Minister of Civil Service Hun Many has explained that his new role as Cambodia’s 11th deputy prime minister is more than just a title, saying it carries the responsibility and duty to achieve the government’s vision, by managing, reforming and modernising public administrations. 

The remarks were made in a February 26 social media post, written in response to the congratulatory messages he received from dignitaries, colleagues and friends when he was appointed as deputy prime minister.

“This role is a great honour for me, and demonstrates the recognition my efforts have received from the Kingdom’s leadership. Moreover, the role underscores the importance of the civil service ministry to manage and spearhead pubic administration reforms,” he said. 

He expressed his gratefulness to Prime Minister Hun Manet for placing his faith in the ministry, and to the National Assembly for their vote of confidence in him to his new position.

“The role of deputy prime minister is not just a position or a status, but also a symbol of the responsibilities I must shoulder in the cause of the nation and its people. This is part of a joint effort to brighten the future of the public administrations for the younger generation,” he said.

Many vowed to fulfil his role and achieve the prime minister’s vision of modernising the public administration, as well as other administrative plans. 

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, was of the view that administrative reforms will be among the most challenging tasks Many and his ministry will face, particularly as he may need to cull redundant leaders. 

He suggested that the government need more technical officials rather than leaders.

“One challenge in the civil service sector is that redundant officials display indifference towards one another and are not competitive. The number of working officials in several institutions remains limited, with many ‘ghost officials’, depending on their relatives. This means the ability of the state to carry out its work can sometimes be limited,” he added.

He urged the government to continue its human resource reforms, without discrimination and regardless of trends. Peou believes public reforms must rely on professional, scientific judgment, otherwise they will not succeed.

Many was appointed as the Kingdom’s 11th deputy prime minister via a Royal Decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on February 21. The decree followed a unanimous vote by 120 members of the National Assembly at an extraordinary session of its seventh legislature.