Defence Minister Tea Banh officially elevated 29 officers in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to the rank of four-star general at a ceremony yesterday, despite long-standing criticism regarding undue promotions and military leaders’ competence – some of it from the ministry itself, government media said yesterday.
“Everyone here has to pay attention to fulfil their obligations, particularly with regards to the protection of national sovereignty for the sake of the country and Cambodian people, and in accordance with the trust of King Norodom Sihamoni and the government,” state-run TVK quoted Banh as saying.
Speaking in 2011 at the RCAF’s 58th anniversary, Banh said that he had decided to temporarily suspend military promotions, because officers’ “ranks are higher than the actual knowledge and experience of the individual”.
At the time, officers had difficulty working with foreign militaries because, even when paired with officers of identical rank, there was large gap in their experience levels.
Banh could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Newly minted four-star general Eth Sarath, the RCAF’s deputy commander in charge of military training, said yesterday that promotions were routine for those with a long history of service, and added that his own promotion gave him “a strong will to protect the nation”.