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Op-ed: Tyrant Can Be Stopped by the Power that Be

Tyrant of Cambodia

By Kok Sap,29 August 2012

After UNTAC left in 1993, PM Hun Sen has been the sole power holder and absolute dictator in all aspects of the government conducts. Under his rule, patron-client is the law. The state tax collection becomes the official private bank accounts for his officials and cronies use, although he never publicly admitted that he is the founder of systemic corruption in modern Cambodia. The majority of population barely live off ($0.25-0.35 per day).The disparity in living standard is grossly ridiculous. Poor have to find ways to live.

“ Why are the people starving? Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes, therefore the people are starving.”

Lao Tzu words reflect the state of Cambodia and its people. Although it has been centuries passed, his words proved men in power did not change much in behavior and ways of ruling. His words remain true to the new millennium.

Poor remain poor, powerful becomes corrupted
Daily in thousands of, it was never like before, Cambodian were heading for neighboring countries either to beg or to slave in domestic jobs for the minimal pay per day in order to raise own families back in Cambodia. Some got shot at or arrested or tortured and killed by the neighboring countries soldiers on the ways. Some got sold out to traffickers. The hungry folks have no fear of death but fear not making enough for the wives and children survival. Millions of Poor live off a patch of land that there is no guaranty of legal ownership. There is NO telling in the next day that that land isn’t taken away by the riches and powerful. In Cambodia, living is dying because people still go to sleep hungry.

All ministers and generals live in large mansions and cruise around town in big expensive luxurious guzzler cars while the gasoline price rampantly inflated to nearly $2.00 per litre. Around the clock while the ministers or generals’ wives and children worry about how to control their obesity on high cholesterol dishes, the poor worry about what to have to eat next day .

Nepotism is the trend of the future
Ministers’ children and wives can work for their spouses and fathers. Minister of Foreign Affairs has his sons work for him while the Commerce Minister has his wife and daughter occupy top aides positions and run day to day business in his office.

Prime Minister Hun Sen favorite cronies get all the lucrative posts. Worst, all the ministers’ power and offices seem permanent. None of them are accountable to the voters. The wives of the ministers and generals are above the laws and untouchable. Top general wives own large tracks of land with government issued titles. In turn, they leased land to foreign investors for own profits without paying taxes.

Hun Sen, himself, has a son running his bodyguard brigade and internal intelligence while the other is spying in capacity as de-facto Minister of Defense overseeing General Tea Banh’s day to day business . He fell in love with his micromanagement style. Every small or big affair in all ministries is up to him to say white or black. Ironically though, as a strongman he dreamed to be, yet he remains fearful and loyal to Democratic Kampuchea ex- cadres. All of top senior DK officials are declared untouchable by the hybrid international tribunal. Important posts in government are manned by Democratic Kampuchea cadres. In every level of his administration, bribery is the norm and a must do menu in buying ways in the government offices to get thing done. All his ministers are rich and powerful.

So what must Cambodia do to stop starvation and corruption from go on?

Lao Tzu asked,” why are the people rebellious? Because the rulers interfere too much, therefore the people are rebellious. But in Cambodia,do what powerful said and not to disagree, you’d be rewarded.
Reciprocity between patron-client relations is the dangerously law. In this, the notorious anarchist and ruthless terminator Hok Lundi put great fear in Hun Sen heart, so in the end Hun Sen grievously staged his death.

The government forbids people from holding street demonstration, protest, peaceful political rally and free expression.Daily protest is going on in Cambodia whether on human rights, work safety and wage, land grab and ownership disputes. Hundreds of lands grab victims held protests at local and others came to the capital to demand Government resolve and intervention. No response or welcome from government, many protesters returned homes with disappointment and broken heart. On sites some lives were lost to the government or private hired armed men deadly forces.

In one instance Lundi was selling land belonged to National Police Quarter for millions of dollar and kept the money. Interior Minister Sar Kheng who was in charge of Hok Lundi was livid.

Instead of siding with rule of laws, Hun Sen promised ruthless Lundi an autonomous budgetary and department that was split from the interior ministry supervision. Because of this scheme Hun Sen never gained full trust from Sar Kheng.

