Health Ministry Warns Against Giving Bribes Ahead of Exams

The Ministry of Health has warned candidates for upcoming health professional examinations to beware of officials seeking bribes.

“Our aim is to abolish the activity of people behaving badly for their own benefit. If anyone has any evidence of bribery, we urge them to report it directly to the Ministry of Health, to take action against those bad people,” said Secretary of State Te Kuyseang in a statement issued Tuesday.  

Mr Kuyseang explained yesterday by phone that the ministry was concerned after hearing ru­mors of bribery during last year’s exams.

“The entrance exam necessary for recruitment to the Ministry of Health does not require any candidate to pay a bribe to any official. If candidates have applied correctly and are qualified, they will pass the exam,” Mr Kuyseang said.

He added that the ministry was aware that bribery had occurred in the past, but asked candidates to not be “tricked” this time around.

The ministry announced June 7 that it was seeking 1,012 new health professionals, and Mr Kuy­seang said more than 1,200 candidates had applied to take the ex­ams scheduled for July 19.

Professional and educational ex­amination systems have suffered from allegations of non-transparency in recent years. In September 2009, more than 200 medical students at Phnom Penh’s University of Health Sciences held several days of protests alleging corruption within the university’s exam structure.

Kimsuor Phirith, a spokesman for the SRP, said it was still very common for unqualified applicants to pass exams by paying bribes, or for qualified people to fail because they do not pay.

“The ministries often make this kind of announcement before an exam…. But I have even less faith in this particular announcement, as corruption has grown so deep in our society.

“The Ministry of Health must strengthen its transparency strategies and its principles to ensure a fair exam,” he added.


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