Talking to the people in the village of Angsdoc of Kompot Province, Samdech Hun Sen gave an ad-lib address covering a number of issues. Selected here are issues on the construction of schooling facilities, the contribution by people in both local and overseas Khmer community, and the date proposed by the Government for the 2003 election and the current political situation.
… Today I have a great pleasure to join with all of our people in the Angkorchei district of Kompot province to inaugurate two new school buildings of twelve classrooms as donation by Mme Khiev Chhe Em and families as well as the local community. May I take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to Mme Khiev Chhe Em and all donors for the donation of their resource to contribute to the realization of achievements for generations of people to come. This gift is what I used to say “a value of sharing” that is our people’s tradition. The school of Angsdoc was first built in 1967, three years before the war took place in 1970. Like other schools all over the country, the school was completely destroyed under the regime of Pol Pot. Since 1979 the school was reconstructed in many stages. At the primary stage our people had to dismantle the common dining hall under the Pol Pot’s regime to get wood for the school reconstruction. The school lasted for some time until Mme Khiev Chhe Em and other generous people who reside in the United States of America contributed to rebuild the school that we all are inaugurating today.
… Though in the past few years I have made several visits in this area, I have designated HE Som Chen, former Governor of Kompot Province and my personal advisor, to observe the situation in Kompot four times. Thanks to our people’s own efforts, though we all started from scratch and in great difficulties twenty three years ago, we have now been able to heal our wounds gradually. Various achievements have taken shape both in the secular and the Buddhist worlds. Just now I asked the Venerable Head Monk of Angkorchei district on how many pagodas there are in Angkorchei and the Venerable told me there are forty of them. And we have 3800 pagodas throughout the country. It is not by chance at all that the 3800 pagodas came into being. Under the period of the State of Cambodia, despite the fact that the latter was punished severely by outside forces while we were trying to prevent the return of the Pol Pot genocidal regime, it did contribute certain share of resources for some achievements. Take for instance the way a common dining hall was disassembled for use of parts to build schools and even some pagodas. We could say that we have commenced by using our life as capital and with our two hands we build up various achievements. The just cause of our policy has gradually attracted our people residing abroad to participate in the reconstruction of our motherland. Also from my own part I have contributed in all seven school-buildings of 36 classrooms for the Angkorchei district as well.
… Last night at about 10 pm (local time) I have approved a request by HE Som Kim Suor, a member of parliament representing Kompot constituency, in which she asked for 36 tons of rice for work and six or seven million Riels to renovate a rural road in Kompong Trach. We have also sought for loan from the Asian Development Bank for 2,500 classrooms through the Ministry of Education and 250 classrooms through the Ministry of Rural Development. We then have a figure of 2750 classrooms available. So I suggest that requests for classrooms should made to the two Ministries. But what remains to be a more viable option is our people’s tradition in sharing resources for collective achievements and they would be long lasting for our society. Of course some of our people are more concerned in generating money for campaigns by political parties. But a good number of our people living abroad also share their resources for the construction of schools, hospitals, Buddhist pagodas, water wells as well as other social achievements. These will continue to exist from generation to generation.
… Taking this opportunity I also wish to express my appreciation for the efforts made by the local authorities in the Angkorchei district for doing whatever they could to evade flooding destruction in 2000 and 2001. But at present we have noticed the extension of drought as too little rain had come except a bit prior to and a bit after the Khmer New Year. A number of places have recorded damages of seedlings, sesame, corn and other subsidiary crops. Please seek out ways to create jobs at the local level with an aim to prevent the immigration into the capital.
