A Human Rights Party lawmaker yesterday accused ruling-party officials from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) of using state resources for campaigning over the January 7 holiday.
Ou Chanrith, a spokesman for the HRP, said yesterday Suy Sem, the Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, and a coterie of subordinates had used nearly 30 state-owned vehicles to spread party propaganda and strengthen grassroots connections in Pursat province under the guise of a Victory Day celebration.
“We want to tell the public the use of state resources by a political party is an illegal act,” Chanrith said. “State resources are the people’s resources; they do not belong to any... party.”
Chanrith said he would be writing letters to the National Election Committee and the MIME, asking why Cambodian People’s Party officials — all decked out in CPP branded shirts — had used the 27 government vehicles for political purposes.
NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha said that unless an alleged impropriety occurred during the official campaign in the month leading up to elections, it was outside the committee’s jurisdiction.
“From now until the election campaign [begins], it is the political party’s business,” he said.
Suy Sem and other MIME officials could not be reached for comment, but CPP senior lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the use of state resources on Victory Day was not illegal because the day was a national holiday, not a day for propaganda from any political party.
But Koul Panha, executive director of the election monitor Comfrel, called the issue complicated, saying January 7 was technically a national holiday but had long been used by the CPP to advance a political agenda.
With election season ramping up, the NEC was obligated to monitor anything that might affect the elections’ outcome, he said.
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