Prime Minister Hun Manet has urged officials at all levels to boldly carry out the government’s policies to achieve Cambodia’s goals and visions.

Speaking to nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province on September 9, he emphasised that officials must assume control of their roles rather than relying solely on him.

He said they need to have the courage to execute the policies as he has already entrusted them with important decision and powers.

“We must work collectively. I’ve always said that this isn’t a one-man show. I’ve already given you the sword, so you must use it, otherwise I’ll do it myself. A lot of people want the sword to wield power, but they can’t. It’s a one-in-a-life-time opportunity, so maintain it,” he said

For reforms to be effective, Manet outlined four key points: a clear vision, a commitment to collective work, participation from all stakeholders – including the public – and unwavering dedication.

Seun Sam, a policy researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, agreed with the premier’s remarks, stating that officials sometimes lack commitment or are hesitant to enforce laws.

“For effective execution of directives, officials should familiarise themselves with the regulations and principles governing their institutions,” he said.

He also suggested mechanisms to monitor performance and encouraged the administration to be receptive to diverse viewpoints, in order to identify public servant’s possible shortcomings.

Em Sovannara, a political science lecturer and analyst, applauded Manet’s initiative. He believed that ministers and specialists should take the lead in making judgement calls, rather than waiting for Manet’s approval, as this often leads to delays and inefficiency.

“Based on past experiences, officials often hesitate to lead efforts, fearing the blame will fall on them if problems arise, and instead seek the prime minister’s intervention,” he said.

While praising Manet’s stance, Sovannara said it remains to be seen if the call for action translated into real change.