Chim Rithysak, the Sam Rainsy Party’s deputy chief of Tuol Tumpong II commune, said Tuesday he is trying to rid his office of four CPP staffers whose employment should have ended after last February’s commune elections.
“They still are working in the commune office even though they have no salary. It is illegal and what [CPP Commune Chief Youn Sophon] is doing is…against the law,” Chim Rithysak said.
Youn Sophon defended his staff, saying, “They are working in the executive branch. They are not in the legislative. They have funding sponsored by the Phnom Penh municipality, whereas commune council officials get salary from the [national] government.”
The chief accused Chim Rithysak of working for his party rather than the people. “He always hinders my work and says what I am doing is wrong,” Youn Sophon said. “I asked him to talk with people about building a road, but he told me he could not do it and said, ‘People do not listen to me.’”
Last August the Sam Rainsy Party released the findings from an informal survey of its commune officials in which 40 percent of those polled said they receive “no cooperation” from ruling party commune officials.
Upon hearing Youn Sophon’s argument, Chim Rithysak said, “Don’t believe him. He told a lie. He never held a meeting with me and the other two Sam Rainsy Party commune council members to discuss road building and repair.
“I have not been given work to do since I came into office,” Chim Rithysak said. “I, as a second deputy commune chief, have a responsibility for the administration of public service and public order…but I have no duties as the law says I should.”
Youn Sophon denied this, saying he would have been fired by the Ministry of Interior for wrongdoing. “Yet I have been given a golden medal by the Phnom Penh municipality.”
Municipal Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeun dismissed the feud as trivial, saying: “All commune members are working together…. Only three communes out of [Phnom Penh’s] 76 communes [which are controlled by] the Sam Rainsy Party have created problems and do not follow the Interior Ministry’s principle.”