Prime Minister Hun Sen has issued a blunt message to opponents who think he might be close to death: “Don’t hold your breath.”
Mr Hun Sen used his first public appearance since returning from a short stay in a Singapore hospital to mock those who were ready to pounce should the end come quickly.
Acknowledging many citizens’ concern for his welfare, the 64-year-old prime minister told a ceremony to mark the 154th Anniversary of World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day: “I would like to thank those who wished me well while I was in hospital.”
His mood changed dramatically, however, when he referred to those who were less generous in their wishes.
“I would like to deliver a message to those who don’t need me and want to topple me.
“Don’t hold your breath for an opportunity arising from my failing health and my death,” he said.
“Don’t bother praying to Buddha to take my life because the Buddha has already written to me to have a long life.”
The prime minister added that all those who wished him an early death would suffer themselves.
“To all those who insulted my life, it will become a curse to you,” he said.
“Do not wait for Hun Sen to die. I am not ready to die and I will be here for a long time.”