Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that he recently refused to accept the title “Great Supreme Statesman,” as suggested by a group of students, and that he is content with his new title awarded by King Norodom Sihamoni.
“After the King gave me the title Samdech Akkak Maha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, there was another group of students who wanted me to change my title to ‘Great Supreme Statesman,’” the premier said during a speech in Phnom Penh.
“I was very surprised,” Hun Sen said, adding that he would never be qualified to accept such a title. “Please understand I could not accept it. This title is only the King’s,” he said.
“I think you have good intentions, but this good intention would kill Hun Sen’s political life,” he added.
“My title is enough for me. There was no Dekchor in the 20th Century and there is only one Dekchor in the 21st century. I was only a pagoda boy,” Hun Sen said, referring to his humble background.
Mentioning that, last month, Free Trade Union President Chea Mony asked the King to grant his deceased brother Chea Vichea the status of national hero, Hun Sen said that he didn’t think it was right to make such requests of the King.
“So far, there was a request for a slain person to be national hero. Only the King has the right to give a title. Even if the National Assembly grants a title, it is not acceptable,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen also said that he would have refused his new, lengthy title from the King if CPP and Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly Chairman and CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin had not also been given lengthy titles.
“If the King granted only one, I would not have accepted it because the CPP has three people at its foundation. If only one has a title and the other two don’t, it is dangerous,” he said.
Chea Sim was granted the title of Samdech Akkak Maha Thommak Pothisal while Heng Samrin was named Samdech Akkak Maha Ponhea Chakrei.
Chea Mony said Wednesday that his late brother is deserving of being named a hero.
“In a democratic country, we have the rights to make the request. It is the King’s right to consider,” Chea Mony said.
“The prime minister should not be selfish. Maybe the prime minister envies the slain Chea Vichea,” he added.