Prime Minister Hun Sen took to Facebook on Sunday to alert his cabinet ministers that he would review ministerial and military promotions, warning against pushing family members up the hierarchy at the cost of other officials.
The premier made the comment on Facebook calling on all his ministers to keep a close eye on ministerial promotions and asking them to ensure they were in compliance with the law and internal guidelines.
“All ministers, who are in charge of the ministries, must pay attention to this case. [You] must promote properly and comply with the law, and do not only promote for [people linked to] yourself and your relatives without caring about lower officials,” he said in the post.
He reminded ministers that promotions were limited to one every two years.
The government frequently doles out promotions or additional titles to officials, a trend that has perhaps been most clearly apparent in the military. In the last 18 months, more than 1,000 military officials have been promoted to the rank of general as part of the government’s recognition and gratitude towards troops’ service and sacrifice in helping to defeat the Khmer Rouge.
Civil Service Ministry spokesman Youk Bunna confirmed that civil servants could be promoted only once every two years, adding that the ministry had received complaints about irregular practices regarding ministerial promotions.
“When they see that the promotion is not right, they can request to the ministry of public civil servants. That ministry has the committee to check to how the case is . . . and in past there were cases but I have not known clearly the figure.”
He did characterise the premier’s comments as a reminder to ministries to follow the law and ensure smooth operations within the government.
“Samdech [Hun Sen] raised this because he wanted to remind the ministries and institutions to pay more attention to promotion of officials’ rank and role, and this is a reminder somehow to make the work more perfect,” he said.
However, Facebook users were quick to comment on the premier’s post, airing their grievances about missed promotions at their workplaces.
Facebook user Roskan Davy said he only reached deputy department director level after nearly 40 years of service, saying he was never able to move up the ranks fast enough. Another, Sim Serey, said promotions were based on an official’s capability to pay up.
“When there is no money, there is no promotion,” he said.
Government accountability advocate San Chey said corruption was endemic in the promotion practices of the civil services, adding that capable officials were often overlooked for more connected civil servants.
“It is also a political message for the coming election. He raised it in order to gain more popularity for his party,” he said.