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Opposition Leader Addresses Yale Students

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy described political attacks on government policy and the “meaning of his political struggle” in a speech to a class at Yale University in the US Monday, where his daughter is a student, according to an SRP statement.

“Sam Rainsy spoke of the political struggle for democracy, freedom and justice in Cambodia in raising the struggle against a political dictatorship and corruption,” Eng Chhay Ieng, SRP secretary-general, told VOA Khmer.

The government continues to suppress freedom of expression and assembly, he said, adding that Sam Rainsy also pushed for the passage of an anti-corruption law.

“The current Phnom Penh government is not making a fair thing in conformity with democracy and constitutional principles,” Sam Rainsy told the class, Eng Chhay Ieng said.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the opposition had the “right and freedom to badly insult the government.”

“Sam Rainsy clearly knows the use of the rights and freedoms in Cambodia, but Sam Rainsy’s defamation against the government is just for good listening,” Khieu Kanharith said.

“If Sam Rainsy speaks of good for the government, the rain will pour to become a flood,” Khieu Kanharith said. “A good politician or good leader must look for its weaknesses, not blame others. If it blames others, it can’t find its weakness and can’t recorrect.”

Sam Rainsy has already apologized for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen, in 2006, and is now facing an internal conflict ahead of July’s general election, the spokesman said.