Opposition party defector Van Sam Oeun has been appointed a personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen with a rank equal to minister, according a Royal Decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on February 18 and obtained yesterday.
Sam Oeun, a Cambodian-American who won a seat in Kampot with the CNRP in the 2013 election, resigned from the National Assembly on February 13 and joined the ruling Cambodian People’s Party following an hours-long meeting with the premier.
The Royal Decree says that Hun Sen requested his appointment. CPP spokesman and lawmaker Sous Yara said yesterday that the premier “will have his own opinion on how he will use him in terms of his skills”.
Sam Oeun insisted in an interview last week that he had not deserted the CNRP for monetary benefits, citing his US pension.
Hun Sen has publicly rejected allegations that he bought Sam Oeun’s loyalty.
Opposition party spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said Sam Oeun’s appointment to a high position after joining the CPP was “not a surprise”.
“Most of the people are aware of this story. Since 1993, the last 20 years already,” he said, referring to numerous past defections of opposition figures to the CPP.