Your Excellencies and Samdech Deputy Prime Ministers and Co-Ministers of Interior,
Your Excellencies Deputy Prime Minister, Sr. Ministers, Ministers and Members of Government,
Your Excellencies Governors and Deputy Governors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to join you all again, in the Conference of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to take stock of performance in 2005 and set future direction for 2006. This annual conference to take stock of performance organized by the Ministry of Interior has transformed into a tradition where managements of all levels including administrative stuff and police as well as municipal and provincial authorities gather together to assess and evaluate work performance and other challenges facing us in our implementation efforts, and to come up with an action plan and new measures to ensure dynamic progress of this important work.
On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I have tried to participate in the conference in order to give some advices and perspectives related to the activities of the MOI.
I take this opportunity to highly value and express sincere appreciation to H.E. Sar Kheng and Samdech Norodom Sereyvuth, Deputy Prime Ministers and Co-Ministers of Interior for their good management cooperation, including managements of all level, civil servants, police forces of the Ministry of Interior for their utmost effort together to accomplish many achievements in 2005.
Indeed, during the past decade at the sub-national level governance, we have established Organic Law framework for managing commune/sangkat according to the democratic and decentralize governing system; this is one of the comprehensive administrative management reforms in Cambodia. Over this past four years, commune/sangkat administrative reform has been moving smoothly and has achieved many results contributing to strengthening democracy, participatory approach and local ownership in implementation and reduction of poverty. In fact, base on results from these reforms, in June 2005, the Royal Government has adopted a strategic framework on decentralization and de-concentration reforms focusing on comprehensive sub-national administrative reform, in particular at province/city and district/khan levels that are still without Organic Law. Within this framework, at the present some drafts of administrative management Organic Laws are in the process of preparation and the initial drafts are expected to be available by March 2006 and will be circulated for discussion and comments to relevant entities and further presented to the Royal Government and legislative body for approval during 2006. At the same time, on behalf of inter-ministerial commission on the above activities, the Ministry of Interior is having an independent study in order to assess the opportunity and best options for support to be provided by the government and development partners for implementation of decentralization and de-concentration reform programmes through implementing organic law for administrative management at sub-national levels.
Furthermore, even though at the moment we do not have organic law to manage province/city and district/khan, but authorities at those levels have made efforts to enhance their capacity in order to overcome challenges and to attain fruitful outcomes from implementation of reform programmes consistent with Political Platform and the “Rectangular Strategy” of the Royal Government. Moreover, governors and deputy governors of provinces/cities and districts/khans within their administrative level have worked hard to facilitate implementation of activities in varieties of sectors to enhance service provision to population for example the vital record and as for now there has been registered over 8500000 persons and also an intervention to ease difficulties of population, especially to help them in timely manner in the event of drought in the beginning of the rainy season. In addition, local authorities at all levels have also directly contributed in resolving social problems such as land disputes, prevention of land encroachment, deforestation, issues of drug and gangsters.
At the same time, the decentralization and de-concentration reforms is progressing well and have attained gradual results; in economic development and poverty reduction we have made good outcomes in 2005 due to many factors, among those factors the fundamental one is that we have full peace, political stability, security and social order over the country. Moreover, we have effectively contained terrorism, both domestic and international including other negative movements. Thus, we have improved the confidence of investors and have created enabling environment for tourism. At the same time, criminal and civil offences in 2005 dramatically reduced compare to 2004. This annual reduction, have created favorable environment for economic development as well as made good atmosphere for people to conduct business activities and have actively contributed to development and poverty reduction.
Now we are moving into 2006, which is the second year in implementing Political Platform and “Rectangular Strategy” and the third year of the Royal Government in its third terms of National Assembly. Thus, this 2006 is the year that we must continue together to make our efforts to strengthen political and social stability to provide favorable conditions for economic and social development. Indeed, within this framework the Ministry of Interior is the main player to have great responsibility in reforming towards good governance, which is a core of the “Rectangular Strategy”, which included the followings:
First– Legal and judicial system reforms, together with the preparation of rules and regulations, the Ministry of Interior has the responsibility to reform judicial police and prison which is an important measure within criminal and justice system in Cambodia.
