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City official faces firing by her brother over Facebook post

Phnom Penh City Hall Deputy Information Department Director Khut Sopheap was demoted over a Facebook post critiquing flooding in the capital during the Pchum Ben festival.
Phnom Penh City Hall Deputy Information Department Director Khut Sopheap was demoted over a Facebook post critiquing flooding in the capital during the Pchum Ben festival. Photo supplied

City official faces firing by her brother over Facebook post

A Phnom Penh City Hall official was demoted last week and faces possible termination at the hands of her brother after criticising the city’s flood prevention on her Facebook page.

Khut Sopheap, a deputy director in the city’s Department of Information, said she posted the critique after several areas of the city, including her neighbourhood, experienced severe flooding during the Pchum Ben holiday.

“Every time I go abroad, when asked where I am from, I almost have no courage to say where I am from and which nationality I am,” Sopheap posted on her page, along with a photograph of her flooded laundry room and car.

“This is after just two hours raining. In my next life, I wish to not be born Khmer because I am not proud.”

Khut Samkhan, the city’s Information Department director, who is also Sopheap’s brother, said that he stripped his sister of the deputy director title because of her “bad morality” and “scolding” language on subsequent comments.

“As a public servant, she should not use racist words, hating being Khmer,” Samkhan said. “We totally cannot accept it.”

He added that he will request his sister’s termination from Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng today. Sreng said yesterday that he had not yet made a decision on the matter.

According to the Cambodian Labour Law, employees can be terminated at will as long as employers have a “valid reason relating to the employee’s aptitude or behaviour”.

Sopheap said that she apologised for her post but remained defiant about her possible termination.

“If they think that such criticism really damages the country, let them do it,” she said. “I am responsible for what I do.”

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