Election in Malaysia in Reflecting Cambodia

Two things to be considerate on the recent election in Malaysia: the overseas Malaysians voters and the national institution.

Malaysian Election Commission is appointed by the King of Malaysia to conduct nationwide election. This election of May 9, 2018, 14 millions were registered to vote and 82% voter turnout. There are 7,979 Malaysian voters overseas according to the EC. Malaysia has allowed overseas citizens to vote since 2012 except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore, have allowed overseas citizens to democratically vote during national elections.

Malaysia is Constitutional Monarchy like Cambodia. The King is the Head of State who exercises power through the provision of constitution to ensure rights and freedoms, commander-in-chief of the national arm-force, and chief of magistracy to ensure judiciary system is capable and competent.

លទ្ធផលនៃការបោះឆ្នោតនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ីកាលពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែឧសភាកន្លងទៅនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យមានការភ្ញាក់ផ្អើលច្រើន ដោយសម្ព័ន្ធភាពនៃគណបក្សប្រឆាំងបានយកឈ្នះគណបក្សកាន់អំណាចជាលើកដំបូងក្នុងរយៈពេលជាង៦០ឆ្នាំ។ ការណ៍នេះមានឡើងស្របពេលដែលនិន្នាការនៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានថយចុះនៅបណ្តាប្រទេសផ្សេងទៀតនៅក្នុងតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍។ អ្នកតាមដានការបោះឆ្នោតពីររូបគឺលោក យឿង សុធារ៉ា អ្នកជំនាញខាងកិច្ចការបោះឆ្នោត និងលោក សេង សុភ័ណ នាយកប្រតិបត្តិនៃប្រធានគណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស (CEROC) ថ្លែងថា ប្រទេសកម្ពុជានិងប្រទេសអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍ផ្សេងៗអាចរៀនសូត្របានច្រើនអំពីដំណើរការបោះឆ្នោតឯករាជ្យនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ី សិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតនៅក្រៅប្រទេសរបស់ពលរដ្ឋម៉ាឡេស៊ី ការផ្ទេរអំណាចដោយសន្តិភាពទៅកាន់រដ្ឋាភិបាលថ្មី និងការធ្វើតុល្យភាពនយោបាយការបរទេសក្នុងទំនាក់ទំនងជាមួយប្រទេសចិន។ (សឹង សុផាត, Hello VOA, វ៉ាស៊ីនតោន, ៧ មិថុនា ២០១៨)

News on the upcoming fake election of Cambodia and the Election Boycott

Lee Morgenbesser, an expert on authoritarian regimes, said the elections would “absolutely not” be free and fair, even with the CNRP’s participation.

Janet and LP 6“The minimum standard requires that all parties and candidates be subject to the same procedures for registering and appearing on the ballot; all campaign and compete on a level playing field; all have equal access to the media; voters be free to vote for their preferred candidates; and official results accurately reflect the votes that were cast,” he explained.

Cambodia has failed to satisfy each of these requirements – and few would be resolved even if the CNRP were revived.


The government has even abandoned symbolic gestures such as Phnom Penh’s “Freedom Park,” established in 2010 to satisfy the country’s Law on Peaceful Demonstrations. The park, which hosted mass protests following the disputed 2013 elections, is supposed to be a designated area for citizens to gather in protest. It was closed down after Hun Sen ordered it to be relocated to the outskirts of the city, around 4 kilometers away from the original park. The relocation seems to violate a clause in the law that requires the park be easily accessible to the public. Today, 10-foot high metal walls have cropped up around the park, blocking access entirely.

The closure of Freedom Park may make little difference, given that Hun Sen has expressed his willingness to kill 100-200 people to maintain stability, and Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak bragged that nobody “dares” to protest.

The forced exclusion of the CNRP has understandably grabbed headlines. But the restrictions on free speech, media, civil society, freedoms of association and assembly, and the possible absence of election observers indicate that even if the CNRP were miraculously resurrected, the Cambodian elections would still be a far cry from free and fair.

Read more the Diplomat…


If passed, the bill must be enacted into law within 180 days, although it is not yet clear when the House will vote on the legislation.

The Cambodia Democracy Act 2018 states that democracy has failed in Cambodia despite “decades of international attention and assistance,” and condemns the deteriorating situation for political rights, civil society and the free press.

The legislation’s co-sponsor, Alan Lowenthal, called the bill a “major step” towards holding Hun Sen and his associates accountable.

“I believe these sanctions will get the attention of the Cambodian government,” Lowenthal said in a statement, stressing that the US and world must act urgently. “I also believe that our action today will encourage other members of the international community to take similar actions and bring additional pressure to bear on Hun Sen.”

Cambodian officials identified as being involved in undermining democracy are already banned from traveling to the US following a December decree from the State Department.

