I am so happy today to be able to fulfil my promise that I made to the Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia) at a meeting of the ASEAN-US Business Council to come and inaugurate the new plant here.
Cambodian Investment Policy Opens to Everyone
I have come here today to inaugurate the new plant of Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia) that cost more than 100 million USD. The day after tomorrow, I will come here again to inaugurate production line expansion of the Japanese Minebea Company or Minebea (Cambodia) Co., Ltd, a Japanese investment. This has clearly reflected that the Cambodian investment policy opens to everyone, US or Japan.
Prior talking about other issues, please allow me to open a bracket here. Within the last 12 hours, three good things have happened to our nation and to me personally. Firstly, we are here to put into official operation the new plant of the Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia). Secondly, it is an honor to us all that Cambodian Petanque sportsman Sok Chan Mean has won the first prize in word competition in Madagascar. Thirdly, for me personally, my family welcomes my eighteenth grandchildren, a granddaughter. They all happened coincidentally […]
Four Good Things of Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia)
With regard to Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia), as Mr. Irial Finan already brought up, I should speak of four points of encouragement and appreciation for the Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia), whose investment in Cambodia has started from small to bigger project. Formerly we had company 7UP, which has now become one of the plants of Coca-Cola at Khan Russei Keo. The remarkable thing is, according to the report, that 99.7% of its employees are Cambodian. It is a strong encouragement to our efforts for use and training of local human resource. I am calling on efforts to do more of this. I am glad you have already done it. I am so proud of my people for having such chance for works in this production line with modern technology.
Secondly, the Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia) has involved itself in social affairs ranging from traffic safety to human resource training, by means of providing scholarships. Thirdly, you have made Cambodia proud with your invention to label Coca Cola can with Cambodian letters. Let me say one thing here. When the US Secretary of State John Kerry was on a visit in Cambodia, I showed him a can of Coca Cola with label written on it in Khmer. Knowing that I am a Facebook user, John Kerry encouraged me to bring it on to Facebook. It is a lift of Cambodian image indeed.
Perhaps I should remind that factories in Cambodia these days are not producing only to serve 15 million local Cambodian people’s demand but 600 million ASEAN people. Because of some coordination, some countries may have to purchase it from Cambodia for their markets. Some countries may already have Coca-Cola production lines. However, Coca-Cola from Cambodia can still flow freely to other markets where it is in demand. Fourthly, the company initiated reasonable price lodgments for workers. This is one very good point that we are facing and making effort to resolve.
Lodgment Owners Should Not Jack Up Rent
I would like to take this opportune moment to appeal, for the sake of our workers here, as well as in the whole country, or mainly in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kompong Speu, to owners of lodgments on rent issue. We have achieved through negotiation on minimum salary of 153 USD for workers in garments, apparels and shoes production lines, starting from January next year. It is our remark that every time the minimum salary of workers increases, lodgment owners also do with regard to their rents. I am calling on local authority to work it out with the owners not to jack up their rents. If they really have to, they should do a reasonably tiny portion.
The Royal Government has made every effort to resolve their difficulties with regard to costs of electricity and running water so they would benefit from 610 Riel/KWH for use of 50 KWH of electricity and below, and a reasonable price for water as well. I am asking HE Cham Prasidh, Minister of Industry and Handicraft, to oversee the issue, and because the Ministry is supervising the water-supply headquarters as well. The Ministry of Energy and Mines together with the Electricity Company of Cambodia must keep on with this work of wiring electricity to workers’ lodgments. Our workers should benefit from access to base price electricity and water supply.
Local authority with lodgments rented to workers must work with lodgments owners together with concerned ministries. There needs to be a discussion among them to ensure that workers will actually benefit from salary increase resulted from tripartite Royal Government-employers-trade unions negotiations. It has been a standing issue that this effort may face with the fact that lodgments owners would also increase their rents altogether. January (2017) will be in matter of days. I am calling on behalf of the Royal Government on owners of lodgments to spare understandings about this plea while we are increasing salary for our workers.
It is a good model that the Cambodia Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Cambodia) built lodgments and rented them out to workers at a lower price. This is one good and applicable example. I hope that those who work here will continue to have favorable treatment from factory owners and managers. The US considers itself as father of democracy and mother of human rights. It would be speechless if this US brand factory would in any case put pressure on workers. I am not mocking at anyone. I am just reminding.
