CPP Nominates New Minister of Agriculture

More than four months after the death of Minister of Agri­culture Chea Song, members of the ruling party have forwarded a proposal to appoint his third-in-command to succeed him, a government official said Monday.

The CPP nominated Chan Sarun to follow Chea Song, who died of liver cancer April 7, said Kol Pheng, the secretary-general of the assembly.

Chan Sarun is currently the undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

He was the former director of the Forestry Department, but the government fired him in 1997 amid complaints from environmental groups that Cambodia’s forests were disappearing at an alarming rate. In November of 1996, the International Monetary Fund withheld a $20 million loan because it said the government had failed to stamp out illegal logging and put timber revenues in state coffers.

After his firing, Chan Sarun became a parliamentarian in 1998, and served until May of 2000, when he became undersecretary of forestry.

Chan Sarun reacted to the nomination Monday by saying he was “very excited, but also a little worried because it seems to be a big task.”

The National Assembly has not set a date for discussing the nomination, Kol Peng said.

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