Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh goaded party members yesterday to earn their salaries at a lunch meeting of more than 100 senior officials at a Phnom Penh restaurant.
Invoking the memory of his father, the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Ranariddh reminded party members – more than 20 of whom were recently granted high-level government positions – of the expense their employment presents to the state, and of the expectations attached to their paychecks.
“My father told me that sons who were born to be king must serve the people. His excellencies [and] her excellencies sitting here, how much salary do you receive from the nation per month?” Ranariddh asked rhetorically.
Before the prince could elaborate, however, party spokesman Nhep Bun Chin shooed journalists out of the meeting, later saying there had been no reason for the abrupt closure of proceedings apart from the fact that the meeting was “internal”.
But Khoeung Nath, a Funcinpec adviser to the government who attended the meeting, said its content had been rather tame, and that “the prince just said he wanted those officials who have positions in the royal government to go down to the grassroots to serve the people”.
Yesterday’s meeting comes amid tensions within the party, with Ranariddh and influential second deputy president Nhek Bun Chhay engaging in a public spat in recent weeks over the direction the party is taking under the prince’s leadership.