Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on Wednesday praised the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ (RCAF) role in preserving the Kingdom’s sovereignty and peace.
He was speaking during the closing ceremony of a workshop held by the ministry’s Personnel Department at the Phnom Penh’s University of National Defence.
Banh also introduced the ministry’s next five-year personnel development plan which is set to run from 2020-25.
“The RCAF remains [Cambodia’s] backbone and an indispensable force in protecting the Constitution, monarchy, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, peace, [and] political stability,” he said.
The forces, he said, had successfully “prevented deceptive colour revolutions and all kinds of hostile activities of the opposition and [other] ill-intentioned circles who endlessly try to impede development and push Cambodia away from the path to democracy and the rule of law”.
Banh also called on RCAF commanders to strengthen their management of troops and existing inspection mechanisms in a timely manner to better ensure the benefits brought on by the forces.
He said it was important for soldiers to avoid criminal activities and other actions that could adversely affect the public’s perception of the RCAF.
In lieu with this, he called for the thorough inspection of old and new soldiers and trainees sent to schools and military education institutions inside and outside the country to ensure that they have proper qualifications and the capacity to serve.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, seconded Banh’s statement, adding that the RCAF should “prevent any illegal attempt to change the government in Cambodia”.
The RCAF has been successful in maintaining the Kingdom’s national security and political stability by preventing attempts by the opposition party to provoke social unrest, he said.
However, a former lawmaker of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Ou Chanrath, said Banh’s statement was an attempt to smear the opposition party.
He claimed the opposition never had the intention to organise a colour revolution but only sought justice against what the government had allegedly done to them.
Banh’s statement could lead to social division, Chanrath said.