An inter-ministerial working group led by the Ministry of Interior discussed the draft of a royal decree regarding the requirements for receiving and retaining the royal title of Oknha, including procedures for the revocation of the honorific once it has been granted.
The interior ministry’s press release on January 3 said the working group had provided input to further improve the contents of the draft royal decree.
On April 9 last year the government established an inter-ministerial working group to study and propose legal guidelines for the management and revocation of the title in the wake of a small number of high-profile incidents over the years involving law-breaking or misconduct.
Interior ministry secretary of state Bun Honn – who is leading the working group of 12 members tasked with drafting the guidelines – said in a video conference on January 3 that after the discussions he would report to interior minister Sar Kheng for him to review and comment on the matter, according to the press release.
The working group is responsible for carrying out the legal research and preparing the legal documents that will outline how the title is granted, what duties or responsibilities come along with it and the circumstances and procedures for revoking it.
Honn could not be reached for further comment on January 3.
Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, told The Post on January 3 that the title would not need to be managed as much if the authority would do a better job of assessing who should receive the title in the first place.
He said the title is not simply to denote a person of very high wealth and should only be given to people of good character.
“If we grant the Okhna title to people just for contributing their wealth to the nation, it will render the title of very low value. The title should be given to individuals who have positive attitudes, engage in appropriate behaviours, have generous hearts and are dedicated to helping society,” he said.
Kim Eng said the title should be reserved for role models for the next generation. They would ideally be public figures who have enjoyed a great deal of personal success while also helping to improve society through charitable donations, acts of kindness and gestures of goodwill.
“If it was required that Oknha be role models for society, then we wouldn’t need to worry about any scandalous behaviours. Therefore, they need to focus on revising the criteria for granting the title and limit it to people who are worthy of the honour,” he said.