Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sar Kheng calls for decentralisation



Sar Kheng calls for decentralisation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng urges local authorities to develop their communities to avoid people complaining to government ministers. Pha Lina

Sar Kheng calls for decentralisation

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has urged local authorities to solve problems and develop their communities to avoid people complaining to top-level government ministers.

Talking to officials in Oddar Meanchey province on Saturday during the transfer of a provincial governor, Sar Kheng told authorities to solve local problems with justice and transparency and not by criticising the people concerned.

He said Cambodia was in the process of decentralisation and deconcentration reforms to give greater power to local authorities.

Sar Kheng said government leaders could not manage all issues at the community level, but only provide strategy and policy, while developing large infrastructure projects.

“Don’t make everything like the small issues raised in interviews with [people] calling on the prime minister for help. If you hear such a thing, the commune, province and district [level leaders] have to go there immediately to see what the problem is."

“The problem is in the community, so keep time for leaders in the government to think about bigger national issues,” Sar Kheng said.

Four local positions

He said in order to strengthen the power of local authorities, four local positions must be supported – the commune chief, commune hall clerk, village chief and commune police chief.

But he said in the meantime, these officials must not use their authority to violate people’s rights or discriminate against them due to their political affiliations.

Sar Kheng said Cambodia would finish its 10-year decentralisation and deconcentration reforms in 2020.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability director San Chey said yesterday that such reforms were seen to the greatest extent at the Ministry of Interior, not at other ministries involved in solving local problems.

“What [Sar Kheng] meant was that local authorities have the power to make decisions. But in reality, the local authorities can do little."

“For example, in land disputes, who signs [off] on the administration documents? So the decision, for example on land titles, is from the ministerial level. To what extent can the provincial, district and commune levels decide [on in such cases]?” Chey asked.

“The ministry that has decentralised power the most is the Ministry of Interior. If we look at other ministries, they still govern in the way of a centralised government. So citizens in disputes have [often] already tried all means at the local level,” he said.

He said another problem that pushes people to call on the prime minister is that in a number of cases the dispute involves powerful people.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could