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Research Firm Warns of Political Instability


Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday lashed out at a report warning of political instability in the country in the wake of the current economic crisis.

Hun Sen called a report released Friday by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a UK-based research firm, politically motivated.

The Intelligence Unit said Cambodia was one of five countries globally most at risk for political unrest, as the worldwide economic crisis drags on: worse off than Iraq and Afghanistan but in better shape than Zimbabwe, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, local media reported Monday.

“Why didn’t they talk about the [Lon Nol] and Pol Pot regimes,” Hun Sen said by way of criticism, speaking at an annual conference for the Ministry of Health. “It is clear that they have a political objective.”

He did not elaborate, but Hun Sen said he was indifferent to the report’s findings.

“Let them talk,” he told the assembled, in remarks broadcast nationwide.

Opposition lawmaker and Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said the report’s findings were plausible, especially considering Cambodia’s widespread corruption, violence against civilians, job losses in the garment sector and dearth of markets for farmers.

“We are worried about what will happen in the future,” he said. “If the government does not undertake reform on time, the situation will be trouble and will affect political stability.”

Cambodia’s stability risk comes from an Intelligence Unit comparison of income inequality, date of independence, corruption, ethnic fragmentation, trust in public institutions, discrimination against minorities, history of instability, risk of labor unrest, infant mortality rate, geographical position, regime type, factionalism, GDP growth, unemployment rate and per capita income, the Cambodia Daily reported Monday.

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