There are now bills in both the US Senate and House that would impose asset freezes, although the Senate bill goes even further by requiring that the US oppose loans to Cambodia from international financial institutions. It also bans any negotiations on the more than US$500 million debt Cambodia owes America dating back to the 1970s.

Cambodian officials’ assets are difficult to track given that asset “declarations” sit in a closed envelope in the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit. Some high-ranking officials like Siphan are dual US-Cambodian citizens.


Rainsy also said Hun Sen “is holding his people hostage and blackmailing donor nations” by flaunting the negative effects sanctions would have on average Cambodians.

“I am calling on the Cambodian people to be prepared for some additional hardship in our current fight for a democratic and peaceful change,” he said. “As in any battle for a just cause, a short-term sacrifice may be required to secure a better future.”

While the US hasn’t threatened the garment industry specifically, officials have warned that further action is on the cards.

Sophal foresees more sanctions coming after the July elections, which he doesn’t expect the US to recognize as free, fair or legitimate. “It’s clear as day the US will reject the results of the election and I expect more sanctions as Cambodian democracy is not only undermined but completely gutted.”

Read more on Asia Times…


Voters and abstainers

Rather than a competition between the CPP and another party, the election is shaping up to be a competition between voters and abstainers. With the CPP all-but-guaranteed a win, it is voter turnout that counts. As Cambodian political analyst Meas Nee points out, the CPP’s concern is no longer winning the election, but maintaining legitimacy and “minimum recognition” from the international community.

Continue reading News on the upcoming fake election of Cambodia and the Election Boycott

Press Release on Public Forum in Vancouver of British Columbia

Press Release                                                                                  9:15 am

“The Crackdown of Democracy in Cambodia”                                         May 15, 2018

Press Release to Welcoming Sam RainsyCoup detat in July 1997 by second Premier Hun Sen to depose first Premier Prince Norodom Rannaridh left Cambodia’s seat at the UNs vacant under the supervision of Credential Committee of the UNs. In that time, US was the core leader to lobby other nation-states to aid this seat postponement. With current setback of democracy, Cambodia shall be inevitably facing tensions with the international community especially the Cambodia’s legal seat at the UNs. The same political manoeuvring as the coup in 1997, before the arrival of election day in July is the dissolution of the largest opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) by the Supreme Court which is a politically motivated. Many scholars and political observers including the director of human rights watch Brad Adam have viewed this dissolution as a cold-blood coup detat.

This May 14, the National Election Committee (NEC) of Cambodia closed its political party registration date and declared 4 parties to be correctly registered by allowing another 5 days to fulfilling other parties. Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted before the work of NEC that there will be at least 10 parties to join the election while the Ministry of Interior issued a listed political parties of over 41 parties by stating as “listing at the Ministry” without specifying on those parties have properly worked with due processes according to the laws such as the requirement of 4000 membership registration and the deposit of money over $4000 dollars with the Treasury Department etc. The political parties released by the NEC has no Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the leadership of this party has issued a statement to “boycott” this upcoming July 29, 2018 election.

The contentious election face-up to between opposition CNRP and government-led party CPP has come amid a belief that, at least, over 5 million of Cambodian eligible voters will refrain themselves from going to the ballot-booth to peaceful protest the wrong doing and the denial of voters’ rights by Prime Minister Hun Sen leadership. This latest authoritarian decision-making of Prime Minister Hun Sen has significantly violated the existing national Constitution and the spirit the Paris Peace Agreement signed in October 23, 1991 to guarantee multi-parties (plural) democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and the rule of law of Cambodia. Hun Sen and his entourages will be more ease than the gun-firing coup in 1997, but the pressures and the caution of losing political legitimacy is remained the same. Once again, the leadership of CNRP has come out in stronger unity after the party dissolution till today, while the condemnation of the international community including the United Nations have come out stronger and stronger. Many measures have been laid out and more pressures from the democratic countries are needed.

Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should join in hand with the United Nations and the International Communities to pressure on authoritarian leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen and to help bring back democracy to Cambodia. During this occasion of welcoming Mr. Sam Rainsy, former leader of CNRP and its co-founder, and current leader of Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) to visiting Vancouver in May 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm, we would like to invite media, federal and local politicians, and all democratic friends, to join us this rare public forum at Guildford Park Secondary School: 10707 146 Street, Surrey, BC

Further info: Sophoan Seng, 403-975-5415, info@khmeroversea.info

Press Release on Public Forum in Vancouver, BC in pdf

UN Rights Envoy Claims General Election ‘Not Genuine’ Without Banned Opposition Party

UN Rights Envoy Claims General Election ‘Not Genuine’ Without Banned Opposition Party

UN Envoy on Human Rights Rhona Smith at a press conference on human rights in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 14, 2018. (Hul Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
UN Envoy on Human Rights Rhona Smith at a press conference on human rights in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 14, 2018. (Hul Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)

Rhona Smith said the government must immediately release the detained opposition leaders and lift a ban on the opposition taking part in the July 29 general election.

