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

  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided