Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday flagged the government’s intention to raise family allowances for civil servants and members of the armed forces.
The premier made the announcement during an event to mark International Women’s Rights Day at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.
“I have ordered to the Minister of Economy and Finance and the Minister of Public Function to discuss [the raise] to find a resolution, if not this year [then] next year,” said Hun Sen.
“If [we] cannot resolve it by this year, [we] will manage a bonus for a gift during the upcoming Pchum Ben.”
According to state media, the current family allowance for a public worker with a spouse is 6,000 riel (about $1.50) a month, and an additional 5,000 riel per child.
In his remarks yesterday, the premier noted the family allowance had not increased since 2014.
Kong Sophy, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Function, said yesterday a “raise will benefit our civil servants whether it’s small or big”.
CNRP lawmaker Kimsour Phirith said the opposition party supported the move, but noted that recent public salary increases had not kept pace with the cost of living.
He said the government could raise more money for salary bumps if it curbed corruption.
During the ceremony, the premier applauded the increasing participation of women in the National Assembly, key government institutions and commune councils.
He said the number of female parliamentarians had risen from 6 per cent of lawmakers after the national election in 1993 to 20 per cent in 2013, while the number of female commune councillors rose from 15 per cent after the 2007 commune election to 18 per cent following the 2012 local ballot. Female ministers and secretaries and under-secretaries of state were also more prevalent, he noted.
“The result has been more job opportunities for women, bolstering their agency, increasing families’ economic wealth and promoting better livelihoods,” Hun Sen said.
The premier also called for political parties to field female candidates in the upcoming 2017 commune and 2018 national elections.
In a separate announcement yesterday, Nhek Bun Chhay president of the Khmer National United Party, which split from the royalist Funcinpec party in January, said at least 20 per cent of its candidates would be women in the coming elections.
“KNUP promotes the rights of women to ensure equality of the genders,” Bun Chhay wrote in a statement.
Contacted yesterday, KNUP spokesman Tum Sambol said the party would try to ensure that women fielded by the party were listed as the top or second candidate in their respective provinces.