King Norodom Sihamoni on August 23 issued a royal decree appointing deputy National Police chief Sar Thet, who also doubled as the commissioner of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, as the new National Police chief, succeeding Neth Savoeun, who now serves as deputy prime minister.
On the same day, Prime Minister Hun Manet enacted a sub-decree to reassign roles and appoint two police officials at the rank of general. Sar Ratha, former deputy head of the General Department of Immigration, takes up the role of deputy National Police chief.
On August 24, deputy prime minister and minister of interior Sar Sokha also appointed Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Chuon Narin as Phnom Penh police chief.
In a separate decree dated August 23, three provincial governors were announced: Suon Malin as the new governor of Prey Veng, succeeding Chea Somethy; Peng Pursa as the new Svay Rieng provincial governor, succeeding Men Vibol; and Prak Sophoan as the new governor of Siem Reap, taking over from Tea Seiha.
Politically appointed officials at various ministries and institutions – from secretaries of state down to government advisers – who assumed their roles before the swearing-in of the new government on August 22 have also been reappointed by royal decrees.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, emphasised that in accordance with the law governing the organisation of the Council of Ministers, it is standard practice for the mandate of government positions to conclude with the inauguration of a new administration.
"Therefore, a royal decree is needed to end the mandate of those individuals, which is normal based on the law, and then reassign them with the new mandate. The appointment of provincial governors or commissioners is a normal process to fill the gaps that some dignitaries have left while taking new political positions," he said.
Asked for comment on the high number of officials in the leadership roles for the new government mandate, reportedly totaling more than 1,500 individuals, Peou opined that these appointments are geared towards supporting the new government in its various functions as required by each ministry and institution.
"The number of appointed positions isn't the focal point; what's crucial is their commitment to their duties and professions in service to the people, rather than exploiting their positions," he noted.
As of August 23, the leadership structure of the new government includes the prime minister, 10 deputy prime ministers, 21 senior ministers, 30 ministers, 29 government delegates attached to the prime minister, 718 secretaries of state and 734 undersecretaries of state, amounting to a total of 1,543 individuals.