It is a great pleasure today that I have joined with all of you, Buddhist monks, people, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, to celebrate the fifth years’ anniversary of the Minebea (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. operation in Cambodia along with various other new achievements set out by the company. I am so proud of and pleased with the speech delivered by Yoshihisa Kainuma, General Director of Minebea illustrating the various stages of the company development. I also thank the Japanese Ambassador HE Hidehisa Horinouchi for delivering a speech in Khmer and then in English, without having to speak through translator. I really admire his special ability.
Minebea (Cambodia) – from 23 to Over 200 Millions USD Project
I also wish to say a few words about the advancement of the company. Please allow me to go back a little bit. HE Kainuma just mentioned in his speech about the process of developing the company and reminded my speech that this factory is like a child that I helped with the delivering. We must therefore work together to provide the child with good care. The child has now grown from a 23 million to over 200 million USD project. It is a remarkable progress. Nevertheless, I have the need to say something to illustrate the state of being realistic of the Royal Government of Cambodia. In fact, this child was about to abort since when it was in the womb.
Mr. Kainuma and HE Sok Chenda, and also then Japanese Ambassador Massafumi Koruki, may have remembered a major concern when there was a fierce competition to the determined investment of Minebea (Cambodia). The argument then was that Minebea is too small and there was an attempt to replace it with a bigger one. I then had to meet with the other company. What I wanted to bring up here is a story that is relating to lives of our workers whose works and more than 100 USD/month income go to their families […]
Two Points for Investors’ Confidence
The point here was that Mr. Kainuma and his colleagues came to see me about this concern. I told him that for Cambodia, big or small fish is not the key. What is more important for us is which fish is coming first. We will catch them because our pot is empty. This has been Hun Sen’s methodology to catch whatever fish came first, small or big. Secondly, I have made my point that should the Royal Government does not implement a contract made with Minebea (Cambodia), other companies also would suffer the same fate. This happened since 1995. Hun Sen adheres to a realistic policy. This is not only for the same of political matter. It is a question of trust. The project was about to abort.
After a thorough meeting, HE Keat Chhon (then Deputy Prime Minister) sought my approval on Minebea (Cambodia) project. Then there came another proposal to shelve Minebea proposal and wait for a bigger company. It was not a proposal from Cambodian but from foreign side. I do not have to reveal it. However, I have adhered to my two key principles – whoever comes first, we will consider it and we must create confidence for investors. If one company could violate or sideline Minebea (Cambodia), that company may suffer similar ill fate one day like Minebea (Cambodia).
As you can see now that was how we started this company where you are now enjoying your works. With the support and cooperation provided by the Royal Government, the company has been able to stand here five years now. The child I helped deliver is healthy and increasing its capital from 23 million USD to over 200 million USD. Why has it achieved this status? It is because of confidence they placed in political stability and national development on one side and determinations rendered by the Royal Government for the company to develop as is reported by Mr. Kainuma.
Cambodia Hold No Discrimination over Foreign Investments
In this week, I have come to PPSEZ twice. On 6 December, I came for the inauguration of the expansion of the US Company Coca Cola, and today, I came for the Minebea (Cambodia) Company of Japan. The good point here is that these companies are not obliged for shares from local stakeholders. While visiting Tokyo, the Cambodian delegation and I had a chance to have dinner hosted by Mr. Kainuma and his wife. We discussed things relating to their works and operation. I learnt from them what have been their difficulties and facilities working in Cambodia. We have covered various issues, taking for instance, provision of electricity for the factory.
I am indeed happy to have heard a paragraph of Mr. Kainuma’s speech “the products that you are making here will be Cambodia’s exports and you have your shares in developing the country.” Mr. Kainuman continued – “I think your working condition improves year after years. You all are able to send money to parents, families, for mending homes, and various other things.” I am sure they are not only repairing their homes. With the income they made here they would be able to build new homes in the countryside. I am so grateful that Minebea (Cambodia) has invited their families to come and see how their children work and live.
First Pay All Due Debts, Borrow New Ones Possible
Some people said Japanese, the US or French companies would come and invest in Cambodia only when they came to power. Some had come to me to try to cheat me that if s/he was made President of the National Bank, then Japan would allow lending to Cambodia. I know Japan well. The reason why Japan did not lend us is we have not yet paid old due debts. In principle, Japan would allow new borrowings only when old debts are paid. We have debts to Japan from 1960s and 1970s and the Royal Government has had to do so many things to repay them. However, Japan has a good way to remedying that. In order to pay back Japanese debts, Japan sends Cambodia some goods to sell in Cambodia. Money they made repays Japanese debts but Japan did not even get it back. They use it to assist Cambodia.
