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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM reissues call for civil retirements

PM reissues call for civil retirements

Exceptions undermining earlier ministerial directive

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has reissued orders for civil servants who have

reached the official retirement age to step aside, according to Council

of Ministers officials, amid a flood of special requests to extend

individual tenures beyond the age limits laid down in law.

In

a directive issued January 12, Hun Sen called for the retirement of all

male officials aged 60 and above and all female officials aged over 55.

But with a string of prime ministerial exceptions generating jealousy

in the halls of government, officials say over-age employees must step

down.

"All civil servants must retire when they reach the

retirement age. They are not allowed to continue their work," said Hong

Chham Chhan, deputy secretary general of the Council of Ministers'

Council for Administrative Reform.

"Some have requested to

Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow them to continue their work ... but those

who didn't get permission are jealous of those who are allowed to

continue working."

Special allowances

He said that "more and more" officials had

been lodging special requests to the premier, and that officials in the

Council of Ministers had became jealous of colleagues who had been

granted extensions.

"Because of this problem, Hun Sen issued

an order to all of them to retire when their time comes, except those

requested by the government to resume their duties," Hong Chham Chhan

said, adding that 7,000 to 8,000 civil servants required replacement

every year due to retirement, death and resignation.

"Some want

to continue because they are thinking of their own interests and

reputation. Some are used to being officials, and they don't want to

become simple civilians," he said.

Bun Uy, a secretary of state

in the Council of Ministers, said Wednesday that the prime minister's

new order would not just apply for 2009, but would be applied

consistently in future.

"Hun Sen has ordered all [civil servants] to retire in order for things to be equal among them," he said.

But

Yim Sovann, a Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker, said many talented people had

no chance to work in government because appointments were tainted by

nepotism and corruption.

"Those who do not resign think only

of their personal interest and nepotism. Their acts do not help the

country develop and give the young no chance to serve the nation," he

said.

"I see many old-age officials still working. They keep

those who are not against them and those who are against them are put

into retirement."

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