Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of Royal Government,
National and International Guest,
Today, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to join you all, civil servants and managements of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport at the closing of the conference to take stock of performance in 2006 and set future direction for 2007. I am in the view that the conference during these two days is an important forum to reflect and a good opportunity to monitor, to learn and to obtain experiences from previously implemented activities to identify strength and weaknesses for us to discuss and to exchange ideas. Indeed, discussion and sharing of knowledge are of vital importance in order to formulate plan of direction and put forward effective new measures to overcome shortages and in particular to promote the implementation ofpolicy on rehabilitation, development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure such as roads, railways, waterways, ports, ferries and airports to be more effectives. Moreover, rehabilitation, development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure still potential means in terms of “engine of economic growth” and socio-economic development consistent with the Rectangular Strategy of Royal Government to promote economic growth, employment generation, enhancing social equity and strengthening efficiency of public services.
As I have frequently mentioned before, wherever there is road there will be hope, hence the development and rehabilitation of road-bridge infrastructures are the key strategy for implementing the policy of peace and integration of Cambodia and those policies that promote and advocate economic growth and poverty reduction. For instance, with the development of roads and bridges, our people have received many new opportunities in traveling and transportation, searching for knowledge, seeking health support, looking for employment and generating incomes. Roads and bridges allow our people to transport their produces to the markets and buy equipment from those markets for daily usages and production and other commercial purposes. Moreover, roads and bridges allow our people to access to credits, healthcare and education services, and can be connected to the source of clean water supply to support and improve their living standards.
In this sense, without any doubt, the rehabilitation and improvement of every physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, national roads and track roads in the remote rural areas is still the strategic priority, the driver of economic growth, and themost effective mean for poverty reduction, because roads and bridges are the mainstreams of our economic sector which will contribute to the enhancement of economic growth and ensuring equitable distribution of growth aims at upgrading the living standard of the people and for poverty reduction.
Furthermore, an important factor that we should not overlooked is that roads and brides are necessary for internal nation wide economic integration which was badly disconnected parts by parts during the war and internal conflict more than two decades ago as well as for the integration of Cambodia into the region and the world.
Meanwhile, in today’s conference, on behalf of the Royal Government, the people of Cambodia and myself, I highly value the work and once again appreciate the profound intention of all the development partners who have been actively participating in promoting economic growth and developing Cambodia’s society by providing both the financial and technical supports for the development, rehabilitation and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Cambodia. Moreover, I would like to also praise and continue to encourage the government officials and management of the concerned ministries/institutions, and local authorities to continue in this work. Besides, I would also like to thank and praise the management and officials at all level of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport who have been jointly working very closely together with high responsibility to improve, rebuild and maintain the transportation infrastructure until achieving fruitful noticeable outcomes during the past year.
At the same time, the efforts made in strengthening the institutions and good governance which exists in the structure of the Ministry’s administrative management, are the necessary ingredients for enhancing the development and generating employment in all sectors.
According to the stocktaking report of the discussion raised a moment ago by His Excellency Sun Chanthol, the Minister of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, I would like to congratulate and highly value the conference that resulted in fruitful outcomes, especially, the interactive exchange of ideas and intervention of all participants from all the departments of the ministry, and the provincial-municipal branches of the ministry of Public Works and Transport as well as all the related ministries.
With all of the above mentioned and the experiences relating to the public work and transport sector which has already been implemented, I believe that we will continue to monitor thoroughly in order to grab more new opportunities for enhancing therehabilitation, development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure to grow faster and better. I would like to provide some recommendations and guidance as follows:
First, please continue to take high responsibility and thoroughly monitor the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges for quality and safety in order to ensure the sustainability in traffic transportation and reduce road accidents.
Second, must pay high attention and successfully fulfill the duty as the chairman of the national road safety committee by having cooperation with related ministries/institutions, local authorities, national and international NGOs, to transform the 15-points traffic safety action plan into concrete action with high quality and to prevent road accident which is a worrisome at the present time. At the same time, I would like to fully support the road traffic safety action plan and I, again, would like to appeal all relevant ministries/institutions, all hierarchical authorities, National and International NGOs to provide moral and financial supports for the successful implementation of committee’s activities. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Handicap International of Belgium that has been supporting the works on traffic safety and I strongly hope that such support will be expanded in the future. At the same time, I would like to urge all relevant institutions like newspaper, radio and television to promote the public awareness on Law on Traffic and Road Transportation adopted by the National Assembly and educational spot on traffic precautions to contribute to the effective prevention against traffic accidents which have been serious concern.
As far as the traffic accidents are concern, I observed three main reasons:
Human: most of drivers do not have driving license; some drivers have it without went through driving test; some do not follow traffic law, signs, road marks, and light; some drive exceed speed limits, over weight, over loaded, bulky loaded and drink driving.
Roads: they were technically and wrongly constructed such as too curvy, too narrow and there is no traffic sign.
Vehicles: Right drive-wheel is another issue. On March 18, 2006, the Royal Government of Cambodia decided to legalize the right drive-wheel, thus to pay taxes and obtain number plate. Another problem that we need to control is vehicle technical safety standard. We known that there are many vehicles, especially those are using in transportations businesses or taxies were not regularly checked for technical safety, those vehicles are the causes of frequent accident during driving. In addition, the domestic repair and assemble garage have no quality and safety standard and at large have not been controlled. In this sense, I would like the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation to cooperate with all relevant ministries/institutions to take proper measure to regularly control the technical safety standard. In this sense, I would like the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation put more effort to further improve the process of issuing driving licenses, registration card and other permits for the management of road, water and sea transportation by making it easy, quick and to reduce unofficial costs.
Third, need to rigorously implement the project to connect Asia Railroad Singapore – Kunming, especially connect from Poipet to Sisophon link to Thai and from Phnom Penh to Lokninh, Vietnam.
Fourth, continue to cooperate with development partners and donor communities to make the law on water, sea and road transportation and regulations required within globalization framework and for regional and global integration processes.
Fifth, strengthen the management of all ports in the country by utilizing existing mechanism to promote fair, equitable and transparent competition in businesses activities aiming at mobilizing more budget revenue.
Sixth, I would like to remind again that, the joint committee on controlling over weighted transportation should determines the maximum weights and to introduce further serious measures to prevent the damage of roads and bridges due to over-weight transportation.
Again, at the same time of fighting against “land encroachment”, “thieveries” and “gangsters” that remain a serious issue, we now facing with other problems such as “traffic safety”, “fake number plate”, “overweighed vehicle and over speed driving, over loaded and drink driving” that are the difficult matters for the Royal Government. Indeed, these issues were frequently raised and I do not want to repetitively raise them again, I would like Ministry of Public Work and Transportation,Ministry of Interior and other authorities to take tough and strict measures to prevent and gradually eliminate the above mentioned issues in consistent manner.
Before closing, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to congratulate the results in the restoration, development and repairing transportation infrastructure during the year of 2006 as well as the excellent output of this conference.
Finally, I wish you all with the five gems of Buddhist Blessings. I, now, announce the closing of conference on taking stocks of performance in 2006 and setting future direction for 2007 of the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation.