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National Assembly Officially Fired FUNCINPEC Minister

The National Assembly Tuesday votes to have FUNCINPEC party minister of labor removed and replaced by Cambodian People's Party (CPP) minister.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned about removing a number of corrupt officials who also commit wrongdoings, in what he says is a government reform.

This warning is made after the Assembly votes to remove minister of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation Nheb Bun Chin from Prince Ranariddh royalist FUNCINPEC party.

Mr. Nheb is being accused of having unusual problems. He is being replaced by a CPP official who is National Assembly's president and CPP honorary president Heng Samrin's son-in-law.

Mr. Hun Sen told reporters at the Assembly that he regrets this action in order to strengthen the Ministry of Labor governance.

Mr. Hun Sen says that he does not like what Mr. Nheb has done to allow Korean companies to demand $1,000 from each Cambodian employee going to work there, and complaints from Cambodian workers in Saudi Arabia.

He says that he wants to inform about the reason behind this removal, that he does not want to point to any political party, whether it is FUNCINPEC or the CPP. Rather, he wants to talk about ministers or government officials regardless of their affiliate parties, when he finds out about their unusual activities, there should be changes, and the changes will be made in the future too.

More than 50 FUNCINPEC ministers have been removed from their positions after the National Assembly adopts 50% plus formula instead of 2/3 majority.

Mr. Nheb Bun Chin cannot be reach for comment.

FUNCINPEC legislator Maonh Saphan expresses his unhappiness with the removal of the minister from his party. He says that the change in government structure by removing some FUNCINPEC party members is the Prime Minister's rights, but this action has an impact on FUNCINPEC's influence.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) lawmaker Keo Remy wonders about the reason behind the removal, saying he supports reshuffling of ministers to increase the government's responsibility, but he cannot help but notice that the changes are being made with ministers from the FUNCINPEC party, and not from the CPP, and that if this means the CPP ministers are capable and FUNCINPEC ministers are not?