The royalist Funcinpec Party suspended 114 members from its 340-member steering committee late last month, citing the fact that they had recently been unable to fulfil their obligations, the party said yesterday.
Funcinpec media department head Thieng Vandarong said yesterday that members suspended under the December 30 order – signed by party secretary-general Nhek Bun Chhay – were welcome to return when they were able to resume their duties, but one recently ousted party member said that the suspensions had targeted those opposed to a controversial plan to sell the party’s headquarters.
Recently ousted steering committee member Sok Sa Vann yesterday said that the suspended members opposed an alleged conspiracy between Bun Chhay, party president Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey and her husband, Keo Puthrasmey, to sell the headquarters for personal gain – a charge he has levelled against the party in court.
“The complaints now are in the hands of the court; I hope that the court will bring justice to me to defend the property of the late King Norodom Sihanouk,” he said.
Sa Vann has argued that the decision to sell the headquarters was invalid because it was announced at a meeting that they did not have a quorum.
However, Vandarong said the quarrel over headquarters was unrelated to the suspensions.
“No, it is not about the split of the party, it is not about the objection to selling the party headquarters, but it is mainly that those member could not access the meetings, and there was a problem with a lack of a quorum,” said Vandarong.
“Frankly speaking, our party members are poor, and faced difficulty travelling for the meetings.”
Bun Tha, one of the 117 members suspended by last month’s order, said yesterday that he was unaware he had been suspended, and did not know why. Though he had initially been party to Sa Vann’s court complaint, Tha said, he had since withdrawn.