The National Assembly’s defense and interior commission approved an amendment bill Wednesday extending military officers’ retirement ages, commission chairman Monh Saphann said.
The retirement age for RCAF generals will change from 55 to 60 years, and retirement for colonels will move from 50 to 58 years if the bill is approved in the National Assembly.
“The government wants senior military officers to stay on the job longer because they are both healthier and more skilled than common soldiers,” Monh Saphann said. He added that other nations have similar policies.
Under the law, regular field soldiers are required to retire at 39 because they lack the health and energy to properly serve in the army after that age, Monh Saphann said.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay criticized the draft law, saying that the current number of generals, which he estimated could be as many as 3,000, should be reduced greatly.
“There is an overload of Cambodian military generals, many of whom are unskilled to serve in the army,” Son Chhay said. “A number of those people come from improper promotion, and they just have a few soldiers to do their work protecting their private land and abusing the poor.”
Son Chhay added that this law would only complicate RCAF’s problems and suggested that a reduction of the number of generals in favor of well-educated new recruits would be the way to improve the country’s armed forces.
Co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh declined comment Wednesday.