Why do we have to amend the Constitution? Our main aim is to guarantee that there would not be anymore political deadlock in the future, or after the elections in 2008. This also applies in the case that the Prime Minister’s post is definitely unoccupied – from whatever reason – the establishment of a new Government should for this reason be decided by the formula of 50 + 1 rather than the two third majority system. There have been comments that the Cambodian People’s Party would form a new Royal Government without Funcinpec. I wish to reiterate here that this – amending the Constitution while abandoning its current partner Funcinpec to form a new coalition -has not been the intention of the Cambodian People’s Party at all.
I am taking this opportunity to affirm herewith that the cooperation between the Cambodian People’s Party and Funcinpec will continue. Leaving Funcinpec after the amendment of the Constitutional decision to 50 + 1 would not be virtuous. It is in this remark that I wish to reaffirm that CPP will keep the current coalition Government only to change leadership structures of two ministries – the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of National Defense – from the state of being co ministers. We will retain the positions of deputy prime ministers for Samdech Krom Khun Sereivudh and HE Nhek Bun Chhay. The rest of Funcinpec state secretaries and under-state secretaries should stay where they are.
I wish to also make clear that the incidents of appointing officials in a non-virtuous manner, or through lobby of wives or concubines have not been the problem of Funcinpec alone, but a matter that has been found also in CPP. Take for instance when I was commenting about “oldsters” I did not refer to Funcinpec in particular but to all in general – CPP and Parties outside parliament are also included. We have to also change some of the officials who are not competent, unqualified but no changes are planned for senior officials from FUncinpec as has been commented in the press. I also take this opportunity to declare that from now on officials ranking from general director level downwards will no longer officials from parties’ quotas but all are of the Government.
Those with competence will continue to serve the posts while those without will have to be trained and retrained in various courses as I have told the Ministry of Interior to get ready for some short term training cycles. I just read out a speech to the CG that is reviving in full for a profound reform on that matter. We have to apply strictly the Law on Public Officials Statutes, which is similar to that of the army and police. From today onward we will apply the regime of decision made by chief of institution. Rumors of removal or swapping officials occurred not only within the rank of Funcinpec but also in CPP – take for instance those on HE So Khun and Chan Sarun. My wish is to remove no officials only if they make mistakes, I would propose for a motion of no confidence from the parliament. This is the best formula for the incumbent Royal Government’s stability.
Whether HRH Samdech Krom Preah withdraws from the coalition, I would not think so. I doubt if Funcinpec officials would follow him. By leaving the Government I think he would suffer a great deal and it would not be a good choice. Maybe some officials will follow him and some will stay with the Government. The CPP, I declare, would accept officials who wish to join CPP. If they all choose to follow Samdech Krom Preah, then it would not be neither CPP’s nor Hun Sen’s mistake. There is no need for the establishment of a new Government but to vote in some officials to fill in some free posts. Participation of Sam Rainsy Party at this point is not a possibilty because it would not be a virtue of CPP. Therefore in the event that Funcinpec chooses to leave the coalition, CPP will take up leadership role alone and any possible cooperation with Sam Rainsy Paty is foreseen for the period after 2008.
On this possibility of the two parties – Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party – join together, I think they used to be together one in 1998 and again in 2003-04. As for CPP that has 60% already of the people’s support, I do not think it would gain less in 2008 – but at least same level of support if not more. Judging all I have said, I do not propose abandoning of partners but suggest only to readjust in pursuit of work efficiency.
Responses to questions on Japanese and US assistance
I think Japan still retains its vital role in providing assistance to Cambodia, at the present and in the future. No country has matched with Japan in this role yet. Though Japan will have to wait for the Parliament’s approval of its budget, I am sure that Japan will give Cambodia no less than that of the previous year. It would be up to the Japanese parliament to decide on that but I claimed that the Japanese assistance would definitely be used for the alleviation of poverty.
With regard to US assistance, as you have asked, I could not make any comment on their behalf and I think you may direct your question to HE Ambassador of the United States of America who is also present here. If they wish to continue to provide assistance to Cambodia, I think it is up to the US to do whatever they may wish to. Well it is in this reason that I have told our officials to try and make money for the Government rather than depending on money in others’ coffers.
Despite the fact that optimism prevails in this CG meeting, it is worth noting that there is this widespread terrorism issue in the world. As a result military spending by many countries has increased. Secondly there have been serious natural disasters in Asia, take for instance Tsunami, in Africa, in America, for instance Rita and Katrina, etc. This is a general situation. Therefore we are ready to accept whatever amount of assistance that our friends would decide./.