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Hun Manet Gives Five Point Response to Sam Rainsy

PHNOM PENH: Member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and Chairman of the Central Youth Committee of the CPP, Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, has given a five-point response to an unnamed person, most likely opposition leader Sam Rainsy, regarding the allegations that have been made against him.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the working group of the Cambodian Youth Organization in East and Southeast Asia in Phnom Penh on 10 September, Hun Manet said that his nomination as the future Prime Minister of Cambodia by the CPP was the collective decision of the party’s Standing Committee. He added that if he does become Prime Minister in the future, he cannot do this work alone as there must be the youth of the party to help him in leading the country.

He reprimanded an unnamed person, likely referring to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, whom he refers to as 'Om’ (uncle), saying that this person should look at the affairs of the party he supports rather than at the affairs of other parties.

Hun Manet said that he never had any problems or issues with Sam Rainsy, but Rainsy is always bringing him up and subjecting him to attacks.

“Om (uncle) has no shame, [go ahead with the attacks] but you should have proof!" he said. "Do not let younger people shame you, because the reference is not meant for Om, but to send a message to Om because your message has no reason. [When] I respond, Om would be shamed.”

Regarding Rainsy’s suggestion that Hun Manet is still young but managed to attain a senior position in charge of the elderly, Hun Manet replied that it was important that he led the institution to progress, unlike Rainsy who leads the institution to disintegration.

"Om said that I am [too] young to [lead the] people, but Om should not forget that he holds a French citizenship,” he said.

“French President Macron is two months younger than me. And why not ask your president as to why he, the youth, would lead older people? That they follow the election, they follow everything, the internal procedure is their decision. But if you evaluate [qualifications by] age, the president of France is younger than me by two months."

Regarding the comment that Hun Manet always recalls the time in the past when Cambodia had just recovered from the 1979 war, he replied that people have to look to the past to form a guide for the future. Regarding allegations that Hun Manet had done no work, he replied that he did not want to show much of the work he had done yet, as the results are more important than the showmanship.

"People who do not remember their past and [only] evaluate their present as a basis for the future are called people without a vision, without a clear direction,” said Hun Manet.

“If you do not know how to analyze where you came from, where you are, and where you are going, then you would go west or east (in any direction) according to your feelings without a vision. That is why Om attacked me, then my brother, then my father, because [Om has] no vision [which has led] to the decrease of his party’s [influence]."

Hun Manet further added, "I usually do a lot, but I do not tend to show it, so no one sees. In the past, some uncles told me to do this and to show them. I did a lot! In the Veterans Association, I have been involved a lot at the border where there are ongoing negotiations. But it’s not important for me to tell [you]. It is not necessary; the important thing is the results."

Hun Manet was voted by the Central Committee of the CPP on 24 December 2021 as the future Prime Ministerial candidate. This vote was supported by all members of the party.

Hun Manet, 44, is the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen. He was the first Cambodian to graduate from West Point Military Academy in the United States and also holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. At present, Hun Manet has the rank of a 3-Star Lieutenant General, and is the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army.

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