Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM: Leaders age like wine



PM: Leaders age like wine

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Photographers snap pictures of a video feed of the inaugural meeting of the National Assembly's sixth mandate last week. Pha Lina

PM: Leaders age like wine

Defending the fact that the leadership has remained largely the same in the sixth mandate of the government, Prime Minister Hun Sen said reforms were more about improving job efficiencies.

Several analysts have begged to differ, however, saying reforms won’t make much progress under an identical hierarchy.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the single-party National Assembly on September 7, Hun Sen said it wasn’t important to change leaders. Instead, he said it was more important to never give up on old ways, especially since the people had voted for the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

He said ministers were kept in their positions because they had done a good job, and would continue to try their best. He compared changing people for the sake of reform to committing suicide.

“At this point, many people are waiting to see how many young people, how many old people are in this new cabinet. I do not care. I care about issues related to job efficiency instead.”

Pulling out a few food metaphors, the prime minister compared ministers with a long tenure to fine wine or old ginger, which he said is spicier and represents the leaders’ strength in leadership.

“Everybody always says that old red wine has a good taste. If one wants old wine, how about old officials? On the other hand, our old ones are called ginger . . . the older it gets, the spicier it is."

“Hun Sen’s success started with five people. So far millions of people are with Hun Sen, in the way of keeping the old and increasing the new,” he said.

But political analyst Meas Nee said: “Reforms have to look to human resources, management systems and monitoring. For now, I do not expect success yet because of the experience we've had before. I'm waiting to see . . . maybe Samdech [Hun Sen] can take other measures.”

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability's executive director San Chey, said that there were leaders in the government who were standing out because of their service. He cited Hang Chuon Naron, the minister of education and Sun Chanthol, the minister of public works in particular.

“No matter how good the plans are, if the person is not willing and is not exemplary, there will be no new results coming out,” he said.

Another analyst, Sok Touch, said the government should wait until the mandate is halfway through and then reshuffle as needed.

“Normally, if [Hun Sen] is a leader and won like this, and we change the officials, it will cause disappointment. Samdech [Prime Minister Hun Sen] said old ginger is spicier, but older people are getting weaker because people are not ginger,” 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

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • 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

  • 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