Cambodia opposition leader asked to address real issues

A group of United States-based Cambodian expats has taken the self-exiled leader of the country’s opposition to task for focusing too much on Facebook and not enough on key issues facing its citizens.

The group was speaking out after Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy emailed Crystal Patterson, the government and politics outreach manager at Facebook, to raise the issue of the “likes” on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s official Facebook page.

A large number of these have been found to originate in countries like India and the Philippines, where “click farms” can bolster a page’s popularity in exchange for money.

In a Facebook post Friday, the Cambodia-America Alliance (CAA) said Rainsy has been focusing too much on the provenance of Facebook “likes” on Hun Sen’s page, when there were far more pressing matters at stake.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, people are still without proper healthcare, land is still being stolen, natural resources are still being pillaged, Dr. Kem Ley’s death is still unanswered, corruption is still rampant, rights and political activists are still wrongfully jailed, your 2nd in command is still under house arrest, your shadow government fell flat on its face and you’re still in exile,” the CAA said.

“For the sake of the Kingdom and Khmer people, why don’t you concentrate on those issues instead of something so ridiculously minuscule and juvenile? Are or are you not for a better Cambodia?”

In his email to Patterson on Thursday, Rainsy explained that the mysteriously inflated number of “likes” “can have far-reaching consequences and be very damaging for the public in general and for me in particular, if we don’t set the record straight”.