Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy and honored to join you all today to present diplomas to the Graduates (Win-Win Civil Servant Course) and Certificates to the Interns of Senior and Middle Officials, 2003. The closing of these courses would be another testimony of the Royal Government’s strong interest in developing human resource and retraining of necessary skills and knowledge to our civil servants who will perform a key role in social and economic development. This especially contributes to the poverty reduction and improving the well being of our people, which is the ultimate goal of the Royal Government.
On this solemn and joyful occasion, may I extend the most sincere congratulation and appreciation to the Board of Directors, the management, faculty members and all the staff of the Royal School of Administration as well as to all the graduates for their efforts in achieving this excellent and prideful result.
On behalf of the Royal Government, I highly appreciate the Royal School of Administration for the continued success in the development of human resource that has helped strengthen the capacity of our civil servants.
As His Excellency the Director has reported, since 1992 the Royal School of Administration has trained 1,826 government officials including the 30 graduates of the “Win-win Civil Servant Course” and 181 interns of Senior and Middle Officials who will receive their certificates now!
May I also take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the donors, private sector, civil society and the national and international organizations for their financial and technical contributions to the development of tertiary education in Cambodia. Through HE Ambassador Yvon Roé d’Albert, I would like to convey our special thanks to the government and people of France for all their invaluable contributions to the development of education in Cambodia, particularly that of the tertiary education and training of Cambodian civil servants via the support provided to the Royal School of Administration.
From development experiences, it proofs clearly that the progress of any nation depends on intellectual class who play leading roles in the leadership and consideration of issues of national interest. Moreover, educated people are the “knowledge” providers and educators via their art works, literatures, research papers, and the maintenance, conservation and development of national culture, as well as through other scientific studies and findings. In this context, a level of development of any country is reflected in the richness of educated and experienced people with knowledge and know-how. They are the mentally-leading force and the catalysts for the country’s competitiveness.
However, the above indication does not mean “intellectuals” are all those educated in colleagues or universities. Some world experienced people, leaders and famous writers did not go through formal education, but they have indeed undergone the “universities of real life” which would be an effective path for them toward success. Contrarily, not all university graduates are the “intellectuals”. Thus, the “intellectuals” are the “knowledge” people with full qualification and they are able to use their knowledge and know-how and intellectual capacity appropriately for the benefit the whole society, no matter they are educated in universities or not.
Indeed, in the “knowledge” and information era of the 21st century, the role of intellectuals in the society is increasingly important and the knowledge has been and becoming a determining factor, promoting the country’s economic potentials and its comparative advantage. Thus, I strongly believe that “universal value attached to education is an effective mean for the development of personas and personality, – thus promoting sustainable development of the country”.
Given this importance, the Royal Government has exerted its utmost efforts to implement the public finance reform and demobilization programs, aimed at increasing revenue and reorienting priority spending to social sectors, such as education and health. At the same time, the Royal Government will continue to implement the liberalization policy and strengthen partnership with civil society and private sector, both domestically and internationally, – in order to improve the quality of tertiary education in Cambodia.
Today, you are honored to receive the certificates certifying your academic accomplishment, or in other words, your life long career. Indeed, you all will become civil servants in the near future, – thus you are the hope of the Royal Government and our entire society. You all have learned the theories and gone through practical internships in various line ministries, in provinces and municipalities and even in some districts; – thus I believe you understand the core value of civil servants, and the challenges and advantages they are facing.
I urge all of you to remember that competent public officials with good ethics are key to success in reforms and improving the credibility of the country, – thus they deserve the respect from the society. Therefore, I call upon all of you to work hard and best, in performing your respective function and developing your personality, – using the knowledge you have learned from the school for your successful career.
I would like to take the opportunity to bring to your attention some of the points concerning professional ethics as civil servants.
Ethics can be defined as a package of conducts which is applied to the prospective member and to others as they agree upon. It is very important when members of a group are powerful and influential. Since long time ago, ethics was adopted as part of free lane professions, such as lawyers and physicians, and also ethics can be applied to sports as well as journalism. Moreover, ethics is even more important when the regulations are critical and the officials are increasingly respectable and more powerful.
Ethics requires imposing disciplines on the officials for their conducts and ethics. The ethics, I just raised now, particularly refers to the one for civil service.
As you all know, the government needs highly competent and clean officials with good moral. The “cleanness” can be found initially when officials enter into the civil service through competition instead of buying positions in the public service, – the practice seem to exist in most countries. Thus, the ethics for public service should be defined based on two elements.
First Element: the service is a public good, as all the activities of the administration ultimately aim at satisfying the citizens who are the consumers of public service. Thus, civil servants shall behave properly with good personality and morals as a model for others. That is the reason why civil servants must be punished for the incidents occurring after working hours or outside the service, for example, driving when they are drunk. Rules imposed on civil servants outside the service time are intended to help civil servants to become dignified, respectable and to uphold their authority.
Second Element: the principle of power, i.e. the punishment does not come from the civil servant himself, but exclusively from the hierarchy, the structure provides power of punishment.
Ethics is based on some obligations stated in the Status of Public Service, including the respect, compliance with the orders and hierarchy, obedience and obligation to principality and special assignments so on and so forth. However, for separate cases such as the police, who are with the uniform, specific ethic codes should be designed to include such the provision as “bringing the orders during riots, which requires specific proportion of actions”. Thus, ones should remember that the rules of ethics are not static; they are changing according to the modernization of public service and political statements of the government.
Moreover, civil servants shall win the confidence of citizens so that they happy that they get equal treatments before the administration. Also, the decisions made by civil servants shall be transparent, because the public does not tolerate the delays, unfairness, inequality and other irregularities. They want solutions to their respective case but not a negative response. Thus, civil servants have serious responsibility, including the threat of facing courts for their wrongdoing or irresponsible acts.
Moreover, the civil servant behavior toward politics does not mean the civil servants must be definitely neutral or independent. They are neutral in performing their function, but free to express their opinion though restricted by principalities but the principalities do not mean compromise. There is no case cited that officials are obliged to perform their function to serve particular politics, though political commitment could speed up progress in their career. The civil servants behavior toward citizens means the officials are the servers of people who are the citizen. The power of civil servants comes from political power, which in turn comes from the people. Thus, citizens are the owners of government officials and politicians. Civil servants serving the public service must be competent, ready to help and be pleasant to their citizens.
In closing, I wish to take the opportunity to thank the donors and all the development partners for their active participation in the rehabilitation and development of education and in promoting training of our youth and the civil servants at all levels, with excellent and noticeable progress.
Finally, I wish all of you the five gems of Buddhist Blessings, and success and happiness in the coming New Year 2004. Dear graduates, I wish you good health and success in your future endeavors. Thank you for you attention!