Industrial Development Policy
I wish to say a few things about our industrial development policy. We worked so hard to develop an industry starting from one using intensive number of workers to respond to demand for jobs among our young people. Many factories came to Cambodia and we have been able to note increase of exports in volume from tens of millions to billions US dollars. How much did we reach now? Yes, 5 billion USD. To develop a country, we cannot rest only on agriculture like what Pol Pot did to the country – where there is rice there is everything. We need instead to do everything – agriculture, industry, which we alternate with choices. In the initial stage, our labor-intensive industry, service one included, absorbed some 600,000 workers. As of now, total number of workers working in every production lines everywhere have reached almost a million.
In terms of connectivity, this industrial zone has brought benefits to lodgments owners, food sellers, etc. However, we have the need to drive for higher technology industry that is using higher technology and world class like the Minebea Cambodia Ltd. That I will come for their operation expansion on December 8. What they have produced here is for worldwide demand. They make motor, a kind that is tiny and used in smartphones, radio, cameras and even for medical check-up equipment for internal organs, such as stomach.
In the Industrial zone of Koh Kong province, there is this factory produces what I call a nerve system of a car and they use it everywhere. The wiring produced in Koh Kong responds to demand also for car production in the US. To be able to do all this we must train our human resource. Attaining high quality human resource will enable us to respond to higher skill labor markets. This would also attract more investments and companies as well. Along with this, we also need to build infrastructures necessary for transportation – ports, airports and electricity, etc. It is a good thing that the factory here has installed and accumulated solar energy of its own.
It is a reminder to Lok Chumteav Lim Chhiev Huor. I have noticed while driving here that compared to my previous visits, the road has deteriorated. Whose responsibility is it? HE Sok Chenda, Secretary General of the Special Economic Zone should oversee this. When the road is in bad condition, who will be responsible? Was it still SEZ owner’s responsibility? If it is, fixing it is required. I am just reminding that to attract investment in SEZ, we must have a good infrastructure […]
Workers and Business Owners Complement Each Other
I hope that workers and factory managers, either US citizen or other nationalities, and sub-level managers to every sections will see that they complement each other. It is important. If the factory owners care well for their workers’ health and living condition, it is true that workers will work more effectively and efficiently. It is a complementary approach. While workers are working hard to churn out profits, factories owners will certainly increase salary for workers. You complement each other. Please do not think of demonstration as means to resolve problem. Such measures would often lead to fire on factories. Once that happened, who would bear the brunt first? Deputy President of Coca-Cola would go back to his country but our workers here are losing jobs and incomes. You may register and apply for jobs elsewhere but, note my words, if the new factories know that so and so were the ones that creates problems, they would not offer any jobs. In Cambodia, this may not be as serious as if it were in the US or elsewhere. That said, I did not mean to shut workers up from non-violent and rational protest. I support workers’ rights to demand thing in a rational and non-violent way.
Do not Be Terrified by Donald Trump’s Protectionist Policy
I have one thing to appeal to workers in not only this US brand Coca Cola factory but every American one, please do not be terrified by instigation of some people that the coming President Donald Trump of the US would implement policy of protectionism leading to reducing its investment to foreign countries. Having come to this, I have one thing to talk about. I may ask something from HE William A. Heidt (the US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia), if you do not mind. It was about something that happened in the US and in Cambodia. In Cambodia, after the elections, there were always demonstrations. This time it happened also in the US and in many states […]
The other day, Phnom Penh Post drew a comparison between what happened in the US demonstration and in Cambodia. One supposed to be in demonstration in the US, they run a photo of a woman in black eyeglasses walking elegantly, while there had been reports in every media openly about suppression by police on protestors, thousands of whom arrested. I am asking you for some proofs … to see if you would reveal the truth. Not yet elected, President-elect Donald Trump said that the media was biased. If some of the US media was biased, how could anyone expect it different for the US media in Cambodia?
The other day I bought an issue up in Siem Reap and I hope you understand it because you know Khmer and there is always a translation service too. I was talking about color revolution. Who initiated it? Would anyone praise color revolution anymore? Would any supporter of color revolution come out and praise how color revolution in the Middle East kill people each day? They went silent … I wish that HE Ambassador note it clearly words of analysts and human rights representatives to the press that suppressing protests in the US was right and not a violation of human rights. I accept that and I do not expect a double standard interpretation. This has clarified that what the Royal Government of Cambodia did in the past was not wrong for the sake of keeping order of a country […]
Donald Trump’s Victory Would Eases World Tension
… Finally, I said that Donald Trump would win. And he did. If you would want to learn from me the key points that bring me to the evaluation that Trump would win, I would tell you someday. What were my reasons why Donald Trump would win the elections 99%? In Phnom Penh, people bet one against ten that Hillary Clinton would win and Donald Trump would lose. Those who bet Hillary’s victory lost severely. I did not go into bet with anyone.
