Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

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Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that he would express his sympathy by donating his 10 million riel ($2,500) monthly salary for seven months from March to September. Hean Rangsey

Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.

Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has not yet diminished, he would express his sympathy by donating his 10 million riel ($2,500) monthly salary for seven months from March to September.

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief Vong Pisen also agreed to donate their salaries, which total five million riel per month each.

Other ministers have also announced that they will donate salaries for between four and six months.

The Ministry of Environment said 36 of its officials will donate their salaries from one to six months.

Banh told The Post on Thursday that the donation of government officials’ salaries was to express solidarity in the fight against Covid-19.

“While this disease is breaking out in the world, we have to be vigilant. We have to do what it takes to prevent and stop it as instructed by the Ministry of Health.

“[The ministry] has informed the public to practice high standards of hygiene to help prevent it. Those who travel from abroad are to be kept in quarantine.”

He said all troops had already prepared to intervene when a request is made by the committee.

“If problems occur during the pandemic, they would help maintain security and order and assist those that arrive from other countries. But they won’t carry out any operations immediately.

“We are prepared to resolve the problem and the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 will issue orders to them,” he said.

Last month, Hun Sen announced that the state had to prepare a budget to help citizens affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He decided to cut 50 per cent of spending for most ministries and institutions, while the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Commerce and the Council of Ministers were ordered to cut 25 per cent of their spending.

Hun Sen reiterated that the salaries and allowances for civil servants would not be cut during the Khmer New Year national holiday.

The capital created by the donated salaries will be used in the medical sector as well as to treat people infected with Covid-19.