Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, over the official inauguration of the new office building of the Ministry of Interior [Unofficial and translations]


In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet made the following off-the-cuff elaborations that Cambodia Moving Forward is making the following unofficial excerpts and translations:

According to the report of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, His Excellency Sar Sokha, I would like to commend the construction team as well as all the architects who have worked hard in the past 20 months to achieve this great construction […] it is a multi-purpose building […] comfortable, and especially the construction of such is in line with the needs of our country in expanding services, whereas the Ministry of Interior plays an important role […]

His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior just mentioned in his report (that today we celebrate) not only on construction, but also many achievements in the field of national security as well as public services at all levels as they are the basis for the Royal Government of the seventh legislative term to continue. Should there be no solid foundation built over the past 40 years, it would have been difficult for us to carry out the work and (for that reason we are thankful to) the many achievements left in (Ministry of Interior) […]

I have seen that many actions have been taken. I would thank the national police force and local authorities for their achievements in cracking down on gambling sites, drug use, and their joint efforts to combat this. But much of this work still requires us to continue and strive to find ways to work together to resist further […] this issue is directly relating to the local environment in which we live, where our children have to go to school and us to work […]

I have mentioned in the public fora that for the Royal Government of the seventh legislative term (of the National Assembly) it is (1) a phase of strengthening rather than expansion. By strengthening (we mean working on improving) the services and results based on the Royal Government’s laid-out six urgent priority policies, plus five key measures, in addition to the various policy strategies contained in the first phase of the pentagonal strategy, focusing on promoting and strengthening the provision of services in the fields of education, health, agriculture, and especially local administrative services. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the ability of the locals to respond to (the people’s) demand for administrative assistance […]

We must continue to sharpen and make the decentralization and de-concentration efforts more effective. (These are the tasks) that we have done for many terms so far […] we have delegated powers to the sub-national level […] the people are happy and we have brought mechanism of administrative assistance close to them, fast and timely. But all this work is not over […] (2) the Royal Government of the seventh legislative term continues to promote and strengthen the existing mechanisms for the transfer or delegation of power to the sub-national level, because these tasks (will be necessary and busy) when (the number) of people is growing. Now we have a population of 17 million, but soon we will reach 20 million […]

(3) Deploy services to respond to this need and progress, not only (to) be present at the grassroots, but to have the right to address (people’s requests and public service work). We all know that those who know the facts (of what is happening at the grassroot level) are the local officials […] they can address issues in a timely manner. There are forces at disposal at the grassroots level, but without sufficient authority to lead, it will be difficult […] in combating the Covid-19, the effectiveness of the delegation or transfer of rights/power to the grassroots authority has clearly shown. The sub-national level plays an important role. We have the capital and provincial level, now we have delegated to the districts and cities and forward some works to the communes […]

Even if we are going to digitalize certain public service functions in the future […] the technology platform is not set up to reverse the flow. It is not for the ministries and institutions to take back the right (to resolution) […] (4) Modernization is to serve as a way to promote decentralization, not to hinder (this chain of work) […]

Effort must made to arrange for (5) a single and effective commander […] we have every force at disposal at the local and provincial levels […] except in Phnom Penh, where we do not have a municipal military. As for provinces, we have provincial military operation areas, provincial police, provincial military police […] to move services to the people, and to have the ability and capability to grasp (situation and request) […]

(6) Promoting and sharpening the decentralization and de-concentration reform efforts […] what has not yet been done, we try to fulfil it. Of course, we cannot say that it is perfect, and in particular we cannot expect that once the national public function service is transferred, we expected immediately the sub-national level (able to take over). It needs to have a phase […] this transfer takes time, needs clear procedures so as the service/function will not be interrupted […]

(7) Think about increasing/improving capacity of the local authority. If we increase provision of rights, responsibility, and capacity in performing tasks too fast and the basic competencies, procedures, labor standards and officials are not able to adapt, there may be gaps. It makes it harder […] we have carried out these tasks many terms already. Therefore, we are confident that we will make further progress […]

There are still some works to be done to clarify the rights and obligations (among concerned institutions and/or and different level authorities), as well as some procedures, therefore (8) the local authorities need to have three assistances – first, empowerment (given right); second, provision of ability, and third, support to increase capacity. The national-level administration will continue to assist in this work. As for the provision of rights, the national-level administration already handed over the sword to them. In the past, we handed over the sword to the provincial capital administration. Now we do it to the city. In certain cases, we do it to the communes […]

(9) Entitlement to additional rights, access to additional capabilities, access to additional assistance comes with additional responsibility conditions […] once they have access to obligations and to services, while more local needs are required, the sub-national administrations must strengthen themselves, standards, structure, internal working system of the province, etc. Develop mechanisms, principles, standards, procedures and procedures for providing services that are modern, fast, transparent and equitable, and strengthen the cleanliness and responsibilities of sub-national administrations […]

