Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interior ministry officials told to choose between civil service and legal profession

Interior ministry officials told to choose between civil service and legal profession

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Interior minister Sar Kheng has told its national and sub-national officials to decide if they wished to work in civil service or as lawyers. Hean Rangsey

Interior ministry officials told to choose between civil service and legal profession

The Ministry of Interior has told its national and sub-national officials to decide if they wished to work in civil service or as lawyers.

Minister Sar Kheng issued the directive last week, saying the ministry had noticed its staff working as lawyers while also being State officials.

He said doing so goes against the law governing public servants, National Police, and prison officials.

“The Ministry of Interior instructs all government personnel to decide if they wished to work as civil servants or lawyers,” Sar Kheng said.

Lawyers who do not want to work in the profession have to submit a request to The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) and have their membership suspended.

Non-functioning lawyers have to make a copy of the BAKC’s decision and submit it to the Ministry of Interior’s staff department to keep as a record that they are civil servants with legal experience.

Sar Kheng said officials who want to continue working as lawyers need to resign or take leave.

“In case you don’t want to leave the civil service, submit a request form specifying that you agree not to take a salary and that you work as a professional lawyer as the law and procedures require,” he said.

He instructed all units at the national and sub-national levels of the ministry to prepare a list of civil servants who work as lawyers, including those in the national police and prisons.

BAKC deputy secretary-general Liv Sovanna told The Post on Sunday that the Bar Association had not received any requests from the ministry.

He said the law specified that a lawyer cannot take on another profession while working as lawyers, because conflict of interest questions could arise.

“The law says a lawyer cannot work at another job and are banned from doing so,” Sovanna said.

Sovanna said he wants the ministry and other ministries to thoroughly check whether their officials are lawyers.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun welcomed the ministry’s directive which made the clear distinction of working as civil servants or lawyers.

He said ensuring a clear career path is a good way for individuals to ensure responsibility in their work.

Chanroeun said working two jobs happens at other ministries too. This should be reviewed because the institutions will suffer, he said.

“Choosing a clear profession gives civil servants enough time and avoids conflict of interest with other institutions. It can also prevent corruption,” Chanroeun said.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro