General Y Chhien, who once served as a bodyguard for Pol Pot, will become a deputy cabinet chief to Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to officials in Pailin province who attended a ceremony to mark his transfer on Monday.
Gen. Chhien became the first governor of Pailin when the province was created in 1996 as part of a deal that saw Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary defect to the government with some 5,000 rebel troops.
He resigned as chief of the Pailin Provincial Council last month. Kong Duong, director of the province’s information department, said Interior Minister Sar Kheng presided over the ceremony on Monday and announced Gen. Chhien’s new position. About 300 officials also attended.
“His resignation is the right thing to do in order to give a chance for the next generation to fulfill their duties [in public office],” Mr. Duong said.
Ley Chanchhay, who will take over as provincial council chief, also confirmed the announcement. Gen. Chhien and several members of the prime minister’s cabinet could not be reached for comment.