… Today I have a great pleasure for having got a chance to return to Chhlong once again with the joy of the celebration of new achievements for the sake of our people’s use. It goes without saying that I am so joyous that today we are able to meet gradually the need of the people here. Let me take this opportunity to offer my deep appreciation to the people of Cambodia all over the country and the local authorities of all levels for their commitments and efforts made to overcome successive flooding in 2000 and again 2001. I have come (to Kratie) many times as well to oversee the process of relieving our people from difficulties partly caused by flood. With the efforts made by our national compatriots, the local authorities, and the armed forces, we have been able to save ourselves from the natural disaster leaving no one to die of hunger in this situation.
… I wish also to express my appreciation to our people for their active participation in the communal election, the result of which has turned out to be a miracle on the Angkor territory. It was an election that was free, fair, just, transparent and free from violence. Through this election, more power would be delegated to the local people and their commune councils for the sake of developing our country in an environment of peace, democracy and respect of human rights.
… HE Im Chhun Lim, Minister of Urban Planning, has told me that it took him three hours and a half to get here from Phnom Penh. If we were to compare this amount of time with before, it would take us more than half a day to get to Phnom Penh from here or vice versa. Now we have already rebuilt the road 73 that HE Keat Chhon and I have just had a bird’s eyeview together. At first we were thinking of using loan from the Asian Development Bank to build this road. Later on we have decided to divert the resource to rebuild a part of the National Road (NR) 7 that links Mehmut via Snuol to Kratie town. From NR 7 to Kompong Reang, we have a length of eleven Kilometers that are in bad condition.
… Last week in the meeting of the Council of Ministers we have passed a draft law on water resources in which a number of articles have encompassed constructions in territorial waters whether in sea, rivers or canals. All of these have to have thorough studies and subject to approval from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. Taking for instance in some places we have some canals sealed causing negative side effects not only to the area but also adjacent places. Taking this opportunity I would like to reserve my praise for the working group headed by HE Im Chhun Lim who stay and study about our people and their living condition in Kratie. Especially HE Chan Sophan, who leads a group (of CPP team) in Chhlong district, for sending me the study of, and how to resolve, some of the problems that are encountered by our people in this place. The study helps us find out a solution to those problems. As we could see (now that this part of 11 kilometers road is) an obstacle to the connection of a systematic link of Kroch Chhmar, Chhlong and Tambe districts that are already bridged by Spien Samraong, Spien Oknha Tit, and Spien Prek Takoch.
… Today we conduct the groundbreaking of 11-Kilomer road and a total length of 126-meter bridge (1. Spien Prek Kompong Reang, 30 meters; 2. Spien Prek Roeus, 54 meters; and 3. Spien Prek Khle, 42 meters.) The three bridges will have solar energy to light up during the night. HE Loi Sophat could stay on in Kratie till all the bridges are constructed. I have already prepared a letter to HM the King requesting for the Royal Decree to extend the term of provincial governor from three to five years.
… The other day I listened to a conversation over the radio in which our people said that Samdech Hun Sen builds this or that here and there, but there are various roads in Kompot that also need to be built. Let me clarify that some of the roads have been projected for reconstruction and construction using loans from either the World Bank (WB) or the Asian Development Bank (ADB.) Normally it takes a long procedure because they have to go through consultants, auctions, and approvals in either Washington (for WB) or Manila (for ADB.) But for some that are to be constructed (by the Royal Government’s own budget and) by the Military Engineering Team, they are quicker. Like these three bridges would take us time at least till July to finish. Therefore in time of seasonal flood, the same is true for the construction site at Angkor Baan canal, a ferry service has to be established for free for our people to travel to and from across this area. I have just ordered the Infantry Engineering Team to take up projects to build a number of bridges in Preah Vihear, in Pursath and in Oral district of Kompong Speu.
… As far as school construction cost is concerned I would readjust the standard price of US$ 20,000 for a school building with five classrooms to US$ 18,000 for the same standard. HE Keat Chhon has said that taking the number of first-level secondary schools in this area, there need to have a second-level secondary school as well. I agree with his idea and may all of our officials seconded to working with our people here organize a flower ceremony to generate fund to take care of this matter. The traffic between Chhlong and the Kratie town is still disconnected because there are two places that need to have bridges built. So I would announce the construction of the bridges over Prek (canal) Chhlong canal and Prek Te. May the Military Engineering Team of the Ministry of National Defense conduct the study and propose the project. If the construction could not finish by 2002, we should have the foundation ready for the installation of the Bailey Bridges in 2003. These two bridges are also lighted by solar energy as well.
… As long as these issues (of roads and bridges) are being addressed, we could say that we have fulfilled the policy of poverty reduction, which should promote a sustainable economic growth. This also is in line with the three strategies of the Royal Government that is 1) to create long-term economic growth, 2) to distribute the fruit of the economic growth equitably, and 3) to use in a sustainable way the natural resources. What we are doing here today is the fulfillment of the second strategy in which we bring in investment to rural areas. This should enable an interactive relationship between the rural and urban areas aimed at realizing economic growth.
… Finally I would like to express my profound thanks to our people here and my gratitude to those who help take care of me in the past, in the present as well as in the future. In the current term of Government I have this ability to build bridges and roads for our people, and I would continue to do so if I have a chance to be re-elected in 2003. Step by step, as frog-leap strategy, we could mobilize resources at this scale.