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Cambodian Prime Minister Threatens to Cut Citizens Electricity if They Complain About Outages


FILE PHOTO - Cambodian workers prepare an electricity pole for placing at Samroang Tiev village at the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Hun Sen’s comments came after he apparently read a news report where sources criticized the government over ongoing power shortages during the current heat wave.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday threatened Cambodians who complain about regular power outages, that he would order the state provider to turn off their supply if they continued to voice their grievances.

In a speech in Kampot province, he said unnamed political analysts could see the restrictions imposed if they continued to make statements suggesting the outages were a ploy to provide a pretext for more hydropower development in the country.

“Let’s cut off electricity from those analysts’ houses, so they will know that power shortage was not an excuse to build more hydropower dams. He said we are making an excuse to build hydropower dams. They are too much. It is very unfair.”

Hun Sen’s comments came after he apparently read a news report where sources criticized the government over ongoing power shortages during the current heat wave.

“There is nowhere to invest in hydropower dams. There is no water. How can we operate dams on land? Please learn more. Crappy, they are very crappy.”

Keo Ratanak, Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC) director, could not be reached for comment.

San Chey, executive director of the Cambodian Social Accountability Alliance, said the prime minister’s menacing comments were unwarranted.

“Government has every right to respond, but we want a technical response. He can just reject those critics instead of threatening to cut off their electricity. It should not happen because both parties contribute to society.”

Since mid-March, the government has cut electricity for six hours every day except Sunday and national holidays, claiming that Cambodia is experiencing power shortages. The situation will be back to normal if there is rain before the end of May, according to an EDC statement.

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