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Tea Banh eyes overhaul of military promotions

Members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces attend an inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh in 2013.
Members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces attend an inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh in 2013. Pha Lina

Tea Banh eyes overhaul of military promotions

Defence Minister Tea Banh called for reforms on Tuesday to the culture of promotion within the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, which has seen over 600 new generals minted in the last nine months alone.

Observers and analysts have criticised the Kingdom’s notoriously bloated upper echelons, claiming that promotions are based on nepotism and a way of shoring up support for the government, rather than a merit-based recognition. In March, insiders estimated there were 3,000 generals in the RCAF, with at least 607 more added since.

In a speech at the Military Police’s year-end review on Tuesday, Banh said promotions have not always been “implemented properly” and can “negatively impact the unit” as a whole.

Officials within the Ministry of Defence have previously told The Post that the number of generals has become a source of embarrassment when working with international counterparts.

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In Banh’s comments, he appeared to suggest rather than increasing support for the government, undeserved promotions were actually leaving overlooked soldiers disgruntled.

“The promotion and assigning of roles has not been evaluated transparently, and that makes some mentally discontent.”

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