Prime Minister Hun Sen has promised to work twice as hard now that his government has a new mandate, thanks to winning a landslide in the July 29 national elections. He also promised to provide faster and more efficient public services in the Kingdom.
“The people’s happiness is my personal happiness,” Hun Sen wrote on Tuesday on his official Facebook account. Yet, even as some observers welcomed the pledges, others pointed out that resolving longstanding problems in the nation’s service sector would be no easy task.
The prime minister also thanked his supporters for their online messages. He said feedback from the public showed the gratitude and respect many felt towards him.
“During the new government mandate (2018-2023), we will try to work doubly hard to improve public services for the people – faster and more efficient,” he wrote.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability director San Chey claimed that Hun Sen’s promises on better public services could be seen as a populist appeal.
“I understand that the government paid attention to the effectiveness of offering public services, which currently is not efficient, while other major problems still remain unsolved such as deforestation, illegal drugs, and land conflicts,” he said.
Chey suggested that many government facilities across the country might not be capable of delivering improved services without being overhauled as well. He said proper facilities were needed before improving the efficiency of service providers.
“At the same time, the public roads must ensure higher quality than before, with repair, construction and maintenance.
“Good public service is a faster response, a reasonable fee people can afford, a good attitude from people who provide the service, and cutting down the money that’s under the table,” Chey said.
Political analyst Hang Vitou said government leaders have been urged to reform public services in the past without success.
“It is hard to tell the result because, in the past they were only asking for reforms and trying to work from a lower to a higher level. But that was not effective, the senior level tried hard, but the lower level seemed not to care much. Therefore, it was not very efficient,” Vitou said.
Even so, Vitou hasn’t given up hope on the prime minister’s reform promises.
“I remain optimistic. I always have positive expectations for the efforts of a new government mandate."
“However, the government needs to try harder before it can accomplish it. Talking without action will not be effective,” he said.