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Transport official demoted after photo goes viral

Taing Vida / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Sim Sophat was pictured using her foot to point. Post News

Transport Minister Sun Chanthol yesterday issued a directive to all ministry officials instructing them to maintain dignity, morality and professionalism at work following the demotion of an official criticised online for pointing to a number plate with her foot.

Sim Sophat, deputy director of the Siem Reap provincial registration and driver’s licence unit, was criticised for pointing to a number plate with her foot, after which she was transferred to the department’s general affairs bureau and demoted.

In Cambodia, it is considered disrespectful to point at an object with a foot.

Mr Chanthol said in the directive that officials must offer public service with honesty and integrity in order to gain trust. He noted officials must timely respond to the needs of citizens.

“They must reduce complex procedures for people and must not use their positions to threaten others or make lives difficult,” Mr Chanthol said.

The ministry said in a Facebook post that people should report delinquent officials by including names, locations, pictures and videos.

Kong Vimean, spokesman for the ministry, yesterday said the directive aims to improve the behaviour of officials.

“This is part of the ministry’s reform,” he said. “We have heard many criticisms about misconduct and impolite behaviour by some officials. We need to address this.”

Ky Virin, director of the Siem Reap public works and transport department, yesterday said Ms Sophat was questioned after her photo went viral.

“Ms Sophat told me she had no problem with the car’s owner and she does not remember pointing to a number plate with her foot,” Mr Virin said. “It’s difficult to judge her misbehaviour because of some photos on social media.”

Him Yun, director of the Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability, yesterday said Ms Sophat did not make a serious enough mistake to warrant her demotion.

“She misbehaved,” Mr Yun said. “But I don’t think it’s serious enough for her to be transferred or removed from her position.”

“I hope the ministry will find the truth and take appropriate action,” he added.

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