In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen raises some ideas in relations to appropriate thoughts on delegation of administrative and financial powers to district authority, re-orientation of public administration at the commune or district levels some of which have now become town or city.
… If we were to discuss about provincial, district/Khan assembly we should also think of providing some financial power. What concerns us is how much is enough as too much would cause problem of secession, and in the worse case like in Kosovo. This system needs to be in conformity with the general system where a clear law needs to be developed to define property to be governed by the district/Khan level, and its inter-connection between the law and financial system. Otherwise we may have this situation that heads of district/Khan sell all state property. As of now the state property at the communal level has not been infringed upon, though some may have been breached.
In any circumstances I would not allow a state to exist in the state at all. We will give you the power but we would not give all so you become a state (another powerhouse) in the state at all. To my mind, what has been done so far is already viable. The country’s future is the top priority. It would be absurd to practice the pattern of concentrating resources to one’s accessibility and not to segregate it to lower level authority, take for instance the provincial and the district level. It is not right to feel good when one is in power to concentrate all resources to one’s sake. That is not the pattern of thought for the future of the country. We would go backward if we tend to follow this path.
I have proposed an amendment to the National Assembly in relation to the administration of province, municipality, district and Khan. It was well written in the State of Cambodia’s law and that formula was applicable. In those days minor damages of roads or bridges could be fixed right way. As of now a minor damage has to come all the way through to the central level for financial decision because there is no money at the local level. Facing with over all development, it is advisable that we have to amend some articles in the Constitution so as this problem could be averted.
Take as an example, Poi Pet, which has become a town in Banteay Mean Chey province, it would not be applicable anymore to keep the whole town under the framework of communal administration. O Chrov (also in Banteay Mean Chey province) could no longer be administered by the communal level. It should not be administered by the district of O Chrov because it has become a town, a municipality which should be dependent to the central administration. Take Siemreap town as another example. It is no longer applicable to administer Siemreap Town by the district of Siemreap. Therefore it is necessary to transform it into the City of Angkor for example. Flexibility is important and we need to adapt to everyday situation.
I used to mention about a situation that I call “bring with oneself the prospect of one’s immunity” or literally I mean one who used to have a bigger share of power at the provincial level, s/he also asks to have similar share when s/he comes to the Ministry. This is preposterous. These are perhaps things that need to be well thought through. Behavioral change is a big issue in reform. If there were no behavioral change, a reform program would not be successful. We should bring in for consultation the Law on Government Officials.
As far as I know, some officials at the local level have not been encouraged. Those who have been clerks for a long time have not been promoted at all. Those at the ministerial level have been promoted some from clerks to Anu Monthri (under-senior official level), Vorak Monthrei (senior official level) and Udom Montrei (supreme official). That is why I suggest that in the foreseeable future we have to figure out the law on officials at the local level. Take for instance a health official working at the local level – what type of official should we rate him/her? This is important when we think of human resources distribution and development. We may think of establishing a law about officials working at the local level.
… I wish to stress further that we have made effort in suggesting amendment to the Constitution so that this organic law is being formulated at the end of the third legislative term of the National Assembly. But it will come into effect and implementation in 2009 or in the fourth legislative term. Take for instance the election of the municipal, provincial and district councils could not be held in 2008, only in 2009 is feasible.
Therefore the three-day discussion here has brought about two packages – 1) the Organic Law which has been passed in the Cabinet’s meeting without having to organize a ministerial meeting at all. We then sent it to the National Assembly for approval. This package deems to be important to analyze functions and relations to financial issue; 2) the package of implementation. Before we had a three-tier financial system (central, provincial and communal) and now we have evolved to four-tier financial system (central, provincial, district and communal). This would require us to seek for the best way to implement, coordinate, etc.
It is in this meaning that this arrangement is not a re-division of our territory but to change our behavior and readjustment of a number of features. It is indeed important to have your comments or feedback on this law. We will then set up a national budget package to get this moving… It is urgent that we have to pass the law because in just months from now the National Assembly would hold no more meetings. In 2003, the National Assembly ceased its meeting in March and then there was this movement of politicians to change party. The law to be adopted will bear the weight not for those who win or lose but it will be there as a roadmap to go on./.