In a new round of promotions criticised by some social analysts as biased, at least two children of top government officials have risen rapidly to higher ranks.
Less than a month after being appointed an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Sok Puthyvuth, the son of the late Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, has been promoted to secretary of state at the same ministry.
Meanwhile, Sar Sokha, the son of Interior Minister Sar Kheng, has been promoted to lieutenant general while maintaining his position of secretary of state at the Education Ministry.
Puthyvuth was named the secretary of state in a royal decree signed by acting head of state Say Chhum on September 29, while Sokha was promoted in a separate royal decree dated September 22.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the promotions complied with the laws and requirements of each ministry to improve efficiency.
“The appointments are based on the need of each ministry to ensure work efficiency. We comply with the law, and there is no law stating senior officials’ children can’t take state jobs. It’s [a case of] equal employment opportunities based on their merits, experience and abilities,” he said.
Siphan declined to elaborate on the reasons for Sokha’s promotion to lieutenant general on top of his senior position at the Education Ministry.
He said that Prime Minister Hun Sen will review and evaluate each official’s performance in the middle of the government’s mandate to determine if their promotions better serve the public and increases efficiency.
Sociopolitical analyst Ly Srey Sros claimed the promotion of senior officials’ children is biased and will not translate into greater efficiency.
“It will have negative effects on society and discourage civil servants who have been working very hard but hardly ever get promoted,” she said.
Srey Sros said the appointment is merely a strategy to maintain top officials’ power.
“It’s a political strategy of senior government officials who are trying to keep their power,” she said.