Funcinpec Interior Ministry Secretary of State Kieng Vang confirmed Tuesday his imminent defection to the Sam Rainsy Party, blaming his shift in political allegiance on a lack of confidence in Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Kieng Vang is the first high-ranking Interior Ministry official to jump to the Sam Rainsy Party.
“I did not announce my leaving formally yet, I have only decided in my mind,” Kieng Vang said by telephone.
“I leave Funcinpec because I don’t like the leader. He never cares for the [people] who struggled,” said Kieng Vang, using the term commonly used for former members of the anti-communist resistance who fought on the Thai border in the 1980s.
“Strugglers have sacrificed everything for the prince. Finally, the result they received is miserable,” Kieng Vang said.
“Funcinpec members [who were] police officers were fired from their positions and replaced by the new [officers] who take money,” Kieng Vang added.
Prince Ranariddh said outside the National Assembly Tuesday that he been told that a number of senior party members might defect to the opposition party.
However, the prince said he had not been informed officially.
“I think the departure of any Funcinpec member is their own karma. They leave the gentle party to join the fiery party,” the prince said.
In January, three high-ranking Funcinpec members confirmed their defection to the Sam Rainsy Party, which they also blamed on their disillusionment with the royalist party leadership.
The defections of Ministry of Rural Development Undersecretary of State Mak Sophy, RCAF Brigadier General Vong Kim Han and Chea Chun, a former adviser to Funcinpec Senate Vice Chairman Nhiek Bun Chhay, were treated with the same muted response by Prince Ranariddh.
Sam Rainsy said at the time that the three defections were the “tip of the iceberg,” and that he expected many other royalist party members to join by April.
The Sam Rainsy Party will hold a congress on March 29.