No More Tolerance: PM Says Civil Servants to Be Fired if Consuming Drug

Prime Minister Hun Manet gives speech on Feb. 20. Photo_ STPM_Telegram

PHNOM PENH – Public servants who use drugs will be dismissed, Prime Minister Hun Manet said on Feb. 20, promising no more tolerance for drug users while calling for strict measures to combat the use of illicit substances.

Hun Manet compared the fight against drugs to cleaning duckweed in a lake: Both require strict measures and the participation from all stakeholders to get rid of, starting from parents educating their children in the family to eradicating the use of drugs among public officers.

Since December 2023, members of the armed forces and police who are found to use drugs or be involved in drug trafficking are dismissed and rejected from the state framework. 

Such penalty will now also be applied to civil servants and contracted officers, the Premier said. 

“We need to clean our house first before cleaning other’s house,” he said during an annual meeting on drug​ eradication, adding that the situation will only become more serious in the future if there’s no action taken.

The solution needs to be sustainable in the long term to avoid “shoveling away duckweed”, he said referring to a never-ending task.

“We can’t let drugs spread across the country in the next 15-20 years.”

He ordered all state institutions including at the sub-national level to test their staff to detect drug use.

He said four deputy prime ministers – Neth Savoeun, Sar Sokha, Koeuth Rith and Tea Seiha – have been assigned to work together to eradicate drugs in the country.

The PM has declared that civil servants who use drugs will have their status withdrawn to prevent them from finding employment in the public administration.

“Is the measure too harsh? Does it affect their human right? No, it’s not. It’s to protect human rights,” he said.

The measure aims at helping them and others in the society who want to live without drugs in their community, he said.

Hun Manet said that he won’t allow any investment in cannabis plantations in the country even if it is for medical purposes. He has also turned down requests from some companies.

From 2017 to 2023, a total of 55,305 drug offenses were cracked down and 120,307 suspects were arrested. A total of 27,641 kilograms of drugs of all kinds and 520,005 kilograms of chemical ingredients were seized.

Authorities investigated and cracked down on drug criminal organizations in 435 cases, and arrested 164 ringleaders and 811 members of drug networks.

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