Again when Heng Pov, PM personal advisor, disobeyed Hok Lundi order to commit murder on critics of government, Hok Lundi bullied Hun Sen to spend millions of state fund to bribe Malaysian police to deliver Heng Pov to Hok Lundi. Heng Pov had exposed Hok Lundi criminal activities to Hun Sen included his order to toss grenades on the demonstrators led by Sam Rainsy in March 1997, Chea Vichea, Pisith Pilika, Ho Sok, and other known female artists’ assassination. In addition, the syndicated illegal land grab and logging, money laundering, gambling, organized human and drug trafficking were all backed by Hok Lundi, personally.

The buck stops at tiger’s laird

Hun Sen short listed friends: Mon Rithy, Theng Bunma, Ly Yong Phat, Koh Pich owner, Sok Kong , Lao Meng Khin+ Yeay Phu are involved in illegal land grabbing and tax evasion. Each of these friends hired private security guards bear more authority than the government armed forces ‘shoot to kill’ anyone who dared to challenge their bosses’ interests.

All Generals are corrupted and in competition to show unquestionable loyalty to Hun Sen. In power jousting General Ke Kim Yan, relative of Sar Kheng and Nhek Bun Chhay, had lost to ex Khmer Rouge cadre General Pol Sareun who staked public land, in countless hectares, in the name of armed forces as his own then let his wife leasing them to foreign mine investors for own profits.

The abuses from rich powerful investors and officials are unbearable for thousands of poor to bear longer. Late environmentalist Chhut Vutthy was made example in Khmer riddle, egg never up against boulder. He was shot to death before the foreign journalists eyes. All happened because of Hun Sen was in the deals.

So what must Cambodia do to stop such destructive force?

In his book published in 1687 Isaac Newton said, “Unless acted upon by a net unbalanced force, an object will maintain a constant velocity.”This is called inertia law.

Four years ago on 20 November 2008, the horrific tyrant Hok Lundi was killed by so called lightning strike accident on flight. The rumors had own reasons, because too much pressure from friendly nations intelligence on criminal activities that damaged the government face, Hok Lundi had to be sacrificed. Afterward the internal quarrels in CPP and inter ministerial offices seemed dying out.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng was especially ecstatic to the news of Hok Lundi who earned his death by humiliating PM personal. This reflected Sir Newton theory, “violence can be stopped by the worst of violence, death.”

From the past history that no matter what and in time, people power will always be the ultimate force to effect the change.

In Khmer saying’កុំងើយមើលមេឃ ក្រោមដំបូលស្បូវ ៗចូលភ្នែក entering the hay roof thatchdon’t look up as the broken hays may splinter the eyes’ that goes in hands with the Western saying, “those who hold effective power in a system or situation, a plan vetoed by the powers that be.” Remember, our poor compatriots who had voted for the ruling party hadn’t they had better lives than those who didn’t? It is up to them to vote out the tyrant in next round.

Lao Tzu asked, “Why do the people think so little of death? Because the rulers demand too much of life, therefore the people take death lightly. In having a little to live on, people know better than to value life too much”

We all know the ruler party will pay scraps and crumbs in exchange for vote, but let us not do harm to our family in years to come. To stay above the laws,Hun Sen has forgotten where he’s from and who he was. Of course he is responsible for his government in its negligence and abuses to put burden on generations to come in repaying the accumulated debts to China, Korea, Russia and Viet Nam. For all his mistakes and responsibilities, Hun Sen cowardly blamed the others and opponents.

So it’s enough and be no more. So let us all be ‘the powers that be’. Let us all put the corruptive practices during election time to an end from cheating once and for all. Let us all march with enthusiasm to voting places to rid the tyrant in July 2013.

The inevitable, Cambodia needs new attitude to bring about change

To allow a change is to give the powers that be a chance. The poor and the mass, in a peaceful voting process under the keen eyes of international observers, must show force and desire to change. The exemplary courage in Arab Spring showed the powerless can’t be stopped by the tyrants’ violence.

The change in Cambodia is possible, but each voter must be willing to be the change that they want to see in the world. Each must make efforts, no matter what, to vote with conscience against the temptation on that day for the betterment of all. Each vote possesses power to determine on and to have the government that will work for and listen to you, the voters.The power that be is your single vote.


Written by Kham

12/10/2012 at 1:13 am

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