A School for Many Generations to Come
… My wife and I are so happy to be here. Indeed, my wife went to the Ampor Vorn Secondary School in her childhood days. She met a few of her former classmates. However, it was not a reason for us to build a school here. Even if she did not go to this school, we would still build one too. We did rebuild the school in stages since 1996. In 2000, the reconstruction of the school was not up to standard. Well, it was here in Rokar Khnao that I came and stayed. I met my wife here and I went to see their parents before we got married. I returned to my commanding post under a heavy rain and had to stop along the way to catch fish in Boeng Thom … There was a song about that. I hope the Bayon radio station put the song “Love at Boeng Thom Lake” on today.
I apologize for defects happened while the school construction carried out by the Pagoda Boy Company and General Kong Ieng. The school was useable for only a short time. I thank HE Chea Sophara for leading the architectural design and carrying through the construction project. I hope that our students will benefit from this school, not only in this generation but also for generations to come, as long as we keep up good maintenance of it.
This should illustrate efforts of the Royal Government in dealing with shortage of school buildings not only in this place but also everywhere in the country. In the district of Kroch Chhmar, there was only one junior secondary school at Jomka Mlu and there was no senior secondary school. There was a senior secondary school in Kompong Cham. Before dividing the province into two – Kompong Cham and Tbong Khmom, there were two senior secondary schools – one in Kompong Cham town and another at Prey Totoeng district.
A Revenge of Lack of Schools, Salary Increases
As of now, in the district of Kroch Chhmar, we have four senior secondary schools and nine junior secondary schools – Ampor Vorn, Jamka Mlu, Prek Aji and Poeus. I am sure this many of junior and senior secondary schools is for the sake of our students’ benefit. My wife went to this school. However, none of my children and grandchildren goes to school here. I build thousands of school buildings with tens of thousands of classrooms for the sake of people’s children to study in. My revenge is on this point. It was not a revenge on human life. When I was 13 years of age, I had to migrate from my village to Phnom Penh to stay with a Buddhist monk to continue my study. While in power, what I did before anything else was building schools. Some asked why Hun Sen built so many schools and some teased that there were many schools, but small salary for teachers. Well, the issue has to go in tandem now.
In just two days, we will exercise salary increase again. It is March 30 today. After March 31, on April 1, we will exercise salary increase. The lowest salary to receive by maternal and primary school teachers will be 200 USD per month. By 2018, the lowest salary will be 250 USD or equally to over one million Riels. It is a real increase. It is not an empty promise. We will also provide a New Year bonus of 50,000 Riels for every civil servants, starting from clerks in villages and communes. The bonus may be small but the Royal Government has had to spend a sum of USD 6 million. To do this, the Minister of Economy and Finance has had to figure out how much will need to be spent and whether our income would correspond to it or not. Making empty promise, like some people do, would not cost a dime.
In the near future, our elderly people may remember that there will be auctions by politicians to give higher stipend – a party would go for 80,000, another for 100,000 and another even for 150,000 Riels … On this issue, as a ruling Party, the Cambodian People’s Party would not dare chase the figure. We would do it as long as our coffer allows. We would not opt for printing money to pay salary. I do not want to make a political message before elections. However, some already did and I just talk about fact, and, while running the Royal Government, say what is going to happen.
Youth Should Focus on Study and Sports
… We had small number of school buildings in the past. There was high rate of school dropouts because children could not go to school away from home. As of present, our people, compatriots, children, youth, may not do so. You should reach out and grab chances. Firstly, we now have peace in the whole country. We do not have to run and displace ourselves from war and fighting. No one destroys school buildings as the Pol Pot regime did. Now schools are moving closer to those who need to study … Secondly, please do not overlook chances available for drugs and gambling.
Schools have literally come to our feet and though some may have to travel some distances to reach school, it would not be as far as going to Phnom Penh or the city of Kompong Cham. As for this province, Tbong Khmom, we do not have a name for its city yet. We may call it May Sak or teak wood, because there was a teak forest here before. There is one other facility for students. It is the good road condition. Children and youth might have to walk in mud to reach school. These days, on the way to school, there were mud no more. As you can see, we have an asphalted road built from the district and city of Chhlong to Tonle Bet of Kompong Cham, the Kizuna Bridge. Students residing on either side of the road find it a lot better to travel to and from schools.
I used to travel here and crossed the Ta Koch tributary. There was no bridge in the past. I travelled by bicycles and motorbike. I was hospitalized once in “P 1” hospital, which situated in a pagoda. I had a bicycle then. When it was too difficult to ride it in mud, I had to carry it on my shoulder. In 2000, we built a Bailey bridge over the Takoch tributary. It was broken once for trucks with overloaded logs. We now have this concrete bridge in its place. We moved the Bailey bridge to other place needed … and I would urge transporters not to overload their trucks and pass the bridge […]
As for football, the Muslims here play very well. I would urge everyone not to involve in drug use but in sports. I do not seem to see football field here. We have the volleyball terrace. We will build a football field after the inauguration. The field cannot be in this school compound. We must find a field somewhere. I wish that students from Ampor Vorn good in volleyball and basketball. It would even be better if they were famous in football. You may not forget about our traditional sport of boat race.
Making Every Efforts for Farmers’ Interest
… HE Prach Chan mentioned about problems relating to rice, corn, cassava, etc. It is the same issue that the whole world is facing. In Thailand, millions hectares of land under rubber left untapped because price of rubber plunged and would not pay the cost. In Malaysia, on top of rubber, they also have problem with palm oil prices. Countries producing oil also suffer from drop of price. We are seeking every means to guarantee that (Cambodian) farmers will benefit increasingly from their efforts, despite unfavorable condition encountered in the world.
… I wanted to clarify to you that this is not a problem only to Cambodia. It is one common issue facing the world. Some people try to make gain from this. They go around telling people that they would make the price of rice 2,000 Riels per Kilogram, if they have power. They say they would make a kilogram of corn from 800 Riels to 5,000 Riels. However, leaving people in the field and meeting people in market, they would say otherwise. They said 3,000 Riels for a kilogram of rice is expensive, if they have power, they would bring it down to 1,500 Riels. They gain it either way. However, this monkey business would not last long. The blade of a knife would one day cut its handle.
Wiring to National Electricity Lines
… In the near future, people will benefit from wiring to national electricity line, which will help bring the price down. On April 1, 2017, or a year from now, the price of electricity will go down to 610 Riels/KWH. In the policy regarding pricing, use of electricity for agricultural purpose, like irrigation, would cost only 480 Riel/KWH. At present, because of too far a distance of some villages, we depend on private group of electricity to provide power and lines. However, because the price of oil has gone down, I am calling on all private groups of electricity providers to reduce the price. For those groups already hooked up with national lines, they must make sure their prices go down. In some places, we may buy electricity from private groups to provide it to our people at a further lower price. Well, it is not time for fish oil, torch and tree sap lighting anymore. It is time of electricity and battery./.