A Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker will file a complaint with the National Election Committee today accusing Pen Siman, director-general of the General Department of Customs and Excise, of “propagandising” for the ruling party during the recent election campaign, an activity prohibited among civil servants.
Chea Poch, an SRP legislator from Kampot province, said he is bringing his case to the NEC after previous complaints filed to the Commune Election Committee and Provincial Election Committee on May 30 were dismissed by both bodies.
“He, as a public official, does not have the right to propagandise for a political party,” he said. “As customs chairman, if he just tried to collect more tax for the government, it would be OK.”
According to Chea Poch, Pen Siman went to Tany commune in Kampot on May 30 to tout CPP leaders’ Chea Sim, Heng Samrin and Hun Sen’s record on prosperity and development.
Pen Siman could not be reached for comment, but Kampot PEC president Te Chinnarith, who rejected the SRP’s previous complaint, said that Pen Siman had praised development and ruling party leaders, but in a way that did not break the law.
“If he just praised [them], it is not illegal,” he said, adding that distributing gifts would violate the election law. “He had also asked for postponement from his position to participate in campaigning for his party.”
However, Koul Panha, executive director of the election watchdog Comfrel, said the law forbade civil servants to campaign for any party, and that Pen Siman’s activity was indeed illegal.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]
General Department of Customs and Excise.