Rhona Smith, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, has said that the country’s forthcoming national election will not be “genuine” without the participation of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party.

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court last November after its leaders were charged with treason for their alleged role in a foreign-backed plot of overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“No election can be genuine if the main opposition party is barred from taking part,” she said in a statement.

Smith stressed that the government must immediately release the detained opposition leaders and lift a ban on the opposition taking part in the July 29 general election.

“Those who currently rule the country have one final opportunity to reverse the current trajectory, and return instead to the constitutional path of multi-party democracy and genuine elections —ensuring a level playing field for all political parties,” she added.

The appeal to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party came on the same day that the National Election Committee (NEC) announced the start of official registrations for the election, which is due to be held on July 29.

However, Hun Sen defended the process, saying in a speech that any delay to the election would be unconstitutional.

“The constitution must be changed for a delay. The law must be changed for a delay. The National Election Committee has no right to delay [the election] because this procedure is set by the law we made,” he said.

“A dead person that passed away was burned without knowing the whereabouts of the bone. It will not survive. Only the real parties can stand for the election. Thus, [we] see it in black and white,” he added, referring to the CNRP.

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said Smith may have misunderstood legal proceedings in Cambodia, saying “at least ten political parties intend to take part in the election.





គណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសមានការខកចិត្តជាខ្លាំង ដែលព្រឹទ្ធសភាថ្មីប្រចាំអណត្តិ២០១៨-២០១៣និងដែលបានយាងអធិបតីប្រកាសសុពលភាពដោយ ព្រះមហាក្សត្រ គឺជាព្រឹទ្ធសភាឯកបក្សផ្ទុយទៅនឹងរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញត្រង់មាត្រា៥១ថ្មីដែលមានចែងយ៉ាង ច្បាស់ថា ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជាអនុវត្តនយោបាយប្រជាធិបតេយ្យសេរីពហុបក្ស…។

អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិបានចំណាយធនធានរាប់កោដិលានដុល្លាដើម្បីកសាងនិងពង្រឹងលទ្ធិ ប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនៅកម្ពុជា។ ប៉ុន្តែរបបលោកហ៊ុន-សែន មិនមែនមិនបានពង្រីកនិងពង្រឹងប៉ុណ្ណោះទេ ថែមទាំងបំផ្លាញចោលទាំងស្រុងតែម្តងដោយប្លន់យកឆន្ទៈរាស្រ្តដែលបោះឆ្នោតអោយសមាជិកក្រុម ប្រឹក្សាឃុំ-សង្កាត់ទាំង៥០០៧នាក់ពីគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិដើម្បីបង្កើតព្រឹទ្ធសភាបែបផ្តាច់ការតែម្តង។

យើងត្រូវការការបោះឆ្នោតមួយដែលមានន័យពិតប្រាកដ ដែលយើងអាចទទួលយកបានទាំង អស់គ្នា។ ការរំលាយគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ ការយកកៅអីសភានិងសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សាឃុំ-សង្កាត់ របស់គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិទៅចែកអោយបក្សផ្សេង គឺស្មើនឹងការជាន់ឈ្លីប្រជាពលរដ្ឋអ្នកបោះឆ្នោត ជិតកន្លះប្រទេស ជាការរំលោភលើរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជា និងជាការរំលោភលើកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុង ប៉ារីស២៣ តុលា ឆ្នាំ១៩៩១។ ការបោះឆ្នោតព្រឹទ្ធិសភាកាលថ្ងៃទី២៥ ខែកុម្ភៈ ឆ្នាំ២០១៨ដោយគ្មាន គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិចូលរួមគឺជាការបោះឆ្នោតបង្គ្រប់កិច្ចរបស់លទ្ធិផ្តាច់ការឯកបក្សតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។

ជាការកត់សំគាល់មួយទៀត តំណែងព្រឹទ្ធសភាមួយចំនួនធំគឺជាឧញ៉ាដែលជាម្ចាស់ជំនួញធំៗ ក្នុងព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា ដែលប្រការនេះគឺផ្ទុយទៅនឹងស្មារតីច្បាប់ដែលហាមបុគ្គលទាំងឡាយនេះ មិនអោយកាន់កាប់តំណែងរដ្ឋាភិបាលព្រោះអាចនាំផលវិបាកក្នុងរឿងប៉ៈពាល់ដល់ទំនាស់ផលប្រយោជន៍ គឺការញែកមិនដាច់រវាងផលប្រយោជន៍ជាតិនិងផលប្រយោជន៍ផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនតែម្តង។


