… I should elaborate a little more on this point. I am begging all of you to pay attention on issues of illegal roadblocks. Before I decide to relieve you of positions and duties, I am going to give you all this piece of my last warning. Our people have gone through so much suffering due to wars, genocide and the natural calamity like flooding that have created them further suffering already. It is true that we could not control the natural disasters, but we should not let the man-made disasters to impose such unbearable impacts on the livelihood of our people.
… Political mistakes conducted by previous politicians have brought about destructive wars that were passing from generation to generation. We have made tremendous efforts to put an end to this crisis (and we have been successful.) I therefore do not believe that we could not put an end to the issue of illegal roadblocks. We have scored a number of successes like we have collaborated to eliminate the Khmer Rouge, the terrorist acts, and the kidnapping for ransom, etc. The so-called CFF (Cambodian Freedom Fighters) have been almost completely incapacitated. Its leaders would be brought to stand trial in the US. Talking about forest crimes, we also have success. But why are the illegal roadblock an uncompleted issue? What has obstructed the efforts to resolve this matter? On the other hand the issue has spread widely as cancer does.
… Our beloved Cambodian population is worthy of sympathy (because of the condition in which they are.) The fact that they have become so is because we neglect our responsibilities. May I address this matter straightforwardly with you and ask all of you a question. Should or should not we do something (to change the situation)? Should we leave the situation to evolve the way it does? I am not at all convinced that you as the local authorities could not fulfill this duty. The local authorities — both at provincial and municipal levels — could not stay ignorant to what has happened in one’s own area of jurisdiction. (If it happened) it must be because you paid no attention to doing so. At whatever responsibility you may have, you should compare yourself to our poor people. When they travel, on top of no money to pay for transport, they some times have to travel on the roof of the vehicle. Let’s imagine if they were your fathers, mothers, grandparents and they have to stay in those conditions just because the vehicle is stopped for illegal checking for bribes? You could also imagine of women with small babies, and think if they are your wives, sisters or daughters and they have to stay waiting in such weather condition for hours? Within a road length that they could travel about two hours, they have to spend up to three or four hours. Could all this be considered as impacts (from those illegal roadblocks)? We should think about this problem.
… Today I am very pleased to confer higher ranks to you with my own hands. But please do not be mistaken, or forget that these ranks could be withdrawn when you do not take responsibility (in your jobs). Today we have dismissed one more senator. Weeks ago we have dismissed three senators already. As for this latest one, I have approved this morning. If you do not obey the rule, you stand to be removed. If the senators could be removed, why is it difficult to act on those who are given the position within my level of decision (sub-decree.) Sometimes HE (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister) Sar Kheng and Co-Minister You Hockry would not know in advance. One might ask why they are being removed so easily. It would not be difficult at all (for me to do so) when you did not care about the hardship of our people. It would not be appropriate at all to let you stay on in the position.
… Previously we have put into operation the contest in city/provincial development. At this moment I request all of the leaders, by the organization and coordination of the Ministry of Interior, to launch another contest in doing away with the illegal roadblocks. Do you all agree with me? (Applaud.) Now in each provincial leadership there are at least four persons (a Governor and three Deputies.) For some municipal jurisdiction there are up to six or seven of them, like in Siemreap. Let me warn you all that if anything peculiar happens, they would be removed en mass. Let’s be clear that even if you put lot of energy in building nice cities, but if traveling from and to by our people encounters to roadblocks and illegal money collectors, they would not be happy with you at all.
… I would therefore request that (our officials at) all levels take this policy into a serious implementation. Sometimes this situation takes place at the corner in front of the residence of the Governor or so and so. What would they say when people see this action? Let me warn you the of fact about “the small fish is feeding the bigger ones.” Why this issue is unfinished? How many people would have believed that Cambodia could collect thousands of weapons and demolished them? We have actually done so. Who would believe that we could put an end to the issue of illegal roadblocks, while we are able were able to close down Karaoke, discotheque, etc. We were able to do so because we committed to do it. Why would you not act on the issue of illegal roadblocks? This time I am asking for your understanding and we should no longer talk on this topic anymore. Previously I was talking without paper. This time I have it in text.
… Let’s all mobilize a movement for putting an end to the illegal roadblocks. Once we succeed in doing so the suffering and hardship of our people would be reduced greatly and the socio-economic activity would also advance. As you are conferred with new ranks, we would like to see you act in your area of responsibility upon your return (to work.) We are now in 2002, everyone of us is gaining one year more of age. Our office term is also gaining one year further. The promotion of ranks for officials would be a calculation in accordance with the office terms. One would be promoted from level 3 to level 2 or level 1 only when one has completed a specified term in office. That is why we have a situation like the first deputy Governor has the rank of the senior official at level 6, but the third deputy Governor has the rank of the senior level 1. This application is no different in the army and police force. In order to know if you accept the proposition, please give your approval sound (Shouting – Accept.) It is like when we implemented the eight-point policy. There was a point about black-tinted windows of vehicles. There appears to have resurgence but we are able to retrain it in time. Let’s all leave the car windows clear.
… May I also appeal to all officials to take the people’s well being seriously. You could compare yourself with the poor. Please do not compare yourself to the millionaires. We were born into the families of no air-conditioned rooms. We are the children of the farmers. Some of us may have forgotten this matter. Of course (such roadblocks that charge our people) Riels 1,000 at a time is not a big sum of money. But it is a big problem for those whose income is Riels 1,000 to 2,000. I hope this issue will not be an issue for discussion anymore by mid 2002.
… Please listen to this point. I am reading it slowly. The big brother and the gangster issues must be dealt to the root. Whether they are the children of whoever they may be, they must be arrested and jailed. If we were to let the big brother situation to go on our children would not have a good education at school. Please pay attention and make great efforts in dealing with this issue. We may note that some of the members are from powerful and/or wealthy families. Those children of the poor were just followers, and sometimes being used by the former. So I am requesting a plan of action be organized.
… If you all deal successfully with these two issues 1) illegal roadblocks and 2) the big brother and the gangster issues, by the end of 2002 I will present those with remarkable achievements with medals. Some gangster groups also possess gun leading to acts of killings. There was a murder case recently. People have gathered in front of my residence to demand justice. (I have ordered that) whoever the criminals would be, they must be discovered. If their high-ranking parents hide them, they would be relieved of their positions so that their children would dare not commit any further crimes by taking advantage of their parents’ ranks. If their parents have not yet been sacked (from their position) and the arrest of their children may lead to an armed clash, we have to face that also in order to enact the law. They must be brought to trial in court without amnesty and regardless of position.
… Having done so, our society would be equitable. What is more important is that we can make a success on various tasks. Similarly those (of you) who do not implement (this order), let me make clear, will be subject to removal of ranks. The explanation is if you do not abide by the law, why should you be holding on to the position that protect and reinforce the law?