CPP and Funcinpec officials reacted angrily on Sunday to reports that a major reshuffle of ministers is in the offing and accused those behind the reports of attempting to sabotage the one-year-old coalition government.
Leading Khmer-language newspapers Rasmei Kampuchea and Kampuchea Thmey also published denials of the pending reshuffle on Sunday, though opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay said the reports of a ministerial shake-up were reliable.
“It is sabotage news aimed at splitting [the parties],” said Chea Chanborebo, head of Funcinpec’s information committee. There will be no reshuffle, he added.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith also denied the report, which he said was an invention of the opposition party.
But Son Chhay stood by the reports of a reshuffle, adding that Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun was named as one of the officials destined for removal. According to Son Chhay, So Khun has fallen afoul of the Council of Ministers over his refusal to award a mobile phone license to AZ Company—which is owned by CPP parliamentarian Ung Bun Hoav.
Khieu Kanharith said he did not know about a conflict over the license. “Son Chhay always talks badly and criticizes the government,” he added.
Contacted by telephone on Sunday, So Khun said he knew nothing of a reshuffle.“Maybe [Son Chhay] knows more than I do,” So Khun said from China, where he is traveling with a government delegation.
One government official who requested anonymity said Sunday that eight ministers are reportedly earmarked for the reshuffle.