One day after Prince Norodom Ranariddh suggested making the National Police more neutral by removing it from the jurisdiction of the Interior Minister and forming an independent body answering only to the prime minister, there was silence from Interior officials.
Co-Interior Minister Prince Norodom Sirivudh, said through an assistant Wednesday that he was too busy with the upcoming coronation to comment.
Two secretaries of state for the Ministry, Nuth Sa An and Kong Hun Thearith, also declined to discuss the matter and co-Interior Minister Sar Kheng, could not be reached for comment.
The issue is “beyond my comment,” Nuth San An said Wednesday. Responses from senior police officials were equally muted.
Calls to Director General of National Police Hok Lundy were unsuccessful Wednesday. Deputy Director General Mao Chandara directed reporters to his superiors.
The contentious plan, which government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Tuesday would effectively render the Interior Ministry powerless and further politicize the police force, left many officials reluctant to comment.
Some outside the government suggested the proposal might be the product of a power struggle within the ruling CPP.
If one faction is “trying to cut the wings off of another faction in the CPP, carving up the Ministry of Interior would be a good way to do it,” a diplomat said Tuesday.
Lao Mong Hay, legal expert for the Center for Social Development, said the move was a good idea, but balked at the prospect of an independent force answering only to the prime minister.
“What we should fear is the creation of a Ministry of Security, which would be yet another instrument of the police state,” he said. “If we go that way, we have to have an independent National Police board, with…supervision.”
This model of oversight was unlikely to be implemented, however, “because of party interests,” he said.