… The real need and aim of the Royal Government of Cambodia is the maintenance of political stability as it is the most critical part for the advancement of a nation. We have undergone untold difficulties to attain peace. Taking a look back in our history, Cambodia does not suffer splits and fractions just in the later part of the century but long ago. In some incidents the splits had brought about a Cambodia with two or even four armed forces and uncountable numbers of (political) groups. As for the Angkorchei district, the former Khmer Rouge followers had reported themselves since October 1994. Later on we had the defection of the former Khmer Rouge followers at Phnom Voar. And sooner peace prevails all over the country. Attaining peace is a difficult job but maintaining it though is even more difficult. So it is a demand that our people and all political parties contribute to the defense of the real interest of our country and people. The destruction of current stability, by an individual, a group of individuals, or political parties, is nothing but a crime. Take for instance the crime that Lon Nol had made on March 18, 1970 that brought our people into a general war. This crime would not be forgotten in the Cambodian history. It was because of that mistake that the genocidal regime took shape. On the contrary we have just celebrated the International Children’s Day on June 1 with pleasant looking faces of our children. This is completely different to what kind of situation our children were in the Khmer Rouge’s period. Twenty-three years have gone by but those memories are still fresh…
… The second point that is the aim of the Royal Government is to maintain a stable macro-economy and to sustain economic growth at a positive digit… We had scored 9.6% in 1999, 7.7% in 2000 and 6.3% in 2001. As for this year we have predicted to attain 5.5% but we want to do better than that. We wish to have a stable flow of products in the market as this could transform to be an impact on the overall macro-economy and inflation. This point has a correlation with the probable loss of political stability as well. Like in Argentine, three presidents had to swap in a matter of weeks because of trouble in the economic field. That is why the Royal Government wanted to see the two factors – political and economic stability – tied together. The same is true in other words for peace and development to coexist forever.
… In this auspicious occasion I would like to inform about the selection of the general electoral date. According to the law on the election, it is obligatory to organize an election on a Sunday within an eight-week period. July 27, 2003 falls on a Sunday otherwise August 08, 2003. If we were to conduct the general election on July 27, it was only one day different to July 26 that we had done in 1998. That is why the Royal Government would like to propose July 27, 2003 as the date for the third general election. Therefore from this time till the election days our country demands stability on all fields. It is the wish of our people, the Royal Government as well as those of HM the King and HM the Queen. I am sure many politicians would like to see this done in this way but there has been some conflicts and splits in a number of political parties. The incidents have brought about suspicions on the political future of Cambodia. This has also brought me concerns, and to relieve them I wish to place an appeal to people and religious fellows in our country to remain calm as these incidents have been just conflicts within a number of parties only. Of course the incidents have involved also a number of the members of the Royal Government, and there have been attempts to strip them off their positions. But to strip some body off their positions in the Government, they have to seek for approval from the National Assembly or by means of rule of law and not force. But this is again an internal affair of each political party.
… What I am thinking is that our people in general should, despite the fact that they have rights to involve in politics, refrain from offering support to this or that factions as the consequence of which would put more fuel into the fire. So let the conflict be resolved by parties as their internal affairs and those who could not continue to co-exist could also set up new parties. Only in two-week time we have noticed the setting up of two political parties already and there may be more. Every one is guaranteed with the right to set up political party. They have to fulfil some criterion like having to have 4,000 supporters in order to run a party for the elections. So any attempts to set up the party has to abide by the rule and law on “Political Party.” Besides, I wish to appeal and place an absolute order that the Royal Government armed forces stay away from any political conflicts of any political parties. Though those individuals have the political rights but they may not use their weapons, official uniforms of the armed forces or offices of Government administration to serve their political interest at all. This is my political message to all political parties… The fact that I am making such an appeal is a prerequisite assurance to our people so that they have no fear of political conflict within this or that political party. We have now 54 political parties and 39 of them took part in the 1998 general election. As far as I know two new ones have come into existence and probably three more would be on track. If our people could count one school building after one political party, it would be great but most of them just hang up their signs and insult. As for me I will continue to build schools, roads, bridges, etc. and every one is welcome to benefit from these achievements. Therefore those who support me have to make efforts to realize these infrastructures. No one ever insulted me as Pol Pot, Khiev Samphan, Nuon Chea, Son Sen, Tamok did. In the end Pol Pot died and Ta Mok is in jail. It does not matter how much they insult me but as long as they perform bad actions their words would be meaningless. So in the general election next year, this or that party wins or loses is their party problem. Our people should just vote for whomever you trust and stay away from their political conflict so that separation between one side of the village to another does not take place…