De­fence Min­istry to ‘add new blood’ to King­dom’s mil­i­tary

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Mech Dara

THE Min­istry of Na­tional De­fence is set to add new blood into the King­dom’s armed forces, with its mil­i­tary acad­emy start­ing a new round of en­roll­ment and re­cruit­ment to fill nearly 700 va­can­cies.

While the min­istry said the re­cruit­ment is meant to pro­tect the King­dom’s peace, sovereignty and the peo­ple’s well­be­ing, ob­servers are scep­ti­cal, claim­ing the armed forces is of­ten used to pro­tect pow­er­ful pri­vate com­pa­nies and the po­lit­i­cal elite.

In a press re­lease, the min­istry’s un­der­sec­re­tary of state Phuong Siphan en­cour­ages ap­pli­cants to take part in its ac­tive armed force unit, royal armed forces and spe­cialised tech­ni­cal army, among oth­ers.

“Ap­pli­cants of both gen­ders who would like to work for the Royal Cam­bo­dian Armed Forces can reg­is­ter to take an ex­am­i­na­tion,” he said.

Min­istry spokesman Ch­hum Socheat said the min­istry will se­lect 680 re­cruits to study and work in the Royal Cam­bo­dian Armed Forces (RCAF).

“Can­di­dates for the RCAF must be Cam­bo­dian cit­i­zens, aged 18 to 25, and be healthy and phys­i­cally fit for their tasks. They must also pos­sess a high school diploma and a clean crim­i­nal record,” he said.

He said the re­cruit­ment is an an­nual process aimed to pro­tect the na­tional bound­aries, peace, the peo­ple’s well-be­ing, and re­place army of­fi­cers who have reached re­tire­ment age.

Socheat said RCAF will start ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from Oc­to­ber 16 to De­cem­ber 7. Ap­pli­cants are re­quired to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tions at the Na­tional De­fence Uni­ver­sity and mil­i­tary gar­risons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

RCAF com­man­der Hun Manet said the De­fence Min­istry en­lists new army of­fi­cers ev­ery year to fill po­si­tions left va­cant af­ter se­nior army of­fi­cers re­tired.

“Peace and na­tional sta­bil­ity are pro­tected by the armed force. They de­fend the coun­try and peo­ple with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion and re­gard­less of their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion.

“Their du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­ity are to pro­tect the govern­ment, de­fend the con­sti­tu­tion and serve the coun­try.

“They have the right to fol­low any po­lit­i­cal party they like, but their duty is to pro­tect the na­tion, not the party,” he said.

Manet said the acad­emy has taken mea­sures to en­sure trans­parency through­out the en­roll­ment and re­cruit­ment process.

Rights group Ad­hoc spokesman So­eng Senkarona wel­comed the new re­cruit­ment but urged the de­fence min­istry to pre­vent the armed forces from pro­tect­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies and pow­er­ful in­di­vid­u­als.

“I don’t think the armed forces should be used to pro­tect pri­vate com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als. We should use them only to pro­tect the govern­ment,” he said.

HENG CHIVOAN

Sol­diers par­tic­i­pate in a mil­i­tary train­ing ex­er­cise in Kam­pong Speu in 2013. The Min­istry of De­fence says it would se­lect 680 re­cruits to study and work in the RCAF this year.

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