Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, told candidates taking the military recruitment test on Sunday that they were among a record 8,300 candidates taking the examination this year.
Manet said that there were 1,300 more candidates this year than last, while in 2017 there were only 4,000 candidates. He said 3,270 of this year’s 8,300 candidates were women.
The examinations will be held from January 13-17 and will be conducted at various centres in Phnom Penh, as well as military regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The examination tests general knowledge, foreign language skills and physical fitness.
Manet said soldiers would be selected in a transparent and fair way, and those who succeeded would do so based on their own abilities without bias or help.
“This examination must be conducted in a transparent and fair atmosphere. We should compete equally – do not seek help from parents, uncles, aunties, or seek any interventions,” he told the potential recruits.
Manet, the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, rose to the rank of RCAF commander, the second most powerful position in the Kingdom’s military. He also holds several other key military posts and has risen rapidly through the military ranks.
On January 3, Manet issued a strict order forbidding unauthorised personnel from entering examination centres – including two and three-star military officers – to ensure fairness and transparency.
“In the past, in Phnom Penh, two or three-star officers accompanied their nephews. They have no right to enter the examination centres and must stay outside the buildings,” he said.
School of Active Soldiers director But Sopheap – who is also Phnom Penh examination centre head – said transparency and fairness were essential to dispel rumours of corruption in the armed forces.
“What the committee is doing is very fair, clear and accurate. Previously, there were rumours that the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ examinations involved bribes. So I would like to clarify that there is no such thing at all. I guarantee 100 per cent, if any candidate bribes someone, he or she is misguided,” he said.
Ros Samphors, a candidate from Kandal province who is taking the examination, compared the procedure to his high school tests.
“It’s very strict, there’s no way that we can cheat or look at other candidates’ papers. And what is more important is that the questions are not leaked. When the result comes out, if I pass, I would be proud of myself, because it’s my ability and not the result of any help,” he said.
Ping Hai Huy, another candidate from Kratie province, said: “If I pass as infantry, I would commit myself to serve our country and our society with all my heart and strength.”