DOZENS of Sam Rainsy Party district councillors stormed out of a workshop at City Hall on Wednesday in response to what they perceived as attacks on their party’s leadership, then staged a press conference at which they called for Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun to be removed from his post.
The workshop, which was convened to cover the effective use of city data books, descended into partisan rancour after Mann Chhoeun accused “opposition lawmakers” of groundlessly blaming municipal officials for the eviction of poor residents of Phnom Penh to the capital’s outskirts.
SRP district councillors at the event said afterwards it was clear that Mann Chhoeun had been referring to their party, and also that the deputy governor said he had wanted to knock out their teeth.
“I have always heard Mr Mann Chhoeun attack the opposition party. He did not say the specific party name, but he was focusing on the SRP,” Thach Khunsarin, a Meanchey district councillor, said at the press conference staged at party headquarters following the walkout.
“We would like to request that the government remove Mr Mann Chhoeun from his post as Phnom Penh deputy governor.”
SRP lawmaker Ho Vann also said he believed Mann Chhoeun’s behaviour was evidence that he is unfit for his role.
“What we heard from Mann Chhoeun today was impolite. He is not suitable to be a leader. Beating us until our teeth fall out – is he suitable to be deputy governor? He is not a politician, and this is not a time to propagandise,” he said.
Reached Wednesday afternoon, Mann Chhoeun denied the allegations levelled against him by the SRP district councillors.
“I just called on them to learn on behalf of the authorities. Some of them did not want to work but attacked instead. Then they walked out. This shows that they do not have good manners, that they are impolite people,” Mann Chhoeun said.