All municipal and provincial police chiefs, who are generally ranked as one-star or two-star generals, will have their ranks restructured as colonels.
The move came after Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday ordered the Defence and Interior Ministries to restructure the ranks of military and police officials in a bid to reduce the number of generals.
The restructuring of municipal and provincial police chiefs came to light after Khmer Rise Party president Soksovann Vatanasabung on Sunday wrote on his Facebook page that according to a leaked document, local official ranks will also be affected.
Defence Minister General Tea Banh yesterday confirmed that his ministry will reform military ranks in the future.
“We are reforming military ranks for the growth of our country,” Gen Banh said. “We are decreasing their ranks because the majority of our military officials are high-ranking.”
He noted that the Defence Ministry will set specific ranks equivalent to an official’s job description.
When asked about how many military officials currently hold a one-star general rank or above, Gen Banh said he cannot reveal the exact amount due to fear of exaggeration by political analysts.
He said Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ army commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet has three stars, but has many responsibilities.
Gen Banh said Lt Gen Manet’s subordinates must hold lower ranks.
“In the future, only the Defence Minister and the RCAF commander-in-chief will rank four-star generals,” he said.
On Facebook yesterday, Gen Banh reminded his soldiers that “the army must respect and implement orders strictly, […] and be willing to give up everything”.
Lt Gen Manet on Sunday during an annual army meeting at the Intervention Division II headquarters in Siem Reap province that the government should implement the restructuring with proper consideration.
“The promotion of senior military officials who have struggled in the previous generation is not wrong,” he said. “The government’s reform must be done step-by-step.”
Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment yesterday.
According to Mr Hun Sen’s order, the rank of General should only be held by the Defence Minister, the RCAF commander-in-chief and the head of the National Police, while heads of the Defence and Interior Ministry general departments must hold the rank of Major General.
“Regarding the armed forces, I think that our reform only applies to high-ranking and low-ranking army commanders,” he said. “Next time, when navy and air force commanders retire, their predecessors will be ranked Lieutenant General – only the RCAF’s commander-in-chief will rank as a General.”