Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the closing of the training course in 2022 and launching the training course in 2023 of the Royal School of Administration (RSA/ERA) [Unofficial Translation]


(1) The six Cambodian Muslim students in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, have been evacuated

[…] About our Cambodian Muslim students studying in the capital of Kathmandu, Sudan, which there is fighting […] have been evacuated from Sudan by ship […] arriving in Saudi Arabia with the help of Malaysia […] according to the announcement of HE Osman Hassan, these six students are on their way to the hotel […] please inform the families of these six students that their children are safe. Take this opportunity, I thank the Malaysian government and officials for taking care of the Cambodian people in the evacuation (from the war in Khartoum) and also to the Saudi government and officials for providing short stay for those Cambodian students […]

(2) Revocation of sub-decree on February 27, 2023, re-implementation of sub-decree on September 25, 2012

[…] Launching the construction of the bridge across the Mekong River in Kratie province, I recommended setting up a core area (where the fresh water dolphins reside in the Mekong) and banning fishing with nets. The implementation of the Sub-decree from February to April, we continued to have this situation of dead dolphins, with impacts on thousands of fishing families […] the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has suggested five options to me […] at 12:31 pm, the Minister of Agriculture sent me a PDF new draft sub-decree repealing the old sub-decree […] I could have signed it at night […] but the font has got some misspellings. We repeal the new Sub-Decree dated 27 February 2023 (on the preparation of the core area for dolphin residence, prohibiting fishing with nets) […] and re-implement the former sub-decree on September 25, 2012. Please provide information to the provincial authorities of Kratie and Stung Treng and ask my cabinet to expedite the sub-decree for me to sign so that the proclamation can start […]

(3) To repeal decisions that do not serve the interests of the people is reform

[…] (About the sub-decree on dolphin preservation areas) I made a decision with the nature of reform […] not every decision one makes is right. There could be decisions that are right and that are wrong. If we find it wrong, we have to correct it. That is called reform. It is important to make decisions based on the interests of the people […] what we decide is not always right. If we see that the decision does not serve the interests of the people, we correct it. There is nothing wrong […] we must strengthen controls to ban the placement of large mesh pattern fishing nets that could be deadly to the Mekong dolphins […] this is to inform people living in Kratie province who used to fish in that area and had been prohibited from fishing […] to maintain the safety of the dolphins and avoiding harming the interests of thousands of families, we repealed the most recent sub-decree in favor of the older one […]

(4) Fighting Covid-19 and resolving disasters demonstrate the success of decentralization and de-concentration or sub-national democratic reforms

[…] We have gradually benefited from the reform of public functions, the reform of public administration, and the reforms related to decentralization and de-concentration. It is noteworthy that the success of the fight against Covid-19, and in tackling disasters such as floods and droughts, hurricanes, etc., indicates that decentralization and de-concentration reforms, or sub-national democracies, have been successful already […] if we did not reform, did not give the grassroots power, would we be able to control the situation of Covid-19? Certainly not. Can the central authority travel everywhere? I remember that during the Covid-19 campaign, we reformed the health sector, transferring more power to the sub-national level. That is the achievement of management reform by transferring power – both budgets and civil servants to the grassroots. If at that time we did not do that, we would not be able to solve it and the central authority would not be able to fix everything everywhere […]

(5) After the 1993 election, if the local power system of the former state of Cambodia is maintained, we can move 5 years faster

I should remind a little on this issue. Under the former State of Cambodia, (the government) had given great power to the provincial level, even we were in war. A bridge of 10 meters was blown up, (the local authority did not bother to) ask the Ministry of Public Works to repair it. They basically do it all. The local level authority gathers forces to protect the provincial town, protect their geographical location and protect the people. If, after the 1993 elections (the coalition government at the time) maintained the local power system, we would have been at least five years faster. I went down to work on plans to attack Pailin […] Ung Samy was still the provincial governor (of Battambang) and Serey Kosal was the first deputy governor, the then Royal Government permitted each province to spend one million riel per month. What could they do (with that amount of money)? In fact that was just an attempt (by the opposition and partners) to overthrow the administration organized by the former State of Cambodia. We are now reforming and moving back to our original version to give more power to the local level […]

(6) Ministries and national and sub-national institutions to strengthen the capacity of civil servants at all levels

It is not over yet. There are still more reforms that we must complete. In addition to the points I made, I should make some more recommendations for the Ministry as well as for the Royal School of Administration or other institutions. All ministries, national institutions and sub-national levels must continue to pay attention to strengthening the capacity of civil servants at all levels. We need to develop a concrete plan for the development of civil servants by ensuring the quality, qualifications, and virtues based on the principles of meritocracy […] in general, we require all institutions participate because the management structure starts from people. If you want to reform the institution, it is necessary to reform people to be capable, to make people knowledgeable, to make people think, to make people up to date […]

(7) Royal School of Administration must organize public sector leadership training program

