The Council of Ministers has asked the National Assembly to approve the appointment of CPP Labor Ministry Secretary of State Vong Soth as the country’s new Minister of Labor following the suspension of Funcinpec’s Nhep Bunchin, CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Sunday.
Vong Soth has been acting minister since Prime Minister Hun Sen suspended Nhep Bunchin from the job on May 11.
Men Sam An, minister of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspections, said on Sunday that she had received an order from Hun Sen to investigate Nhep Bunchin.
She would not specify the nature of the accusations.
Cheam Yeap said he didn’t know when lawmakers would review the new ministerial nomination as they must first meet to schedule a date for discussion.
Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said that Nhep Bunchin, a member of the embattled royalists who is currently traveling outside the country, will retain the title of minister until an investigation into his activities is completed.
“If the investigation doesn’t find fault, he will return to the ministry,” said Nouv Sovathero, but added that the power lay with Hun Sen.
Koul Panha, director of the NGO Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that Hun Sen appeared to be slowly sweeping all Funcinpec members from minister positions.
Hun Sen likely favored ejecting Funcinpec officials one at a time over many months to maintain the appearance of a functioning coalition agreement, Koul Panha said.
“The future election will offer only one party,” he added.
Sam Rainsy Party Lawmaker Son Chhay said that if Hun Sen intends to remove all Funcinpec ministers, he should do so all at once.
“He should not play this game anymore,” Son Chhay said. “Let’s have a full house of CPP. Do it now.”