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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and