Phnom Penh Governor Tells Officials to ‘Fix Frustrated People’

The Phnom Penh governor on Tuesday told city officials to halt corruption and work harder to provide public services in an effort to restore confidence among the people who were so frustrated with the ruling party that they voted for the opposition CNRP in last year’s national election.

Addressing the more than 400 officials, including police and military police who attended the annual conference at City Hall on Monday, Pa Socheatvong blamed local officials for damaging public support for the ruling party and particularly for Prime Minister Hun Sen—which resulted in the CPP’s worst showing since 1998 in July’s vote.

“I have empathy for the leaders, especially Samdech Techo [Hun Sen]. He works by sacrificing his life…. He has never advised us to be bad or make mistakes,” Mr. Socheatvong said, urging the officials to work harder and improve transparency in government offices.

Mr. Socheatvong noted that Mr. Hun Sen had pushed the governor himself to work harder—and with high ethical standards—in providing public services for city residents as a means of restoring support and building confidence among those who, he said, are aggravated with the current government.

Mr. Socheatvong recalled Mr. Hun Sen’s advice using the Khmer expression “fixing the frustrated people.”

Comparing the wrongdoing of officials to a broken car, Mr. Socheatvong very briefly laid out his reform strategy.

“[Mr. Hun Sen] advised me to dare officials to work harder and change their behavior. When we know the car is broken, it must be taken to the garage for repair. We have a special mission to get rid of frustration among our people,” he said.

Therefore, officials must refrain from corruption, prevent illegal construction, reduce the number of traffic accidents, and tackle crimes common in Phnom Penh, such as robbery, drug use and gambling, he said.

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