BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to recruit more young solders in a move to reform and perform military field, aiming to defend its territorial sovereignty.
General Chhum Socheat, Under Secretary of State and the Spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said that the Royal Government has prepared to recruit and reserve troops for serving the military obligation to defend the country.
The draft sub-decree on recruiting reserve soldiers was already approved by the Council of Ministers and The National Assembly and it is now waiting for the final approval by His Majesty King Preah Bat Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, he said, adding that the reserve soldiers are practiced in many other countries around the world and it has nothing related to the border conflict with Thailand.
“The main purpose of having military reservation is to reform and to enhance in military field for a long-time vision,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone on August 5th.
Socheat said the military reservation of conscription will include recalling of contracted soldiers, professional retired soldiers or those who retired from military before the retirement age. The new conscripts will be required to perform military duties between 3 to 4 months.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has adopted the conscription law in 2006 which requires all Cambodian citizens aged over 18 to 30 years to enter a compulsory military service, he emphasized.
According to the “Sub-Decree”, the reservation of soldiers will serve for five years and if necessary, will extend for two more years.
Socheat added that the military reserves are established in accordance with article 5 of the Military Duty Act which requires that all Cambodian citizens aged 18 to 30 years to enter a compulsory military service.
H.E. Dr. Cheam Yeap, Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee in the National Assembly of Cambodia, said although the Royal Government plans to increase the national budget, the government has not yet have any plans to increase the budget for defense. The budget for national defense in 2010 has US$ 500 million.
“Cambodia has to prepare itself for war to defend its territory and sovereignty but it does not mean that Cambodia wants to cause a war with any nation,” he said.
On the 3rd of August 2010, the Royal Government has appointed two government high-ranking officials as four-star general for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in Cambodia. The two four-star generals are H.E. Prak Sokhon, Chairman of Cambodia’s United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPKO) and Secretary of State in the Council of Ministers, and H.E. Serei Kosal, Senior Minister of the Royal Government.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, there are over 10 four-star-generals including Gen. Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense; Gen. Ke Kim Yan, Deputy Prime Minister; Gen. Pol Saroeun, Commander-in-Chief of RCAF; Gen. Kun Kim, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF; Gen. Meas Sophea, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF; Gen. Mol Roeup, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, Gen. Hing Bunheang, Deputy Commander-in-chief of RCAF; Gen. Sao Sokha, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF and Commander of the Military Police; Gen. Oung Samkhan, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, Gen. Nhiek Bun Chhay, Deputy Prime Minister; and Gen. Moeung Samphan, Secretary of State of National Defense.