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Volunteer’s mum now adviser to PM

The widowed mother of a volunteer student surveyor killed by a storm in Kratie late last month has been appointed an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to the mother.

On October 31, 22-year-old Chan Marady, a fourth-year bachelor degree student at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh, died after being hit during a storm by a falling tree.

One of thousands of student volunteers deployed to measure land as part of the prime minister’s ambitious land-titling program, Marady was killed working in Chhlong district’s Proma village – the site of a violent eviction in May that resulted in the death of a teenage girl.

Chhum Panharoth, Marady’s mother, said she was told of the appointment last Tuesday, on the occasion of her son’s seven-day ceremony.

“His Excellency Hun Manith, the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, appointed me by his own hand, and it is a big honour for my family that I received the position,” she said yesterday.

Manith was in June made No 2 at the agency tasked with heading the titling scheme.

In addition to the appointment, Panharoth received $20,000 from Hun Sen to cover the cost of the funeral. She added that she was unsure what the adviser role would entail and when it would start.

Officials in Hun Sen’s cabinet could not be reached for comment.

Independent analyst Kem Ley said it was commendable for the premier to reward the family of a man who died while volunteering to help his country, but said he was concerned over the broader question of how government advisers were appointed.  

“We should think about how knowledgeable they are. Is their previous experience of enough quality to help develop the country? If one volunteer student died and one family member is appointed as adviser, how can the national budget support this?”

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at titthara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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