Sar Kheng Defends 4-Star Promotion of Top Generals

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday defended the recent promotion of six senior police officials against accusations that they were politically motivated and ill-deserved.

A February 19 royal decree made four-star generals out of Sous Ang Kea, Kirth Chantharith, Thong Lim, Chhay Sinarith, Chuon Sovann and Meas Virith.

General Khieu Sopheak attends a meeting of the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh yesterday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
General Khieu Sopheak attends a meeting of the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh yesterday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the Interior Ministry’s annual meeting in Phnom Penh, Mr. Kheng brushed aside the common complaint that such promotions were handed out to shore up the military’s support for the ruling CPP ahead of elections.

He suggested, instead, that the generals deserved credit for the peace Cambodia has enjoyed since the Khmer Rouge and civil strife that followed.

“You guys can make any comment; you have that freedom. But we have to look at what they have achieved. Having such happiness and peace is not very simple, it is not very simple,” Mr. Kheng said.

The minister said, too, that the promotions were somehow necessitated by the officials’ approaching retirements, but did not elaborate.

“Some of them will retire in one or two years and they have been working half their lives already. Being jealous about these stars does not seem appropriate,” he said.

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