Presiding over the closing session of the Annual Review Meeting of the Ministry of Interior, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen made some selected remarks as followed:

… (From speech) It is in this spirit that we must collaborate to achieve three strategic objectives:

(1)   Make efforts to defend the Constitution, independence, full sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia, …

(2)   Continue to strengthen peace, political stability, security, public order, and make further efforts to encourage people’s participation, …

(3)   Guarantee an achievement of annual 7% economic growth, while making efforts to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability, …

Based on the above three objectives, together with the 2014 works and objectives of the Ministry of Interior, I wish to emphasize eight prioritized points for the Ministry of Interior to carry out as followed:

(1)   The national police force must cooperate with relevant competent authorities, make effort to gather, to take more measures, collect information for analysis …

(2)   Strive to increase cooperation with competent forces of neighbouring countries, region and world …

(3)   As far as fight against acts of disobedience, the national police force and competent authorities should collectively take utmost measures for prevention …

(4)   Continue to prevent and bring down accidents that are lethal and causing property loss for the people …

(5)   Continue to promote reform of the national police in its institutional framework, human resource and means to fulfil their duty … Therein, speed up efforts to guarantee accurate amount and in timely manner the pay of salary, mission supplement and other regimes, while putting an absolute end to any deduction practices …

Payday on Last Day of the Month

(Comment) Relating to this point, I would like to emphasize that (the Royal Government of Cambodia) already issue a circulation on salary of the Royal Government’s officials or we can say the civilian payroll. In days ahead, I will sign another instruction relating to issues of salary for the armed forces, i.e. both military and police forces. The Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Economy and Finance already agreed on a formula to carry on with this issue. The same formula is under discussion with the Ministry of Interior in relation to police force.

It is important to guarantee that everyone will get their pay the right amount and in a timely manner. For area where there are banking services, it may not be a problem. What do we do for area where there are no banking services? For example, we fixate payday on the 30th or 31st of the month, we need to make cash available in advance. The Ministry of Economy and Finance should guarantee these steps. I have made it clear with HE Aun Porn Moniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance, that the payday on the last day of the month does not mean the amount of money disbursed from the treasury on that day. We mean the pay get to every individual on the payroll on that day. In order to do that, we will have to advance the amount of money before the date, like the 20th day of the month, for example. This should be the practice in both civilian and military payrolls.

I must make this point clear because I just learned when I presided over the graduation and diploma presenting ceremony at the Royal School of Administration that the Ministry of Mines and Energy had exercised their payday of January 2014 only on the 18th (of February). I talked about it on (February) 17 and they had their payday on (February) 18. That means we have problem of cashing from the treasury. That is a shortcoming. We must avoid it. We have enough cash to meet the payday but we have to guarantee that they are ready before the last day of the month.

I will therefore sign another instruction for the case of the army and police force and we must find a way to make sure the money will get out of the treasury before the end of the month so that they will be ready for every payday both through banking system and on hand. We must make stringent efforts together to make sure this works. The Ministry of Economy and Finance has a lot of work to do. The army and police have to fine-tune their procedures. We must guarantee that the salary will get to the soldiers before the end of the month. In case of force majeure, extension of payday should not be over delayed.

(6)   Continue to implement reform program of decentralization and de-concentration according to the organic law, national program and its action plan for the period of ten years …

(7)   Continue to raise high responsibility in provision of public services to the people … while organizing mechanism to resolve all complaints and provide information in a transparent, accountable and effective manner.

Serve People Honestly

(Comment) I have to bring this matter up with all of you because it is relating to our works at the local and central levels. As far as number 7 is concerned, it is a free investment. I mean it demands honesty and caring will from the part of implementers. It is not difficult to do at all if we have honesty and will to serve the people and help them solve their problems. It would take time if people ask for school, hospital, water canal, etc. because we may have difficulty with the national budget or we need to raise fund from a Buddhist ceremony for instance. However, as far as public service is concerned, there is no need for you to use your own property to do the job for them. It requires only honesty and will to serve the people.

The public service covers a wide range of issues and relates to people’s living condition. Take for instance to issue certificates of births, marriages and deaths, we do not need to generate resource from other sources to cover for it. The state paid for all of that. Since you have the prices list defined, just charge according to the instructed prices. As I said, the problem here lies in honesty and will to change in providing service to the people. Please make more effort to fulfil this task. The Royal Government has brought about numerous achievements throughout the country. Shortcoming in public service provision, however, has concentrated into major issue.

It is to resolve the matter, we have come up with the idea of one window service, where the administration and police sit together to attend to the people’s demand together in one place. In 1999, I initiated the opening of the forum between the Royal Government and private sector. At the time, the Cambodian Development Council (CDC) served as the one-window operation. Prior to that, they had to deal with many institutions. After the third forum, the private sector talked no more about this problem. I think we can do the same here. We should have all service providers together in one place. We may see that is a simple matter. For our people, however, it is not that simple. Once again, I am calling all of you to provide good and free public services to our people.