នាក់ នៅតែទាមទារអោយមានការអនុវត្តន៍តាមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញខ្មែរអោយបានត្រឹមត្រូវដើម្បីធានានូវនិរន្តរភាព នៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យសេរីពហុបក្សនៅកម្ពុជាអោយបានពិតប្រាកដ។ ក្នុងកាលៈទេសៈបច្ចុប្បន្ន ក្រោមការ ដឹកនាំរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែននិងគណបក្បប្រជាជន ហើយបើការបោះឆ្នោតជាតិខាងមុខមិនមានការចូល រួមពីគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិទេប្រទេសកម្ពុជានិងប្រជាពលរដ្ឋកម្ពុជាអាចនឹងជួបគ្រោះហ៍ភ័យដូចក្នុងកំឡុង ខ្មែរក្រហមឡើងកាន់កាប់អំណាចក្នុងឆ្នាំ១៩៧៥ ដូច្នោះដែរ។

ជយោ លទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងនីតិរដ្ឋនៅកម្ពុជា!

ជយោ ស្មារតីនៃកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសអមតៈ!

ជយោ កំឡាំងសាមគ្គីរបស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស-ក្នុងប្រទេសទាំងអស់!

ថ្ងៃទី២៥ ខែមេសា ឆ្នាំ២០១៨

Read the whole statement in pdf at Public Statement on the Single Party Senate of Cambodia

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Overseas Cambodians Step Up Activism in Light of Gov’t Crackdown

Overseas Cambodians Step Up Activism in Light of Gov’t Crackdown

Op-Ed: VOA Khmer

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer

In March, a group of Cambodians in Europe gathered to protest at the United Nations Human Rights Council office in Geneva, Switzerland, as the body was due to review human rights situation in Cambodia.

Cambodians living overseas have increased their activism since a government crackdown on dissent began last year, according to activists.

Cambodians in Europe protested against political repression in Cambodia. (Courtesy photo)

Cambodians in Europe protested against political repression in Cambodia. (Courtesy photo)

Last month, a group of Cambodians in Europe gathered to protest at the United Nations Human Rights Council office in Geneva, Switzerland, as the body was due to review human rights situation in Cambodia.

Other demonstrations took place in the days leading up to the meeting, in Sydney, Australia, as Prime Minister Hun Sen attended a summit of Asean and Australian leaders.

Holding placards in support of political prisoners, including the jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha, protesters chanted anti-Hun Sen slogans.

“We, the Khmer people living abroad, do not forget our motherland and what’s happening there,” said Thay Makara, a Khmer community leader in Europe. “With social media, the connection with our countrymen remains close. We feel miserable to see our people suffer abuses.”

The Supreme Court dissolved Sokha’s party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, in November and banned 118 senior party officials from politics for five years. The government has also used tax laws to pressure independent media and civil society groups into silence.

Activists have organized public forums and met their representatives in the United States and Canada to urge them to apply diplomatic pressure on Phnom Penh.

“At this point, our strategy is to demand a review of the Paris Peace Agreement in order to have a free and fair election, not the Russian-style one,” said Seng Sophoan, president of the Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians (CEROC).

The Vancouver-based CEROC has been working for years to demand voting rights for Cambodians overseas.

“What we have been doing is to urge donor countries to review the Cambodian government’s recent actions,” said Men Vannak, another community organizer, from Lowell, Massachusetts. “This government abuses democrats, civil society groups, and the opposition party.”

Cambodian community leaders from around the world gathered in Melbourne, Australia, for a three-day conference to discuss ways to tackle the challenges facing Cambodia in terms of its growing economy and society, including health, education, rural development, migration, and immigration.

Hong Lim, a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the main organizer, hoped that the “World Khmer Conference” would find a way to address these challenges, which he considered “terribly troublesome” issues.

“We, the owners of our country, must be brave to face these challenges,” Lim said. “We must dare to find a solution together.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Cambodia’s democracy at 124 out of 167 countries, down from a “hybrid government” to a “dictatorship”, after it dissolved the main opposition party.

Many opposition politicians have fled the country to escape persecution and to continue their political activism, while some of their colleagues remain in the country.

“These are peaceful and non-violent protests by Cambodians overseas,” said Kuch Schanley, an independent analyst in Maryland. “The worrying trend is that the Cambodian government will continue to do whatever they want. They don’t want to listen to demands by people in and outside of Cambodia.”

“I believe that Cambodians inside the country can play a significant role, too, since the conflict is actually there,” he added.

Schanley said that overseas Cambodians from the US, Australia, Germany, Canada, and France, cannot fully help them alone.

“Once Cambodians inside the country call for external help, they should help themselves, too,” he said. “They have no strength and resources, but their compatriots outside can shake up the international community to provide protection so that they can overcome their fear and stand up to protect their national interest.”

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