Council of Ministers May Allow Civil Servants To Extend Service

The Council of Ministers is considering a proposed decree that would ensure the right of civil servants to be promoted just before they retire, thereby deferring their official retirement age by two years, officials said Tuesday.

Low-ranking government officials are currently required by law to retire at 58, but medium- and high-ranking officials can continue in their positions until they are 60.

Many low-ranking officials are currently being refused promotion as they approach 58, said Touch Seang Tana, undersecretary of state at the Council of Ministers, but the draft decree would change this.

The proposed legislation states that age should not be taken into consideration when promoting somebody.

This would eliminate the barrier to promotion, Touch Seang Tana said, and give an extra two years of service to people the government finds useful. “We just want to give a fair chance to all the people,” he said.

Some civil servants currently continue to work for the government after retirement, but as paid consultants, Touch Seang Tana added.

CPP lawmaker Nguon Nhel said that all civil servants must retire by 60, but some with “special skills or knowledge” are allowed to hang on to their positions after this. These officials are paid “special bonuses” for their expertise, he said, but did not elaborate.

The government should be trying to reduce the number of aging officials in Cambodia’s corpulent civil service, rather than lengthening their contracts, SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said.

Elderly and often under-qualified civil servants are employed in nearly every government institution and ministry, despite the country having plenty of better-educated young people who can’t find work, he said.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the compulsory retirement age is commonly ig­nored already, particularly in the case of high-ranking officials.


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