Your Venerable Sasanak Sangvorak Moul Rorn,
All Venerable monks,
Excellencies, Members of the Senate, the Parliament and the Government,
Excellencies, Ambassadors of Friend Countries to Cambodia,
Mr. Alexey Chepa, Chairman of the Board of Koh Pos Company,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests,
Dear Compatriots, Teachers, and Beloved Students!
Today, I am extremely pleased to attend inaugurating ceremony of Koh Pos Bridge that I agreed with request of the company to name it as “Techo Emerald Bridge” that covered by capital investment by Koh Pos Cambodia Investment Group Ltd, facilitated by Council for the Development of Cambodia, whose technical design consulted with ministry of public works and transportation, and under technical supervision by Russian engineers of Koh Pos company. I may recall that on 7th June 2008, I was invited to attend ground breaking ceremony here.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey my profound admiration and gratitude to Koh Pos Investment Company who firmly believe in leadership of the government, despite hard time of global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, and has been steadfastly implementing the project by having made about USD 50 million so far, constructing the bridge and continue developing the island into world class resort and entertainment complex in South-East Asia. Progress of the project has reflected true efficiency of participation of private sector in social and economic development and confidence of international community in political stability, security, social order, as well as support, protection and incentives provided by the government to all investors in Cambodia. These would attract further investments in the future.
I would like to congratulate and compliment Sinohydro Corporation, a construction company, of Republic People of China and Russian technical supervisors who made effort to build this bridge that is of beauty, quality and efficient use. I would like to praise the management of Ministry of Public Works and Transport for providing support and cooperation to success of this huge achievement.
Now, the Techo Emerald Bridge, which is linking Preah Sihanouk Ville beach to Koh Pos Island has been completely constructed. For the next step, the company will build belt road surrounding the island before developing residence and other buildings in the resort complex. This project is the leading mega project among other government-approved projects to develop beaches and islands. In 2009, I decided to establish special working group to facilitate and troubleshoot any issues related to development process of Koh Pos and some part of Hawaii beach, which is led by the secretary general of the Council of the Development of Cambodia, and one secretary of state from Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction acting as vice-chairman, the governor of Sihanouk Province as member, including representatives from relevant ministries. In addition to resolving problems faced by Koh Pos Company during project implementation, the special working group will be beneficial to draw lessons from troubleshooting to apply to other projects developing islands and beaches.
We must admit that these tasks are unprecedented to ministries concerned. I hope that because the economy has recovered from financial turmoil in 2008 and 2009, other companies will resumed or accelerate implementing projects. Preah Sihanouk province is deemed as the third economic pole after Phnom Penh pole and tourism Siem Reap. In the future, we will develop the fourth pole in the North-eastern region that is potential for eco-tourism, agro-industry and mining business. Yesterday afternoon of 11th July in Preah Sihanouk Ville, we had congratulated the inscription of Cambodia Beaches as a member of “Club of the Most Beautiful BAYS In the World”. During the ceremony, I have laid out some 8 key recommendations to improve the management and development of Cambodia Bay with sustainability, efficiency and responsibility to live up to being a member of member of “Club of the Most Beautiful BAYS In The World”, that those recommendations gives focus to setting legal framework and standard. At the moment, I would like to provide a number of recommendations to advice relevant ministries/agencies to urgently implement in order to support future development and maintain membership of Cambodia in The Club of the Most Beautiful BAYS In the World. To put differently, becoming member is good, but maintaining membership is even better.
For 16 months from March 2009 to September 2010, Inter-ministerial committee, under leadership of Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, had cooperated with Japan International Cooperation Agency of Japan (JICA) to conduct study on national strategy for integrating coastal areas and master plan of Preah Sihanouk Province for sustainable development. Even though, at the moment national strategy for integrating costal areas and master plan of Preah Sihanouk Province has not been put for review and approval from the office of council of ministers, yet we can take some steps from finding of the study.
In this sense, I would like to relevant ministries-agencies to take some steps as follows:
First- The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction must work with relevant ministries/agencies to submit immediately national strategy for integrating costal area and master plan of Preah Sihanouk Province for sustainable development for approval. Actually, i raised this point yesterday. The decision by the government will convey encouraging message to investors to accelerate implementation of the projects and to absorb new investments in tourism, commerce, manufacturing and agriculture. On the other hand, once officially decided, it would be easier for ministries-agencies and local authorities to fulfill their duties accordingly.
Second- We believe that electricity supply is no longer a challenge in infrastructure sector in the future. The 193-MW Kam Chai hydropower plant will be operated in late 2011 and the 18-MW Kirirum-3 hydropower plant station, located in Srey Ambel, will be run in early 2012. Other hydroelectric projects, namely 246-MW Ta Taiy, 338-MW Russei Chrum Krom, and 120-MW Steng Ta Taiy hydropower plant will be operated one after the other. In addition, 100-MW Coal Power plant in Preah Sihanouk Ville will be able to produce electricity in the first quarter of 2013.
My concern is now about clean water supply. We may possibly remember that people here have experienced a shortage of clean water for a couple days in 2007. However, the Royal government has already taken serious measure to maintain water resource at Kbal Chhay. I just received a report from H.E IM Chhun Lim about the proposal of 51 families, who request the ministry to grant title of property ownership for people, who live around Prek Toup Lake at village number 1, Sangkat of Number 3, Preah Sihanouk Ville, Preah Sihanouk Province, which is the result of the discussion between the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction and the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy. The Prek Toup Lake comprises 82 hectares, which lake size is about 14 hectares and its surrounded land is about 68 hectares. There are 230 plots of land in this area, which 110 plots of land is belong to 51 families, who has asked me for intervention to solve it. The land comprises 17.28 hectares. We must protect water source of Beoung Prek Toup, but cannot maintain lake size of 68 hectares.
