Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that all civil servants must leave their positions when they reach the mandatory retirement age of 60 in order to open up jobs for younger workers, according to a directive signed last week.
The directive, dated Jan 12, noted that while some workers request extensions to allow them to continue working, others forge the birth dates written on their personal documents to get around retirement rules.
“In order to strengthen good governance and its efficiency in controlling the civil servants’ retirement, the government would like to firmly advise firstly that any civil servants who have reached their retirement age must retire,” the directive says.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said by telephone Sunday that the directive is needed to reverse the trend of civil servants staying in their positions too long.
“We want to prevent the movement of civil servants reaching their retirement age and then always finding excuses to extend their work,” he said “This is an opportunity for the [younger] generations.”
Teachers historically have been given priority in extensions because of a shortage of instructors, he said, adding this will no longer be the case.
Khieu Kanharith said he would request that actors and actresses employed by the Ministry of Culture be able to continue working after they reach retirement age.
“We need artists such as actors and actresses because the older they are the better [they are],” he said.
SRP President Sam Rainsy said by telephone that he welcomed Hun Sen’s decision but questions the government’s will to carry out the directive. Keeping senior officials in positions generates revenue for the ruling party, he said, adding that corruption will also inhibit implementation of the directive.
“The younger generation must replace the older generation,” he said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Education Director Oum Hoeurng, 62, said the directive means the end his of career. In 2007 he received a two-year retirement extension, he said. That extension ends this year.