Promoting 70 More Military Officers Leads to More Serious Inflation – Friday, 16.1.2009

Posted on 16 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Defense Tea Banh said that there are 70 military officers among a group of generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who were promoted to the rank of one-star general in 2008, in a ceremony on 31 December 2008. Tea Banh, mentioning the six-month confrontation at the border region during disputes with Siam [Thailand], said that generals from all provinces were promoted according their accomplishments and successes in defending the nation.

“Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh – suspected by some people not to be of Khmer descent – said, ‘We have laws for the appointment of officers in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, from low to high levels, and appointments are based on the special positions in the military and in any specific region where troops are deployed.’

“It should be noted that in March 2006, Minister of Defense Tea Banh said that there were 613 generals ranking from one star to four stars in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. However, on Wednesday, Tea Banh did not mention how many generals from one star to four stars exist at present. This creates a strong interest among observers of the field of national defense in Cambodia, while this field loses its importance to a considerable extent.

“According to a figure in 2006, it was estimated that each one-star general could only have 179 soldiers under his command among the 110,000 soldiers in Cambodia at that time. Figures from 2004, released on the website of a World Security Organization, allow to compare figures with the US armed forces, where there were 876 generals, and for each general there were 1,347 soldiers, both male and female. A journalist in Thailand, an expert in security affairs, said in an email on Wednesday that the newly promoted 70 generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces seem to be too many, but the awarding of such ranks is frequently based on political reasons.

“Nevertheless, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Defense Tea Banh said that the promotions giving higher ranks is completely based on qualifications, but not on political considerations. Also the Preah Vihear RCAF commander Sam Bopharath said that he is one of the military officers promoted, and he was given the rank of a brigadier, having been a captain before. This Preah Vihear military commander said, ‘I was promoted to be a one star-general, after I have worked for 30 years in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

“He went on to say that this promotion is part of the administrative reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, requiring all regional commanders to hold the rank of one-star general. As for Neak Vong, the chief of the General Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces of the Fourth Region, assigned to be positioned at the Ta Moan temple region along the Cambodia-Siam [Thai] border, he said that the ranking is based on active work and long term experiences in military affairs. He added, ‘I have worked for the Ministry of Defense nearly ten years, but I am not yet appointed to be a general; I am still a major.’

“It should be noted that among the expenses in the 2009 national budget of up to US$1,8 billion, the Hun Sen government increased the expenses for the national defense, in order to improve this field to be stronger. In the meantime, observers of the national defense in Cambodia said that in order to strengthen the national defense, corruption in the Ministry of National Defense and in the Military General Headquarters must be eliminated urgently, otherwise the effort to strengthen the military will not receive good results, because corruption in the Ministry of National Defense and in the Military General Headquarters has previously even taken away hats, shoes, and clothes of military officers and of soldiers countrywide. Therefore, the elimination of corruption in the field of national defense is crucial, so that it can be compared to neighboring countries.

“Some experienced military officers said that even though at present, Cambodia has many generals, their abilities are still limited, because their promotions do not depend on real skills and work experiences, and on the struggle to serve the nation. In contrast, they receive their ranks for political reasons, which leads to a serious inflation of ranks, making their positions less valuable, and the stars on their shoulders are just worn for decoration.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3667, 16.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #5, 16-18.1.2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #107, 16-20.1.2009

  • Israel Is Seeking Cooperation in Economy and Investment in Cambodia [according to a diplomatic visit by the first secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, Mr. Tzahi Selzer, in Cambodia]
  • The 7NG Company Will Wait for Three More Days, Offering US$20,000 [for residents] in Exchange for Leaving [the Dey Krahom region]
  • Cambodia Plans to Create [Cambodian National] Television Representative Office in Beijing [according the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • A Danish Woman Is Convicted to Serve 15 Years in Prison and Fined Riel 30 Million [approx. US$7,500 for drug trafficking. Actually, she bought several thousand of over-the-counter painkillers with codeine that can be easily and legally bought at street-side pharmacies throughout Phnom Penh; she was arrested in Phnom Penh when she tried to mail them abroad]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1848, 16.1.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Presented the Potential of Natural Resources of Cambodia to Kuwait Investors [during his visit to Kuwait]
  • To Let Their [10-year-old] Daughter Work for Other People in Phnom Penh for Pay Is Like to Let Them Mistreat Her; When a Girl Could Not Bear It Any Longer, She Escaped from a House and Asked for Help from the Police [she could no longer bear the work and the mistreatment, and could not go to school as had been promised to her parents; she escaped and she wants to return to her parents in Battambang]
  • The Chinese Economy Reaches the Third Rank in the World [after the United States of America and Japan – the Chinese government estimates that the economic growth of 11.9% in 2007 can grow up to 13%]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #184, 16.1.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party Create an Alliance to Form a Democratic Political Movement

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6553, 16.1.2009

  • The Co-Judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Decided to Set the Date for the Hearing of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief ‘Duch’ in March
  • A Detestable Man Who Raped His [12-year-old] Daughter while His Wife Was at the End of Her Pregnancy Was Arrested and Brought to the [Preah Vihear] Court

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3667, 16.1.2009

  • Promoting 70 More Military Officers Leads to More Serious Inflation
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summons Khmer Rouge Tribunal Officials to Question Them about Corruption

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1403, 16.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Health Seeks Self-Governing for State Hospitals [in Phnom Penh, in order to make them autonomous in finance, hoping that this will lead to better health care for patients]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4796, 16.1.2009

  • India Asks Cambodia to Produce Grains That Can Be Exported to India [according to a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the new Indian ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Sachdeva]
  • In 2008, Khmer Tourists Traveling Abroad Decline by 200,000 [with a total number of 760,000, if compared to 2007, because plane tickets were too expensive while the fuel price skyrocketed]
  • More Than 1,000 [Palestinian] People Died in Gaza [since the war started 19 days ago – among them, more than 300 were children and 76 were women – during the same time 13 citizens of Israel died – 4 in Israel, and 9 while invading Gaza]

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2 Responses to “Promoting 70 More Military Officers Leads to More Serious Inflation – Friday, 16.1.2009”

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Quote
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh – suspected by some people not to be of Khmer descent
Unquote
What is the paper trying to imply – that the minister shouldn’t even be minister because of that? Whether he is of Khmer Chinese (like the majority of the population), or of Khmer Vietnamese origin (like many others), or just a naturalized Khmer citizen, it would not affect his ability to perform his duties, would it? Why don’t you take a look at the generals, or politicians, in that so often cited great model democratic country to see how many there are naturalized citizens, like the governor of California. This is not to say that the Defense Minister is uniquely qualified to do his job. Who is to judge?
The paper’s remark just serves to further strengthen the xenophobia against non-Khmer in some, including the opposition, circles.
On another note, being acquainted with a recently promoted 2-star general myself, it is quite clear that the government prefers their senior officers to be in their political camp than in the opposition’s. Such a situation has never helped the career of a general officer. The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the U. S., Gen. Shinseki, is the best recent example. He was the Army Chief of Staff and was fired for opposing the views of the then Secretary of Defense.
Of course, most officers are promoted not for their qualifications but as a reward. The pay raise in not that great, but the title sure compensates for a lot in social standing.
Is there an inflation of general officers? You bet, there is. Many of them don’t even serve in the military. It’s like an honorary title. At least, my acquaintance commands over 500 soldiers.

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