One-Party Parliament Effortlessly Passes $3.56 Billion Budget

១៣ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១៣ , ខេមបូឌា ដេលី

Sixty-six National Assembly members of the ruling CPP on Tuesday unanimously approved Cambodia’s $3.56 billion draft budget for 2014 without debate and without even the hint of an opposition, whose 55 lawmakers-elect are boycotting parliament in protest over July’s still-disputed national election result.

The ruling party lawmakers of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s long-ruling CPP also voted unanimously to create a new ministry for running the country’s army of civil servants, the Ministry of Public Function, and to split the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy into the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts. …

Newly appointed Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth told the Assembly that the government would raise extra revenue not by raising fees or taxes but by collecting more taxes from those who should already be paying into state coffers. …

The opposition CNRP is refusing to take its seats at the Assembly until it settles its dispute with the CPP over July’s national election, which it claims the CPP won through voter irregularities. Citing various laws and articles in the Constitution, the opposition also claims that the Assembly has no legal standing until its 55 lawmakers take their seats in parliament, a position the CPP rejects. …

The CNRP has also criticized the government’s decision to split the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy as a move that would only serve to fatten an already bloated civil service. …

Hul Reaksmey

Civil servant wages under new ministry

២៦ កញ្ញា ២០១៣ , ភ្នំពេញប៉ុស្តិ៍

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday outlined the role of the newly christened Ministry of Public Function, explaining that the body would oversee the reform of the Kingdom’s civil service, including the salaries of its employees – a major plank in the opposition’s campaign platform.

As a part of a more than six-hour address, the premier promised that the new ministry would increase the Cambodian bureaucracy’s efficiency by making it prompter, easier to deal with and more receptive to criticism from both citizens and the media, though the opposition maintained yesterday that anything less than a cultural shift in government was unlikely to yield results. …

Chhay Channyda and Stuart White

Five More Years For Hun Sen; Some Ministers Reshuffled

២៥ កញ្ញា ២០១៣ , ខេមបូឌា ដេលី

A day after its opening session and still devoid of the 55 lawmakers-elect of the opposition CNRP, the country’s new, one-party National Assembly voted Prime Minister Hun Sen in for yet another five-year term Tuesday and approved an extensive re­shuffle of his Cabinet. …

In a single, unanimously approved “package vote,” the 68 CPP lawmakers also restored Heng Samrin, 79, to the post of Assembly president, created a brand new Ministry of Public Function and created 13 new positions for ministers delegated to the prime minister.

After the Assembly’s brief, second session, the new government released an official list of the prime minister’s new Cabinet, which included 10 changes of leadership at the country’s 27 ministries. …

Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh was moved to Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, where the former minister, Suy Sem, is now a member of parliament. Sun Chanthol, former secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia is now Commerce Minister.

Finance Ministry Secretary of State Ouk Rabun will replace Chan Sarun as minister of agriculture. Mr. Sarun is now senior minister in charge of special missions under Mr. Hun Sen.

Finance Ministry Secretary of State Aun Porn Moniroth will replace Keat Chhon as finance minister. Mr. Chhon is now a lawmakers and deputy prime minister. Finance Ministry Secretary of State Hang Chuon Naron will replace Im Sethy as education minister. Mr. Sethy is now a lawmaker.

Council of Ministers Secretary of State Prak Sokhon will replace So Khun as post and telecommunications minister. Mr. Khun is now a lawmaker.

Culture and Fine Arts Ministry Secretary of State Phoeung Sakona will replace Him Chhem as minister. He too becomes a senior minister in charge of special missions under Mr. Hun Sen.

Labor Minister Vong Sauth and Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng will switch desks.

Environment Minister Mok Mareth was replaced by Say Sam Al, who headed the Assembly’s investment committee. Mr. Mareth is now a lawmaker. …

The CNRP is boycotting the Assembly to protest the official results of the July 28 election, which it claims was fraudulently called in favor of the CPP and which it really won. From Siem Reap City, where the party’s 55 elected lawmakers went to wait-out King Norodom Sihamoni’s opening of parliament, the CNRP on Monday called the new Assembly unconstitutional. ..

Minister of the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol’s name was missing from the list of 11 deputy prime ministers, as was Funcinpec secretary-general Nhiek Bun Chhay, whose party failed to win any seats in July’s election and has no other government posts.

Hul Reaksmey and Zsombor Peter