While the government claims that the recent sub-decree to establish a new town and new districts will improve administrative management and provide public services closer to villages, civil society groups say the changes are a waste of the national budget.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the government’s claims that the changes will streamline administration were not a legitimate reason to establish new districts.
“There was no need to establish new government entities. If you want to increase efficiency, we should focus on improving human resources and set aside some budget to allow the district level to be more responsible and take necessary actions,” he said.
He said the changes were a mechanism to offer titles and responsibilities and were a waste of the national budget.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post that the sub-decree, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 8, revealed the government’s commitment to sub-national administrative reforms. He said some people have difficulty gaining access to public services.
“The criticism is just an opinion and is not valuable to the country. They said it will waste the national budget . . . but the idea is to serve the people. How is it wrong if the government finds jobs for the people,” he said.
The sub-decree ordered the creation of the new Koh Rong town, with its two communes – Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem – to be taken from Sihanoukville.
Koh Rong Town Hall is to be located in Koh Rong Sanloem commune, the sub-decree said.