Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister chides ‘lying’ governor

Minister chides ‘lying’ governor

Sar Kheng criticises the Ratanakkiri governor at the annual National Road Safety Committee meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Sar Kheng criticises the Ratanakkiri governor at the annual National Road Safety Committee meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Minister chides ‘lying’ governor

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday blasted Ratanakkiri Provincial Governor Thong Savon for falsely using him as an alibi to explain why he could not meet with four ministers that Prime Minister Hun Sen sent to the northeastern province last week.

Speaking at a meeting on road safety in Phnom Penh, Kheng said he was surprised to learn that a meeting he purportedly held with Savon on Thursday had prevented the governor from meeting the four ministers, explaining that he could not recall the meeting.

“Recently, I have not had a meeting with the provincial governor, but he claimed he was busy meeting with me on the day when the ministers went to the province to find solutions for indigenous people,” Kheng said.

Savon was meant to meet with Land Management Minister Chea Sophara, Environment Minister Say Samal, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon and Rural Development Minister Ouk Rabun, who were on a three-province tour ordered by Hun Sen.

The other two governors did not miss their meetings, and Kheng suggested Savon may have been avoiding his job and had created the alibi as an excuse not to meet the ministers, who had travelled more than 500 kilometres from Phnom Penh to meet him.

“Why did he lie like this? It’s illegal,” Kheng said.

Savon could not be reached for comment. However, Ngem Sam Ouen, the spokesman for Ratanakkiri province, said the governor had himself been travelling back to the province from Phnom Penh on Thursday. He otherwise declined to comment.

The only one of the four ministers who could be reached yesterday, Sam Al, declined to comment on the governor missing the meeting, but said the trip had come from a request from the governor of neighbouring Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district.

Hun Sen, he said, appointed the four to visit Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Stung Treng to inspect issues of land registration, the status of ethnic minorities and the settlement of protected areas.

Land Management Ministry spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment. However, his ministry posted on Facebook on Thursday that the delegation of ministers had met with 66 families in Koh Nhek as part of the trip and promised to expedite their efforts to get land titles during the trip.

Chhay Thy, a coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Ratanakkiri, said indigenous people there continue to experience many issues with the government’s system of land registration and land concessions, and he was baffled as to why the governor missed the meeting.

“The local authorities always come to find solutions for them, but we don’t know why the governor didn’t join the ministers,” Thi said. “Maybe he was busy with something.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro