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Saturday, July 7, 2018

PM Reportedly Gifted $3.5m to 700,000 Working Class Voters at Unofficial Campaign Events

FILE PHOTO - Prime Minister Hun Sen greets garment workers during a visit to a factory outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
FILE PHOTO - Prime Minister Hun Sen greets garment workers during a visit to a factory outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.

PM Reportedly Gifted $3.5m to 700,000 Working Class Voters at Unofficial Campaign Events

VOA | 6 July 2018

At each event, the premier’s team handed out about $5 to each attendee, making the total sum in the region of $3.5 million, according to the government’s figures.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has spent more than $3.5 million over the past 10 months in cash handouts to garment workers at weekly meetings that were seen as unofficial campaign events by his critics.
Since August last year, Hun Sen has spoken to large gatherings of garment workers 49 times, with an estimated 700,000 workers attending the speeches, according to the government.
At each event, the premier’s team handed out about $5 to each attendee, making the total sum in the region of $3.5 million, according to the government’s figures.

During the meetings, Hun Sen spoke on wide-ranging topics, including political issues and the activities of his ruling Cambodian People’s Party, but stopped short of an outright call for the workers to vote for the CPP in next month’s election.
At the final scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Hun Sen said: “I will continue to conduct the meetings for the next 10 years, but if on July 29 the Cambodian People’s Party loses the election, I will not be prime minister and will not have a chance to be with you.”
At the events, Hun Sen has been photographed hugging and kissing garment workers, with the photos later circulated on social media.
Sok Eysan, CPP spokesman, confirmed that the funds distributed to the garment workers were sourced from the national budget.
Following the 2013 election, in January 2014, at least five people were gunned down by Hun Sen’s security forces amid violent strikes at garment factories in Phnom Penh.
Meas Nee, a social researcher, said the CPP was “well aware of the worker’s feelings” and that the meetings were evidence the party was attempting to improve its image with the key voter demographic.
He added that paying the workers to attend the meetings demonstrated an unfair use of state funds in support of the ruling party.
But Eysan claimed the gift-giving, which in many societies would be seen as an outright bribe, was considered “an act of generosity” and warned critics of the policy that their criticism would be considered “an act of rebellion”.
Garment workers were generally thought to be firmly in support of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2013 and central to the CNRP’s victory in so many urban constituencies, helping the party to its large minority of seats in parliament.
The success of the CNRP caused great concern for the CPP, who has ruled Cambodia for almost 40 years in one form or another. Last November, the CPP-aligned Supreme Court ordered the CNRP dissolved on conspiracy charges, without providing evidence to support the CPP’s claims.





2 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Thank you Mr. Hun Sen for supporting the poor garment workers. Each day, a garment workers could only afford to eat 50 cents for lunch each. A $5 dollars hand-out can supplement their lunch greatly.

    I wish the amount would be twice as much or even more. It would only cost the budget a few more millions. This was nothing as compared to CNRP's demand from the budget to give to each commune leader $500,000 dollars each. The total cost would be 800 million USD dollars for the 1,600 communes.

    That way, CNRP would buy votes from the commune leaders to flex their influence to vote for CNRP. In return, the commune leaders can dip into the $500,000 commune funds for their personal enrichments.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:14 AM

      I remember CNRP were asking donation from the oversea Cambodians to feed the protesting monks for $2 dollars. Two dollars for each monk over lunch!

      Think about it. Each garment worker only eats 50 cents for lunch and these workers work hard in the sweatshops. Why would a monk eats 4 times as much when the dude does not work at all.

      I know, the lunch for the monk has meat. But still that would be 1 dollar per lunch unless it's dog meat which costs a lot more.

      Am I right?

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