Second– Decentralization and de-concentration reform programmes. Relating to these activities, the Ministry of Interior is a leading agency to play a facilitating role between concerned agencies/institutions at all levels in order to make these reform programmes move forward.
Third– Reform of National Police, this is a core responsibility of the Ministry of Interior which is one of the important parts within armed force reform.
Fourth– Combating corruption, this is responsibility of all agencies/institutions, managements and civil servants at all levels. Concerning this, the Ministry of Interior has a vital responsibility because the ministry is in charge of manpower to implement law enforcement that is the National Police. Indeed, to implement this reform, the Ministry of Interior has to ensure preparation of effective work deployment system base on following principles of good governance: ensure transparency, accountability and responsibility including prevention of corruption and other negative effect.
Other than the above major reforms, the Ministry of Interior has also been responsible for maintaining security, public order, and social safety nation wide and coordinating with all levels of local authorities to increase efficiency in all tasks.
Initiated from those duties and responsibilities, on behalf of Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I strongly support the direction of works and all measures that have been jointly discussed for the work in year 2006, the year Cambodia commits to thrive for more progresses.
In order to contribute to the success of the above commitments, I would like to share with the conference on the following recommendations to be incorporated in the 2006 work plan:
First– Based on the duties and responsibilities of Ministry of Interior in several reforms in Political Platform and Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, the key factor is to maintain its well principle that have been taken since 1993, which is a good cooperation among leaders from the two political parties, Cambodian People Party and FUNCIPEC, at the ministerial level and municipal and provincial levels underlining the principle of work efficiency and mutual understanding in order to maintain political stability. In this respect, I would like to appraise leaders of Ministry of Interior for their efforts in overcoming complexities of forming cooperation and in subsequently increasing efficiency of work for the benefit of our nation and people.
Second– In the context of decentralization and deconcentration in the last 4 years, public management in Cambodia has been gradually transformed from central management system at all levels to the system of democratic and decentralized local administration through commune council election in February 2002. To promote the reform further, the Royal Government issued the strategic framework on decentralization and deconcentration, the framework paper on sub-national administrative reform. The reform will establish a council by an indirect election in all municipal/provincial and district/khan levels; the division of duties, power and resources between the national and sub-national institutions and authorities and the review structure and administrative system of the whole sub-national level. The reform is assigned to H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, Co-Minister of Ministry of Interior, to coordinate with all key stakeholders in order to push forward the reform.
In the process of decentralization and deconcentration in 2006, Ministry of Interior is responsible for a lot of works:
1. Prepare the criteria for second mandate of commune council election including the amendment of Commune Council Election Law, the consideration on the size of commune council and the re-examination of the border of commune to explicitly define the coverage of commune responsibilities.
2. Prepare a number of Organic Law, which is appropriate for public management at province/municipality and district/khan and to make sure that it will be finished by 2006 in order to gradually implement new administrative system from the year 2007.
3. Prepare programs to support decentralization and deconcentration reform process, Ministry of Interior must complete as quickly as possible to serve as a basis for the government and development partners to look for possibility to support the reform process from year 2007 onward.
Third– Because the year 2006 is a busy year for all of us in preparing legal framework and programs for aforementioned reforms, we have to put attention on gearing up and keeping continuity of normal daily works of local authority to ensure social sustainability, development and services delivery during the preparation stage. In this regard, I would like to point out some following issues:
1. Continue to support commune/sangkat in implementing decentralization reform to ensure the normal continuity of daily work during the preparation year for the 2007 forthcoming election. Related the election date, preliminary study to prepare for the amendment of commune council election law need to correct some procedures. This includes correction on registration procedure by updating registration list and finalizing by 31 December every year to serve as election registration list for commune election. Therefore the second commune council election will not be held in February. We estimate that the election may be held in April 2007.
