Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh accused outspoken fellow party member Keo Remy of having joined the Sam Rainsy Party Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly, Prince Ranariddh said “one [Funcinpec] lawmaker joined the Sam Rainsy Party already, but he does not leave Funcinpec…because he is afraid of losing his $2,000 salary.
“That is Keo Remy,” he said.
Keo Remy on Tuesday would not confirm or deny that he has become a member of the opposition party. On Monday, however, he joined Sam Rainsy Party officials for a march protesting alleged irregularities in the voter registration process.
“I have not joined the Sam Rainsy Party yet. The prince is just making the accusation…because he never trusts that his active people are loyal to the party.
“That’s why he has been scaring his people away to leave the party, as we have seen,” he said.
On Monday, three top Funcinpec officials declared themselves members of the Sam Rainsy Party.
Prince Ranariddh said Tuesday that Ministry of Rural Development Undersecretary of State Mak Sophy had already been fired from Funcinpec. The prince added that he had not heard of the other two officials, RCAF Brigadier General Vong Kim Han and Chea Chun, an adviser to Funcinpec Senate Vice Chairman Nhiek Bun Chhay.
Chea Chun resigned his position as adviser to Nhiek Bun Chhay “a long time ago,” a signed statement from Nhiek Bun Chhay said Tuesday.
Keo Remy said in October that he would not stand for election in July and intends to leave the royalist party when his current term as a lawmaker expires later this year. Lawmakers have been threatened with the loss of their Assembly positions if they switch parties.
“I am not a ‘yes man’ who just waits to say ‘yes, sir’ to [the prince]. I like talking with reason and I like talking about critical things in order to solve the problem,” Keo Remy said. “I won’t resign from the National Assembly because I am not wrong. I have to represent in the Assembly our Cambodians.”
Meanwhile, the Assembly failed to reach a quorum again on Tuesday, the second day in a row. The prince blamed the absences on the Sam Rainsy Party-led demonstrations that took place Monday and Tuesday.
The opposition party has only 15 members in the 122-seat Assembly. On Tuesday, Sam Rainsy led a rally of factory workers.