Culture

Critics Decry New Year ‘Gifts’ To Security Forces

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that the security forces were not to blame, because the salaries they receive from the government are so low.

As many as 1,000 security forces were receiving between $7.50 and $12.50 from the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin.As many as 1,000 security forces were receiving between $7.50 and $12.50 from the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin.
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As many as 1,000 security forces were receiving between $7.50 and $12.50 from the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin.
As many as 1,000 security forces were receiving between $7.50 and $12.50 from the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Over the Chinese New Year, police, military police and armed forces soldiers gathered outside the house of a powerful ruling party senator, where they received traditional red envelopes of money.

As many as 1,000 security forces eventually swarmed the house, receiving between $7.50 and $12.50 from the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin, whose Pheapmix company has been embroiled in an ongoing land dispute and forced eviction.

Critics say their behavior sends a bad message to Cambodia’s disenfranchised and underscores the kind of relationship that the rich and powerful have with those charged with public safety.

Lao Mong Hay, an independent analyst, said the images from the handout appeared as though a boss were giving money to grateful employees. It also made the nation’s security forces look like “beggars,” he said. There should be a ban on government employees taking such New Year gifts, he said.  

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that the security forces were not to blame, because the salaries they receive from the government are so low.

Military spokesman Keng Tito acknowledged that members in uniform took money, but he said that they still have an obligation to perform their duties without favor.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said there is no law forbidding such handouts.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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