PM de­nies ‘nepo­tism’ claims

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Niem Ch­heng

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Hun Sen de­nied on Thurs­day that nepo­tism was in­volved in the re­cent pro­mo­tions of the chil­dren of se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials. He said they had been “trained” and were en­tirely ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing out their du­ties while be­ing open to “pun­ish­ment” like any­one else.

Suy Di­manche, the son of the Min­is­ter of Mines and En­ergy, Suy Sem, was ap­pointed the min­istry’s joint sec­re­tary of state through a Novem­ber 3 royal de­cree.

In Septem­ber last year, Sar Thet, the nephew of In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sar Kheng, was pro­moted from Bat­tam­bang pro­vin­cial po­lice chief to deputy com­mis­sioner of the Na­tional Po­lice.

Speak­ing at a cer­e­mony to hon­our 406 grade A high school stu­dents at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Thurs­day, Hun Sen, who is pres­i­dent of the rul­ing Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple’s Party (CPP), said such pro­mo­tions were based purely on abil­ity.

“We pro­moted our chil­dren. But they are peo­ple and also of­fi­cials in govern­ment or the mil­i­tary. [Crit­ics] say we [have pro­moted them] to strengthen power. We just sent them for train­ing. If this was not to im­prove their ca­pa­bil­i­ties, why would we train them?

“Should we just give them up? As they can do their jobs, the chil­dren of se­nior of­fi­cials re­ceived [ad­di­tional] train­ing. What else should we do with them?” he asked.

Hun Sen’s el­dest son Manet has been pro­moted re­peat­edly and re­cently be­came the sec­ond most pow­er­ful per­son in t he mil­i­tar y af­ter as­sum­ing t he po­si­tion of Deputy Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Royal Cam­bo­dian Armed Forces. He is also the com­man­der of the army’s in­fantr y.

In Oc­to­ber, Hun Sen hinted that Manet could suc­ceed him as the next prime min­is­ter “if he were elected”.

Hun Sen’s other sons are Manith and Mani. Manith was pro­moted in Au­gust last year to di­rec­tor-gen­eral at the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fence’s Gen­eral Direc­torate of In­tel­li­gence.

His youngest son Mani is cur­rently a CPP law­maker for Kam­pong Speu prov­ince.

“I have just a few nieces and neph­ews who are work­ing as of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Hun Chea who [spent time] in Prey Sar prison,” Hun Sen said.

Chea is a nephew of the prime min­is­ter and a three-star lieu­tenant gen­eral. He was sen­tenced in May to 18 months in prison af­ter be­ing ar­rested over a shoot­ing in­ci­dent near his house in Phnom Penh.

Of­fi­cials di­vulged few de­tails about the in­ci­dent. Min­istry of In­te­rior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Chea ap­peared to have “shot into the air” but said no one was hurt.

In his speech, Hun Sen said, he was will­ing to pun­ish his rel­a­tives just like any­body else who broke the law.

“[Chea] was in­volved in a shoot­ing [in­ci­dent], which is banned by law. He is my nephew but we do not al­low [in­ci­dents] like this [and] we must pun­ish our rel­a­tives and chil­dren the same way we pun­ish oth­ers. I am will­ing to bring food for them to eat in prison. The law is t he law.

“[Like­wise] those who are ca­pa­ble are the ones to get the jobs. It is like an exam,” he told the stu­dents.

Af­fil­i­ated Net­work for So­cial Ac­count­abil­ity ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, San Chey, said on Thurs­day that he was not op­posed to the pro­mo­tion of ca­pa­ble of­fi­cials, but warned that the pro­mo­tion of those who work with their par­ents could re­sult in “con­flicts of in­ter­est”.

“I think the pro­mo­tion of ca­pa­ble per­sons to ser ve pub­lic af­fairs is not wrong. But the govern­ment should think about con­flicts of in­ter­est, which could im­pact gov­er­nance of the in­sti­tu­tions,” he said.

SEN VIA FACE­BOOK HUN

Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen adresses the stu­dents at an event on Thurs­day at the Peace Palace.

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