SIEM REAP PROVINCE
STAFF members at Siem Reap’s Angkor Chum district hospital gathered on Thursday to protest against operational district director Mak Sam Oeun, accusing him of running the district’s health sector like a “dictator”.
Forty-five of Angkor Chum district hospital’s 120 staff gathered at the facility to denounce Mak Sam Oeun, whom they accused of treating them cruelly and preventing them from providing private health services outside district facilities to supplement their incomes.
Prom Chreuk, the Angkor Chum district health operations officer in charge of administration, said he had been subject to unfair treatment despite having worked in the district for 16 years.
“Since [Mak Sam Oeun] became direcor of the operational district, he began putting pressure on all staff,” Prom Chreuk said. “I just want higher officials to replace this operational district director because he is autocratic and cruel.”
Sieng Kheng, a doctor at the district hospital, said Mak Sam Oeun had prevented him from operating a private practice from which he earned roughly 160,000 riels (US$38), supplementing his government salary of 260,000 riels per month.
Mak Sam Oeun rejected the protesters’ allegations, saying he was simply preventing unlicensed medical staffers from operating in his district. “It is their right to protest if they feel I am not correct, but my withdrawing or not does not depend on their protest,” he said.
Sao Sim, director of Angkor Chum’s referral hospitals, said the 45 protestors had thumbprinted a document demanding the removal of Mak Sam Oeun from his post. The dispute is the result of tensions that have been intensifying over the past three years, he added.