I was giving my lecture to over 2,000 national police forces and Fresh News who was there sent out news that Hun Sen wished Donald Trump win the election. I was drawing an analysis on a multipolar world issue. My argument for Donald Trump’s would-be victory was that fact that the world situation has grown tense. The US-Russia relation was a mess especially the missile shield issue along the border with Russia, and Russia’s threat to reciprocate. It is a severe issue for the world and for Europe itself. The world is interdependent. Well, that said, I should just go on. On 8 November 2016, I had a courtesy call of the German Ambassador and in the afternoon a British councilor. They both refuted my arguments and denied Trump’s ability to win.
A day later, the vote counting indicated that Donald Trump was in the lead. What I wanted to bring up here is that when I predicted Trump to be the winner, there were people who insulted Donald Trump to be dictator. They said animals of same feather would stay in same nest. They said Donald Trump would be a dictator because of his money and Hun Sen would be because of weapons and money. A diplomacy professor of Cambodian nationality in the US said should Donald Trump win the elections; it would be the rise of the illiterates. He brought into comparison persons like Trumps, Putin, Mugabe, etc. That Trump wins the elections and is going to be the President, whom they claimed to be illiterate I think the US Ambassador Heidt should have something to think of.
Two persons talked to the Cambodia Daily. Since they wanted too much to hit Hun Sen’s head, unfortunately they had Trump’s. I may remind you that I did not say anything to criticize Hillary Clinton and offer support to one versus the other. My analysis has been that (Trump’s election) would ease world tension. I am not a professor of diplomacy but I worked in diplomacy for nearly 38 years starting since 2 December (1978). At the foundation of the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea I was head of the Cambodian youth in charge of mass affairs. I certainly have reasons to affirm that Donald Trump had a good chance of winning. Secondly, if he wins, the world tension will ease. It is my right to think and say.
Why Are We American than They Are?
I am telling you a thing about my grandchild. It seems kids in the International School of Phnom Penh also hate Trump. People may resort to reading the Cambodia Daily or the Khmer Newspaper may want to reprint the translation of that article that carries words of two persons. They later terrified you people about Donald Trump’s protectionism. I am telling you the US will not take Coca-Cola out … Let us not be more American than they are or Trump or Hillary that they are. I would not buy it that the protectionism policy would bring interest to America. I may give you an example. To reduce investment to foreign markets means the US is losing ground. Some people brought that matter with me. They strongly believe the US will reduce investment to foreign markets and move them all in. I argue that it would be a big loss for them.
Firstly, outside markets are in need of investment. No matter where the investment come from, they would accept it. Without the US, those markets would work with some others. Take for instance car production. If the Americans do not like to drive the US made, what benefit would the US investor continue to produce it. They would have to import Japanese or German cars or allow Japanese or German factories to produce cars in the US. The best they would do is to increase tax in places of items where before they granted favors. However, increasing tax would bring impacts on the American people […]
Do not feel terrified, Donald Trump is a businessman. He has vast knowledge of economy. He would not use protectionism to kill the US economy. Should he close the door and allow no capital to gout, it would be a doom. Other countries with economic potential would fill in the empty space and the Americans would not be able to use everything the country produced […]
RGC Does Not Increase Tax, Collect All Taxes
Cambodia would not take unwise measures. To respond to the need of Cambodian people, Cambodia would not need to increase consumption tax. Once the consumption tax imposes, the price will also go up. The Royal Government under Hun Sen will not impose higher tax but collect all taxes available. We must collect all the taxes that we missed. With taxation, we will be able to increase state investment and salary. Workers, the government officials, the armed forces are waiting for salary increase at the end of the year. The civil servants and armed forces would wait for the second increase in April of the year […]
Should Welcome Trump’s Position for Countries to Pay for US Protections
That the US would go which way is up to them but according to my analysis, people should not be afraid of Donald Trump’s position and should welcome him when he said that any countries wanted the US soldiers should pay for protections. This means, if you do not have money, there would be no more US troops. This is a benefit for the American people. Firstly, they do not pay tax that the administration would use it to defend another country, and secondly, there is no need to send their children to a foreign soil. This is one of the Trump’s winning points […]
Educate Youth to Become Good Citizens
We must educate our youth to study, to practice sports, to have good moral and virtue, not to scold and insult each other or resort to violence, not to go to drugs. That is what I want. (Believe me) they will not recruit bad people to work in their factories. If you work hard and they make profits, they will certainly do good thing in return. Take for instance this factory offers one free meal. Factories would consider a thirteen-month salary too if it is possible. I hope every concerned ministry – labor, industry, etc. work hard together to create favorable conditions for our country to develop our industry./.