Three ministers are set to retire from their posts and eight ministries expected to change hands in a proposed shakeup of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, the details of which were revealed on Friday in a document released by a senior official.
Announced this week by the premier and set to be voted upon by the ruling party-controlled National Assembly on April 4, the changes will see Foreign Minister Hor Namhong relinquish the post he’s held for the last 17 years, which will pass to Prak Sokhon, currently the Minister of Post and Telecommunications.
Post and telecoms will go to Tram Iv Tek, currently the Minister of Public Works and Transport, who will be replaced by current Minister of Commerce Sun Chanthol.
Pan Sorasak, currently a secretary of state at the Commerce Ministry, will be elevated to its minister.
Namhong will remain a deputy prime minister. Head of Land Management and Urban Planning Im Chhun Lim is the only other portfolio-holding minister to retire from the administration “at his own request”, the document states.
Chhun Lim will be replaced by current Minister for Rural Development Chea Sophara, who will be replaced by Ouk Rabun, presently Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), which, in turn, will be taken over by Veng Sakhon, a secretary of state from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.
Current Minister of Cults and Religion Min Khin is set to become a minister of special missions. His post will be transferred to Him Chhem, a former minister of culture and fine arts.
Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, a former finance minister, will retire from the cabinet.
There will also be 11 new secretaries of state, including Im Suosdey, former head of the National Election Committee, who will work at the Interior Ministry.
The proposed changes, 24 in total, were submitted to parliament on Wednesday.
The document was released on Facebook by government spokesman Phay Siphan, who said today more changes to boost “quality and efficiency” were being planned.
“It’s just the beginning…we can’t do it all in one day,” Siphan said.
The prime minister late last month singled out some ministries for poor performance, including MAFF and Public Works and Transportation.
On Thursday he said, “It’s not that any ministers are bad, but some ministers are slow”.
Siphan disagreed with characterizing any of the moves as punishment.
“A reshuffle doesn’t mean punishment… it’s reform.”
Koul Panha, head of government watchdog Comfrel, said he doubted moving around the same “loyalists” would boost the government’s performance.
“This is not reform, [the prime minister] wants to keep his party and government stable, if he made reforms, it would do the opposite,” Panha said.