Hun Sen Moves To Reshuffle His Cabinet

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday submitted a proposed cabinet reshuffle to the National Assembly, just weeks after he publicly warned some ministers to improve their work or risk being fired, according to a senior official.

Leng Peng Long, the National Assembly’s spokesman and secretary-general, said the prime minister submitted the proposal on Wednesday morning, and it would soon be sent to the permanent committee to set a date for a vote in the CPP-majority parliament.

“We received it this morning,” Mr. Peng Long said. “We are working on the procedures and will forward it to the permanent committee so that it can set up an agenda for a plenary session. We are working on it because the government said it is urgent.”

Asked how many ministers are set to be replaced, Mr. Peng Long said: “We cannot say it now, but the government proposes that some changes be made in the Council of the Ministers.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he had no idea which ministers would be replaced. “Nobody knows except for the prime minister,” he said.

In a speech last month, Mr. Hun Sen said he was considering a cabinet reshuffle. He singled out Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek and Agriculture Minister Ouk Rabun, ordering them to improve their work or risk being removed.

“I don’t know how to say this, but the Ministry of Public Works is a ministry that is much slower than other ministries,” he said at the time, speaking during an annual meeting of the Interior Ministry.

“Today, when I was having lunch, I ranked the ministries from A, B, C to F, and F is the Ministry of Public Works, as well as Ouk Rabun. The Ministry of Agriculture reaches rank F—very slow,” he said.

The CPP’s last cabinet shake-up came following the 2013 election, when a number of new ministers were appointed—in the ministries of agriculture, finance, commerce, education, culture, environment, and posts and telecommunications.

At his first cabinet meeting after the election, Mr. Hun Sen called on his ministers to go through a four-step process of improving their performance: telling them to look in the mirror, take a bath, scrub themselves clean and heal any diseases.

In his speech at the Interior Ministry last month, he said some ministers had not heeded his advice.

“Now is the time to treat the disease,” he said. “I am wondering whether I should reshuffle the cabinet this year or not. I am wondering because if we keep too many like this, it will make me die.”

(Additional reporting by Colin Meyn)

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