Hun Sen wants cabinet to be downsized but with more power

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a vision to downsize the cabinet which will be empowered to appoint secretaries and undersecretaries of state directly without going through the National Assembly, the Phnom Penh Online reported on Thursday.

Government spokesman Siphan said Hun Sen felt that the government was too big and he wanted the cabinet to be “exclusive for ministers only”.

Cambodia’s executive branch currently has nearly 240 members, including the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, senior ministers, ministers and secretaries of state.
However, the Constitution needs to be amended in order to reduce the size of the cabinet and to give it more power.

Under the proposed changes, secretaries of state and undersecretaries of state will no longer be considered as members of the cabinet and they will be handpicked by the prime minister in a royal decree.

Prep Kol, executive director of Transparency International in Cambodia, said the proposed measure would make little difference except that the secretaries and undersecretaries would be classified differently as they will still be paid under the government’s payroll.

A 12-member working group was appointed to make constitutional amendments.