Ex-MP said to get gov’t post

Ex-MP said to get gov’t post

Former opposition lawmaker Van Sam Oeun, who defected to join the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Friday, met secretly with Prime Minister Hun Sen prior to issuing his resignation letter, opposition officials have alleged.

Sam Oeun was offered a senior job at a state development agency to sweeten the deal, a senior CPP official also confirmed yesterday.

The former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker, a Cambodian-American who was elected to represent a constituency in Kampot province in the 2013 elections, announced his resignation in a letter sent to National Assembly President Heng Samrin and First Deputy President Kem Sokha on Friday.

He said he was resigning because he had not been able “to serve our country according to [his] will and experience”.

A senior CNRP official, who declined to be named, yesterday said the defection came after a three-hour face-to-face meeting with Hun Sen at a private residence in Phnom Penh on Friday.

“He met [Hun Sen] for three hours [on Friday],” the official said. “He told him that he wished to defect for personal reasons.”

Sam Oeun could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Chea Poch, a CNRP lawmaker in Kampot who is also the provincial party president, said Sam Oeun had also been appointed as vice chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), a government body headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly.

“He resigned not because of the party,” Poch claimed. “He said that he has wants to serve the nation fully in the Cambodian People’s Party because he has not served the nation fully in the Cambodia National Rescue Party.”

He added that the party had not yet decided who would replace the former lawmaker.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann was quick to dismiss the defection.

“It does not affect the party. We are getting more votes at every election. We cannot know the reason for his defection; only he knows the truth,” he said.

Chhim Phal Virun, spokesman for the ruling CPP, confirmed that Sam Oeun had been appointed to the vice presidency of CARD.

“[Sam Oeun] said that if he stayed in the opposition party he would not have the chance to serve Cambodia according to his wishes and experience,” Phal Virun said. “The royal government, led by the Cambodian People’s Party, offers him virtue.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,