Hundreds of senior Funcinpec officials are jumping ship to join ex-deputy president Nhek Bun Chhay’s new Khmer National United Party (KNUP) and many plan to take their Funcinpec party offices with them, Bun Chhay has claimed, to the remaining Funcinpec leadership’s outrage.
So far Funcinpec has only expelled 13 defectors from their party membership, but Bun Chhay said yesterday that “300 senior and thousands of ordinary members” had pledged to join the KNUP, created last Wednesday.
Many of those senior members are the legal owners of buildings that house Funcinpec offices, which they do not plan to leave to their former party, Bun Chhay said.
Funcinpec executive secretary-general Say Hak took steps to prevent that outcome on Saturday with a letter calling on the party’s regional leadership to ensure their offices are guarded. Pheap Phearch, one of Hak’s aides, said Funcinpec would file complaints with authorities if KNUP members set up in former Funcinpec offices.
Should it come to that, it will not be the first time Bun Chhay has been threatened with legal action over alleged misuse of Funcinpec real estate. In 2011 he was accused of taking out a $2 million mortgage on the party’s national headquarters in Phnom Penh without proper authorisation.
Funcinpec currently has no seats in parliament.