Sunday, November 03, 2013

Stop Squabbling—Cambodian Leaders Need to Work Together

Most schools and educational institutions bear familiar names like this one, and are seen to be no more than instruments for recycling ideas and curriculum approved by the neo-Communist one party state in the CPP regime - School of Vice

Opinion by Peter Tan Keo

Cambodia is tarnished with so many years of political and civil unrest it’s hard to keep up, even for seasoned analysts. Some people look back to early 20th century, when King Norodom Sihanouk was placed in power by colonials; others look to 1953 when Cambodia won in­dependence from France. Yet, others claim that Cambodia’s present day deadlock dates back to March 1970, with General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak overthrowing Norodom Sihanouk from power, planting the seeds of unrest further leading to, well, we all know what happens next.

Me, I say, “Who cares?” The origin of Cambodia’s conflict is less relevant than present-day leaders lacking the foresight to overcome today’s political differences, for once in history. Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP President Sam Rainsy are guilty of this ineptitude. Everyone else—from blind party sympathizers to diplomats to loyalists to apathetic civil servants to overzealous Khmer expatriates to eager journalists—are equally guilty of going along for the ride, without adding new insight to push the country away from the grips of politics, and into a century based on discovering economic opportunities for the populace.

And because leaders can’t get past the past, focusing on how to create reforms in the present, I’d like to point out a few things. Build schools. Create jobs. Get people out of poverty. Sounds simple but to date, I haven’t heard a single party speak eloquently to these reforms, other than a whole lot of political projectile targeting electoral reform.

Any party seriously pushing reforms here will take the 2018 electoral spoils.

What’s more interesting, though, is the inability to avoid recycling old explanations, causes, arguments, whatever in ex­plaining why the CNRP refuses to negotiate with the CPP, or why the CPP does what it does. The CPP finally recognizes that the people have spoken—and, ipso facto, authentic reform needs to happen, now. Yes, we know that promises have been made be­fore, then broken, then made, then forgotten, then broken. But, what’s different this time is that the ruling party has to concede—perhaps beyond its will—to the fact that demographic shifts in Cambodia threaten the party’s ability to maintain its continued grip on power.

Simple math leads us to believe that, with youth under the age of 25 representing more than half the population, and 70 percent un­der the age of 35, it’s clear as day, at least to me, that the one factor which deviates from years past is this: Young people are voting for change, but not the kind of change that the CNRP continues to throw around or the kind of change that CPP youth groups address superficially, if not tangentially. Planting trees won’t get you votes. Jobs will.

If the CPP’s “call for reform” is authentic, regardless of partisan politics, reforms will have to get at the heart of providing educational and employment opportunities for young people, especially students carrying, often blithely, two bachelor’s degrees. Policy wonks call this the education-workforce gap.

It’s not rocket science. But what concerns me most is this: Cambodians are moving, again, down a potentially dangerous path, mimicking a traditional pattern that has for decades led to war. There’s a clear growing division in the country in which the op­position CNRP may be, perhaps carelessly, dousing the flames of civil unrest, though its concerns over the ruling CPP are not entirely unfounded. After all, Mr. Hun Sen is the longest serving prime minister in South­east Asia and the fifth longest in the world.

But Mr. Rainsy’s frustration appears to be more personal, as he targets Mr. Hun Sen and not so much the CPP. The concern is that too much time and energy are being expended on removing Mr. Hun Sen from power, and on electoral reforms, when knowing that it’s not just about one man or elections.

Cambodian leaders on both sides lack foresight, and that in­eptitude may once again prove to be costly, if not disastrous, for the country. Leaders are encouraged not to get caught up in the excitement of the possibility of im­mediate change because nothing changes over night. And, frankly, that impatience doesn’t seem authentic to the local reality.

The ruling party, in particular, needs to quickly self-assess, as it tries to push out re­forms that truly benefit the country. They may pay dearly at the polls in five years. The opposition CNRP must find a more moderate approach in negotiating reforms, which would lead to gradual change.
Stop fighting. Work together.

