CNRP Whip Cries Foul on Nepotism in Parliament

CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay has sent a letter to National Assembly Secretary-General Leng Peng Long accusing the official’s deputy of stacking the parliament’s bureaucratic ranks with members of his extended family.

In the letter dated Tuesday and distributed Wednesday, Mr. Chhay demands an investigation into whether National Assembly Deputy Secretary-General Mith Karen used his influence to furnish at least seven of his family members with positions heading Assembly departments.

Those accused of receiving their posts through nepotism include Hong Vichet, the director-general of the administration and finance department, named as Mr. Karen’s son-in-law, and Met Timean, director of the internal auditing department, identified as his daughter.

Contacted Wednesday, Mr. Karen acknowledged that those named in Mr. Chhay’s letter were his relatives but denied the charge of nepotism, saying he has no authority to dole out jobs.

“Of course they are my relatives but they don’t hold high positions. They still work under their superiors,” he said.

“I have no right to appoint anybody, including my blood relatives. The appointment for jobs here was managed by [past]…presidents of the National Assembly after conducting examination of their skills.”

Mr. Karen added that his relatives had worked in the National Assembly since Prince Norodom Ranariddh was prime minister, and had obtained their jobs legitimately through political deals between the CPP and Funcinpec.

Mr. Chhay said by telephone that Mr. Karen’s relatives should all be removed from their positions pending an investigation and called on Mr. Peng Long, to release the assembly’s staff lists to prove that nepotism was not widespread.

“I’ve heard the number of permanent positions or jobs in the parliament is now 1,350 and there are contracted jobs of about 500 to 600,” Mr. Chhay explained. “I’ve been asking for this list for 10 years and have not gotten it.”

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