TWENTY-NINE senior officials from the Ministry of Interior who have reached retirement age have been ordered to step down in a decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni.
The decree states that the retirement order came from Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was to go into effect from the day of its signing, December 8. Men Bunrith, a staffer at the Ministry of Interior’s administration department, said yesterday that the ministry had received the decree on Friday last week and was still in the process of implementing it.
“I don’t know whether those officials have received the decree yet, because the administrative process is still in progress,” he said.
The Kingdom’s 1999 Co-Statute on Civil Servants lists 60 as the mandatory retirement age for all government employees and civil servants, though the law has been implemented selectively.
Last year, the Council of Ministers requested that the Ministry of Interior allow five provincial governors – including Hun Sen’s older brother, Kampong Cham governor Hun Neng – remain at their posts past the retirement age.
A royal decree from September of last year authorised 19 officials past the retirement age – including Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun, Minister of Health Mam Bunheng and Minister of Environment Mok Mareth – to stay in their positions.
Pich Bunthin, a secretary of state at the State Secretariat of Public Affairs, said at the time that “for those with political status, there is no mandatory retirement age”.
Political positions are defined as those holding the position of prime minister, government adviser, government assistant, minister, secretary of state, undersecretary of state and all members of the National Assembly and Senate, he said.
Sok Sareth, the deputy general director of the National Police Academy and one of the 29 officials listed in the decree earlier this month, said he had received word of the retirement order yesterday.
“I don’t know what I will do next, but if the government needs me to do any work, I will continue,” he said.
Also listed was Heng Hak, director of the general department of prisons, who said he had not yet received word of the order but would be happy to comply.
“I know it is time for me to retire because I’m old,” he said.
“Let the new generations continue their work to help develop the country and make government policies successful.”