… As usual today I have come to celebrate the May First anniversary in the seaport of Sihanoukville with our workers here. I have come to celebrate the event every year in the port, except in 2001 that I sent H.E Im Chhun Lim on my behalf. The event is a special moment not only for our workers here in Cambodia but throughout the whole world. According to the report by HE Ith Samheng, enterprises with thousands of workers in Cambodia have also organized in celebration of this event. Taking this opportunity I wish to thank workers in the Sihanoukville seaport for the progress they have made in its service as a breathing factor of Cambodia’s economy. Without taking into consideration efforts made in building a new port, with the old port facility, we have observed the transit of over two million tons of goods in this port in 2003. The transport rate in just three months early this year has taken a 28% increase. Transport and offloading costs for 20 feet size container from Singapore to Cambodia’s Sihanoukville seaport is US$ 250, while in Ho Chi Minh City is US$ 240. This shows a disparity of only ten dollars indicating that as long as the circulation of transported goods increases the costs of transiting also declines.
… I wish to inform all of our people here that in the year 2002 and the current 2003, the Royal Government of Cambodia has made a massive investment on infrastructural development. Take for instance the national road 21 that links between Phnom Penh and the border of Vietnam via Saang and Koh Thom districts is being built by the military engineering team using fund provided by the Sihanoukville seaport. All of our workers here should recognise that the road 21 is your contribution to the whole country and people in Saang and Koh Thom would appreciate your help. I wish to also thank the Ministry of Economy and Finance for their acceptance to let me transfer the sum of money for use in the above purpose. In fact the money was thought to be saved for the construction of another 160 meters of the port and we are seeking Japanese loan to replace it. I hope the Japanese will give its positive consideration on our request.
… Just now HE Governor Say Hak made a remark about growth in relation to tourism and I would recommend that we should not overlook the importance of this sector. In addition to increasing number of tourists to the area, we should also think of providing other services for other ships, for example they may visit our port for refuelling or for food stuff and refreshment. Though our country is not affected by SARS, still we have to think of regional economic stability as it is very important to interrelate or we could not develop alone. I think we have scored quite a good number of achievements here in Sihanoukville. We have an area of 12,000 hectares protected from infiltration by salt water for cultivation by the French assistance, and a number of bridges including an 87 meters concrete bridge requested by Samdech supreme patriarch Tep Vong on behalf of our people here. I also have built for our people here 214 classrooms.
… Taking this chance I wish to make a decision in relation to the expiration in mid June of the term of the current Governing board of the port. I have seen the importance of continuing the term of the current Governing board because they have proven to be competent and worked in a cohesive manner. HE Lou Kim Chhun who is General Director could be made Head of the Governing Board and the Sub-decree has already been issued. This is also true for the country’s leadership, if the country is at peace with CPP and FUNCINPEC alliance, they should continue to work together. Some people made comments that they would work with CPP as long as the latter gets rid of Hun Sen, with FUNCINPEC as long as the latter gets rid of Samdech Krom Preah (Ranaridh), and I think their requested price is extremely high. I am not Bin Laden and Samdech Krom Preah is not Saddam Hussein, so any motive in the above direction would not work.
… In relation to the development of the 50 hectares area into a special (tax free) industrialized zone, I wish to recommend three possible sources of funding for careful consideration. First, we could use the funding from the port itself by using parts of its profit. Second, the AZ Company of Oknha Ung Bun Hov could think of investing in the infrastructure and the third option I want to try is to split the whole capital into shares at a size that our workers here could afford so that they could become shareholders. I think we should explore legal procedures for this to get selling of shares off the ground. This will also give our people more works. So my decision is clear today that the port will continue to be managed by the current Governing Board and our workers could also become shareholders in the industrialized zone as well.
… As we are now close at sea, I think I should tell you a story about two sailing ships and a sailing boat owner long time ago. The two ships were in comparable speed and have tied to one another by a strong wire. Through the wire the two sailing ships were assisting one another in water as well as in foods. They were followed by a sailing boat and unexpectedly the boat was pushed by wind to gain speed comparable to those of the ships. The sailboat owner then shouted to people in the ships “don’t you see my boat is fast and it will get to the destination, once I am there I will build a huge ship bigger than the two sailing ships that you are in.” In fact the boat was full of sick people but seeing without asking for reason why it gained such an unexpected speed, some people jumped out of the ships to sail in the boat. Unfortunately, once they stepped in the boat, water infiltrates through holes. Taken by shocks people jumped back into the ships, but this time not only the original people from the ships that come back, but also the people who originally sailed in the boat. The sailing ships owners were concluding that it happened because of greed and the sailingboat owner should in fact think of mending its holes and clogging holes on its sail so that it may reach the destination. If you would like real example, the two sailing ships’ owners could be compared to Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Rannaridh and I.
Samdech Hun Sen offered on that occasion two school building with ten classrooms to the Secondary School of Sihanoukville, a two storey school building with ten classrooms to be constructed with sponsorship of the Sihanoukville Seaport Authority, and various other gifts.