Lay Vannak, the governor of Takeo province, was transferred to the Ministry of Interior on Monday in a move that saw his deputy, Ouch Phea, promoted to the top job.

A Royal Decree signed by acting head of state Say Chhum says Vannak will be transferred to work at the ministry’s headquarters. No other details or explanation have been given for the move.

Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak characterised the transfer as a normal course of action for public servants.

“It is not his inheritance that he needs to hold it forever,” Sopheak said. “Public service officials must be swapped.”

He said Vannak’s new role is still unknown, but would be decided by Interior Minister Sar Kheng.

In a statement on Facebook, Vannak mourned his departure but also did not give an explanation.

“Though I am swapped to another place, my heart is here in Takeo province with the people,” Vannak said. “I still miss, respect and love the officials, colleagues, armed forces and people in Takeo province! Takeo province is the province that I love as my life.”

Updates to follow