Two Funcinpec National Assembly lawmakers have defected to the ruling CPP in yet another blow to the ailing royalist party, officials confirmed Sunday.
Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said he received resignation statements last week from lawmakers So Victor, who was deputy chairman of the Assembly’s finance and banking commission, and Sin Pinsen, who served on the commission for interior, defense and anti-corruption.
“They have submitted their resignation statements to join with the CPP,” he said.
According to Nhiek Bun Chhay, he was not surprised by the defections, as both men were former members of the CPP.
“Our human resources were mixed up,” he said. “We are not sad that these [lawmakers] left to join the CPP.”
At least two further defections by Funcinpec lawmakers to the CPP are expected, Nhiek Bun Chhay said, but he did not reveal who they were. The party has not yet decided on who will replace the defectors, he added.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap confirmed Sunday that the two Funcinpec defectors were part of a group of three, including former SRP lawmaker Amhad Yahya, who had agreed to join the CPP.
He said that though Sin Pinsen, a nephew of Senate and CPP President Chea Sim, had a problem with the CPP in the past, he would be welcomed back into the fold.
The 64-year-old Sin Pinsen had been a secretary of state with the Interior Ministry, but left the government in 1994 after being accused of involvement in a coup attempt, according to Justin Corfield and Laura Summers’ “Historical Dictionary of Cambodia.”
He joined Funcinpec around 1998.
“The CPP does not take revenge,” Cheam Yeap went on, adding that the latest Funcinpec defections would not affect relations between the coalition partners.
“Lawmakers have the right to choose any political parties they like,” he said.
So Victor and Sin Pinsen declined to comment Sunday on their decision to join the CPP.
Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha said the defectors would bring some supporters and resources to help the CPP, but otherwise, individual defections mattered little.