Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Sam Rainsy: We All Welcome 7 January

Posted on 8 January 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 541

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Sam Rainsy, the President of the opposition party in Cambodia, joined on 5 January with Khmer citizens countrywide to welcome the 7 January as a holiday, when Cambodian people’s lives were saved and the country was liberated from the black-clad regime of mass killings.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, who has just returned to the country after visiting Europe, said, ‘We are all happy to welcome the 7 January, because we remember this day as the day when the Khmer Rouge regime was ended.’ He added that on the 7 January, the Pol Pot regime was overthrown and the Cambodian people were freed from the killings. He considered that the liberation of the Cambodian people gives a positive view to 7 January.

“People throughout the country acknowledge that without the 7 January 1979, many would not be alive, because the Khmer Rouge cruelly killed many people, causing the death of almost two million people.

“Though Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party of Cambodia, recognized the importance of the 7 January 1979, he also considered the 7 January 1979 to be the day when a foreign country invaded Cambodia. He said, ‘If they entered to free us and then they would have gone back home, we would be grateful to them. But they overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and then they continued to control Cambodia. This was not good.’ He explained that the 7 January 1979 also made Cambodia lose its independence and sovereignty, and it was controlled by Vietnamese troops.

“Because the 7 January 1979 saved Cambodian people’s lives, it has become an important day in political afguments for the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] to propagandize for votes so far. In general, it is recognized that the 7 January is an important element to help towards the success of the CPP in three national elections so far – i.e. in 1993, 1998, and 2003.

“However, Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party, said that after 29 years have passed, the 7 January has become ineffective for election campaigns. He thinks that the 7 January has no longer a powerful role as a political threat against the Sam Rainsy Party. He explained that in the 2008 election, the number of young people voting increases, and these young people do not remember anything.

“He went on to say that young people in Cambodia, and also worldwide, think more about their employment, their salary, and justice etc.

“A CPP official said that no one can deny that the 7 January 1979 is the second birthday of the Cambodian people. Therefore, we hope that the people will continue to support us; and moreover, we are also obliged to repay those who were before us their favor with the construction of the country, so that it is developed, peaceful, free from poverty, and it has social justice.

“Though Mr. Sam Rainsy does not consider the 7 January to be a threat against his party in elections, most observers and political analysts thought, ‘Whatever the degree, the 7 January will collect votes for the CPP which led the forces to free the Cambodian people from the killings by the Khmer Rouge. A political analyst, who has been working for a long time, said that when time passes by, more and more people in the young generation reach the age of voting. These young people know very little about what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime. Hence, the propaganda about the 7 January 1979 may be effective only with a small number among the young voters. He continued, ‘However, the 7 January is still deep in the heart of people in the middle and older age groups. Thus, they will still vote for the CPP.’

“This analyst went on to say that the overall effectiveness of the 7 January for voters may decline with the increase of the number of people of the younger generation participating in the elections. As a result, the CPP must think beyond the use the 7 January for its election campaigns. Economic growth, people’s improved livelihood, a clean society, and justice are what the Khmer people in general want. This is what the ruling party must consider to be among the priorities in its political platform, if they want the people to continue to support them.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4482, 6-7.1.2008

No comments: