PM: New Ministry Would Leave Nation Vulnerable

Prime Minister Hun Sen rejected proposals to create an immigration ministry because he was concerned it could dilute the government’s anti-terrorism capabilities, the prime minister said Monday.

Speaking at the Interior Min­is­try, Hun Sen said that an immigration ministry, proposed by Funcin­pec and National Assembly Presi­dent Prince Norodom Ranariddh, could dangerously divide the command and control structure of Cambodia’s police force. He added that the recommendation of CPP and Funcin­pec working groups to establish a General De­partment of Immigra­tion within the Interior Ministry also would not be im­plemented.

“It is not necessary to form a separate General Department of Im­migration because this will lead to dividing police forces into two: One to control immigration and another to control security,” Hun Sen said.

“So combating terrorism, in a major threat stage, will be weakened by this issue,” he said, adding that if a division of power set the stage for a terror attack, the government would have been to blame.

“Before establishing the [immigration] ministry, there is no terrorism, but after the establishment of the ministry, if there is an explosion, this is a failure.”

Hun Sen added that he planned to maintain the existing infrastructure for now, but an immigration ministry might be established at some future date.

The 2003 coalition government platform, which detailed the formation of the ministry, had proposed that it be created at an “appropriate” time—-but now, Hun Sen said, is not that time.

“In the agreement, it is said, ‘when it is appropriate.’ Now, it is not appropriate, so if we [postpone] it for 10 more years, nothing is wrong,” he said.

Funcinpec’s former co-minister of interior You Hockry said the refusal of Prince Ranariddh’s proposal would not dampen relations between his party and the CPP.

“I think, it is finished,” he said, adding that he already knew no such ministry would ever exist, even before the creation of the coalition government.

“I told people, that [ministry] will only be wind,” You Hockry said.


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