Hun Sen Asked To Stop Awarding Defectors

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay has sent a formal request to Prime Min­ister Hun Sen seeking a halt to further appointments of government advisers, many of whom receive positions with ranks equivalent to secretaries of state or ministers.

In a letter dated Monday and signed by National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Wed­nes­­day, Son Chhay also requested that the government give the Na­tional Assembly a list of the people currently serving as advisers.

A number of recent defectors from the SRP and Funcinpec-in­cluding lawmakers-to the CPP were immediately granted adviser positions.

“I would like to inform Sam­dech prime minister that I have observed that the Royal Gover­n­ment during this mandate has been appointing businessmen, civil servants, and officials from political parties who recently defected to be government advisers…without knowing their numbers or their expertise to help manage the country,” Son Chhay’s letter read. “The government has spent too much money on their salaries,” he added.

“Some political parties have criticized the ruling party as having used its power to appoint defectors who have left for the ruling party,” the letter continues. “This is an abuse of the equal rights of other political parties because it is an illegal use of mo­ney and positions.”

Speaking by telephone Wednes­day, Son Chhay said he was of the understanding that the government now had about 1,000 advisers. He added that many of these advisers have used their positions for personal gain, rather than giving useful counsel.

Government spokesman and In­for­mation Minister Khieu Kan­ha­rith said the government needs to have many advisers for the sake of improving its performance.

“We have to have information from every corner,” he said, ad­ding that many advisers do not actually receive a salary from the state.

Dismissing Son Chhay’s concerns as “showbiz,” Khieu Kan­harith said that recent SRP defectors to the CPP were made advisers simply because they had ex­perience that made them valuable to the government.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair El­ec­tions, said that the government should seek consent from the National Assembly over such appointments.

“Government advisers should be those who are retired because [otherwise] it would create conflicts of interest if they have government positions,” he said.

“There are too many advisers right now,” he added.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.