Speaking to the audience in Angromeas, Dangtung District during the inauguration of two school buildings in the Secondary School of Angromeas, Samdech Hun Sen elaborated on the Japanese assistance, peace, rice cultivation and the four mistakes that politicians should refrain from doing. Following is the selected address:
… Today I have a great pleasure in joining all of our people here and HE Ambassador of Japan as well as other Japanese citizens present here to inaugurate the marvelous school buildings in front of us. I am very pleased to listen to the construction report of Mr. Chairman of the Worker’s Trade Union, which Mme Mariko Okamira has done the translation for us. The achievement that we inaugurate today is one of many that Japan has provided to the Kingdom of Cambodia. I wish to reiterate that Japan has been the number 1 donor country to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Aside from the assistance provided by the Japanese Government, which is in fact the contribution made by the Japanese taxpayers, there have been several Japanese organizations like ASAC and various Japanese non-governmental organizations that are providing assistance to the Cambodian people throughout the country. Take for example when some Japanese tourists came to Cambodia for a visit to Angkor Wat in Siemreap province, they took pity on the poor people in the area and built them schools, water wells, etc. It is indeed the art of sharing, not only among the Japanese themselves but also between Japan and Cambodia…
… Japanese Prime Ministers have been visiting Cambodia lately. The current Prime Minister had just finished his visit after participating in the ASEAN + 3 and ASEAN + Japan meeting in Phnom Penh. We could also recall that in 2000, the late Japanese Prime Minister, HE Keizo Obuchi, conducted an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia, at that time he provided Cambodia numerous helps. Despite changes in the Japanese leadership, the Japanese policy towards Cambodia has not changed. According to my observation, the Japanese leaders seem to have a political consensus on Cambodia and that consensus is to help Cambodia find peace, maintain peace and stability, practice democracy building, develop Cambodia’s socio-economics and carry out poverty alleviation. In the bilateral meeting with Japan in Phnom Penh, I have made numerous proposals. We are grateful that despite the fact that Japan has to reduce its assistance to foreign countries in general, but because of Cambodia’s unique situation, Japan has maintained its assistance. What Japan wants to see implemented and attained in Cambodia is transparency and efficiency. This intention does not exceed Cambodia’s commitment and ability…
… Some people criticize that the assistance never reaches to the hands of our people. They in fact make slander that the Royal Government using the financial assistance for building up military strength. I think HE Ambassador Gutaro Otawa could explain this note. Japan would not allow anyone to mess up with its assistance at all. Take for example the Kizuna Bridge. The bridge is a history for Cambodia, and the bidding processes were conducted all in Tokyo. All is done on the part of the Japanese and once the construction is finished the Cambodian leaders were invited to preside over the inauguration and our people were invited to use them. The same is true for the school buildings in front of us as the Ajinomoto Company does not leave the money in the hands of the district heads but in its owns. Therefore I have no worry as far as foreign assistance is concerned. One critical factor that I am requesting for today from our people is the participation in the maintenance of the achievements for long term use.
… Like Mme Mariko Okamira, formerly worked for UNTAC in Kompot, said that after 1994 she set up an organization to build schools for Cambodia. Since then her organization has built schools for Cambodia in 63 areas with a total 83 buildings of 420 classrooms in seven provinces. In Kompot alone she built 44 school buildings with 242 classrooms. Her organization also built seven school buildings in Kompong Speu, one in Kompong Chhnang, one in Kep, nine in Takeo, 20 in Kompong Cham, and one in Pailin. She also built eleven libraries – 8 in Kompot and 3 in Kompong Cham. So in Kompot alone, ASAC stands second only to Hun Sen because up to the present I have built here 86 school buildings of 430 classrooms. Take the district of Dangtung alone, I have built 14 school buildings of 68 classrooms. In fact the districts of Dangtung and Chumkiri of Kompot province are newly established, and prior to that the two districts were places of gunfire. But now we have sound of the Buddhist sermon everywhere. Lately some people said these two districts seem to have received nothing from Hun Sen. But some people replied that “it is not true since some of them got assistance from other CPP leaders as well. They saved us from the Pol Pot regime. If the Pol Pot regime did not fall, we might have been killed.”
… Saving people’s lives is the first help. The second assistance was the implementation of the win-win policy, in which there have been contributions from various political parties to attain a complete peace for everyone throughout the country. No matter poor or rich, they all benefit from this policy… We used to have plenty of displaced persons because of internal insecurity, but we currently have full peace and there is no more displaced person situation… Can we not say this a benefit for all? Thirdly, the building of roads, bridges, canals, school buildings, hospitals are also for the benefit of our people here and not for me.
