The government will transfer 6,000 civil servants from the national level to the sub-national level in order to provide better service to people in the capital and provinces.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Interior Ministry’s two-day 2018 Stocktaking and 2019 Directive Settings Conference yesterday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the government will transfer the civil servants in order to address people’s concerns.
“After this conference, the Ministry of Interior will transfer 6,000 civil servants to sub-national administrations,” Mr Kheng said. “With the additional manpower, the capacity of the sub-national administrations to deal with issues will be more comprehensive and we consider this as a historic reform of administration in our country.”
In order to promote good governance at the sub-national level, Mr Kheng told officials to end nepotism in state institutions.
“All work related to civil servant management must be strictly implement based on the law and procedure and officials must absolutely eliminate the culture of intervention, nepotism and cronyism,” he said.
Mr Kheng also advised administrations to recruit civil servants who permanently reside in their localities instead of those who are stationed far away.
He also said that there should be equal opportunities for women to be recruited.
Mr Kheng advised officials to increase their capacity to solve people’s problems through local mechanisms known as “One-window services” and “sub-national administrative offices”.
Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2017 announced the creation of sub-national administrative offices to collect complaints from concerned citizens and forward them to the appropriate institutions.
The establishment was aimed at promoting good governance, public services and economic development to residents at the local level.
Mr Kheng urged sub-national officials to report to the ministry if they have any problems which they cannot solve.
“To solve problems such as local conflicts and land disputes, you must be patient and do it transparently through compromise, and justly based on legal principles,” he said. “Provincial and municipal authorities must also strengthen natural resource management, especially in tackling forestry crimes, protecting forestry products and wildlife and also preventing illegal mining.”
He ordered officials to check the licences of timber companies to ensure their operation is legal.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International, yesterday said that Mr Kheng’s intention to send 6,000 civil servants to help sub-national administrations is good idea.
“The intention is very good, but it is too early to say how helpful and effective this is going to be,” he said. “It will depend on competency, attitude, work ethics and the integrity of those civil servants.”
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay yesterday also voiced support for Mr Kheng’s initiative.
“It is very good if such decentralisation can ensure the delivery of the best, least costly and prompt public services with the least inconvenience for people,” he said.
At the closing ceremony, Mr Kheng also touched on the need to prevent and curb attempts of a colour revolution by “opportunist” groups.
“It is important to stop opportunist groups who create issues to incite and confuse the public about the government’s actions,” he said. “Do not allow them to instigate people to hold demonstrations that can spread to become a colour revolution.”
Mr Kheng called on officials to pay close attention to all activities of opportunist groups to prevent them from growing.
“Please pay attention no matter how big or small the activity,” he said. “In some countries, incidents occurred involving a single person before spreading to become a major issue.”
Mr Kheng noted that the government’s efforts to solve people’s grievances quickly, justly and transparently is part of measures to reduce attempts to create dissatisfaction among people.
Although Mr Kheng did not directly refer to former CNRP members as the opportunists group, the government has previously accused the dissolved party of attempting to collude with a foreign power to overthrow the government.
The accusation led to the arrest of former opposition leader Kem Sokha for treason, after which the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court and 118 of its seniors officials were banned from politics for five years.
At the closing ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his appreciation to national and sub-national officials under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry who are working hard to fulfil their duties.
“During the whole of 2018, Cambodia struggled to successfully overcome all obstacles and we foiled the dangerous tricks made by the group of people that receives support from outside the country,” he said. “They attempted to destroy peace and political stability in the country and subvert the election process in Cambodia.”
“We must continue to maintain peace, political stability and territorial sovereignty of our country and stand against any attempt at starting a colour revolution or any activity that interferes in our internal affairs,” Mr Hun Sen said. “The national police and provincial security forces must cooperate with other relevant authorities to ensure peace.”
He called on relevant local officials to participate in the provincial, municipal and district council elections coming up in May and also appealed to citizens to answer truthfully during the national census to be held from March 3 to March 13.