In a bid to know if the people are being duly served, Prime Minister Hun Manet announced he will start “sneaking” into provinces to monitor the work quality of provincial administrations.
Mr Hun Manet made the remarks yesterday while presiding over the inauguration ceremony of the Samdech Techo Hun Sen Koh Yor Bridge in Mondul Seima district, Koh Kong province.
He said that in the past four months, the government has introduced a number of policies, especially related to healthcare, improving the lives of people, as well as promoting tourism.
Mr Hun Manet said that the policies are implemented in response to the Pentagonal Strategy with which the government prioritises the promotion of economic growth, improving the people’s living conditions, generating more jobs, reducing poverty and improving the administrative works.
He said that he has yet to make a surprise visit on the ground.
“Now, I have yet to make a visit on the ground. I cannot tell you. Some days I will go to the ground, in the provinces,” Mr Hun Manet said.
He added that regular inspections at the local level to check the policies and work plans in place are vital, so in his role as Prime Minister, he will continue to carry out inspections without notifying the provincial leaders in advance.
He said that he did not want to merely listen to reports submitted for review.
He said that he had made surprise visits in many areas in the provinces such as military regions, divisions and battalions while he served as the commander of the Royal Cambodian Army to ensure his officers were working.
He added that in the four months since taking office, the government has issued recommendations to the Ministry of Labour which has made a number of efforts, especially to increase the minimum wage for workers, civil servants and contract officials.
In March 2001, then Prime Minister Hun Sen made a surprise move when he brought all ministers at the weekly meeting in buses and cars and had them driven over damaged roads for three hours while he questioned why the country’s deteriorating infrastructure was not reconstructed.
About 30 vehicles made the bumpy 60 km trip from Phnom Penh to the Neak Loeung town along National Route 1, which was badly damaged by flooding.
Government spokesman Pen Bona said that since taking office as the Prime Minister, Mr Hun Manet has been serious and hardworking and that what he promised has always been implemented.
Provincial officials hailed the surprise visits because they are working hard for the people.
Var Thorn, Kratie Provincial Governor, said yesterday that he supported surprise visits because it will promote effective implementation in all areas.
Pheng Sethy, Deputy Governor of Battambang province, said yesterday that the Premier’s planned inspections in each provincial administration are a good incentive for the sub-national levels to improve their work.
“We wholeheartedly support Samdech’s visits because these show that a parent takes care of his children at sub-national level in the provinces. “It means he loves us, so he comes down to take care of us, so we are delighted about this,” Sethy said.
He said that if the leadership goes to the ground to monitor such works, all low-ranking officials will work harder to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, and be more careful not to cause negligence.
Sethy said that for the inspection activities, there was no interference in the work of the Ministry of Interior or any institutions, because when the top leaders inspected and gave instructions, lower-level officials have always heeded and implemented them.
Chap Neang, Governor of Pursat City, said that the surprise visits will encourage relevant officials at the sub-national level to be very careful in fulfilling their work.
“Prime Minister Hun Manet’s surprise visits will contribute to the development of society in each province, as well as encourage sub-national officials work together in solidarity and promote greater efficiency,” Neang said.
Lam Socheat, Executive Director of the Institute for Advocacy and Policy (API), said that Mr Hun Manet’s plans to monitor the performance of lower-level officials is a good thing because the government has currently introduced many policies, but these could lack effective implementation.
He said that preventing any inefficiency requires the strengthening of systematic monitoring mechanisms to improve the implementation at the sub-national level.
“For civil society work, it also helps if the performance and implementation at the local level are monitored in accordance with government’s laws and policies,” he added.