Therefore, I now decide to deduct land surrounding the lake to only 44 hectares (14 hectares width is lack size and 58 hectares is a water source). We plan to allocate 24 hectares of land along the road number second December, road number peace and fences of the EN Nhean Pagoda, which stretches 2.4 km long, to distribute to the people here by allowing them to build and own a house 100 m away from the road. This solution is win-win policy, which is carried out to benefit both illegal settlement and the government because: people here can legally own its land in return and people are able to build house and do business in location where is manageable and is built roads. For the sate benefit, we can maintain source of fresh water of Beoung Prek Toup with big enough size, which would be expanded lake size in the future and solve the problem of illegal settlement which enable us to improve urban planning situation in Preah Sihanouk Ville.
The above mechanism is implemented in accordance to the procedure of the Circular Number 03, dated on 31 May, 2010, on the solution for illegal settlement on state land in the capital, city and town. Beoung Prek Toup and Kbal Chai are the two fresh water sources, where we must have them to water supply in Preah Sihanouk Ville. Indeed, the need of fresh water is considerably increased over years because this town is unpredictably expanded due to the growth of tourism and special economic zone. In addition, oil exploration will be started besides major coal power plants, big sea vessels in the future which needs adequate fresh water supply.
Third- In the future, to correspond with the speed of economic growth of Preah Sihanouk Ville province in terms of tourism and industry sectors, there will be a growth of the need for food supply. Hence, I would like to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to figure out and prepare the green belt project for Preah Sihanouk Ville province, similar to the one we have for Seam Reap province, so that we can incorporate it into the master plan of Preah Sivanouk Ville city. In parallel, I would like the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to encourage the local people to improve their capabilities in aquaculture as in the future we cannot rely on the fish catch from the sea. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Japanese government for providing a grant of Yen 932 million, equivalent to USD 11.45 million, for the construction of sea aquaculture centre. Truly, agricultural crops such as vegetables and fruits, and farm-raised fish, shrimps and crabs can serve the export demand, as well as the need of tourists who visit the coastal area, which can be considered as local exports.
Fourth- In addition, tourists often buy handicraft souvenirs in the areas that they visit; hence we need to more intensely promote the movement of “One village, one product”.
Fifth- Based on the forecast on the development of Preak Sihanouk Ville province as well as coastal areas in terms of tourism sector and industry sector that will create tens of thousands of jobs for our people, I would like the National Training Committee of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health to have measures in place from now on, so that our development would avoid the shortage of labour such as construction workers, electricians, welders, carpenters, workers serving at restaurants, and hotels, and nurses and so on. Related to job creations for our people living in Preah Sihanouk Ville province as well as people from other provinces, I would like to appeal to the tourism sector investment projects to hire Cambodian youths who are students, engineers, and other technicians to work on your sites so that they can gain knowledge and know-how from foreign engineers and experts.
Sixth- Lastly, I would like all ministries and institutions to pay utmost attention on the protection and conservation of environment; in a nutshell we need to eliminate the dirtiness that at present we see everyday along the coasts and on the islands. The authority of Preah Sihanouk Ville province, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Tourism need to enhance the dissemination, education, the national spirit and pride in order to stop the habit of throwing away plastic bags, cans, plastic bottles, and wastes in public areas as well as throwing into the sea. Proper management of solid and liquid waste is the first obligation in order to ensure the presence of Cambodia’s bay as a member of the most beautiful bays in the world club in the future. Based on the information received, everyday on Koh Pos island bays the company need to collect tens of kilograms of waste floating in the sea, and brought up to the bays by the waves. With respect to the management of solid waste, the authority of Preah Sihanouk Ville province has changed the garbage dump from an area next to the special economic zone of Preah Sihanouk Ville city Bit Trang district to a new site located 30 kilometers away from Preah Sihanouk Ville city at O OukKhna Heng along the national road no. 4. With respect to the liquid sewage system, the authority of Preah Sihanouk Ville province need to have a thorough planning as at present the discharge of polluted water directly to the sea without passing through filtering basin at Ochheuteal is high. I hope the approval of the Preah Sihanouk Ville city master plan will encourage the development partners as well as the private sector to involve with addressing this problem under the concessional agreement, Build Operate and Transfer (BOT).
Cambodia, in tourism sector, is fortunate to have Angkor temple, national heritage, in Seam Reap-Angkor area, Preah Vihear as well as other provinces; in parallel Cambodia has beautiful forests, lakes, and rivers, and sea coasts that are rich in biodiversity. In addition, Cambodia is not located in area vulnerable to violent disasters such as hurricane, earthquake, and tsunami, and this aspect allows Cambodia, in general, and coastal and island areas, in specific, to have a great opportunity for the development of tourism sector. The role of the royal government and local authorities at all level along with every citizen is to maintain the natural and cultural wealth of Cambodia. I hope the recommendations above would unavoidably promote the development of Preah Sihanouk Ville city and our coastal and island areas so that it would fully contribute to the development of economy-society of Cambodia. We need to be aware that Cambodia’s coast is competing with other coastal resorts and tourism centers of other countries in the region, but Cambodia, with the spirit of cooperation and responsibility, will inevitably receive long-lasting success in the development of coastal areas.
Finally, may I wish the Venerable Monks, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the distinguished national and international guests, government officials and personnel, and all the people the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength. I would like to announce the official opening of “Techo Emerald Bridge”, connecting Hawaii beach to Koh Pos of Preah Sihanouk Ville city, for use from now on!