Hun Sen Scoffs At Proposed Salary Raise

At the end of a three-day conference on the government’s role in poverty alleviation, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday criticized a government official who suggested civil servants should receive a salary raise.

Hun Sen called You Ay, secretary of state for the Women’s Affairs Ministry, “illiterate” after she suggested government em­ployees receive a $120 monthly pay, about $100 more than what civil servants currently earn.

He said You Ay, who is a member of Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, and others who suggest a civil servants wage hike don’t understand the difficulty the government has in budgetary issues. He also said these type of people should be sent to school to become more ed­­ucated.

“But this type of person de­serves leniency and mercy be­cause they understand nothing about the financial hardship the government faces,” Hun Sen said. “I cannot raise the salary when the government budget is not available.”

He said he would like to see civil servants earn $1,200 a month, “but where can we get the money?”

“Even to renovate Chaktomuk Theater where we sit now, the go­vernment hardly found the budget to do it,” the prime minister said.

Hun Sen also alluded to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who has called for wage hikes for government employees on numerous occasion.

Such people, the prime minister said, are opportunists playing a short-sighted political game.

“They promised they could [raise wages] if they were in power because they would levy taxes on farmers’ land,” Hun Sen said. “This is what we can’t do because it would hurt people. It’s easy to just say we can do it, but it’s hard to implement.”

The poverty alleviation conference ended with participants agreeing on a series of future measures aimed at reducing the number of poor people in Cam­bodia, including strategies for improving local and foreign marketing of domestic products.


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