Saturday, 12 July 2014

Hun Sen’s Investment in Hun Many

“He [Hun Many] knows what to do, he knows how to manipulate the media, he knows how to use the media.”

Media studies academic Moeun Chhean Narridh, 11 June 2014, The Phnom Penh Post

“….But through evaluation of my work and achievement, the party after a lot of discussion agrees that it is time for new face[s]; and not only me, there are a lot of youth from CPP that have received such opportunities and trust based on the work we have done for the party”.

Hun Many, 6 June 2014, Channel News Asia TV

It is clearly not a waste of his parents’ blood, sweat, and tears when Hun Many was sent overseas at the age of 9 for two decades of quality education. He becomes a parliamentarian at a tender age of 32 after a three-year stint as a prime minister’s assistant. This inevitable personal success, however, raises a simple question: would vagrants who are removed in caged trucks from city streets achieve similar outcomes if they were given similar opportunities?

Moeun Chhean Narridh is right that Hun Many knows how to use the media. He makes a lot of right noises on a wide range of topics in his interview with Channel News Asia that uses unflattering footages and commentaries as a background for the encounter.

The interview shows some discomfort, nevertheless. Persistent charges of nepotism for his meteoric rise will persist for some time yet. Hun Many explains it is the CPP evaluation of his work and achievement that brings him to where he is. He does not elaborate, however, whether the assessment would have taken place without his connection to his father. Where would he be, had he been one of the caged vagrants?

He may have a second thought about the interview that allows so many hard-hitting questions and retorts. He smiles uncomfortably at times, especially when interviewer Lin Xueling keeps on drilling down for some details of his personal goals to address his claimed concern over the low level of schooling among youngsters. If Hun Many has any idea, he certainly plays his cards close to his chest. When pressed further for some target numbers, he retreats to the following escape route:

“I don’t think [a] National Assembly member can do it alone, you need a holistic approach and which our youth organisation [Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia of the CPP] has been doing. At the end of 2013, we have provided more than close to 300 scholarships. But more than that I think with the new minister of education, youth, and sport we understood that certain disparity between the youth getting degrees in accounting, banking, and financial sector with the available market employment that is statistics.”[sic]

Another front Hun Many seems uneasy is his proclaimed ethics against corruption. When cornered to rule out taking a bribe, no matter how large, Hun Many will let “the people” decide whether he should. He says,

“For me I think I let the people decide, … regardless of whether small or big, people decide on how I do because I believe it’s wrong, again that is immoral… that it does impact on the people [sic].”

This appears consistent with his benign assessment of the current level of corruption. He claims corruption in Cambodia is not “rampant” – pointing out it is not at the level where the country is not attracting investments. He fails to appreciate many investors can only thrive in corrupt environments where they have secured connections in government that allows them to turn anything they touch into gold.

Ung Bun Ang

Updated: “Best of One”, Pseng-Pseng, 10 June 2014

In less than four hours on 12 June 2014, the legal trio controlling the court system sails through the SENATE, which some say is an acronym for “State Enterprise for National Theatrical Entertainment”.

The legal trilogy is now at the Constitutional Council, which is supposed to review all legislations before passing them on for the King’s signature. It would need a miracle for the Council to see any flaw in it.

And the King will sign it with an understanding that he will be held responsible for anything that he has no control over. How thrilled would he be?

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