[…] The Royal School of Administration must organize a leadership training program in the public sector by establishing leadership forums and innovations in the field of public administration […] the (Royal) school (of administration) itself must reform. Do not repeat the old and not updated theory […] there needs to be reform in school […] in institutions now, there are many experienced officials that we can invite to give talks […] I am still an honorary professor (to RSA […] I do not come to teach, but to give a talk like this at the closing as the last course […]

(8) After leaving the position, may find time to answer questions at the Royal School of Administration

[…] In the future, if there is time, I will come to give lecture. I do not come to talk but to let students ask questions […] a little word of welcome, students can put questions in the framework of works we are doing. This is a possibility that I can think of, but wait and see when this Prime Minister leaves office to transfer to the next one. Now it is not over […] every day is a work day. If I do not have work to do, I am bored […] in sports, football, volleyball or golf, you can compete but not with destiny. I have never thought of being a district governor, a provincial governor, a minister, or a prime minister […] just a teacher. Unexpectedly, I have been the Prime Minister for almost four decades […] that is fate […] some people dream of being the Prime Minister. As for me, 80% of the nightmare is not about being the Prime Minister, but a farmer or a soldier in a state of fear that the shadow of the past binds me. I already said that physical wounds are easy to heal, but the mental ones are difficult to heal. Take for instance, the tragedy that befell my family, the tragedy that befell my son who died because of a medical staff’s negligence […]

(9) Public officials are servants, not masters of the people

[…] What I should always remind public officials is that they should remind themselves that they are the servants of the people, not the masters of the people. Do not pretend to be an official and use power in unethically. We are the faithful servants of the people, not the masters of the people. If they do not hold on to this concept, the public officials will easily slip away, and like the Khmer people say – even the dog does not look at him/her because of the people’s hatred for the bad deeds of those officials […] in this regard, I have always made recommendations on appointing officials. For local administration, appointing local officials is better than taking someone from a distance […] appointing officials, we must give justice to the sub-national officials who are working there. I do not believe that we cannot find the right pick. At the central level, when there is a promotion, there comes the application immediately. In response to that, I immediately sent out a message to warn against it. My next step was to tell Samdech Krala Hom and discuss how to go about deciding on that matter […]

(10) CPP officials live with and protect the people

[…] The success of all leaders to this day begins with the contribution of wives and children. For me, not only my wife and children, I now have come to a stage of taking care of my 22 grandchildren as well […] sometimes for one or two mistakes, people could be mocking our family. Now we have to rely on their parents to educate their grandchildren. Otherwise, crooked people will take the issue of our grandchildren as the subject of an attack on us […] as for the really good officials, they do not brag about being patriots. They love the people and take real actions. In practicality, the Cambodian People’s Party’s officials never brag that they are patriots. They are the ones who defend and protect the people. They bite the grass and live with the people […]

(11) Receive and study information, keep officials who inflame others away

Owing to the many years of experience as a leading official (I would warn you to) try to accept and study the real information and do not take officials who inflame others closer to you. They might have thought that I did not notice that, some officials who came to see me, after reporting to me their works, they make a negative report on someone else afterward. I am sick of it. Sometimes, they come tell me of some secrets (we have worked on), and I do not know where it sneaked from. If we are not strong enough to make decisions based on the truth, it will lead to the wrong decision […] to be a leader, do not be deceived by gossip. It is not that we do not want to get information, but upon receiving information, we must check whether it is true or not. When it comes to decisions, I have said above that not all decisions are right, including the issues I mentioned regarding the revision of decisions regarding dolphin areas in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces […]

(12) Continue reform and stand by the interests and serve the goals of the majority of the people

In the future, we need to have further reforms. This reform is not over yet […] public administration reform, judicial reform, public financial management reform that we have just introduced, decentralization and de-concentration reforms. We have many reforms to keep up with the situation. We must make a collective decision clearly. We must stand by the interests of the people to make decisions. People are the core for our actions. Every decision is made to serve the goal (i.e.) the interests of the majority of the people. A chef cannot please everyone, but it has to be a decision that serves the interests of the people […] on the other hand, I would like to urge officials to take action according to the law. I have always reminded on this matter. Do not wait for Hun Sen to shout out to take actions […] and, as I said before, we have to pay attention to the three-step approach to leadership. First, there has to be a specific plan based on comprehensive circumstances. Then, we have to organize the action plan, […] and be prepared to deal with the random factors that appear in an unpredictable manner. The solution to this random factor shows the true capabilities of officials […]

(13) Maintain order and dignity to succeed as the host of the SEA Games I am calling on the people to maintain their dignity as hosts. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars and recently spending 118 million dollars to organize the tournament, including us not taking the US$ 50 from athletes – which we have to spend USD 7 million more to support the food and accommodation. Let us Cambodians do this together to let other people know. The USD 7 million dollars is a reasonably big sum but it is not more than our generous hearts for our friends to know Cambodia […] if there were violence in the game, what we have spent – the five years that we have been planning since the construction of a new stadium, […] and the fact that we had to wait for 64 years – would all melt away. Therefore, I am calling on our people to prepare a dignified attitude to host the SEA Games […]./.


Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the closing session ...

Drugs is not a problem in Cambodia alone. This problem exists in every region, even in countries with strict laws,