Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oknhas told to choose between army and title

Oknhas told to choose between army and title

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Sen took to Facebook on Friday, saying armed forces personnel are banned from having the honorific title of oknha. HUN SEN’s FACEBOOK PAGE

Oknhas told to choose between army and title

The ministries of National Defence and Interior have ordered members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) with the honorific title “oknha” to choose between serving in the military and keeping their title, the ministries’ spokespersons said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the move while speaking at the Central Committee meeting of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on Thursday at the capital’s Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Writing on his Facebook page on Friday, Hun Sen said: “All armed forces such as soldiers, police and military police personnel are banned from having the honorific title of oknha anymore. In the past, some of them have taken the role to run illegal rackets.”

Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat told The Post on Sunday that the ministry was investigating which personnel had the honorific title and will make them choose between being oknhas or serving in the armed forces.

“We are acting on the orders of Samdech Hun Sen. We have personnel with the honorific title of oknha. Samdech made the remarks and if no one had the titles, he wouldn’t have done so. Hence, we must follow the orders and we’re working on it now,” he said.

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh told The Post on Sunday that the prime minister’s orders were in line with armed forces reforms which seek to reduce the number of personnel who hold different positions. “In the future, there will be no officials who have the title oknha.

“Soldiers and police must have only one position. More than that is too much, as it becomes difficult to carry out their duties. This reform serves to restore order,” he said.

RCAF General Command spokesman Thong Solimo said the unit would investigate which personnel had the title of oknha. But he said there were not many.

“They must drop one as Samdech [Hun Sen] remarked. They will have to choose the title of oknha or a position in the armed forces,” he said.

Neither Banh nor Socheat could provide a figure of how many oknha were serving at the ministry.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said on Sunday that the ministry would work on the matter at the behest of the prime minister.

“We will instruct oknhas not to use the title anymore. We have four or five people. They have had the title lawfully bestowed on them and we cannot deny them that.

“But if you are an oknha, you cannot take the rank of general. If you are a general, you cannot take the title oknha,” he said.

Transparency International (Cambodia) senior programme director Pech Pisey welcomed Hun Sen’s directive, claiming that certain armed forces personnel with the honorific title had used their power to pressure people and seize their land.

“When public officials have the title oknha, it can create a conflict of interest. I support and welcome the measures because we can reduce conflicts of interest and illegal rackets,” he said.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At