When we repaid Japanese debts, Japan offer us loans. Hun Sen never cheats anyone but he would not allow himself to be cheated either. You may see the French company that is investing in the Phnom Penh International Airports not far from here, the US Company here too, and various others. As you can now understand, it was not a question so and so in power to make those countries invest in Cambodia. The key point is whether the country is stable and giving all investors favorable conditions or not […]
Working Hard and Well, Better Pay
This is our new policy on Cambodia industrial development for 2015-2025. We will work hard to promote it. I hope that you will work hard and well for the sake of the company’s benefit because in return you will also get better pay. Please do not forget to send some to your parents. I asked around and many said they have been able to send some homes. Parents said they received between a hundred and 200 USD per month from their children. As you can see, what you are actually doing and achieving is not about the many thousands of you here but your parents, families and community. Being a part of family, children have obligations to help parents. Parents also have their shares of educating children who are residing in Phnom Penh to avoid drugs and improper actions.
No One Bribes Hun Sen for Investment
People may ask around the French, the US or the Japanese here about corruption. You may ask Mr. Kainuma how much he bribed me to have a factory here. The other day we have the Coca-Cola Company here too, how much bribe did they pay to expand their factory? How much bribe the French company pay for their investments? Words have it that Cambodia is bad but Mr. Kainuma is coming still. We now have come to the fifth year operation and I am asking you to make your operation for a hundred years. Well I would have died already then […] I hope that concerned institutions are working together, especially HE Sok Chenda, to oversee the smooth operation of the PPSEZ. I have entrusted many tasks with HE Sok Chenda to ensure good working process here and I do not wish to see any company to come in and leave us. I wanted all of them to increase their capital investments and expand to create more works and productions for exports to the world.
Direct Flight from Japan and Three Years Visa
It is now easier to travel between Cambodia and Japan. Direct flight between Phnom Penh International Airport and Japanese’s Narita Airport offers chance for Japanese investors and tourists. Days ago, we have provided three-year valid visa for Korean and Chinese. We must do the same for Japanese. If we already did to a certain extent in the past for them, let us offer the same now. This should facilitate relations further … I will go to Japan too. People may want to know why. I will go to have my artificial eye made. You know that one of my eyes is artificial and made in Japan. I lost it in the war. Japan made very good ones. Some people teased me that I have a good vision because I am wearing Japanese eye. Well, whatever they say.
The other day I did not mention about this while I was with the handicapped. Some called me the blind. Many leaders are blind. Former Majesty of Thailand had one-eyesight only. Hun Sen lost one eye for the sake of nation and people and it is not a condition for one not to be Prime Minister. Former President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid, also had failing eyesight […]
Connection between Industry and Agriculture
Today we have presence of families of our workers who have come a long way here. I send my greeting to you and those living in your communities. It is now time for our people to harvest and people residing along the rivers would be busy growing their crops. People in Cambodia are working in both agriculture and industry. They are strongly related. Our people have one foot standing in agriculture and another in industry. While children are working in factories, their parents and families are working in farms. This year, animals did only 8% of cultivation. Children working in factories sent money homes with which either they purchased pulled tractors or hired ones.
I remember that during the 2008 economic downturn and financial crisis, many factories had closed down. HE Keat Chhon worked hard to create a special fund for vocational training. However, thanks to the fact that our workers were not completely depending on industry, they could go back and worked with their parents in agriculture. It did help us resolve problem to a certain extent. I just mentioned about the fact that we must work together to maintain factories and enterprises in our country, not only in this place but also throughout the country. Once the factories close down, workers are the first to suffer.
Please do not allow yourselves pulled by this or that groups as some would cause problem until factories have had to move out of the country. Finally, workers would miss their regular income between 150 USD and 200 or 300 USD. They would have to go back and work in the field. Factories and workers are of inseparable relation. They are like in a family. They complement one another. With factories, without workers, nothing could have happened, and vice versa. As leader of the Royal Government, I will work hard to attract more investments while preserving existing ones so that they will make more profits and some of them will come back to you working for them. Take for instance, our efforts to decrease electricity price would be a part of profit for factories/enterprises. They should use it partly for increase of salary.
Hun Sen. Bows to No Pressure
I would not speak any more as I have spoken much already. Yesterday I sat and worked on many things. We have sent a message out that Cambodians know how to resolve their differences. Let no one talk about putting pressure. As I had told HE Ambassador the other day that in matter of hours, there would be good news. This has been a message to everyone that Cambodia knows how to resolve its problem and please do not come around and talk about applying pressure here and there. It is useless. My attitude is different from others. If you put me under pressure, I would just be ignoring it. When everyone is calm and cool, things go smoothly in just a few hours […]
Now let us not talk about pressure anymore, Let us talk about making efforts altogether to build and develop our country. We have suffered so much already and it has been too much for our people to bear the suffering. Together, we must keep peace because without peace we cannot have development. Let us not bring about conflict and create problem. We must instead work to attract foreign investments, provide investors with every facility they may need, and build both soft and hard infrastructures./.