Interior Officials Mum About Idea for Police

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.



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