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Hun Sen speaks yesterday in Phnom Penh. Facebook
Hun Sen speaks yesterday in Phnom Penh. Facebook

New faces not always a good thing, says PM

Defending his proposed cabinet reshuffle yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pointed to controversial US Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump to reinforce his argument that changing personnel is not necessarily good for a country.

The premier, speaking at the launch of a public financial management reform program, responded to critics who say his planned shakeup of eight ministries, announced last week, is merely cosmetic and that swapping long-serving ministers around won’t boost the administration’s performance.

“It doesn’t matter about whether they are new or old faces,” Hun Sen told hundreds of senior officials during the event in Phnom Penh. “The most important thing is that old faces will make changes because of their new ideas.”

The premier, touting Cambodia’s economic growth, went on to say that fresh blood was not a prerequisite to success. He signalled his intention to, if backed by the electorate, serve as prime minister “until I get lazy”.

He noted the opposition party was also composed of “the same faces” who, he remarked, had become career oppositionists, repeating the same rhetoric.

The prime minister also referenced controversy surrounding the frontrunner for the Republican Party presidential candidacy, businessman Donald Trump, to suggest change isn’t always positive.

“Even if the US Republican Party came out and prevented Mr Trump from getting elected, this is the new style of Mr Trump in the US, and in the US, this will lead to other problems,” said Hun Sen, citing the current campaign’s heated language and recent anti-Trump rallies that have blocked public roads. “This is their new change.”

Meanwhile, a letter from Hun Sen dated Sunday and obtained yesterday, amended the reshuffle plan to promote former head of the National Election Committee Im Suosdey to the rank of senior minister in charge of special missions instead of secretary of state at the Interior Ministry.

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