Deputy Prime Minister Nhek Bun Chhay yesterday defended his leadership of Funcinpec following criticism by his former colleague Prince Norodom Ranariddh, saying he had only strengthened the coalition party.
“The prince said that I led Funcinpec to serve ‘them’. His claim is not the truth,” the Funcinpec party president said, referring to allegations made by Ranariddh on June 18 in apparent reference to Nhek Bun Chhay’s relationship with the ruling elite.
“What I have most regretted is that Nhek Bun Chhay took the national patriot movement Funcinpec, of our father and our grandfather, to play as bay lok bay lor, to serve them until all was broken,” Ranariddh said at the time, referring to a children’s game similar to “playing house”. The prince then urged Funcinpec members to join his Norodom Ranariddh Party.
Nhek Bun Chhay claimed yesterday, however, that hundreds of NRP members had defected to Funcinpec. “There are more than 600 NRP leaders in communes, districts and provinces who have defected,” he said.
NRP spokesman Pen Sangha dismissed the claim, saying that Nhek Bun Chhay was no “super star” like Ranariddh and Funcinpec was a “ship nearly sunk in the water”.