[Editor’s note: The environmental watchdog Global Witness released a report this month claiming Cambodia’s potential oil and mineral wealth is set to benefit a small elite, including senior officials in the government and military. Om Yentieng, a senior adviser for Prime Minister Hun Sen, dismissed the report, “Country for Sale,” in a phone interview with VOA Khmer.]
Q. The recent Global Witness report claims some high-ranking government officials, such as Sen. Lao Meng Khin, Gen. Ouk Kosa, Gen. Pol Saroeun, Gen. Meas Sophea, and others, including yourself, were quietly allocated mining licenses. Is this true?
A. I think that if I have a mining license, I don’t know who doesn’t have one in Cambodia. Global Witness really likes to tell so many lies. I think Global Witness is the worst liar. I really want to laugh about that. Doesn’t Global Witness have other things to say, or what?
Q. The report claims that some Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officials protect mining companies, including yours. What do you think about that?
A. They have been speaking very badly about the Cambodian government for years. They have a lot of things to say, a lot of lies about Cambodia.
Q. The report claims that 45 percent of sate property was purchased by private companies. Your response?
A. I have nothing to say further, as I have already said that they have nothing to say but lies. If it is like Global Witness says, Cambodia is already like Hell, and you wouldn’t see that Cambodia has a lot of development like this at all. So that is enough. Don’t try to hurt Cambodia more on that.
You [Global Witness] have a sharp nose and white skin. Are you trying to rule everyone in the world, or what? You always speak about the respect of human rights, and respect of the truth, but you are betraying your own words. You are a liar, and you are the worst, and smell worse than anything else. It is like the doctor who tries to sell itchy medicine, but he can’t even treat his own itchy skin first.
Q. Regarding assets such as petroleum, iron and other minerals, how will the government manage those in the future? And how can this be done with transparency in the revenue?
A. Do you think Cambodian people are not human beings? Are we stupid about everything you say? You think we are too stupid to manage these resources? You know, the Khmers built Angkor Wat, so this is not so difficult. If we talk about petroleum mining, about Chevron, the US oil and gas company doing its research every day in Cambodia, maybe Om Yentieng sold his license to that company. Why doesn’t Global Witness also ask Chevron, how much did this company bribe the government to be able to drill Cambodia’s biggest offshore [block]?
Please don’t be so concerned with this matter. The Cambodian people, including the illiterate farmers, still know how to protect their country. Outsiders, who always have concern, have never helped protect Cambodian land even a meter, only Cambodians in the country have. Please, next time don’t be so interested with this crazy report. And broadcast that I said it is a crazy report.