A senior official at the Ministry of National Defence claimed that the streamlining of military units, which included the promotion and removal of 39 military officials from posts, was done based on the request of the units in question and was not a political decision.
The ministry’s announcement on Monday showed that 29 senior soldiers – all of whom were deputy regional commanders – were removed from additional posts they held but maintained their core positions as regional, provincial sub-division or unit commanders.
A further 10 soldiers involved in the reshuffle were promoted.
The promotions and demotions came after an announcement by Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on September 6 last year regarding the reform of six units – Division 2, Division 3, Brigade 1, Infantry Brigade 70, Parachute Brigade 911 and Transportation Brigade 90.
‘Important part of reform’
All these units were under the command of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), and would be streamlined and transferred to the command of the army, Tea Banh said at the time.
“Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, promoted and replaced several Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers,” the announcement confirmed.
Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the measure was in order to reduce the number soldiers holding the same positions and was an important part of RCAF reform. He said the reshuffle was not a political decision, having been done via committee and at the request of the units involved.
He added that the promotions conformed to RCAF procedures and were not the result of bribery and nepotism.
Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, welcomed the reforms as it reduced the positions held by senior soldiers, helping to improve efficiency and lower national spending.
“This is part of the general process of the RCAF in having reforms and promotions. It is normal, and the reduction of positions is part of reforms in order to improve work effectiveness,” he said.