Cambodia: ‘Political Inheritance’ a Brewing Problem, Rights Activist Says

WASHINGTON DC – Cambodia needs to build new leaders to take over the country in the next generation, a leading rights activist says.

But Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, told “Hello VOA” on Monday that the ruling party is already preparing to hand over power to the progeny of its members.

“This means the party is ready to let their children take over, family style,” he said. “But this younger generation has high education, a good standard of living, and doesn’t understand the difficulties of the poor.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said it was not unusual for political families to bring about political leaders.

“This is not different from the US, where there is the Kennedy clan, or Lee Kuan Yu of Singapore, or Sukarno of Indonesia,” he told VOA Khmer. “This is political inheritance.”

Still, Ou Virak said Cambodia’s political leaders need to know when to step down and train their replacements. “If older officials step down and leave their places, to train juniors for the jobs and take responsibility, then the younger ones will move very fast.”