Some 300 residents of Kampong Thom province will submit their thumbprints to the provincial governor calling for the ouster of the chief abbot of a Stung Sen town pagoda – a move opponents say is motivated by the abbot’s perceived support of the opposition.
However, Khieu Khean, chief of Krochab village in Achar Leak commune, maintained yesterday that residents were upset with Krochab pagoda abbot Ann Mony because he had been uncooperative, and had had “scores of problems with people”.
“He ignores people and was insincere about money with the pagoda committee by using pagoda money to buy a motorbike and a car,” Khean said.
But some, like villager and Cambodia National Rescue Party supporter Kem Sosal, 31, accused Khean and others of seeking Mony’s ouster in order to install a more pro-ruling party abbot.
“The village chief and his deputy have collected thumbprints, saying [the abbot] is involved in politics, so they want to drive him out, but when we ask why they say it is not political, and that [it’s because] he is not honest with the pagoda instead,” she said.
“As for the accusation of him buying moto or car, I can say that the mother of the chief abbot has money to buy one for him; [he was] not using pagoda’s money.”
Last month, Mony allowed the CNRP to hold a Buddhist ceremony to collect money to build improved toilets for the pagoda. He also took part in the opposition’s mass demonstrations in the capital, one of the reasons authorities intend to expel him, Sosal added.
Stung Sen town Governor Hok Rin said yesterday that he was unaware of the campaign, but that only the provincial or district board of monks could remove an abbot.
Mony could not be reached for comment yesterday.