Two teachers, who are former Kampong Thom provincial council members for the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), have announced that they will no longer participate in any political activity, especially related to the CNRP, to avoid being fired or physically attacked.
One of the teachers, Thai Tim, told The Post on Tuesday that since he and the other teacher, Sun Thun, attended a Khmer noodle gathering with other former CNRP activists in May, both had come under serious pressure.
He said they had been warned that their teaching positions would be terminated by the Baray district disciplinary council or the Kampong Thom provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport.
“After participating in the Khmer noodle gathering, both of us were called in by the Baray district education office and the Kampong Thom provincial Department of Education to question us about our activities and we were warned to transfer our jobs or be fired by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport."
“They claimed that what we did constituted activity for the former CNRP. In order to maintain our career and personal safety, it is necessary that we stop being involved in political activities with all political parties in Cambodia, especially the CNRP,” Tim said.
Korn Savang, a monitoring coordinator for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, told The Post on Tuesday that if there had been political pressure on the two teachers, it would demonstrate double standards in education and the ministry should address and explain the situation.
He said there are many teachers who are political activists for other political parties. “If they are teachers and work for a council, it’s not allowed. They have to resign their teaching positions first."
“However, they have a right to express support for a political party, but not conduct activities on school premises as such activities are banned."
“If the local authority and the Ministry of Education considered [their activities] as wrongdoing, then they should check on other teachers because there are many teachers who are activists for political parties, not only for the CNRP,” Savang said.
He said in the meantime, the authorities should do their jobs thoroughly and search for the people who had physically threatened the teachers and punish them in accordance with the law.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Tuesday that the ministry is investigating the case based on the law but had not yet made a decision.
“Not only with these two teachers . . . the ministry often takes administrative action against teachers in Cambodia based on the education laws and guidance."
“However, at this point, there is no decision and no action has been taken against those two teachers,” he said.