Four senior government officials have been added to the list of new secretaries of state in a reshuffle of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet set to be passed by parliament next week.
Mr. Hun Sen announced the reshuffle earlier this month, and the CPP has painted the shifting of eight ministers as a move to increase government efficiency. Critics, however, have noted the lack of new faces in the government’s upper echelons and questioned the need for further expansion of an already bloated executive branch.
In a second amendment to a list of cabinet changes submitted to the National Assembly on March 16, Mr. Hun Sen put forth the four new secretaries of state, bringing the total number to 15.
Y Chhien, the governor of Pailin province who once served as Pol Pot’s chief bodyguard, is set to become a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defense, while Luy David, cabinet chief at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will become a secretary of state there.
Two officials at the Agriculture Ministry—Nao Thouk, head of the Fisheries Administration, and Ly Phalla, director of the general directorate of rubber—have also been recommended for secretary of state posts. Mr. Hun Sen publicly blasted the Agriculture Ministry for being too “slow” in the lead-up to the reshuffle.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was uncertain if the officials would keep their current positions but said political appointments usually meant that new people would fill the previous posts.
“These people have been serving for a long time, so this time they are promoted to secretary of state as a political appointment,” he said. “What has been done before is somebody else will take the [previous] position.”
Lawmakers are to vote on the prime minister’s proposals on April 4. National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long said Mr. Hun Sen was free to propose further changes in the interim.
(Additional reporting by Colin Meyn)