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Teacher alleges punishment for wife’s politics

A primary school teacher in Pursat province has filed a complaint against district officials, who he alleges discriminated against him after his wife registered as an opposition candidate for the upcoming commune elections.

Chhang Pao, 48, who has been teaching in Phnom Kravanh district’s Thlok Dankor primary school since 1987, told the Post yesterday that on March 13, the chief of the district education department had issued a letter ordering him to move to the district office.

It came a few days after his wife became a candidate with the Sam Rainsy Party.

“They [district officials] could not find any reason to punish me, and they said to me that all teachers in the district are members of the Cambodian People’s Party, so what they did to me is political discrimination,” Chhang Pao said.

He had refused the order and had not been paid his salary for the month of March, he said.

Oum Kim Horn, chief of the Phnom Kravanh education department, said he had ordered Chhang Pao to move because of his good work at the school and that the salary had not been paid because he did not have the right to work there any more.

Chan Soveth, a senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said that if the transfer was related to politics, it was an abuse of human rights, as people should have the right to choose their political party.

“I would like to request the local authority not to mix politics with public service work,” Chan Soveth added.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Tittara at tittara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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