Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to raising salaries next month for civil servants and members of the armed forces, while also adding officials within his Cambodian People’s Party to the list.
Speaking to a gathering of professors at the National Institute of Education, the prime minister pledged to raise wages for his party workers by 30 per cent.
“For CPP officials working full-time, salaries will go up 30 per cent higher,” he said. “This morning, I informed CPP general secretary Say Chhum, and forwarded [the message] to Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth to help generate the salary for party officials.… We need to strengthen the party.”
The prime minister went on to criticise the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which has pledged to up wages for garment workers to $160 per month, while its own officials, he claimed, receive half that amount.
“Of course, some political parties promised [a salary increase] and demanded $160 for garment workers,” said Hun Sen. “But that political party only pays their officials $80.”
The premier has made similar claims before, with the opposition responding that drivers and guards are paid “allowances” and are provided lodging, food and medical care. Full-time workers who don’t receive lodging are paid at least $160, opposition leader Sam Rainsy has said.
CPP spokesman Sok Isan said that roughly 100 CPP officials at the party’s Phnom Penh headquarters, and an additional 10 to 20 working in the provinces, stood to get raises. While he didn’t reveal their current earnings, he said the officials will receive roughly 600,000 riel (about $150) more per month.
Meanwhile, during the same meeting, Hun Sen touched on the South China Sea dispute gripping the region, comparing the issue to a “hot stone” being tossed around the ASEAN region.
“If the South China Sea is like a hot potato, I would touch it, because we could eat it a little later after it cools down. But the hot stone has never cooled down,” he said.
“The presidents of Myanmar and Brunei asked me to do whatever I could to cool down the stone in 2012, and I told them that the [temperature] depends on the countries involved . . . now I am waiting to see if Malaysia can resolve the issue of the [South China Sea].”