna to request money. I want to know where the okhna gets the money from…. They are stealing government money. They claim that the schools are gifts and then name the schools after themselves.”

CPP National Assembly First Vice President Nguon Nhel said Hun Sen has personally financed 2,000 schools and other CPP members have contributed toward another 1,000. He added that those contributions are raised in an above-board manner from reputable sources.

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