Officials holding the position of secretary of state will no longer be members of the Cabinet after July’s general election, it was announced yesterday.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government will soon amend the law to allow for a reduction in the number of Cabinet members.
He said the current number of Cabinet members was too high, according to the law on the organisation and functioning of the Council of Ministers, as well as the constitution.
“We will amend some articles of the law to stop secretaries of states from being Cabinet members,” he said. “Officials who hold ministerial portfolios will have more responsibility for the executive body.”
According to the 1994 law on the organisation and functioning of the Council of Ministers and the constitution, the Cabinet is an executive body led by the Prime Minister, assisted by deputy prime ministers, ministers and secretaries of states.
Mr Siphan said the government had formed a working group of 19 officials to conduct a feasibility study into changing the law to allow for a smaller Cabinet.
Mr Siphan said the working group is also considering changing the way secretaries of state are appointed.
“Future secretaries of state could be appointed by royal decree without first seeking approval from the National Assembly,” Mr Siphan said.
Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch backed the government plan to stop secretaries of states from being Cabinet members.
“This is a good thing, because there are currently too many Cabinet members,” Mr Touch said, adding that proposed changes to the law would also make it easier to appoint secretaries of states.
During a Cabinet meeting last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said his government must double its efforts on reform.
“I am quite proud of this year’s achievements. We’ve had many challenges and at the same time we’ve made quite remarkable success through reforms,” he said.
“We must change our work attitude and make our work more valuable. We must keep up our efforts endlessly.”