Ousted F’pec Officials To Get Hearings

Funcinpec is forming an internal “disciplinary committee” to resolve the complaints of at least 19 party members ousted from their governorships last month, a senior royalist official said Wednesday.

The panel was or­dered by party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh upon his return to Cambodia this week, Fun­cinpec Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nhiek Bun Chhay said. An earlier committee had been established to offer staff jobs at the Interior Ministry in a bid to ap­pease the ousted officials, he said.

The disciplinary committee will be headed by Funcinpec Senate Vice President Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak, Nhiek Bun Chhay said.

“It will be to investigate this problem,” he added, referring to the outcry of former governors and deputy governors who have de­manded the removal of Secre­tary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh.

Those disgruntled members have alleged that corruption was involved in their dismissal and have warned that Funcinpec’s popularity will suffer if the dispute continues.

Earlier this week, Price Rana­riddh downplayed the rift in his party, saying the ousted officials were merely exercising their “dem­ocratic right,” guaranteed by the party, to air their grievances.

On Wednesday, however, several of the former royalist governors and deputy governors said they were ordered to refrain from making any further public comment about the issue.

“It is too early for me to talk,” said Ou Bun, ex-governor of Kom­pong Speu province. He said he was told not to speak to re­porters.

One former governor, who declined to be named for fear of reprimand, worried that the new disciplinary committee’s real intent was to punish and possibly re­move dissenting members from the party.

Chhim Seak Leng, a  deputy secretary-general, said Prince Ran­ariddh would meet with Nhiek Bun Chhay today to discuss the demands of the ousted officials.

“I don’t know what the Prince’s decision is for them, but since the beginning, he has never fired members from the party,” he said.


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