Increased cooperation between the CPP and Funcinpec touted by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a speech on Friday will not be extended to today’s CPP Congress, a Council of Ministers official said Sunday.
Council of Ministers Secretary of State Prak Sokhon, a CPP official, said that the extraordinary congress, scheduled to start today, would be a strictly internal affair.
“It is meant to be an internal congress, so no other parties are invited,” he said. “There won’t be any guests coming from Funcinpec.”
Such an exclusion of Funcinpec would stand in sharp contrast to Funcinpec’s Congress of last week, where Hun Sen was a guest of honor and keynote speaker.
Ly Thuch, a Funcinpec lawmaker, Chea Chanboribo, Funcinpec spokesman, and Noranarith Anandayath, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s chief of cabinet, all said they had no information on whether the party would attend the congress, which Hun Sen said will be held at Phnom Penh’s Mondial Center.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh is currently out of the country.
Opposition senator Ung Bun-Ang said that he had read that Funcinpec would not be attending the congress in a Khmer-language newspaper.
He suggested that the congress might be closed because the party had more serious discussions planned than those that took place at the Funcinpec Congress, which was marked by much pomp and ceremony.
“The CPP claims that it is their internal affair and they want to keep it in-house,” Ung Bun-Ang said.
Speaking at a road construction inauguration in Siem Reap province, Hun Sen said on Friday that Funcinpec and CPP officials will receive equal opportunities and be subjected to equal punishments if they err.
He threatened to fire Bun Narith, the CPP-aligned director general of the Apsara Authority—the government agency that oversees Angkor—and Sim Son, the Funcinpec governor of Siem Reap province, if the two could not get a stalled bridge construction project in the province back on track.
“When I assign work to officials, I do not think if the officials are from CPP or Funcinpec. I give work to all,” Hun Sen said. “CPP and Funcinpec officials only think about working together, that is all.”
“I give you two weeks,” he told Bun Narith, who he said was in charge of funding for the bridge, and Sim Son.
Hun Sen noted he had signed off on the project more than five months ago.
“If you cannot start, the premier has no choice but to fire you both,” he said.
Bun Narith said by telephone Sunday that he had taken the warning seriously and that construction was set to start on Nov 28.
“I have told the public works department about the decision,” he said. “We follow the decision of the leader…. According to schedule, we can start it in time I think. No problem.”
Sim Son also said the work would be conducted as planned.
“As soon as the ceremony had finished, I followed the recommendation,” he said, adding that the provincial authorities and the Apsara Authority were collaborating to complete the project on time.