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Hun Manet Places Bet with Sam Rainsy on "Political Life" Degree

PHNOM PENH: The future Prime Ministerial candidate of the Cambodian People's Party, Hun Manet, has placed a bet with Sam Rainsy, saying that if Sam Rainsy can find any evidence that his three degrees, including a Bachelor's Degree from the United States Military Academy, a Master's Degree in Economics from New York University and a PhD in Economics from Bristol University, are second-class, or honorary degrees, then he will step down from his position as future Prime Ministerial candidate.

Hun Manet, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Army, wrote about the bet on his official Facebook page while sharing videos of Sam Rainsy speaking on 28 September 2019 and 25 December 2021, claiming that his degrees are second-class, or just honorary diplomas.

In the video, Sam Rainsy says, "The honorary degree, if the father is a senior official or the Prime Minister, [if their child goes] to a foreign school then they will pass, but the degree will not allow them to work in the [foreign] country! Because that degree is given to the descendants of officials from other countries where they want to have good ambassador relations, that degree is not as valuable as the degree that is given to the people who study from the beginning and at the full level. They only give a second-class degree."

In response to this accusation, Hun Manet wrote asking, "Does Mr. Sam Rainsy dare to bet with me?"

The condition of the bet set by Hun Manet is that if Sam Rainsy can find evidence that Hun Manet was not competent, studied below the school standard and was awarded a kind of second-class degree or honorary degree from the three schools where he studied, then Hun Manet will resign from his position as the future Prime Ministerial candidate of the Cambodian People's Party. On the other hand, if Sam Rainsy cannot officially confirm that the degrees Hun Manet holds are of a second-class or honorary nature, then Sam Rainsy must resign from politics from now on.

Hun Manet wrote in his Facebook post, "Once again, to protect my honor and dignity as a student who has graduated abroad, and to represent all Cambodian students studying abroad, I would like to ask Mr. Sam Rainsy to bet again and hope that Mr. Sam Rainsy will not use the strategy of the white-eared chicken again (the white-eared chicken always backstabs but then runs away when you fight back, but then when you start to walk away, the white-eared chicken will begin chasing from behind again).”

Prime Minister Hun Sen also wrote a post on his Facebook page referring to his son’s latest bet with Sam Rainsy. He wrote, "Listen to the younger and discipline the bad elder. It’s great, like taking a baby buffalo to fight with an old buffalo. If angry, do not play, if playing, do not be angry! Sending a message to old politicians, but lacking the courage to take responsibility."

In 2019, Hun Manet had already called a bet with Sam Rainsy on similar degree-related accusations, but at that time, Sam Rainsy did not accept the bet and also continued to attack Hun Manet's degree, saying the US Academy gave him a degree for foreign students that is considered lower than degrees given to American students.

At the time, there was backlash from other students who also studied abroad, who felt that Sam Rainsy was underestimating the value of diplomas that Cambodian students were attaining abroad. US Embassy spokeswoman Emily V. Zeerberg confirmed at the time that higher education in the United States does not depend on the country of origin, and that degrees that foreign students receive are worth the same as the degrees that students from the US receive as well.

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