Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday said the government has decided to cancel plans for the creation of two new provinces in the Kingdom due to concerns regarding nepotism.
Plans to create two new provinces out of Kandal, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri were drafted last year following approval by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Mr Kheng even issued a letter to Mr Hun Sen asking the government to assist in the civil management in the would-be provinces.
“This is an order to ensure a sufficient period of time for the government to adjust the number of seats in the capital and provinces and cities across the country for the upcoming provincial and district council elections,” he said in the letter.
However, the move was halted in October by Mr Hun Sen when he ordered the Council of Ministers to issue a directive to stop all plans.
Yesterday, during a meeting on road safety at the Interior Ministry, Mr Kheng said Mr Hun Sen decided to halt the move because high-ranking officials were vying for positions for their friends.
Mr Kheng singled out Kandal provincial Governor Mao Phirun, who was in the crowd, for allegedly planning to nominate someone close to him as provincial court director.
“They failed to create the new provinces,” Mr Kheng said. “He [Mr Phirun] prepared documents for a nominated provincial court director.”
“Prime Minister Hun Sen told me that there is no need to separate provinces any more,” he added.
Mr Phirun could not be reached for comment.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday said sub-national authorities serve as a bad example.
“Those officials are always making things messy – they take advantage of opportunities to nominate their own friends,” Mr Chey said. “This was another bad example, we need to eliminate the culture of nepotism.”