Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-CNRP teachers fired in Siem Reap, say move politically motivated



Ex-CNRP teachers fired in Siem Reap, say move politically motivated

Mut Morla, a teacher at Siem Reap Town High School, is one of four people who were fired by the Ministry of Education. Facebook
Mut Morla, a teacher at Siem Reap Town High School, is one of four people who were fired by the Ministry of Education. Facebook

Ex-CNRP teachers fired in Siem Reap, say move politically motivated

The Ministry of Education has fired four ex-Cambodia National Rescue Party members from their teaching jobs in Siem Reap province, according to a letter from Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron.

The teachers, who received the letter today, claimed the move was "politically motivated" and "unjust". The letter was signed on January 30, the same day the ministry finalised the termination of Rong Chhun, a former ministry staffer who resigned from the National Election Committee in protest of the forcible dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party.

The letter asks the Siem Reap Provincial Education Department to “terminate” Hong Sokchea, a teacher at Hun Sen Tapenh Primary School; Peat Mab, a teacher at the Provincial Teacher Training College; Mut Morla, a teacher at Siem Reap Town High School; and Chan Sophea, also a teacher at Siem Reap Town High School.

The four were fired for being “absent without permission” since January 1, the same justification cited for terminating Chhun. All five had taken a leave of absence from their educational positions in order to take on political roles, Chhun as a CNRP-appointed official at the NEC and the four teachers in local level positions with the CNRP. Their jobs were ostensibly being held for them by the Ministry of Education, but were allegedly terminated because they did not seek to return to work promptly enough after their party's dissolution.

However Mab, a former deputy director of the CNRP in Siem Reap, said after the opposition was forcibly dissolved at the government's behest in November, the teachers filed a request to resume their education duties on December 11, but the provincial Education Department delayed sending the requests to the ministry until January 15.

“If I had not filed a request to [resume] work, it’s my mistake, but I did file” he said. “The Education Department suspended our work awaiting for a decision from the ministry.”

Mab had asked to take leave before becoming involved in politics a year and a half ago. He added that he was sorry about the ministry’s failure to comply with the law, but the ministry “worked more for the [ruling] party”.

Morla, a former executive director for the CNRP in Siem Reap, also denied having been absent without permission.

“This case is not my mistake, but the government officials discriminate against me,” he said. “It’s politically motivated and very unjust.”

Morla took leave a year ago. Sokchea and Sophea, meanwhile, had been commune council members in Siem Reap.

Soy Tithya Vong, director of the provincial Education Department, confirmed having received the orders from Chuon Naron and claimed it was in line with the ministry’s procedures, and he therefore couldn’t oppose the terminations.

“I only follow the ministry’s guidelines, and I’m not interested in anything more about these removals because they were absent without permission,” he said.

Chhun, who was also formerly the head of a teachers union, said the terminations were a violation of ministry rules as individuals had to be summoned first before termination.

The Education Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital