Hun Sen Discusses Civil Servants’ Wages Reform

Returning to what are fast becoming two of his favorite bugbears, Prime Minister Hun Sen told officials at the annual Ministry of Interior meeting that more must be done to ensure that the police and armed forces receive their salaries in a prompt and efficient manner, and that unscrupulous market managers should be arrested if they overcharge market vendors.

Mr. Hun Sen said he would sign a directive regarding the salaries of police, military police and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers to make sure they get their monthly pay on time.

“I clarified with Aun Porn Moniroth, finance minister, already that civil servants must get their salaries before the end of the month,” he said.

“I heard that the Ministry of Mines and Energy only paid their officials their January salaries on February 18,” the prime minister continued.

Mr. Hun Sen signed a directive in January ordering that civil servants receive their salaries by the forth week of every month. Reforms have also been made that see civil servants being paid their wages directly into bank accounts to avoid their superiors’ skimming money off the top.

The prime minister also reiterated his concerns, made in a speech earlier this week, that corruption in the country’s markets needs to be kept in check.

“[Market managers] are supposed to charge 200 riel for [people to use] the bicycle parking lot but instead take 500 riel, while for the motorcycle parking lot they take 1,000 riel instead of 500 riel,” he said.

“These are problems, so we must arrest all [unscrupulous] market managers who are in charge of money collecting in the markets,” he added.

Mr. Hun Sen also complained about doctors in the country’s health system who demand proof of funds before agreeing to treat patients—a common complaint.

“When the patients arrives at the hospital the doctor always asks, ‘Do you have money or not?’” he said.

“This is not the first question a doctor should be asking. The first question is, ‘What illness does uncle, aunt or brother have?’” he added. “And if the patient is unconscious, no questions need to be asked, just treatment—this is a public service.”

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