Excellencies Members of the Royal Government
Excellency Ghutaro Oghava, Ambassador of Japan
Excellencies National and International Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
Today I have a great honor and pleasure to one again be with Excellency Ghutaro Oghava, ambassador of Japan at this great launching ceremony of the National Route 6 from Rolous to Siem Reap Town, constructed under the Japanese Government grant. In January 2001, with the present of Excellency Kiyohiro Araki, Secretary of State of the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, and Excellency Ghutaro Oghava, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony of this National Route 6 construction and had taken that great opportunity to initiate the road and bridge infrastructure construction strategy which I named it the “train head” strategy of economic growth.
This National Route 6 from Rolous to Siem Reap town is the tourist road to Ankor Watt, therefore, it is not only a great valuable gift of the Japanese Government contributing to the improvement of economic and social development and poverty alleviation of million Cambodian people but also contributing to the promotion of Cambodian culture and civilization. This is the sixth products from the Japanese grant over 100 million dollars in infrastructure since December 2001. Cambodian people always remember that Japan has been the leading country in helping Cambodia to build peace and political stability since the late 80s and since then Japan has started providing grant to Cambodia in many sectors. Though Japan are facing some economic problem but its financial support to Cambodia has not been changed. This reflects the great sympathy of the government and people of Japan in helping Cambodia to maintain political stability and alleviate poverty.
On behalf of the Royal Government (RG) and Cambodian people. I would like to take this opportunity to faithfully appreciate the Government and people of Japan for sharing its valuable resources contributing toward building and maintaining peace and political stability, rehabilitation and improving economic growth, and the development of Cambodian country. These kindly actions of Japan will be documented in the golden historical records of Cambodia and will always be remembered by Cambodian people.
After two decades of internal war, many Cambodia regions have disconnected or become so far apart especially Siem Reap province, which is the well-known international tourist area. Air and boat are considered the best way to travel to or from Siem Reap from/to other areas within the country including the capital city. Therefore, this part of the National Route 6 will not only ease to travel from Siem Reap Airport to Ankor complex but it will also connect to the National Route 5 (to Svay Sisophon) and to the Thai border as well as connecting the west to the Northeast region (to Lao and Vietnam). In addition, this National Route serves many purposes such as transportation mean, tourism, and especially agricultural trade.
We are so proud that this part of the National Route 6 is completed right at the time of the first commune election has been conducted successfully under free, fair, and safe without violence. This is the positive result of the public administrative reform under decentralization and concentration mechanism to delegate power and responsibility to local authorities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Cambodian citizens who have participated in electing their local leaders for strengthening democracy at the local level, for improving public services, and especially for fostering Cambodian economic and social development. Cambodian people are proud of the commune election and view it as “miracle event in Ankor land”. I would like to appeal to all members of commune council who have just been elected to place the national and people benefit upfront and be cooperated to serve people who are the owner of the power toward building our great nation.
As you all aware and experience that war and internal conflict especially the Pol Pot genocidal regime had destroyed the nation almost to zero level. After 1979, we were left with empty hand especially physical infrastructure was heavily damaged following by internal conflict continue to destroy and hamper the country development until 1998. On top of that, the severe flood in the last few years had also damaged a great deal of our physical infrastructure. However, starting from empty hand and difficulties, we have rehabilitated and reconstructed our foundation of physical and social infrastructure, economy, culture, and tradition. Moreover, war and internal conflict have been eliminated and national reconciliation, peace, and political stability have been restored for the first time in decades.
These invaluable achievements have created “Diamond Opportunity” for the country development and poverty alleviation. In this regard, the RG has considered rehabilitation and repairing physical infrastructure as the priority area because road and bridge is the flowing network of labor and goods and services and is the train head to pull the economic growth, which is the important factor for improving people welfare. Having good road and bridge is having the opportunity to improve economic and social development, people welfare, and facilitate in keeping security and social order.
Along with this Japanese grant program, the rehabilitation and repairing of the National Route 6 from Kompong Thom to Siem Reap is starting under the World Bank loan program which I will launch the groundbreaking ceremony soon. The RG are busy with constructing and repairing many other national routes and roads around the country by using external funding (loans and grants) and as well as national budget. This reflects the commitment of the RG in constructing and repairing physical infrastructure in the whole country within the second terms in the office has moved toward achieving its objective.
In officially inaugurate this National Route 6, I would like to stress on its beneficiary as follows:
First, for tourism, it will open up new opportunity for tourism sector in attracting national and international tourists to visit Ankor complex and to visit other temples along this national route as well. This will build up potential of tourism sector to become an important engine for economic growth and poverty reduction through job creation, increase income, and improving standard of living.
Second, for agro-industry, it will serve as an important transportation mean especially for agricultural and aquacultural products for Siem Reap, Kompong Thom, and other provinces around Tonle Sap which are the main provinces in producing agricultural and aquacultural products. Therefore, good road and bridge meaning that these products can be easily transport to the market with cheaper transportation cost and more tourists mean increasing market demand for farm products.
Third, for social development, besides economic benefits, it will play an important role in improving education and health sector in this area because sending your children to school or going to hospital or health center is becoming a lot easier. It also allows us to reintegrate areas where its have been disconnected during the war and internal conflict decades ago.
Fourth, for international trade, it will become an international gate for trade and investment among Cambodia, Lao, and Thai because the National Route 6 not only connects Phnom Penh to the areas around Tonle Sap but also to Lao and Thai borders.
One again, on behalf of the RG and Cambodian people I would like to express a great appreciation to the Royal Government and people of Japan for their valuable contribution in building and keeping peace and political stability and as well as rehabilitation and development of the Cambodian economy. The RG and Cambodian people highly consider and will always keep in our mind and heard these generous actions of the Japanese Government and people. I would also like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to ADB, WB, and other international institutions who have actively contribute to the rehabilitation and construction of Cambodia infrastructure for development and poverty reduction in our country.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to management and officials of the Ministry of public works and transports, local authorities, and other related institutions as well as citizens at all levels that have put great efforts to cooperate and create necessary condition for successful implementation of our infrastructure rehabilitation and construction strategic plan. I would like to congratulate and appreciate the DAIHO Company and KATAHYRA as well as the international engineering team for completing this project two months ahead of time.
I would like to appeal to all of our citizens especially transportation companies to continue cooperate in taking good care of all of our roads and bridges infrastructure for long live use.
In conclusion, I would like to wish Venerable Buddhist Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen with the five gems of Buddha’s blessings—Longevity, Nobility, Healthy, Mighty, and Brightness. I would like to announce that the National Route 6 from Rolous to Siem Reap town is now officially inaugurated. Thank you all for your attention.