Relieve People’s Difficulty in Using Public Services

I may have to tell the mayor of Phnom Penh, HE Pa So Cheat Vong, that Kandal province has collected so much tax revenue from people living in Phnom Penh but deciding to pay tax of use of road, vehicles in Kandal instead. It took longer time and was more complicated to pay tax in Phnom Penh, so people skipped and went to pay tax in Kandal. Every year, Kandal has registered more tax revenue from people in Phnom Penh. Kandal has given over 20 communes to Phnom Penh city, but tax revenue in Kandal is still high. People of Phnom Penh go to Kandal to pay road-use tax. Although the revenue would go into the same state pocket, but it is a good example how difficult public service procedure can be.

We must seek out a way to help relieve people’s difficulty in using the public services. We should help them, who could have travelled a long way off, to just go and get whatever paper they need in one place instead of in more than one. I strongly advise working groups of all levels to find out the way. Take for example the Ministry of Commerce has recently taken a number of reform measures, which includes discarding the certificate of origin for exports. While every institution is looking for way to reform, public service providing mechanism at every local level has to engage in the reform process. As I reminded all of you at the Peace Building, office of the Prime Minister, that there is no need for you to invest your own resource in it because it is not they are asking you for school, hospital, water canal, etc.

All you need to do is follow the rule defined and your duty demanded. There have been cases that a job that required only one morning or one day, and some had delayed it to a week or so. Why that was necessary? Demanders had to go back and forth more than one time. In that instance, it is improper to reproach them for the fact that they had no relevant papers in various cases. Some said they had gone to fetch their papers numerous times but in vain. This is calling for a serious change of attitude in workplace and in providing services for people.

The other day I talked about markets. There was abnormal problem too. As the logbook allows the charge of 200 Riel for parking and keeping a motorcycle at the market, those who run this business charge 500 Riel or 1000 Riel instead. It is primary that we have to get those people who won the bidding for tax collection to obey the rule and do according to what the business logbook has instructed. Were there not a contract? Stamping tax in every transaction must carry out quickly and the service charge must be according to the prices list.

Issues Discovered by RGC Working Groups

You may have learned already that the Royal Government has organized national working groups and sent them all over the country to find out the problems. They have discovered some. They are not there to resolve problems for the sub-national level authority or any institutions defined by law. I read a report from HE Chea Sophara who leads the team to the districts of Kroch Chhma and Tbong Khmum (of Kompong Cham).  I also sent the report to HE Sar Kheng and other working groups for information. The finding at the local level has indicated that we have to make some changes to what we issued as policy. It is the case of retirees. (The policy) clearly stipulates that no one can intercede on retiree’s behalf to receive the salary. The problem is what to do when the person is ill.

In that case, the working team will have to enlighten the Ministry of Social and Veteran Affairs of the issue and let the Ministry figure out how to adjust the policy to respond to the case. Maybe someone as his/her next of kin could do that for him/her. This has clearly demonstrated that not everything we issue as policy is correct and there is always something to change to adapt to the situation. While it is good to ensure accurate amount and the right person to get his/her retirement pension through banking system, it is equally difficult for ill person to do so.

That is what we are ensuring accountability with the people. We must find out their problems. Once they are found, we must find the ways to fix them. That would infer actions not only at the sub-national but also national level on political platform and/or every decisions made by the Royal Government. Once it is confirmed that the policy issued do not deliver, we have to figure out changes of sub-decree, decree or even amendment of relevant laws. That would require careful and comprehensive thinking, and monitoring and evaluating system to receive feedback, like the above report, and take adjusting measure accordingly.

Effective and Transparent Public Services

For succeeding mission, it is important to review what the previous mission has completed. The first thing to do is to check and recheck what the mission had done. Comprehending the previous mission’s achievement, they then check for new problems. The mission may ask what the relevant authority has done to so and so issues. Have they adjusted their policy and/or action? Take for instance, off-the-record checkpoint. There was a checkpoint in the local area and after some months we go back, we must check if they have dealt with the issue. If the checkpoint is still there, what measure should we take? That is why I have stressed on effective public services with transparency and effectiveness.

You may recall that in the rectangular strategy, we have four words – growth, work, equity and efficiency. If we just say them out laud, but they do not take action, it would be meaningless. Since we have people from every institution involved, it is important to bring the matter up so that we can ensure consistency among laws concerned. This morning I received a letter from HE Sar Kheng suggesting changes of terms with regard to the law on “road,” which is consistent with this issue. We must keep checking on other issues. Take for instance, identification cards is one of them. We do not charge them for issuing their identification cards. However, because some of them live far away, they could have spent more money than he would pay for the card. We should look into this issue.

(8)   Make efforts to increase cooperation in preventing and suppressing forest crimes, illegal land and forest confiscation, and violation of law with regard to fisheries … /.