The SRP issued a press release today saying that now the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities had quietly removed unofficial border markers similar to the ones Sam Rainsy and the villagers removed in October.
But the conclusions the party officials draw from this are somewhat odd.
As Sam Rainsy has exposed, the poles he pulled out were planted on Cambodian farmers’ rice fields that are private properties with the farmers holding legal land titles to justify ownership of their land. Therefore, since the wooden poles were planted on their private properties without their consent, the farmers were entitled to remove them (the poles) or to ask somebody else to do it for them, which Sam Rainsy did at marker #185.
Now realizing they are on weak legal ground in the prosecution of Sam Rainsy and the concerned farmers, the authorities have surreptitiously resorted to do the same thing as Sam Rainsy did, i.e. removing illegally imposed border markers, which is leading to a judicial imbroglio illustrating the political nature of the charges levied against Sam Rainsy.
If authorities put markers on your land, regardless of whether you have a legal title or not, you cannot simply go and remove those on your own. Under normal circumstances, however, the authorities would notify the land owners of their actions beforehand and not after the fact. But this is Cambodia. Nevertheless, the correct way to handle this on the farmers’ part is to meet with the authorities to voice their grievances, and then follow the appropriate procedure in pursuing their claim. And it doesn’t matter whether or not the judicial system in a country is flawed. One still needs to abide by it.
So now the authorities removed other markers because their case against Sam Rainsy is on shaky legal grounds? I don’t get that logic. And now this is leading to a judicial mess? No wonder their political opponents can only laugh at the SRP. With arguments like these they won’t get far. The charges may be politically motivated but are not political in itself; racial incitement and destruction of public property just isn’t – as farfetched as they may seem.
I am just making these arguments for the sake of showing the ineptitude of the SRP in their handling of pubic relations. I think this whole affair is ridiculously overplayed on both sides. Sadly, though, the way it plays out it might involve prison terms for some poor farmers. Sam Rainsy didn’t think ahead of what this might entail, and the authorities were simply given another arrow in their quiver; eventually he will be sidelined so much that his position in Cambodia will become negligible. By staying away from Cambodia he is just helping them do it. Who is Sam Rainsy trying to fool offering himself up in exchange for the release of the farmers? He knows this will never happen in the first place. Or perhaps, the King will step in once more and all charges will be dropped after a letter of apology was accepted by the government – déjà vu. Is this constructive in making an impact on the country as a whole? The man on the street doesn’t think so. They don’t even care any more. It is just as well whether Sam Rainsy is in or outside Cambodia. Perhaps, Sam Rainsy and his followers should rename their party the ‘Don Quixote Party’, a much more apt name for them.
On another note, Kem Sokha of the Human Rights Party called for unity among the opposition parties in fighting the CPP. He sure has a point there, but the Sam Rainsy Party quickly countered the door is open for any other party to join the SRP. Like, hey, we were the first to come up with this idea and, after all, we got more than 20% in the last election - déjà vu. How silly can they get? Is this all they can offer for establishing a united front?