Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday blamed the government’s top spokesman, Phay Siphan, for claiming that ten official posts held by the late deputy prime minister, Sok An, would be handed over to one man, Bin Chhin, the acting head of the premier’s cabinet.
A close aide to Hun Sen, An died earlier in March at a hospital in Beijing at the age of 66. Following An’s death, Siphan was reported as telling the Cambodia Daily that all of his positions would be granted to Chhin.
Hun Sen said on Wednesday morning that the information was erroneous.
“I do not know where His Excellency Phay Siphan got this information. The spokesman should not be famous. The boss is right here,” he said.
He added that Chhin would assume An’s role overseeing the Khmer Rouge tribunal, but other roles, such as his leadership of the Apsara Authority, the body that governs the Angkor Archaeological Park, would come under the remit of other government institutions.
Siphan told VOA Khmer he thought his comments had been “misunderstood” by the Daily reporter and were not quoted verbatim.
“We hear his advice ... this is [Hun Sen’s] instruction, not only for me, but also for journalists, and they should not act like the judge and play a bad role,” he said.
He declined to comment when asked if he had told the Daily that An’s former official positions would be handed to Chhin.