The Education Minister has issued a letter criticising officials in its scientific research department for not ensuring their subordinates work regularly after firing former unionist and election official Rong Chhun for absenteeism.
Hang Chuon Naron on January 30 issued the letter stating that staff at the department were not ensuing workers came to work regularly, specifically for the month of January.
“Blame in written form is being put on the Education Ministry’s department of scientific research, which does not manage its subordinates,” the letter said.
On January 1, Mr Chhun was fired by the minister for absenteeism from the department without permission. Mr Chhun, a former teacher’s union leader and more recently a member of the National Election Committee, was granted permission by the Ministry of Education to join the election body in May 2015.
His position at the ministry was guaranteed upon his completion of work with the NEC, from which he eventually resigned following the dissolution of the opposition CNRP and jailing of its leader Kem Sokha on treason charges.
“The individual has to apply to work again after completing his duties,” the May 2015 permission letter said. “In the case that the individual does not apply for re-employment, the ministry will follow proper policies.”
Mr Chhun said yesterday that he was very surprised to be terminated from the Education Ministry because he reapplied to resume his work on January 3 with his sights set on February as a start date.
“The accusation that I was absent without permission is not true,” he said. “It was not time for me to return to work yet. If we look at the decision to delete, it is contrary to the law.”
He added that the decision to fire him seemed to be made hastily and was likely politically motivated rather than being due to absenteeism.
Education Ministry spokesman Ros Salin told local media that Mr Chhun applied to return to work too late after resigning from the NEC.
“Relating to Mr Rong Chhun, in principle, when he finished his duties by resigning from the NEC, he had to apply to resume work by December 27, 2017, but the individual applied in January,” he said.