Long-serving Preah Vihear governor Oum Mara, a former military officer, will be replaced by the province’s deputy governor, Un Chanda, who is also the local head of a youth organisation.
The decision was announced in a royal decree dated August 12 and signed by Say Chhum, Senate president and secretary of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
According to the edict, Mara, governor of the border province for about eight years, will be transferred to the Interior Ministry.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Mara had reached retirement age, while his replacement was well qualified.
“It is a normal thing for him,” Sopheak said of Mara’s move. “He will come to work at the Ministry of Interior.”
However, Rath Sophea, information department director at the Interior Ministry, said Mara still had one more year until his official retirement.
“He still has one year more to go; I do not know [why he was moved], but the government promoting an official is normal within the government’s framework,” Sophea said.
Sophea described Chanda – who is the head of the Preah Vihear Youth Council of Cambodia – as hard worker and good communicator who “respected the role and followed the top leader’s order”.
Lor Chann, Preah Vihear coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he believed unresolved problems with illegal logging and land disputes in the province may have been a factor in the switch, adding he welcomed the opportunity to work with the new governor.