A Course Special for Women Officials

As is reported by HE Pich Bunthin on a special training course that I also like to take this chance to express my sincere thank to involvement made by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. HE Pich Bunthin has made an appeal in his report for institutions to consider different models of cooperation on issue of training in order to bolster qualification for our officials at all levels. The Ministry of Public Functions will be ready for that kind of cooperation of all forms and professions. As far as this topic is concerned, I have discussed with HE Sar Kheng. Now, the Cabinet requests the Royal School of Administration to conduct a training course specially for female officials who have been appointed Secretary of State, Undersecretary of State, Deputy Governors of provinces and districts, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary. I wanted to know if it is able to cater to this need. I would delegate the matter to Deputy Prime Minister HE Sar Kheng.

Some people, when they have stepped up the rank, they no longer study. They make themselves conservative. Send them to school first. If we remove them from positions, there would be criticism that we do not observe gender in our policy. Again, I delegate HE Sar Kheng to sign on behalf of the Royal Government with the Royal School of Administration to administer this special course for female officials.

Working as a Team, Smaller Cabinet

I hope our officials will not subscribe to “I am the best” syndrome. We need to work as a team. Subscribing to “I am the best” syndrome is contrary to working as a team. No one can achieve something by working alone. It is true that there could not be more than one governor for a province or district. As governor of the province, district or Khan, there are deputy governors and the different sub-national sections and offices. In a state institution, there are Secretary of States and Undersecretary of States who play the assisting role. In fact, the Cabinet in our country is not big.

The point is the Constitution stipulates that the Cabinet consists of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Senior Ministers, Ministers, Secretaries and Undersecretaries of State. However, in fact, Secretaries of State are not held responsible before the Prime Minister. Therefore, the real Cabinet includes only head of institutions, which consists of ministers and Senior Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers and Prime Minister. Secretary of State is like a Vice Minister under the State of Cambodia and Undersecretary of State is like Assistant to Minister.

Therefore, the National Assembly does not summon the Secretary or Undersecretary of State but Minister for questioning. If it is possible perhaps we could just rewrite the point so that the Cabinet in our country will be as small as in other countries. In that case we will appoint Secretary of State by Royal Decree instead of by election in the National Assembly as there are no officials responsible before the national Assembly and Prime Minister.

Modernized Administration Requires Modernized Staff

To achieve modernized administrative structure we need to have modernized people. Otherwise it would not work. It calls for what sort of staff and what kind of training is required. We cannot have a modernized institution while lacking effective human resource to carry out the work. We need to focus on ability to serve the people of our officials and the armed forces. Dereliction of duty would place as being the boss of people, which they will find it definitely unacceptable. Mostly, a large number of our officials are good to the people. Only a small number of them are causing interference and displease in society. We do not want to see that happens.

As of now, reform of civil administration is underway. A salary system has been set up and in a few days time we will enter the month of April, when there will be intensive increase of salary for the Royal Government officials and the armed forces. We have used more than 49% or 5% of GDP in current expense, in lieu of 40% or about 4% of GDP allowed. That is how far we can go. We will reduce investment in infrastructure such as roads, bridges, canals, schools, hospitals and divert the deducted investment money to covering the need for salary increase. We will have to monitor and stay on course not to derail into Greece’s state, where its public debt is 175.1% of GDP. Cambodia is in the territory of 23% of GDP only.

We do not wish to see our country staggering in what they call the middle-income trap. We wanted our country to step from lower middle income to higher middle income and developed status as other countries. Though it is true that we have started from 1979 with bare hands, we have at this moment achieved numerous progresses. I must stress here that human resource plays very important role in our stage of development./.