Poipet commune councilors have been on strike since Feb 1 because the commune chief “used rude words” to insult them, councilors said Tuesday.
“We go on strike because the Poipet commune chief is very rude,” said San Seang Hour, commune first deputy chief and a CPP member. “He insulted me. As the boss, he treats me like a slave instead of a government official.”
The criticisms against Sok Sovann, the commune chief and a Sam Rainsy Party member, are bipartisan. Twenty-five CPP and Funcinpec councilors alike signed a petition requesting his removal and sent it to the Interior Ministry last week. The chief denies he did anything wrong and called the strike political.
“We will not go back to work unless the Ministry of Interior fires him,” San Seang Hour said.
Ros Saron, deputy commune chief and a member of Funcinpec, said politics have nothing to do with the councilors’ request that Sok Sovann be removed.
“It is not a political problem,” he said. “We don’t like him. He looks down on his staff and he is not a good leader of the commune.”
Sok Sovann denied Tuesday that he spews insults regularly and called the strike “political revenge” against him. He said he will fire the councilors if they continue their strike, which he likened to “sabotage.”
“I have enough ability,” he said. “What about the education of the councilors on strike? They did not even finish high school.”
Leng Vy, director of the local administration department at the Ministry of Interior, said Tuesday the ministry is preparing the formal documents to replace Sok Sovann.
“I will replace him soon,” he said. “We have no will to keep him.”