F’pec Ministers’ Jobs Assured by Defection: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday warned Funcinpec’s few remaining ministers that he could not guarantee their positions after the national election if they don’t defect to the CPP.

Speaking at the Council for the Development of Cambodia, Hun Sen said that Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi, who defected from Funcinpec to the CPP in January, would keep her position after the July vote.

“If we play football and win, we don’t change our team,” Hun Sen said, adding however that other Funcinpec ministers would have to take their chances.

“Minister of the Ministry of Education Kol Pheng and Minister of Health Nuth Sokhom, I would like to apologize—I cannot guarantee,” Hun Sen said.

The prime minister did not comment specifically on the future of Funcinpec’s Minister of Culture Veng Sereyvuth, Minister of Rural Development Lu Laysreng and Minister of Public Works Sun Chanthol, but warned, “I can guarantee only the CPP.”

The Funcinpec ministers could not be reached for comment Wed­nesday.

However, Funcinpec Se­cond Deputy President Prince Siso­wath Sirirath said he was not surprised by the prime minister’s comments, adding that if the CPP wins in July, it can do what it likes with the government.

“If the CPP wins alone, the CPP can do it alone,” he said. “We must know about the election result first.”

During his speech, Hun Sen also warned outgoing Funcinpec officials not to remove items from their offices that belong to the state.

“Funcinpec ministers who will be leaving, please do not take out tables. When one minister changed, we lost a sofa,” Hun Sen said.

The prime minister then told of an unnamed former Ministry of Pub­lic Works secretary of state who had recently joined the CPP after defecting from the SRP.                                     Hun Sen accused the individual of taking a state vehicle with him when he left the ministry.

“If you know yourself, please take the car back,” he said, adding that in the future, ministers and secretaries of state would not be provided with state-owned vehicles.

“If you don’t like it, you can talk to me,” Hun Sen said.

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