A senior official at the Ministry of National Defence said an order issued by the General Command of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) which forbids anyone from using the military to serve the private sector is a preventive measure aimed at strengthening discipline and maintaining order.
Ministry spokesperson Chhum Socheat said General Vong Pisen, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces issued the directive last Tuesday.
Pisen’s regulation states: “Commanders of all types of troops and directors of institutions and schools under the supervision of the General Command of the [RCAF] must not allow their forces to be taken to work as guards at companies, factories or private enterprises or to serve private individuals.
“Do not wear uniforms or bring weapons into restaurants, shops or entertainment clubs except during operations.”
Socheat told The Post on Sunday that the ministry would take strict action under internal RCAF regulations against any official who violates the directive.
“It’s inappropriate for military officials to wear uniforms or take weapons into restaurants, shops or entertainment venues because it can cause alarm,” he said.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the RCAF General Command had issued the order because some people had used military personnel to serve the private sector.
“This ban is because in the past some individuals liked to show off their weapon and their rank. They sometimes took their weapons along to show off.
“It is good that such an order has been issued but strict punishments must be imposed on anyone who fires their weapon illegally. In the past, we haven’t seen serious punishment meted out.
“Management of RCAF and state number plates has also been lax. We see it a lot . . . people like to have them to protect themselves and their property.”
Soeng Sen Karuna, the senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, welcomed the new regulation and said it would help reduce the number of people using RCAF personnel to serve private companies or individuals.
“It’s a good move but the General Command of the RCAF must monitor the situation closely as we often see officials using their institutions for their personal use.
“If strict measures are taken effectively, it will help to prevent RCAF forces being misused to serve the private sector,” he said.