In his most scathing verbal attack since the new government formed, opposition leader Sam Rainsy in a CNN interview Monday criticized his former ally Funcinpec and said the latest coalition is ill-conceived.
Showing how far Funcinpec and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party have diverged since the Nov 12-13 summit which produced the present CPP-Funcinpec coalition government, Sam Rainsy said Funcinpec had sold out to the CPP.
“Unfortunately, Prince [Norodom] Ranariddh and Funcinpec betrayed the Cambodian people and made this coalition with Hun Sen which is contrary to justice, contrary to democracy and contrary to the will of the Cambodians,” he said in a 30-minute question-and-answer session from Paris.
Sam Rainsy also repeated a phrase he coined earlier this month when lobbying against Cambodia’s Asean entry, calling the country a “mafia state in a banana kingdom.”
Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party had been united in their protest over the July 26 election results before the summit, causing a 3-month-long political deadlock.
Quoting King Norodom Sihanouk as saying Cambodia is “a nation of thieves,” Sam Rainsy said he felt such a government would only be “a headache” for international blocs such as Asean. More importantly, he said the current coalition government presents only “fake stability,” a facade which needs to be dismantled.
“We need to clean house,” he said.
In particular, Sam Rainsy highlighted the necessity for Khmer Rouge defectors Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea to be tried in an international court for crimes against humanity in order for the corruption of the present government to be examined. The government has announced it will not be trying the two leaders.
“I think Hun Sen is worried about his own case,” Sam Rainsy said, mentioning a US congressional resolution calling for Hun Sen to be tried for crimes against humanity.
“He wants the top Khmer Rouge leaders back in society to use them as a shield,” Sam Rainsy explained.
With corruption endemic in the government, the opposition leader said the country’s only salvation lies in increasing transparency of the actions of government officials. Distinguishing between “corruption for survival” and “corruption of the leaders involving millions of dollars,” Sam Rainsy said the latter in particular needed to be addressed.
“I’ve suggested that all government officials declare all their assets, but they have refused to comply, because they have many things to hide, links to corruption,” he said.
Sam Rainsy said such a government outside the rule of law can not succeed in the long run.
“I think this coalition [is]…a marriage of convenience doomed to fail,” he said. “It’s a recipe for disaster which will produce the same effects as between 1993 and 1997.”