Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has instructed relevant institutions under his supervision to assist people in the correction and cancellation of family records to make the service more widely available in towns and district administrations across the Kingdom.
The instruction, signed on Monday, directed officials to correct errors recorded by commune officials including mistakes in the spelling of surnames and first names in the Khmer and English language and the recorded sex, birthdays and birthplaces for the document-holder and their parents.
“The process is ongoing and in response to the people’s demand to continue providing such services,” said Sar Kheng.
Family records – which include birth, death and marriage certificates – are usually used for official purposes and to secure employment, loans, medical treatment and spots in schools among others.
The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Identification spokesman Say Meng Chheang said on Monday that the registers sometimes contain errors due to “limited understanding and knowledge among local officials”.
He said: “If any official violates the instruction, people can file a complaint to the General Department of Identification which will resolve it for them.
“The correction is completely free of charge, and we are extending the service as per the government’s policy. This process is going smoothly, unlike before, which we have acknowledged overlooked some issues.”
Sen Sok district’s Teuk Thla commune chief Tan Navin said: “People know their family records are wrong when they apply for jobs that require them to correct errors by returning to their communes of birth.
“However, if their documents do not contain serious errors, we [commune officials] correct it for them for free.”
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey told The Post that despite the ministry taking measures to correct family records, Cambodians would regularly complain of having to correct erroneous information.
“So the ministry needs to review the way it provides its services to ensure that they are not complex, but are transparent.
“The ministry should provide an online register for correction and cancellation of family data as it would be far easier for people to correct the information, save time and reduce corruption,” Chey said.