… Just now the provincial report let us know that for the year 2002, Kompot has cultivated 115,542 hectares of rainy season rice over plan of 143,000 hectares or about 80.80%. It is a great concern for the Royal Government. Aside from flood in 2000 and 2001, in 2002 we had flood and drought at the same time. By the time we celebrated the Prochum Ben Day, I thought we might have cultivated 1,700,000 hectares. But the figure I have here has added it up to 1,800,000 hectares. I was concerned that if we were to have insufficient rain, about 50% of what we have achieved would be vulnerable to damage. But we are lucky as we continue to have late rain up to the present. Still some part of our country, or in this province still suffered lack of water. My bodyguard unit has been dispatched to the district of Chumkiri for the irrigation assistance. I am grateful for the joint efforts made by the authorities of all levels in the whole country in saving this situation. The fact is that we have put 1,800,000 hectares under cultivation, if we were to have 100,000 hectares under damage, we could predict a shortage of 100,000 tons in 2003. If we were to get a good yield from the cultivated sum, with the collection of subsidiary crops, we would resolve the problem. I have also noticed that the armed forces have also been helping our people in transplanting, harvesting for our people. May we continue to joint hands helping our people to confront with the severe environmental situation.
… We have to first help ourselves before other people come to help us. We have had three consecutive years of calamities. The Royal Government spent a huge sum of resources for the relief efforts, while a further big sum went to the organization of the commune election last February 2002. Because of the two major expenses, the Royal Government has scaled down its investment on infrastructure. Take for instance we had put aside the need for building some roads in Kompot. But flood relief had been more urgent and I have decided that not any person is left to die of hunger without the knowledge and assistance of the authority.
… Since we have members of National Assembly, members of the Senate as well as politicians in general, I wish to have your attention that they have to refrain from committing four mistakes. Firstly, the political mistake and I think that it usually is the mistake to be committed by leaders of political parties, including those in the Government. Political mistakes would in the end bring about tragedy for the Cambodian people. Take for instance the mistakes committed by Lon Nol and Pol Pot had brought us war and genocide. Therefore this is an appeal to all, including myself, that no political mistake should be committed and we all should contribute to maintaining a policy that is appropriate to the national and people’s interests.
… Secondly, always increase vigilance for national security and social order. This point is a concern for all levels. We have just scored a great and unbelievable success in the organization and hosting of the ASEAN summit. There were various comments that Cambodia could not provide security and safety to the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh. In the end, we have proven that we have provided safety and security and there had been no terrorist activities taken place whatsoever. We then organized a smooth Water Festival, in which about three million people took part. The security was good. But we have to remain vigilant and ready for all opportunist activities. Security is so important for everyone, and every political party. May the authority of all levels take all pre-cautionary measures to provide safety and security for our people against thefts, all sort of ill attempts and especially for the period of the July-27-2003 elections. In addition to that security also relates to the sustainability of the development as it attracts foreign investments and tourists to Cambodia. Some countries have had tourist-security-related problems. Some of the tourists have taken Cambodia as their alternative destination. If we could provide them with good security, we would surely attract investment and tourists to Cambodia, and Kep and Kompot also included.
… Thirdly, solving the problems caused by flooding and drought in the last three years. What is the bottom line of this concept is to not let any person die of hunger without the knowledge and help of the authority. Currently some parts of the country cultivate surplus of rice, some sufficient and some enough for only five months with certain lean seasons. We have to have an art of sharing in this matter. I have sent here already food for work and we continue to help our people according to the instruction I have given earlier – irrigation intervention must be done at all cost where there have been water sources for the relief of rice cultivation. Of course the Royal Government, or in other word I myself, would bear the cost of this effort and our people will benefit from that. We will not let our people die of hunger as in Somalia, Jordan or other countries in Africa. Fourthly, I may be the one, together with our officials in the economic field, who have to do before anyone. Do not risk the loss of macro-economic stability and inflation. Despite we had three consecutive flooding, we were able to maintain macro-economic stability and keep inflation under control. In 1999, we had 6.9% growth rate, in 2000 — 4.7%, in 2001 – 6.3% and we had always kept inflation rate under 4%. Inflation could be more destructive than a nuclear bomb could be. A nuclear bomb affect only in the place it went off. But inflation would destabilize the whole country. For me personally the first and the fourth mistakes must be avoided.
… I wish to express my deep appreciation for the construction of the Ajinomoto First-Level Secondary School. The school costs a reasonable price of US$ 68,461 and bears the true Khmer feature, while some schools and pagodas have adapted to European style. So we all have to take blended culture for consideration. First perhaps we should consider the interior of pagodas… Some people blame me that I named all the school after my own name. So what should we say when one named a party after one’s own name. People in some places know Hun Sen better than the Cambodian People’s Party but all the schools are named after Hun Sen and Bun Rany-Hun Sen because we have provided according to their request.
Samdech Hun Sen has approved requests for two school buildings (ten bedrooms) in the Ajinomoto First-Level Secondary School, one school building of five classrooms each in the Hun-Sen-Rong Veng school and the Hun-Sen-Laang school, and a school building of five classrooms in the Primary School of Damnak Troyoeung. Also 75 tons of rice will be offered as food for work and US$ 1,500 is given to the Buddhist monks. EndItem.