Venerable Samdech Preah Akka Moha Sangreachea thepatey, Samdech Sangreach, Buddhisht Monks,
Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Fellow Participants and Compatriots!
Today, it is a great day that all Cambodian people in the country are commemorating the 37th anniversary of the historic victory day that liberated the Cambodian from the Pol Pot’s genocidal regime, saved our people’s life, existed and developed to the present. Cambodian people and the rest in the world who love peace, freedom and justice still remember this historic event and exemplary heroism of the 7 January soldiers continue to light up brightly and vividly in our people’s hearts for generation to come.
We are celebrating the anniversary of this historic day to have a spirit of our gratitude in uncountable number of combatants and compatriots, who stood up, fought resolutely, and sacrificed their flesh and blood, even life, heroically in the course of rescuing our nation. We are expressing our gratitude to the heroic Vietnamese volunteer army for providing huge assistance for this noble course. We all are bowing to show respect to the souls of over three million Cambodians who died unjustly under the regime of genocide, and called on their souls to rest in peace.
Taking auspicious opportunity, I would like to highly express my profound gratitude to His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Samdech Preah Mohaksatrei Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Queen Mother of Cambodia in Freedom, Dignity, and Happiness, who stay as cool shade for Cambodian people. We wish HM the King and Samdech Preah Mohaksatrei the Queen Mother strengths, intellects, and longevity to continue to lead the Cambodian ship to the shore of progress.
Cambodian people are currently living in harmonious society with full peace, freedom, and development. However, tragedy, suffering, and great loss under the past darkest regime of war and genocide are still unforgettably lively in conscience of every human being. We all remember that after the coup on 18 March 1970 led by Lon Nol to overthrow Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia plunged in to glowing flame of war that brought about indescribable destruction. After gaining victory over the Lon Nol group on 17 April 1975, the Cambodian people’s hope to live in peace disappeared instantly under the dictatorship of Pol Pot’s clique that implemented barbarous regime of genocidal policy on the Cambodian motherland and people.
In the period of three years, eight months and twenty days, the Pol Pot clique destroyed the whole nation, already devastated by the five-year war, to its root. The killers deprived the people of Cambodia all rights and transformed them into slave without honor and human dignity, waiting for their slaughtering. The regime of Pol Pot changed Cambodia into a fearful killing field where the whole nation submerged deeply into sea of blood and tear unknown in human history. People whose death had not come prayed for deity and sacred objects to save them from heel.
Under the worse period of the killing field, Cambodian People’s Party patriotic cadres and soldiers, who were escaping from the Pol Pot regime, then broke away and gathered together to establish the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea on the 2 December 1978 to fight against Pol Pot regime, with great and effective assistance of the Vietnamese voluntary army, to liberalize the country from the genocidal regime on 7 January 1979. The 7-January victory day saved the nation in a timely manner. People took back every right and became owners of their destiny. Cambodia closed the darkest page in its era and ushered in a new one of independence, freedom, democracy, and social progress.
After the 7-January victory, our country still faced many big obstacles as well as innumerous hardships left from the five-year post-coup war and the genocidal regime. However, nothing could stop our people’s unwavering determination to walk out of the past shadow of suffering to a prosperous future. With the 7-January victory, People’s Republic of Kampuchea became the people’s state founded and led by the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Council. The Council ruled the country with both peace and war intermingled, as well as with political and economic sanctions unjustly and inhumanely imposed by external circles. Our main duties at that time were to protect our people’s survival, prevent the return of the genocide, address challenges as well as rehabilitate and re-build the country’s socio-economic development from scratch to gradually improve people’s living conditions. Our national solidarity has enabled us to manage through many difficult stages and then came to the point where the country has strengthened itself in only ten years, serving as the prerequisite and necessary conditions for the nation to firmly march forward on the path of peace, national reconciliation, democracy and development up to these days.
For the past 37 years, starting from the 7-January victory, Cambodian people have realized major social transformation beyond expectation. Cambodia has transformed from a killing field of the genocidal regime, a battlefield of protracted wars, national and territorial division, into a country with peace, freedom, unity, stability and development in all sectors while constantly improving the livelihoods of people. This is the first time in the history of more than 500 years after the prosperous Angkor Era that Cambodians have achieved full peace as well as national and territorial unity and been living harmoniously under one constitution.
All these achievements are stem from correct political leadership, sacrifices of Cambodian combatants and officials of all levels in performing their duties, coupled with people’s strong-will participation across the country, despite different political tendency, national origin, religion or social status. We are taking note on faithful assistance provided by friendly countries and international community.
The aforementioned facts cannot be slandered or denied by anyone or circles: “Should there be no coup on 18 March 1970, there would not be Pol Pot’s genocide. Should there be no genocidal regime, there would not be the 7-January victory, and without 7-January victory, there would not be everything that we have today.” 7-January is the second birthday of Cambodian people. This is historic reality that our people in this generation and generations to come should know and remember forever. We do not live in the shadow of the past but in our forward march to a prosperous future. We need to understand correctly about and draw lessons from history in order to continue building and defending our nation. We need to make sure our country continues prospering and sustaining by avoiding the recurrence of the tragedies and disasters that we all had experienced. We will not fall into tricks of bad elements and ill-willed circles who only seek to fulfill their ambitions.
