>CITA and FTU deny alleged CPP defection

> Rong Chhun (left), president of CITA and Chea Mony (below), president of FTU.

By Lee Menghour
The Mekong Times

Free-flying rumors about the well-known Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)-affiliated Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) and Free Trade Union (FTU) changing their allegiance to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) were denied yesterday. Leaders of both organizations strenuously denied the rumors; yesterday CITA President Rong Chhun said the organizations’ alleged defection was “untrue.” He said the rumors have been disseminated to deceive CITA members and Cambodian democrats.“Myself and the CITA have not changed our stance and we still support democrats,” said Rong Chhun. “Please – compatriots, government officials, garment workers and teachers – make up your own minds when you vote [in the national election in July] for the leader you think will be competent, willing to respect human rights and implement democratic principles.” FTU President Chea Mony said the FTU has also not defected.“We, as a member of civil society, support democracy,” he said. “We have not defected to the ruling [CPP]. Our union and the association [CITA] support the party whose policy is the best and whose policy is beneficial to the workers and government officials.”Both Rong Chhun and Chea Mony appeared to be unsatisfied with the SRP’s re-appointment of Eng Chhay Eang as SRP secretary general.“As we have done in the past, it is likely that we will stay a little distant from the democrats,” said Rong Chhun. “This is not due to the changes in the SRP’s structure. We in fact still support democrats, [as] we are unable to side with corrupt officials and [illegal] loggers. We have simply reformed our support plan.”Chea Mony has recently come under fire because the union leader, who is traditionally expected to live frugally as a representative of workers, has purchased a new car. “If they want to say these things, it is their right,” said Chea Mony. “[But] I used my own money to buy this car. My wife is a business-woman and her financial position is strong enough for her to change my car for a new one. To date, I have had four cars altogether, and none of them have been bought for me by political parties.”The SRP’s Eng Chhay Eang claimed that the SRP has always returned support to SRP-affiliated organizations for the sake of solidarity. “If the CITA or the FTU demand anything, we always grant it for the collective interest,” he said. “Nowadays SRP lawmakers always participate in factory strikes [as] workers are being oppressed. We also support the CITA [and FTU].”
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