The governors of Preah Sihanouk, Ratanakkiri and Pursat provinces have been replaced by Royal Decree, according to officials, with the first of the transfer ceremonies being carried out Thursday morning.
Sborng Sarath, the governor of Preah Sihanouk province, was replaced Thursday by Chhit Sokhom, the former president of Takeo province’s administrative council, said provincial police chief Math Sob.
The transfer ceremony took place between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to Mr. Sob, and was presided over by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun.
Mr. Sob explained that Mr. Sarath will now take up an unspecified position at the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh.
Khoy Sokha, the governor of Pursat province, was also replaced in a ceremony Thursday, according to police officers who declined to be named, and was replaced by Mao Thonin, the former deputy governor of Stung Treng province. Mr. Sokha is also set to take up a job in the Interior Ministry.
Pao Hormphan, the governor of Ratanakkiri province, also confirmed Thursday that he had been replaced by Royal Decree. Mr. Hormphan said that the transfer ceremony would take place this morning, with Thong Savorn, the present deputy governor, being appointed into the position.
“I will go work at the Interior Ministry,” Mr. Hormphan said.
Mr. Savorn is the son of Senator Bou Thong, who served as defense minister during the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and is a member of the CPP standing committee.
Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak and Interior Ministry Secretary of State Sak Setha, in charge of reform and decentralization at the ministry, could not be reached for comment on the changes.
Chhay Thy, Ratanakkiri provincial investigator for rights group Adhoc, said that he hoped that Mr. Savorn’s promotion to Ratanakkiri provincial governor would help stem the number of land disputes between agricultural companies and the many groups of ethnic minorities in the province.
“The new governor…is the son of Bou Thong, a lawmaker for the CPP and a member of an ethnic minority in Ratanakkiri province, so we hope the new governor will be reform-minded toward our minority people here and that there will be no more land disputes,” Mr. Thy said.
“Pao Hormphan was calming at first during his mandate, though, but then…there were many disputes between minority villagers and foreign companies and a lot of anarchist illegal logging,” he added.
rith@cambodiadaily.com
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