Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday announced that in the near future the National Authority for Combating Drugs will become a separate entity from the Interior Ministry and will be headed by former RCAF Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan.
During his speech to close the Interior Ministry’s annual conference, Hun Sen said that Ke Kim Yan, who the government recently appointed to the position of deputy prime minister following his Jan 22 removal as chief of the military, will head the soon-to-be independent NACD.
“In the near future, there will be a new deputy premier to head the [NACD],” he told the conference. “We will set up this network in order to attack [drugs] seriously …and appoint an army commander to control this one.”
The prime minister also vowed to continue the crackdown on gambling in the nation by possibly moving to ban lotteries.
“The lottery is also a part of gambling,” he said. “Some people just have 1,000 riel, but they bet it all after having a dream at night.”
Hun Sen praised recent police efforts in closing sports betting centers and cracking down on gambling machines. He also took the opportunity to give the nation what he called his “fifth public apology to the people and the country within my premiership.”
“Just within three days, we completely put an end once and for all to the gambling by putting out the fire instead of blowing the smoke away,” he said, adding that he was sorry the government hadn’t acted sooner.
“Being a responsible country leader, I am not afraid to give an apology to the nation and the Cambodian people for mistakes,” he said. The government “should have put out that fire, but we did not put it out in time.”
Additionally, the prime minister also announced to those attending the conference that the government plans to reduce the number of deputy governors in municipalities from 10 to seven and in provinces from seven to five.