Bigger Female Quota for Communal Councilors
I hope that the June 2012 elections will increase female quota for the communal councilors to some 16%, after the provision of about 8% of female quota in the first communal elections. I would also hope to project a quota of some 20% by the third elections. It would be a good development if we can maintain this trend of achievement. It should be noted that some political party’s lists have got so many female candidates but they were placed in ranks that may not be elected. It has been the case that a political party that expected that only two of their candidates would be elected, it put their female candidates in the order of 7 or 8.
In this case, if the top two were to be elected and for reason of death or incapacity they were replaced by the next two in the list, their female candidates would still not be the ones to take over the jobs. Thus I would say there is no commitment for female candidates to be elected. I would also recommend those parties to list no females in their list. On the contrary, I would appeal strongly to all political parties that to uphold the gender equity principle they should list their female candidates in the most probably elected orders.
As far as (female) appointment is concerned, we have done the best we can in providing one post for female candidate in every district and provincial governing board. This trend has also been observed in various government institutions. That is an encouraging sign of women’s participation in national development. I also take this opportunity to instruct all district and provincial governors to set aside actual jobs for female functionaries to fulfill rather than just appointing them but giving them with no job to carry out. They have to have works and responsibilities according to their functions.
As I said earlier, in a few years to come we may as well have female provincial governors and I think that will be completely all right and worthwhile. We also had our experience with one of our governors as female in the 1980s – Lok Chumteav Lak On, who governed the province of Ratanakiri under the State of Cambodia. In this regard I would urge a consideration of appointing female governors in place of those governors who would go into retirements. I would order for similar consideration at the district level.
As for the transference of public function, I think it has been difficult to conduct for realistic achievement. I remember we discussed a great deal about this issue of transferring from one position to another in public duties at the time when we started drafting the organic laws. I then addressed this issue particularly about an individual who has been transferred from one function at the national level to another at the local level and s/he has brought with her/him as if s/he is still empowered with authority at the national level. This has been noted to be an issue in the course of decentralization and de-concentration.
It is in this note that I would suggest that heads of national institutions prepare lists of proposed transferred functions as every appointment now will have a say of the local authorities as well. I only urge that any transfer of position/functions, responsibility and ability to perform the duty must be a prioritized criterion. I may share with you the experience we have with regard to the scale of decentralization of power in the Phnom Penh city. We have been able to work out a model of investment at Koh Pij development that I used to compare to “using palm leaves to wrap palm sugar.”
If we were to keep the Koh Pij for development by the Phnom Penh Municipality’s own effort, the Koh Pij would not be able to develop this much. We have tried a model of investment with the private sector’s participation and we have seen that it works. In the future, we will also review issue of function preparations and distributions so that more will be delegated to sub-national administration along with their budgets. We have sorted out the issue of national, provincial and communal budgeting and soon we will have to oversee the budget for the district level as well.
Two days ago there was a strong explosion of an unmanned aircraft at the border near Preah Vihear province. We have discovered some 17 major pieces of what is understood to be debris of a drone. The search has continued. Based on what we have found and since the Thai authority has denied any knowledge of using such a drone and/or known about it, and because it is thought that the Thai side has no reason to use such a drone too, I would conclude this incident to be possibly terrorist act.
We should not underestimate the terrorist ability to make use of such means to achieve their purposes. While it is not yet time to conclude of the origin and purpose of such drone operation over the area in the Cambodian territory, I would not think it to be used for attacking any targets at this moment but it is quite possible that the drone has been used on a trial basis that would gather information and skills for possible terrorist mission in the future either in Cambodia or in Thailand, or even in other countries.
I have ordered the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to seek cooperation with the United States of America or any other countries, like Australia who just discussed with me the other day on anti-terrorist work, with interest in anti-terrorist actions to conduct research of the exploded drone and its mission. I would urge for more scrutiny to be carried out as we still have to be careful with possible terrorist acts from various groups. We do not accuse the Thais and also they have denied it./.