Prime Minister Hun Sen has authorised the Ministry of National Defence to recruit additional military personnel to set up a medium-range air defence unit under the Air Defence Command.

According to the order dated April 26, the government will recruit 402 new members of the armed forces to organise a medium-altitude air defence unit.

“The Office of the Council of Ministers, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Economy and Finance, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the ministers and secretaries of state at all other relevant institutions shall implement this decision from the date of this signing,” reads the order.

While giving a speech on May 3 during an awards ceremony for the 1,753 students who passed their high school examinations last year with “A” grades, Hun Sen said he had signed a sub-decree to recruit military personnel who would work in a technical or support capacity as part of the new air defence unit.

He also noted that the government has placed a priority on finding new educators and training healthcare professionals because these two areas provide Cambodia the opportunity to recruit more teachers and medical staff such as doctors, nurses and the many other necessary jobs that need specialised training in a modern hospital.

“In terms of health, I have just approved the recruitment of more than 3,500 medical personnel to manage the situation because there are many hospitals that we need to expand and the demand for medical care is high. Teachers are also given more opportunities to make choices about their careers, while other [state employment] frameworks do not provide those choices,” he said.

The premier said that if one person retires then they should be replaced, but sometimes only three people should be recruited to replace five retiring officials in order to save payroll funding.

When they start, we have to understand that they will draw on government benefits from the day they start working until the day they die, which is costly and must be accounted for when hiring staff,” he said.

For 2022, the government has agreed in principle to recruit nearly 46,000 contract workers for jobs in various ministries and institutions, but will not allow them to join the state employment framework automatically to replace retirees, except for those ministries with policy exceptions granted by the government, according to a letter signed by Minister of Civil Service Prum Sokha on March 25.

Contract workers can be hired and laid off more easily than civil servants in the state employment framework and they do not receive the same level of ongoing benefits such as pensions after retirement.