Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Old CPP chiefs a bane for new CNRP ones in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville

Old CPP chiefs a bane for new CNRP ones in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville

Veal Vong Commune Chief Chhuot Chhath (right), 65, and his deputy, Heng Seangleang, 33, photographed at the commune office yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Veal Vong Commune Chief Chhuot Chhath (right), 65, and his deputy, Heng Seangleang, 33, photographed at the commune office yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Old CPP chiefs a bane for new CNRP ones in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville

Two newly elected opposition commune chiefs in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are struggling to dislodge their Cambodian People’s Party predecessors following their recent swearing in to office.

Chhout Chhath, 65, who was elected commune chief in Phnom Penh’s Veal Vong commune, said former CPP Commune Chief Keo Sakol – now the current second deputy chief – refuses to vacate her office in the commune hall.

According to Chhath, Sakol suggested he work in a 5-square-metre room that does not presently have a desk or a chair. Chhath, who was previously second deputy for five years, currently sits at his old desk in the commune hall’s front room.

Sakol argued that she began working in the office in her current role before becoming commune chief in 2002. “[Chhath] wins and he wanted to kick me out; during my term he could sit anywhere,” she said. “This means he does not want us to work with him.”

First Deputy Commune Chief Heng Sean Leang, of the CNRP, said the matter would be reported to City Hall if the commune council could not resolve it during an internal meeting on Friday.

The newly elected CNRP chief for Commune 1 in Sihanoukville, Ouk Chettany, faces a similar problem, with the former CPP chief also refusing to vacate the commune chief’s office.

“He said that room belonged to him for a long time already, and said his documents are still there too,” said Chettany. “I am sitting in the meeting hall . . . If he will not hand over the room to me, I will sit in the meeting hall for the whole of my term.”

Chettany said a clerk will report the problem to the provincial governor this week.

Former Commune Chief Chhit Sophat, now second deputy commune chief, retorted that all the offices in the commune hall were of the same size. After he hung up the phone, he could not be reached for elaboration.

Nicfec Executive Director Sam Kuntheami said the former commune chiefs’ behaviour was out of step with their actual authority.

“Commune building is state property, and the new elected commune chief has the right to control it and to manage it for administration work,” he said.

Secretary of State at the Ministry of Interior Sak Sitha said that he has not yet received any reports about these cases. “Let them deal with it. This is how the subnational politicians learn how to work together.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of