… Today I have a great pleasure to be able to return to the province of Battambang after the previous visit one year ago. I beg for your understanding and I am grateful to our people here for their patience to invite me to attend this ceremony which is rescheduled to today because I had to attend the ASEAN Summit on SARS in Bangkok. I was late in coming here today because there was a huge rain over Kompong Chhnang and the helicopter could not fly high. I was worried that as the rain gets its peak, the helicopter would have to land. But later is better than never. I wish to bring you all the wishes from HE Sar Kheng to you as he is the leader of the CPP work team in the province and because of his personal obligation he could not come in person. The pagoda is named after an elephant in the old days “Muni” that was owned by a Governor. It tugged logs and died in the stream, which was then called O Muni. It is a hundred years old pagoda but it suffered similar ill fate like pagodas in all over the country because of the regime of Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea.
… If the Pol Pot’s regime was to survive five years later than January 07, 1979, a question could be asked how many more people could have been dead. It is not a fake but a true fact. Battambang was at war since 1979 and continued to be at war till 1991 and in 1996 there was integration movement by our people in Pailin, Kamreang, Malay, Sampeo Loun, Tasanh, Samlout. I just met with HE I Chhean, Ieng Phan and I used to say that we all are victims of the former generation’s politicians. When the war broke out in Cambodia I was just 18 years old so we all are not the one who stages all these problems but their victims. As we are here together today, I am grateful that we meet after the Khmer New Year and this is the fifth year that we organized New Year in peace and we now could mobilize all our forces to rebuild our country. I also have plans to go to Pailin and to Banteay Mean Chey to see our people and to observe the pace of development in those provinces. I wish HE I Chean and HE Ke Kim Yan make a study of the situation and prepare for my visit by letting me know when is the good time for us.
… In Sangke district, I noticed that our people were in great hardships. They made efforts together with local authority and HE Deputy Prime Minister and the CPP work team in overcoming difficulties caused by weather condition last year. I mentioned many times that poverty would not just fly away unless each individual, family, village, commune and nation is making efforts to help oneself. We could not expect someone to help us if we do not try and help ourselves first. Gap between supply and demand is visible despite we have tried and made various achievements after January 07, 1979. Despite I have made efforts visiting our people in all provinces, there are more works that need to be done. I used to speak to my children that they should always compare themselves with children of poorer families and not with richer families. At least they should compare their lives with mine who was son of a farmer. When I was a pagoda boy I also have certain rules and disciplines in life, so have I as a soldier. My health is still intact after half a century and after being wounded five times. I think I am still fit to serve our people and serving people would be the right of our people to decide.
… It is important that we have good school buildings, but more imprtantly we also have to have good teachers and my wish is that we will have educated generations of people. Pol Pot did destroy our country and kill our people, but they could not destroy our knowledge Gold in soil could be dug out and one day it will run out, but our knowledge will not. Gemstones in Pailin could be drilled up, but gemstones in our heads will be resourceful. I used to say that the sun would always rise even if the cock fails to cock-crow. Some people say that only with their presence in Cambodia that the country develops. How could that be, we in fact have national reconciliation in 1993 and all forces united rather than fought against one another, but everything started since after the fall of Pol Pot. They should be careful with what they say as they may risk losing rather than earning anything at all.
Samdech Hun Sen offered twenty million Riel to the pagoda of O Muni, a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of O Muni, a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of Svay Kang, a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of Anlongvil, a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of Pukchhmar, ten thousands Riel each to 461 teachers under training and 333 teachers under re-training to either visit Siemreap or Sihanoukville, five computers, three 14″ colour TVs, and three VCRs to the School of Pedagogy, and ten computers, six 14″ colour TVs for the Regional School of Pedagogy, 80 metres Bailey Bridge in Sangke district, etc.