Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Proposed reserve force to strengthen military

Proposed reserve force to strengthen military

Proposed reserve force to strengthen military

AUTHORITIES have fleshed out plans that would pave the way for a new force of reserve soldiers, Cambodian officials confirmed yesterday.
The move amounts to further evidence that the government has put off a long-standing goal of scaling back the size of its military.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said yesterday that authorities had approved the wording of a draft Royal decree governing the recruitment of reservists.

“It is to have reservist soldiers for the time when the country needs them,” Phay Siphan said. “They can be called at any time to serve the nation.”

According to a Council of Ministers’ statement, the draft Royal decree, which was discussed on Friday, lists a variety of prospective groups that could be eligible:

  • Ex-soldiers who retired or resigned before reaching retirement age.
  • Soldiers whose contracts have ended.
  • Civilians who have completed their military obligations.
  • “Experts who have completed cooperation on research missions” or who have been “involved directly in tasks” that benefit the public or the military.

The Royal decree is aimed at complementing the country’s controversial law on military conscription, which was passed in 2006 and allows for the conscription of Cambodian men between the ages of 18 and 30.

Chum Sambath, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Defence, said reservist soldiers could be called on during natural disasters.
“We can’t argue against it,” he said. “All of us are reserved for the military’s purpose.”

However, Yim Sovann, a parliamentarian and spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, criticised the draft decree, saying that a reservist force should be strictly voluntary.

Money for a reservist programme would be better spent making sure existing soldiers were properly paid, he said: “We need to have professional soldiers and let them have enough salary. They will be strong and they will serve the nation when they are needed.”

Officials did not offer a timeline on when the draft Royal decree would be finalised. In June, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia would drop a pledge, dating back to 2001, to scale back the size of its military.

“I have decided not to demobilise as we have invasions from neighbouring countries,” the premier said in a speech on June 21. “Keep all the armed forces. There is no need to demobilise.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all