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Mondulkiri governor to ‘retire’

After three years as Mondulkiri provincial governor, Eng Bunheang will “retire” from the position in April for a yet-to-be-defined job at the Interior Ministry, it emerged yesterday.

Bunheang – who will be replaced by current deputy governor Svay Sam Eang – yesterday dismissed suggestions by a local human rights advocate that his retirement was linked to his failure to tackle rampant illegal logging, deforestation and land disputes in the border province.

“It is time for me to retire. I was transferred to the Ministry of Interior for another job,” he said, adding there was “no clear evidence” for the allegations of mismanagement.

Asked yesterday about Bunheang’s retirement, Interior Minister Sar Kheng cited his health, and said “it’s his time to retire”.

The replacement ceremony on April 20 will come three years and six days after Bunheang – who is nearing regular retirement age – began his tenure, which came under fire yesterday from Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

“We have not seen any improvement in infrastructure, in people’s livelihoods – people are still poor – and deforestation, both illegal and legal, is skyrocketing,” Ratha said, noting that residents, unhappy with Bunheang’s performance, had called for his removal last year.

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