CIVIL servants say they are being left destitute because of up to three
month delays in receiving their salaries,a situation they blame on the lack
of a new government.
State employees earn between 30,000 riel ($10) and 70,000 riel ($23) a month.
And they say even when they do receive their salary it is well
the level needed to support a family.
For those people with second jobs or contributions from family members,
the situation is not so bad but for those that rely solely on their government
salary it's becoming intolerable.
Policeman Chum Saroeum, 44, said that his unit had not been paid since August
and no reason had been given for the delay.
"The accountant never says why the salary is late, he just asks us
to wait until the money comes."
Saroeum said that his monthly salary is 34,000 riel which is barely enough
to support his five family members for a week, let alone the month it is
He said that the economic woes were not just confined to salaries. He said
that he had not received the annual allocation of three uniforms and a new
pair of boots, nor does he now expect to.
But he said the lack of money had not stopped he or his colleagues turning
up for work yet.
"We have rotation and we are able to do business during our time off."
But, he added, if the situation did not improve soon he would resign and
try and find another job.
Chea Yusren, 50, a doctor at Sihanouk hospital complained that he and his
colleagues relied on a regular pay day. But like Saroeum he had not seen
any money since August.
He said his 50,000 riel salary was only enough to pay for electricity and
water supplies for the nine family members he supports.
He said for health workers like himself they found it particularly difficult
because they did not moonlight to supplement their incomes.
"We do not have another job. We depend on our salary. I thank my wife
for her efforts to help support my family."
Yusreng was also worried that he and his fellow health workers were unable
to devote their full attention to their patients because they were always
worrying about money.
Sometimes, when the family is facing a particular financial crisis, he said
he and his wife talk about going back to live in the countryside.
Yusreng said he was skeptical about the ability of the three political parties
to form a government quickly. Until that was done he believed the economic
crisis would only get worse.
"I am not a politician but I think that in such a situation all leaders
must make concessions to each other, otherwise the country will plunge into
"When the country is in trouble it is the ordinary people who suffer,"
A number of the male civil servants thanked their wives for the contribution
they made to the family budget.
But there are also many women employed in the civil service and they complain
of the same financial problems.
Nup Bophary at the Ministry of Women's Affairs said that she was trying
to support seven family members on 49,000 riel a month but the money, when
she got it, would only last five days.
She said that a number of civil servants now just signed on in the morning
and then went off to do other jobs.
Teachers also say that many of them only keep going by offering private
classes and after-hours tuition.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Keat Chhon has denied there had been any problems.
He said that everyone had been paid as usual.
"We supply section to section.
"We are not late, we supply as normal," he said.