Opposition, Civil Society Groups Rebuke Gov’t Over Stipends

Government officials remained mum Thursday over a new sub-decree purporting to formalize monthly expenditures of senior government officials while the opposition and civil society groups said the regulation was a facade meant to conceal the real amount of money being made by CPP officials.

The sub-decree, dated October 13 and signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, dictates that Mr. Hun Sen, government ministers, secretaries of state and undersecretaries of state will receive monthly allowances of between $350 and $918, depending on their position, on top of their existing salaries.

Youk Bunna, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Function, which coordinates the civil service, and Ros Phearun, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, which disperses payments to government employees, declined to comment on the new directive Thursday.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition CNRP, said that rather than reform formal payments to government officials, there should be a thorough review of their actual assets.

“Everyone knows that senior officials from the CPP don’t need such amounts of money because they already have 20 to 30 cars and four to 10 villas each,” he said. “These figures are the figures that the Anti-Corruption Commission has to check.”

Kao Poeun, president of the Cambodian Independent Civil Servants Association, said CPP leaders were trying to show lower-level civil servants—some of whom have been agitating for a pay raise—that nobody in the government was getting rich from their official salaries or allowances.

“This is a very small amount for them,” he said of the stipends. “It is a form of demagoguery because they want to show that they have a small amount of money, so the low-level officials shouldn’t get much.”

reaksmey@cambodiadaily.com

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