An alumnus of Harvard University and the University of Chicago, Peter Tan Keo is an independent analyst and founder of think tank Global Strategy Asia.


Anonymous said...

នយោបាយ ដ៏មហាប្រជាភិថុតបញ្ចើចបញ្ចើ បោកប្រាស់រាស្ត្រ:
នយោបាយដឹកនាំរបស់ លោកហ៊ុន សែន សព្វថ្ងៃ ជានយោបាយ មហាប្រជាភិថុត មហាបញ្ចើចបញ្ចើ មហាបោកប្រាស់រាស្ត្រ តាមរយៈប្រព័ន្ធ មហាពុករលួយ ដ៏ធំធេងមួយ គឺ ប្រព័ន្ធឧកញ៉ា។ ឣ្នកមានលុយទិញឋានៈឧកញ៉ា ពីហ៊ុន សែន រួចក្រុមឧកញ៉ា យកឋានៈនេះ ទៅលួចប្លន់រាស្ត្រ និងប្លន់ជាតិ រួចយកលុយប្លន់ មួយភាគតូចមក ធ្វើជាសង់សាលារៀន សំណង់នេះ សំណង់នោះ រួចដាក់ឈ្មោះហ៊ុន សែន,ប៊ុន រ៉ានី, ជា ស៊ីម, ហេង សំរិន ពាសពេញប្រទេស។ ពេលឮឈ្មោះឣស់នេះ គួរឲ្យឆ្ឣើម មហាឆ្ឣើម។ សំណង់ទាំងនោះ ឣត់មានគុណភាពទេ ព្រោះតាមប្រព័ន្ធ មហាពុករលួយ។
លោកហ៊ុន សែន ក្នុងឋានៈជារដ្ឋមន្ត្រីទី១ បានត្រឹមតែដើរសម្ពោធឣាគារ កាត់ខ្សែរបូរ ដើរចែក សញ្ញាប័ត្រ ដោយមាន មន្តី្រជាន់ខ្ពស់ ទាប ហែរហម ប៉ូលីស ក្រុមការពារសន្តិសុខ បំផ្លាញលុយជាតិច្រើនណាស់ រាប់សែនលាន ក្នុងពិធីម្តងៗ។ ម្យ៉ាងទៀត ហ៊ុន សែន យកវេទិកានេះ ព្រោកប្រាជ្ញ ជេរបញ្ចោរគេឯង ជាសាធារណៈ ផ្សាយតាមប្រព័ន្ធវិទ្យុ និងទូរទស្សន៍ ជាតិ និងឯកជន។ ការងារសម្ពោធ ចែកសញ្ញាប័ត្រ ជាការងារឣ្នកថ្នាក់ក្រោមៗ តាមឣង្គភាព តូចតាចសោះ។

Anonymous said...

Look into the past histories and learn from the mistakes to make a better decision for the future,If you don't learn from the past,you tent to repeats the mistakes like the past.History will be repeated if you don't learn from it.Cambodia kept on repeats making mistakes again and again because of the ignorance and arrogance of our leaders that refuse to change for the best interest of our nation and her people,Cpp [Hun sen] is one of the worse in our history.


Anonymous said...

Peter Tan Keo is merely an amateur/trainee in politics that requires years of more research and study before he can be of any value to any Khmer and Cambodia. With that kind of writing, Peter Tan Keo appears to have been already taking the stance towards to the left...

At this stage, I personally don't expect much from Peter Tan Keo vis-a-vis Khmer/Cambodia.

Regardless, good luck!

Anonymous said...

the struggle of power overlooks other urgent issues needed in cambodia.

Anonymous said...

It is laughable to have high schools named after her, but she, (Bun Rany) herself, never formerly finishes junior high school.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The young Phd. Keo did not research deep enough to understand a root and cause of problem in Cambodia. His analysis may best fit to the democratic society but not applicable in Cambodia while everything under one man or one party rule.

