Assembly To Legitimize 3 Ministries

The National Assembly will convene Tuesday to approve a series of laws retroactively legitimizing the creation of three government ministries, officials said Sun­day.

The three ministries—the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Re­hab­ilitation—have been operating since July, though no legislation exists to allow the government to create them.

“Since the government was formed, we already have normal work, but we want the National As­sembly to approve [the laws] to formalize” the process, said Ung Kantha Phavy, the new Fun­cin­pec Minister of Women’s Af­fairs.

During the lead up to the formation of the government, Funcinpec and the CPP agreed to split up the former Min­istry of Wo­men’s and Ve­ter­ans’ Affairs, sending the veterans’ af­fairs component to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Such a split was intended to avoid overlapping mandates, officials said.

The parties also agreed to create a separate ministry for labor and vocational training and a ministry of immigration.

An immigration ministry has yet to be established, but No­ran­arith Anandayath, Cabinet chief to As­sembly President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh, said Sun­day the two parties were still in discussions and he anticipated it would be formed “soon.”

The laws that will be submitted to the Assembly this week will outline the jurisdiction and functions of each of the three existing ministries, officials said.

Ung Kantha Phavy added that the laws will also enable her ministry to legally seek funding from donors. She said her revamped ministry will be more effective than it was in its previous form, since it will focus solely on wo­men’s issues, with the aim of im­prov­ing women’s education. “I am confident the new ministry will be more effective,” she said.

Funcinpec’s Minister of Labor Nhep Bunchin also gave an optimistic outlook for his new ministry. “I will try to increase em­ployment for the people,” he said.


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