2. We need to review all remaining works in decentralization reform program at commune/sangkat level that mandated to its term before the first term is finished. The works include the recruitment of village chief and his/her assistance, resources channeling to communes/sangkat especially fiscal decentralization to the commune/sangkat level which is an important reform to increase their own resources.
3. Provincial/municipal and district/khan administration, while there is no Organic Law to organize works, must increase responsibilities by basing on existing legal procedures and administrative structure in the flexible and innovative manner in order to ensure development, service delivery and poverty reduction at that levels.
Fourth– To deliver services to local people, all levels of authorities must exert more efforts in coordinating with provincial office/unit within its administration to pay attention to its clients consisting of people, businessmen and some organizations within the principle of good governance. In this regards, I would like to suggest National Committee for supporting commune/sangkat should examine and evaluate the experiment of single-window office in Battambang and Siem Riep districts in order to enlarge this mechanism in other places such as Phnom Penh and other urban areas.
Fifth– While we are accelerating development in rural areas, we should also pay attention on the development of urban areas in each province or city. Certainly, the recent economic growth resulted in the high growth in city and urban areas that includes emerging new urban areas. We must accept that the growth in the number of city and urban areas reflects the increasing in demand of goods and services which is the sources of economic growth. The urban areas that expand and progresses within the plan is a sustainable development. But the without plan urban growth face a lot of problems such as poverty, employment, sanitation, environmental problems, traffic, drug and gangster, etc. To address these issues, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction should immediately set up a working group to study on a national strategy for the development of city and urban areas as well as to address all issues being faced by the urban areas. Strategy and planning should include decentralization and deconcentration reform framework aiming at ensuring a sound management system in the city and urban area appropriate for the sustainable development.
Sixth– The National Police reform must focus on training and capacity building to build the human resource and strengthen National Police to be a skillful force equipped with modern technology, to have responsibility, to respect the law and human right, to serve the people with honesty, to have enough capacity to achieve the duties and to maintain security, social order, lives, properties and harmony in the society.
In 2005, we are proud that all crimes in the society had been decreased. In 2006 the National Police, other law implementing forces and all level authorities must strengthen their cooperation further in order to prevent and reduce criminal offences, especially those which affect the people lives. The most serious matter at the moment is to maintain public order, which means the impacts from all accidents in the society. Actually, there were 5,000 accidents in 2005 in which 3,700 cases were traffic accidents that caused 2,000 lives and more than 7,000 injuries. These accidents have great and long term impacts on socio-economic development and poverty reduction of the Cambodian people. In this case, I would like to request to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation to organize an emergency meeting with the participation from all related ministries, institutions and the provincial authorities in order to specifically evaluate traffic accidents. The meeting should initiate measures to be submitted to the government for consideration to maintain safety in traffic all over the country while we are submitting the Law on Road Traffic to the legislative body.
Seventh– While we are cracking down on drugs and gangsters, we have to regularly and simultaneously pay attention to educating and crackdown measures with the aim to reduce these offences step by step in order to raise morality and well-being in the society.
In summary, the 2006 direction of the Ministry of Interior is tremendous, and it will have broad impacts on peace, social stability, economic growth and the poverty reduction. This work requires coordination and participation from all related ministries, institutions and other stakeholders in the society. In this sense the leadership, coordination and mobilization must firm, skillful and flexible in which I believe that based on the experiences of the co-ministers and all leaders in the Ministry of Interior with the tradition of good cooperation among the officials and police officers and all level of authorities, the Ministry of Interior will definitely achieve these noble duties for the benefits of the nation and people.
Before ending, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to express my honest admiration to Excellencies, Samdech, Ladies and Gentlemen for joining together to achieve many missions in the cause of peace, national consolidation, public order, rehabilitation and development of Cambodia.
Based on the great outcome of this meeting, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to close this meeting on Taking Stock of Performance in 2005 and Setting Future Direction for 2006 of the Ministry of Interior from this moment and I would like to wish Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and all participants with five gems of Buddhist blessing.