Anonymous said...

i noted many supporters fail to understand cambodia. where they come from in the world is different compare to the reality in cambodia. people in cambodia live under a system believe, system, gov't, economy, etc. if you want to rescue cambodia, you really have to educate the people as well. cambodia have different set of believe, different mentality. you have to start there if you can help it. otherwise, you miss the point.

Anonymous said...

Can teach stupid..the smartes we got is theary good

Anonymous said...

យើងទាំងឣស់គ្នាត្រូវតែដូរ ហ៊ុន សែនចេញ ! ព្រោះសព្វថ្ងៃ៖

១. រដ្ឋាភិបាល… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
២. សាលារៀន … របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៣. ប៉ូលឹស … របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៤. ប៉េឣឹម… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៦. កងទ័ព… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៧. លោកឧត្តមសេនីយ… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៨. វត្តឣារាម… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
៩. ទេពវង្ស… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
១០. តុលាការ… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
១១. ជំនួយឣន្តរជាតិ… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
១ . កាកបាទក្រហម… របស់ប្រពន្ធលោក ហ៊ុន សែន
១២. ផ្លូវ...ស្ពាន… របស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន
And so on…

Anonymous said...

What's your fucking problem 1:53 AM?

Son of Farmer said...

My beloved Mr. Keo!

Forgive me for mockeringly laughable for your masterfully flowering analysis, investigation, and observation of Khmer PoliSick!

It's unquestionably ashamed that Mr. Peter Tan Keo is academically too busy of his highest education, therefore he cannot reasonably or rationally listen Hun Xen's dictator speeches..

According to my unearthly stupidity of lacking education, we Khmer don't desperately need PhD, in order to simply visualize Khmer PoliSick, all we simply need is do we reasonably, unashamedly, or determinedly accept the ugly truth of Khmer leaders' mistakes. For ex. Xihanouk, Pol Pot, and Hun Xen did not patriotically want to share their absolute power!

Anonymous said...

I am appreciated for the Post on TOP one in Khmer language...It is interesting true reports...... Thanks for posting !

Anonymous said...

i agree mr. keo analysis. leaders should stop the blaming game and take responsible and do thing differently for a change. cambodia should focus on the moment and the future, not so much the past. the past, we can learn from, but it is the present and the future that's more important in cambodia's endeavor. instead, cambodia should focus on making life better for all in the country, the economy growing and the system law, improve education and prevent accident on its roadways, getting more electricity for cambodia and better management of the natural resources, improvement of sanitation and so forth. using too much finger pointing is a weakness and should be minimized. as human being, we should do better than our predecessors.

Anonymous said...

mr. keo is so right! all people who give support some way or another is guilty as hell. they are the instigators and the enablers, not the solution finders! what cambodia needs is a solution finder, not the instigators. that's called taking advantage of my country cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's what all of ah HUN SEN's slave like you are saying, precisely!!!

Anonymous said...

Peter Tan Keo is a rookie to modern Cambodian politic! He likes to say what he thinks is right! But if what he thinks is all wrong and who is there to correct him? This is what I am talking about!

Hun Sen government broke the election law and no one in the Kingdom of wonder including Peter Tan Keo dare to tell Hun Sen government of what is right and what is wrong! As far as I am concerned Hun Sen government has 30 years to reform and to set good example for future Cambodian government to follow. But Hun Sen refused to do so because if Hun Sen do the right thing and he wouldn't like the outcome. Hun Sen can't go on forever bankrupt Cambodia and Cambodian people and sign off Cambodian people to work as house maid...and no more broken promises...The war of economic nationalism, the military interest, and the political interest of outsider at the expense of Cambodia and Cambodian people can not go on forever!

Simply put Hun Sen is a career criminal...whether Cambodian people like him or not! Hun Sen must make the right decision to do the right thing for Cambodia and Cambodian people. The time is running out for Hun Sen....

