Finance Head Covets Own Job

Finance Minister Keat Chhon said Friday he has worried about how long he would remain in his post.

“Being frank, I have been concerned about continuing in my present position,” he said.

While party and diplomatic officials say they expect Keat Chhon to keep his post for now, one government official last week said he didn’t expect Keat Chhon to re­main finance minister for long.

Keat Chhon, a CPP central committee member, has a reputation for being skilled at negotiating financial packages from international donors. As such, diplomats say it is unlikely he will be dismissed in the short term.

However, Keat Chhon has many rivals for his post. Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh and Finance Undersec­retary of State Chhay Than are all said to covet the finance portfolio.

On Friday, Keat Chhon said the decision ultimately rested with Hun Sen. He likened the jostling for ministerial positions to a World Cup soccer team.

“The prime minister is like a coach: ‘Please, No 3 out, No 18 in.’ He has to choose the right person at the right time,” he said.

But he did not deny his desire to remain “proactive in the field,” though within the bounds of ac­ceptance by his peers.

“The question is to be or not to be, and for me, only to be….I want to serve as long as possible, but I want to stay in a team,” he said.

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