The point about promoting modernization […] is to examine the possibilities in strengthening IT system in our e-government direction […] I would like to emphasize that (10) the establishment of a platform of digital technology is not for taking back thr right (of local public function and services) to the Ministry […] these technologies are made to serve our policy towards decentralization and de-concentration. We deliver (public) services to the grassroots […] technology is a tool to serve this political direction […] the Ministry of Posts has conducted pilot testing in Takeo […] in some districts so that people can have access to district information service […] technology is up to date and in the future, and we have to go (in that direction) […]

(11) We must have the infrastructure first and ready […] should the government wait until all our people (have access to or know how to) use it to start preparing the technology infrastructure, or do we have to prepare first and let the people start using it from a small number to a wide range. We have to have the infrastructure up and running and be ready. Now our internet system covers almost the whole country. This digitalization process is modern and easier, reducing costs and time and helping serve the people better […]

[…] Strengthen the One Window Service Office (OWSO) mechanism to be more effective by clearly defining the transfer and delegation of rights from the ministries to the sub-national level authorities […] some ministries and institutions are still unclear. Please expedite the decision to promote full time work, and establish the habit of giving rights and habits in ownership […] the appointment of officials is important, especially the head of sub-national units because (12) the role as the head of the institution, the leadership is very important. It is the center of internal unity, and sets the direction of some works and makes final decision at the grassroots level […]

There must be (13) clear evaluation mechanisms to avoid various interventions to prepare the right people to target, based on meritocracy, will and achievements in serving the people, whether in education, in health, civil administration in all fields […] if you hold the steering wheel, you orient where to turn, and if the operator is inactive or unclear, we will have a hard time. If the base is clogged, the top will not be any different […] then it must be firm at the bottom so that the top is too […]

Starting from (14) the appointment of officials as chairperson and/or the leadership position of the vice presidents or deputy directors, we are to pay attention to provide opportunities for female candidates to help promote gender equality in the leadership […]

Regarding (15) financial management, it is to strengthen the management of state assets and use state assets well within its jurisdiction, promote accountability and ownership in the performance of functions and effective, transparent and accountable use of financial resources transferred from ministries, national institutions […] though we have less money, should we target the right place, it can be more productive. However, with a lot of money, should we put in the wrong place, it is ineffective […] we also have to prepare officials to use resources on right targets […] what is the pillar must be strengthened first and the all else is the next priority […]

For example, the budget for infrastructure. Do we put in a place where people are facing difficulties or do we take it somewhere else, for instance, so the province has the best gardens? Which is more important? We must spend on the foundation that the people need. We should not invest money to beautify the garden […] when the communes lacked roads […] we will invest in things that will serve the activities (and respond to) first, the needs of the people daily, and second, the need to serve local and provincial economy […]

(16) Taking ownership in problem solving. Please grasp all the problems that occur in your jurisdiction and try to solve them so that they do not reach (the PM residence in) Takhmao […] try to connect and inform the people. Sometimes the matters were brought all the way up, and we have sent them back to the province to solve (and there were no news) […] please assign someone to be responsible to communicating with the people and inform them what happens/have been done to their cases […]

Hold on to all the problems that take ownership to solve accordingly, and do not wait for the order. This decentralization is devolution, which is granting the right to settle not only the issue of disputes, but also the issue of providing other administrative services, […] do not wait for instruction […] if all 25 provincial capitals are not resolving the cases and brought them all to concentrate at the Ministries, nothing could be done in timely manner, there will be congestion right there […]

The solution is to do your best not to wait for orders. (17) Again, the Ministries/Institutions that do not have clear instructions on the right must separate between national and sub-national institutions in order to increase efficiency and give him the right to practice problem solving […]

(18) Make efforts to develop the province, including attracting investment in the province through the capital-provincial investment sub-committee. Many provinces have been active in taking partnerships with foreign partners, domestic partners in development […] where (there are challenges, please) cooperate with national institutions. Going forward, we will examine the possibility of increasing the rights and capabilities of the provincial capital to attract and decide on certain investment matters […]

As of present, we allow right to decide on any project of 5 million USD to the province […] but we must to ensure that the house is clean. That taking the right (to decide on those matters,) one must be competent, and with being competent, one is ready to exercise this right. We work to prepare and strengthen the house below. The national government has a duty to delegate actions to the grassroots – to strengthen capacity and readiness (to attract investment) so that rights can be continuously transferred […]

Days ago, in Kampong Thom, we accidentally appointed a former criminal who had a history of robbery and imprisonment […] sometimes it is because we (do not have enough) information (to make decisions). Let us take a closer look […] our goal is to strengthen the procedure. We recognize that a person with (good) history is given the role of serving the people […] there are many people wanting the job. We select those who have the right conditions […] though we cannot guarantee perfection, we must make sure that if there is a gap, if the implementation has problems, we need to review, evaluate, ameliorate […]./.