After the National Assembly (NA) unanimously voted on Monday on a motion by Prime Minister Hun Sen, King Norodom Sihamoni approves the Cabinet reshuffle and appointed five ministers and five senior ministers to streamline the government’s leadership.
The King and the NA on Monday ordered and appointed five new ministers.
Cham Prasidh was appointed Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation; Koeut Rith as Minister of Justice; Chea Vandeth as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications; Chhit Sokhom as Minister of Cults and Religions; and Prum Sokha as Minister of Civil Service, according to a royal decree and an announcement released by the NA on Monday.
Four former ministers, Him Chhem, Ang Vong Vathana, Tram Iv Tek and Pich Bun Thin, were appointed senior ministers in charge of Special Missions. Prasidh was also appointed as a senior minister.
Speaking at a press conference following the NA session, Hun Sen said the government shake-up was needed to implement the political programmes of the government more efficiently.
Hun sen mentioned that age was a factor in shuffling the ministers.
He said: “Their Excellencies Him Chhem, Ang Vong Vathana, Tram Iv Tek and Pich Bun Thin are all able persons, but we have to see their age. They have already run into difficulty. We cannot keep forcing them to do this or do that without considering their health.”
Hun Sen also hinted at reforms in the public administration, the judiciary and public finance sectors.
He said his first move was to change two ministers, including the ministers of Civil Service and justice.
“For the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, since this is a digital age, we require the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications to have an agile mind to take the initiative to do things on time. We are reaching a phase of changing from analogue to digital,” he said.
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Ou Chanrath said on Monday that he saw the change as positive in some ways.
He said at least the new appointees have different attributes in terms of physical and mental agility. But he believes the policies and leadership of the ruling party are more important.
“Some didn’t end their positions, they still continue as senior ministers. It seems like the continuity of a culture or a tradition to refuse to abandon power at all. Until old age, they still want to continue to work further.
“So, we lose the chance for younger people who have the potential and intellectual capacity to make a difference.
“In the past, I have seen the transfer of individuals from one ministry to another. But in the change this time, the secretaries of state are taking the place of the ministers. I don’t know how much potential they have or how efficient they are.
“But the efficiency doesn’t depend on capable individuals, but rather on the policies of the ruling party. Should individuals do wrong, [the government] still doesn’t take measures against them. They still forgive and favour them in a family manner, that is the same as before,” Chanrath said.
He said the national and international communities have complained about the Ministry of Justice before, saying they dispensed social justice and resolved human rights matters in an untrustworthy and problematic way.
Chanrath expressed hope that the ministry will make a lot of changes under the leadership of the new ministers, but added that everything would depend on the policies of the ruling party.