Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP would dismantle Development Ministry

CNRP would dismantle Development Ministry

Opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at a commune election campaign rally on Saturday in Phnom Penh.
Opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at a commune election campaign rally on Saturday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

CNRP would dismantle Development Ministry

Opposition leader Kem Sokha said on Saturday his party would shutter the Rural Development Ministry and put the savings towards the goal of funding each of Cambodia’s more than 1,600 commune councils with half a million dollars a year if it wins power in 2018.

Speaking to supporters during the opening on Saturday of the opposition’s campaign for the June 4 commune election, Sokha said that the ministry, which has been criticised in the past for duplicating the duties of other ministries, was of little use to most people. “[If] the commune had the money to build and we decided to do it by ourselves, then there would be no need to depend on Ministry of Rural Development,” Sokha said. “Do brothers and sisters dare to handle this job? If we can do it, do we need to keep the Ministry of Rural Development? Cancel it.”

But Rural Development Ministry Secretary of State Sous Kong slammed the idea, taking to Facebook to describe it as “ridiculous” because his ministry had overseen the construction of more than 44,000 kilometres of roads. “Does he know the duties of the Ministry of Rural Development?” Kong asked. “It’s OK if he does not know.”

The ministry’s spokesman, Chan Darong, added by telephone yesterday that the government and the Rural Development Ministry were already financing projects totalling more than $500,000 per year in each commune.

“It is much more than $500,000, which is spent to develop all kinds of services,” he said, adding that the ministry had also provided nearly 60 percent of villagers around the country with access to sanitation services.

“We have not completed 100 percent, but we have done a lot,” Darong said. “If there is no ministry to sit, think, study and provide services, who will do the work? Therefore, how can we reduce poverty?”

Yet others were less convinced. San Chey, executive director of good governance NGO ANSA, said many of the Rural Development Ministry’s duties could be more efficiently carried out by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture. “I think the idea [of eliminating the ministry] is appropriate, but there must be a study about the sharing of responsibilities” after the ministry’s closure, Chey said.

Polin Phang, executive director of Sustainable Cambodia, said his group had a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Rural Development to carry out some projects, but most of his staff only interacted with local authorities. “We deal with [people] at the grassroots level,” he said.

Additional reporting by Phak Seangly

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested