A new draft law allowing high-ranking civil servants to continue working for up to three extra years past their retirement ages passed in National Assembly on Friday, despite criticism from an opposition lawmaker that it could open the door to further corruption and nepotism.
The amendment to the Civil Statute on the Legislative Body was proposed by 29 lawmakers in January. It states that department directors, deputy directors and secretaries—whose retirement ages are 60, 58 and 55 respectively—would be able to extend their tenure by up to three years. They would have to reapply for an extension at the end of each year.
CNRP Vice President Pol Ham signs into the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Friday ahead of a vote on allowing high-ranking civil servants to delay their retirement. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)Of the body’s 99 lawmakers, 93 voted in favor of the change. The draft law now goes to the Senate.
CPP lawmaker Pen Pagna, who is also chairman of the National Assembly’s Legislative Commission, said the amendment was aimed at improving “the livelihoods of all kinds of civil servants.”
However, CNRP lawmaker Ngim Nheng warned that extending retirement ages may result in corruption and
block young people from opportunities to gain experience.
“Those who reach 60, 58 and 55 years old must retire from work and should not be allowed to extend for three further years,” he said.
“Allowing this is like giving a chance for corrupt officials or nepotism to continue working…and then the young generation cannot replace their posts.”
Leng Peng Long, secretary-general of the National Assembly, disputed these claims, pointing out that civil servants would only be able to extend their contracts upon assessment and that younger officials would be installed if they were deemed to be better suited to the roles.
“For the issue of retirement—that we allow it to be extended three times—it means that the particular officials are very important for the institution,” he said.
“If there are new people who have the capacity for replacement, then that official will not be allowed to work. But if the institution director thinks that that person is very important for keeping there, it can be allowed for the sake of good processing at that workplace.”
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