Anonymous said...

I would not count on that 6:31 AM! His (HUN SEN) head and soul have been sold off to the Viet long time ago...don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

hun sen in power for 30 years, if there is no challengers, he will continue to run cambodia the same way he did in his 30 years tenure. however, now that cambodia is changed and different with a challenger like sam rainsy, etc, of course, hun sen has to think again about continuing his old conduct. sometimes, it takes pressure to change a person's bad way. look for that pressure to leverage that resistance for change for good.

Anonymous said...

get the psychic to free hun sen from his yuon slave mentality. i know khmer people are good with psychic believe, why can't they free hun sen from yuon's evil spell? where are the khmer psychic people? they should free hun sen from yuon's slave mentality!

Anonymous said...

Quit now, you stupid @7:10AM!!!

Anonymous said...

ស្នៀតចរចា ប៉ះស្អិត-ហិតស្អុយរបស់សម រង្ស៊ី !

ស្នៀតចោរឆ្កែកន្ទុយខ្វៀនសម រង្ស៊ីពេលចរចុយ !

ស្នៀតចោរ "អង្អែលបណ្ដើរ លុញបណ្ដើរ"

ស្នៀតឪចែកអោយ "ចុយបណ្ដើរ ស្រែកបណ្ដើរ"

ស្នៀតសម រង្ស៊ី "ចរចាបណ្ដើរ ចូលរន្ធបណ្ដើរ"

ស្នៀតសើមហ៊ុនសែនសាប់ក្តិតសម រង្ស៊ីបណ្ដើរ-នោមដាក់ក្បាល នាយចរចា បណ្ដើរ !

*ឈ្នះ បានលុយនៅក្រៅគុក
*ឈ្នះ បានអំណាច ​ក្រោមពងយួនហ៊ុន សែន!

Anonymous said...

Thauk teap nass. kaun mee chor kachuy louch luy cheat khmer sang sala dak chhamous kloun erng. kabot cheat penh tomheung heuy taing pouch. No shame at all. On the top of that chea kheatakor chheam kdauv neung chheam trar cherk , chea pheh vorekar anndarakcheat teith phong.

Anonymous said...

Got to love khmer they never agree on anything.♥♥♥♥♥

Anonymous said...

Peter Tan Keo want to work with a criminal and nobody stopping him. If Peter Tan Keo doesn't know what is right and what is wrong under the law then what he has to say has no meaning.....

Anonymous said...

What do you mean Mr. TanKeo by saying that Mr.Hun Sen is the longest serving Prime minister inSouth East Asia?.

Is it a praise that the prime minister continues to ignore Cambodians demand for basic needs in life?
Away from broken trust of reform again and again, power abuses and corruption has led to massive foreign debts and providing star like living of corrupted. Of course CNRP wish to collaborate in real reform that where discussion and agreement are to reached before entering the parliament .

Mentioning about Cambodians are going down to destructive path is an insult. Though through restriction of media, citizen freedom of speech, collective expression not to mention about abusing power of authority, Cambodians now are well aware of what ought to be fulfilled by RGC.

It sounds more like you are frustrating with people power that has moved to this far.

Along side, is there any effective immigration laws applied in so call Cambodian Kingdom?

Through your academic intellectual property, I would never have thought you are dead blind not to see oppression and suffering of Cambodians.

Please tell me if there is any ethical principles has been applied in long serving RGC.

Most of all, how is that fit to principle of Buddhism that so many high ranking pretend to be with their unkindness.

Once again, there is so much of knowledge that people can learn from but NOT much of understanding has been applied.

I hope you will be better if you also have compassion.

Neang SA

Anonymous said...

សម្ដេចអាពាល ហ៊ុន សែន
សាប់ក្ដិត អាភ្លើ សម រង្សី​!
សាប់ទាល់តែអាស៊ី ទន់ជង្គង់លើកទង់ស..(ចរចាញ់)

អាសែន ចុយបន្ត............