These past 37 years have been the 37 years of our solidarity, heroism and victory. The 7-January spirit remains engraved on the hearts of Cambodians forever as a lantern unceasingly leading our way from one victory to another. The 7-January spirit is the uttermost pride of Cambodians as a whole. 7-January has only one enemy, that is to say the Pol Pot’s genocidal regime. Only those who love the genocide oppose the 7-January. Although there are still political groups and ill-willed circles who keep slandering historic meaning of 7-January day, no matter how hard they try, they cannot reverse Cambodian situation since 7-January belongs to the people, and what they do is against people’s will and interest.
At this moment in time, we are stepping into 2016 with optimism and great contentment over the achievements realized in 2015. We have firmly defended the foundation of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peace, while favorably maintaining political stability, security and social order, albeit with some disruptions by some political activities. This has ensured favorable conditions for fruitful socio-economic development.
Democracy, freedom and rights of our people have been promoted along with the strengthening of rule of law. All political parties, old and new ones, coupled with civil society organizations are actively working and participating in the promotion of democracy as well as the respects for human rights and laws. The adoption of the Law on Elections of Members of the Parliament, Law of Organization and Functioning of the Election Committee, the establishment of new election committee, and Law on the Elections of Commune/Sangkat Councils will ensure an even better election in the time to come.
Resolving border issues with neighboring countries is in good progress and ensures Cambodia’s territorial integrity and building of borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation and development. These achievements have failed maneuvers systematically applied by certain politicians on using border issues as their political tools.
In the process of economic development, the year 2015 is the year that Cambodia is exiting from its status as low-income country to lower middle-income country, and making steps to become higher middle-income country by 2030. It’s estimated that in 2015 Cambodian economy enjoys around 7% growth because of progress made in fields of industry, services, and agriculture. The Riel exchange rate is stable and foreign trade has also improved due to bigger size of export growth than import growth. Our international reserve has increased. Average income per capita has increased from 229 USD in 1993 to 1,138 USD in 2014, and 1,228 USD in 2015 with possibility of increase to 1,325 USD in 2016. With this foundation, the poverty rate has been reduced from 53.2% in 2004 to just 13.5% in 2014.
Through economic progress, our people’s living standard has improved year after year as illustrated through growth in construction, improvement of their housing, upgrade of consumption materials such as automobiles, electronics and other instruments from the city to rural areas. At the same time, roads, bridges, irrigation system, water and electricity supply have been built and connected to the rural areas. These achieved results have clearly reflected the fruit of the efforts made with highest responsibility by the Royal Government in which every Cambodian from all political tendencies has benefitted.
With the congratulating achievements scored in 2015 and holding firmly to the spirit of 7 January, we have firm belief that we will realize more major achievements in continuing to resolve national issues, promoting democracy, strengthening rule of law and socio-economic development, though there are still difficulties and challenges ahead. In this regard, the Cambodian People’s Party continues to raise the spirit of great national solidarity to gather national forces for the construction and defense of motherland aimed at eliminating completely the view of discrimination as put “when water rises, fish eats ants; and when water recedes, ant eats fish”.
We are defending resolutely the Constitution and social achievements realized since the 7 January, while consolidating peace, political stability, security, and public order, as well as preventing hostile actions, aimed at changing the course of our country into chaos. We will also continue to promote democracy, rights, and freedom of our people, while strengthening rule of law, ensuring equity and justice for every citizen, and opposing resolutely actions to use fake democracy and human rights to create social disorder.
Continue to ensure reforms in all fields as defined in the Rectangular Strategy-Phase III with strong and full commitment aimed at promoting good governance of institutions at all levels and providing effective, transparent, and quality public services with trust from the people.
Continue to develop economy to ensure the growth within 7% in 2016 while promoting equity in benefiting from the fruitful economic growth aimed at constantly improving people’s living standard, which is a major agenda of the political platform of the Royal Government led by the Cambodian People’s Party.
The Cambodian People’s Party continues to implement consistently the culture of dialogue reached by the two parties with seats in the National Assembly, based on joint declaration dated 8 May 2015 and 10 December 2015, while making efforts to resolve all problems based on national reconciliation and unity, in conformity with the principle of democracy and rule of law. At the same time, the Cambodian People’s Party will increase close cooperation with political parties, civil society organizations and other social circles who share parallel idea in developing the country and serving people’s interest.
Taking this solemn occasion, on behalf of Samdech Akka Moha Punhea Chakrey Heng Samrin, leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party and myself, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our compatriots inside and outside the country that have provided justice for the Cambodian People’s Party over the past 37 years. Their confidence and support to the Party’s leadership has allowed the Party to fulfill its mission to further serve motherland and people.
At the same time, I also express my great thanks to the friendly countries and international organizations for always providing assistance and support for the course of justice of Cambodian people, and continuing to strengthen and expand further friendly relation and fruitful cooperation with the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Finally, I would like to wish the Vulnerable Monks, Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests, participants and all compatriots the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength.