F’pec Officials To Be Removed and Schooled

More than 40 of Funcinpec’s dep­u­ty provincial governors will soon be removed from their positions and sent to study at the Royal School of Administration, Funcin­pec Secretary-General and Deputy Prime Minister Nhiek Bun Chhay said Sunday.

He said the removal of the 43 dep­u­ty governors will start shortly after Khmer New Year, which begins on Friday, adding that their six-month ad­ministrative and organizational training course at the school will be paid for by the government.

“The deputy governors will be re­moved because they are not qualified and they didn’t go to school,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said by telephone, adding that the governors may choose to opt out of the training and instead return to work at their former ministry jobs.

The deputy governors will be giv­en government positions once they complete training, he said, though he did not specify what these would be. He also did not name the deputy governors in question.

Nhiek Bun Chhay blamed the move on his predecessor, former sec­retary-general Prince Norodom Sirivuddh, who he accused of ap­point­ing unqualified individuals.

Prince Sirivudh could not be reach­­ed for comment.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said he supported the re­moval of substandard officials, but said the campaign should not just fo­cus on Funcinpec. “I wanted the re­­form to be a universal reform,” he said. Koul Panha, director of the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elec­tions, said he suspected the re­movals were being orchestrated by the ruling CPP. “The removal is just to give the positions to CPP officials,” he said, adding that officials should establish qualifications needed for government positions.

Government spokesman and Min­­­ister of Information Khieu Kan­harith could not be reached for comment.

Also on Sunday, Nhiek Bun Chhay and Funcinpec member Prin­cess Norodom Marie Ran­a­riddh, wife of Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, led party members to a memorial ceremony in Kandal province for those killed in the 1997 factional fighting be­tween Funcinpec and the CPP.

At the stupa inside Chambok Meas Pagoda, Nhiek Bun Chhay said the service was also for “those who died for the sake of Fun­cin­pec.” He added that the party would hold two other memorials for those who died for Funcinpec during the 1980s and 1990s, to be held during Khmer New Year and the Pchum Ben festival in September.

Prince Ranariddh, who is currently outside the country, had been set to preside over the ceremony, ac­cording to a schedule distributed by Funcinpec to the media. But he fail­ed to show up.

Funcinpec senior minister Serei Kosal, who did not attend the me­mor­ial, said Khmer New Year was the wrong time to hold such a ceremony. He also questioned organizers’ motives, saying they were using the victims of the 1997 fighting to boost their own profiles.

“Don’t think only of the dead people,” Serei Kosal said. “Think of the strugglers who are still alive.”




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