Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims




PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen adresses the students at an event on Thursday at the Peace Palace. hun sen via facebook

PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.

Suy Dimanche, the son of the Minister of Mines and Energy, Suy Sem, was appointed the ministry’s joint secretary of state through a November 3 royal decree.

In September last year, Sar Thet, the nephew of Interior Minister Sar Kheng, was promoted from Battambang provincial police chief to deputy commissioner of the National Police.

Speaking at a ceremony to honour 406 grade A high school students at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Hun Sen, who is president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), said such promotions were based purely on ability.

“We promoted our children. But they are people and also officials in government or the military. [Critics] say we [have promoted them] to strengthen power. We just sent them for training. If this was not to improve their capabilities, why would we train them?"

“Should we just give them up? As they can do their jobs, the children of senior officials received [additional] training. What else should we do with them?” he asked.

Hun Sen’s eldest son Manet has been promoted repeatedly and recently became the second most powerful person in the military after assuming the position of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. He is also the commander of the army’s infantry.

In October, Hun Sen hinted that Manet could succeed him as the next prime minister “if he were elected”.

Hun Sen’s other sons are Manith and Mani. Manith was promoted in August last year to director-general at the Ministry of National Defence’s General Directorate of Intelligence.

His youngest son Mani is currently a CPP lawmaker for Kampong Speu province.

“I have just a few nieces and nephews who are working as officials, including Hun Chea who [spent time] in Prey Sar prison,” Hun Sen said.

Chea is a nephew of the prime minister and a three-star lieutenant general. He was sentenced in May to 18 months in prison after being arrested over a shooting incident near his house in Phnom Penh.

Officials divulged few details about the incident. Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Chea appeared to have “shot into the air” but said no one was hurt.

In his speech, Hun Sen said, he was willing to punish his relatives just like anybody else who broke the law.

“[Chea] was involved in a shooting [incident], which is banned by law. He is my nephew but we do not allow [incidents] like this [and] we must punish our relatives and children the same way we punish others. I am willing to bring food for them to eat in prison. The law is the law."

“[Likewise] those who are capable are the ones to get the jobs. It is like an exam,” he told the students.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director, San Chey, said on Thursday that he was not opposed to the promotion of capable officials, but warned that the promotion of those who work with their parents could result in “conflicts of interest”.

“I think the promotion of capable persons to serve public affairs is not wrong. But the government should think about conflicts of interest, which could impact governance of the institutions,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Cambodia, Vietnam exchange border maps amid criticism

    Cambodia and Vietnam formally exchanged border maps on Monday despite criticism from former members of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that the Kingdom is losing land in the deal. The two countries said agreement on the border is 84 per cent complete, leaving