… Today I have a great pleasure for having the chance to return to Peareang district once again with a new offer for our people here. The bridge of Taso is to be built in between Kompongpopil commune on one side and Mesarprachan commune on the other. But this bridge has a great interaction not only in Peareang, Oreang Ov, Sithor Kandal districts of Prey Veng but two other districts of Kandal – Khsach Kandal and Lvea Em, and Srei Santhor and Koh Sotin of Kompong Cham. The groundbreaking today is witnessed by about ten thousand people but the achievement is going to offer its benefit to various thousand residing or travelling across this place.
… Let me give my warm thanks to the local authorities at all levels and the armed forces for their efforts to cope up with various situations, especially flooding in the last years. May I also offer my thank to HE Chea Soth, HE Nhem Vanda and other members of Parliament, the Senate in Prey Veng as well as the Peareang district. Peareang is one among the many districts that are affected by flood as well as drought. According to the report by the First Deputy Governor Chhai Sareth, thanks to various interventions organized and sent here with HE Nhem Vanda as my representative, and the Ministry of Water Resources and the intervention team of my bodyguards, have brought about some relief. I am quite concerned that there seems to have no rain at all (usually there are some in the dry season) and a number of lakes dried out. Without advanced rains we also have no grass for our draught animals.
… May I thank General Kong Ieng and officials and soldiers of the engineering team for proceeding to implement my order fairly quickly after I gave my signature on HE Chea Soth’s proposal. The bridge has been scheduled to be ready in four months, which would thereafter relieve some of our people’s difficulties. May I recall that I came here once 19 years ago — in 1983 – and I saw people actively celebrated their boat competition here in the Tonle Touch (Small River.) I was invited to a lunch by the late Venerable Ke Yoeun and was impressed with the boat competition tradition here. It is a good memory. I also came here with HE Chea Soth and the late Excellency Sin Song respectively until we had realized a concrete bridge across the Tonle Touch, which I inaugurated in 1993. I wish to provide solar energized lights before the Khmer New Year.
… Of course we have to study which bridge should be given priority, as this Taso Bridge requested to me by HE Chea Saoth, a senior member of the CPP. It is a prioritized bridge because it interrelates with various other parts of the country. Cambodia has so many canals and they should not be obstructed but restored for the sake of keeping water and fishery for agricultural production and transports. We were to obstruct no canals but build bridges. I am thinking of bringing down the practice of chopping trees to build bridges as this would not eradicate the problem to its root. According to my observation, our need is not 6,000 meters but not less than 60,000 meters of Bailey bridge. A sum of 6,000 meters is for the start and as we are able to replace them with concrete once, we would remove them to other areas until we have all the bridges we need throughout the country.
… It is an indication of decentralization of power when I noticed that at the local level, the community has already given thought on what to do with the wood removed from the old bridge. I agreed that the wood removed would be used to either build small cottage for nun or repair other wooden bridges. I have just approved a proposal to build a bridge over Takoch canal in Srey Santhor district and on March 30 I would go to Koh Sotin to build another bridge as well. So these areas will be interrelated. I mentioned about a frog-movement strategy. This frog has got its objective and made his way through to rural area.
… The Royal Government has outlined three strategies on issue of socio-economic development. Firstly, the long-term economic growth; secondly, the equitable distribution of resources, and thirdly, the regular and sustainable use and management of natural resources. The second point is the sharing of resources one part to urban and another part to the rural area in an aim to reduce the gap between urban and rural. The priority of the Royal Government is aiming at the rural area. Now all the communal offices are not in proper condition, which means that the elected commune council members have not got a good working place. So what are we to choose between offices for the commune council members and bridges for our people to use. My decision would go to serving the people’s need for a bridge. We have to address the root problem in the rural area that is to guarantee a reduction of poverty through economic growth rather than offering relief assistance once in a while.
… We are now seeking a reduction of another imbalance between the need for socio-economic development in face of the demanding infrastructures. I am thinking of incorporating into the framework of resolving the imbalances, that before we have put out as seven. In the State of Cambodia’s period, we have four imbalances to address. Now we have seven imbalances plus one more, making it all eight imbalances. What are they?
- Demand and supply. As demand goes greater our capacity to supply is limited. We have to mobilize our possibility to resolve food, water, education, clothing, residence, transports as the main priority.
- Income and expense of the national budget. In the past years, the Royal Government has striven to increase income, while slashing down expenses. Expenses on military, security have been reduced, while the number of soldiers is downsized. Savings from these areas allow the Royal Government to increase budget in the sectors of education, health and economics.
- Exports and Imports. We have made lots of imports. We have to expand our product items and production for exports. This should address the imbalances of external trades.
- Currency and goods. In short, we have to prevent inflation and maintain purchasing power of the Riel currency.
- Demand for living standards of the Government officials, the armed forces and their small salaries. For a stable living condition, there needs to have a reasonably high salary.
- Growth of labor force and demand for jobs. People turn 18 years old have grown in numbers, and many more are given birth every day.
- Demand for development and human resource training. All children of Cambodia have to have good education. That is why we have built so many schools throughout Cambodia. I have contributed in all 17 school-buildings in Peareang district alone.
- I am thinking of bringing to light the need for socio-economic development and reduction of poverty in face of poor infrastructure that needs to be rehabilitated. It is in this reason that I have made my previous term of government to build schools, while this term of Government to build roads and bridges.
If we were to build no roads and bridges, we would not be able to push forwards for an economic growth as well. Why it is so? Once they have produced, people have problems of marketing because of roads and bridges conditions.
… While constructing this bridge, may I suggest that General Kong Ieng conduct a study of the length between Preah Kunlong bridge to Vihearsuor pagoda. HE Yim Chhaili has told me that the World Bank would repair and replaced the three flood-destructed bridges with Bailey. But between Vihearsuor pagoda and Kompong Popil there have a few wearing-down bridges. Please initiate a study to see how could we go about it. We could not afford to have a good bridge out there, a good bridge in here, while leaving the part in between impassable at all. As for the bridge here today, let me reassert, is not just to reduce poverty and boost up the economic development, but also contribute to the improvement of wellbeing, education and various others. May I add that if within the stated four months the bridge is yet to be finished, and if the flood is approaching in July, the engineering team has to provide ferry crossing for free to our people. The bridge would also be lighted by solar energy as well. As for the Hun Sen secondary school, please conduct a study for me about how to put the fence around.