At the above event, Samdech Hun Sen made an ad-lib address covering issues of progress made in Buddhism in Cambodia, abdication and power challenging allegations, and response to the people’s demand for assistance in the Ponhealoeu district.
… I have a great pleasure for being able to join with all of you in response to the invitation cordially extended to me by Samdech Preah Udom Vongsa Muong Ra to inaugurate the Dharma Hall in the Muniprosithivong Pagoda today… As a Buddhist follower, I am proud to be present in the district of Pnhealoeu once again after I came here in his birthday anniversary. I gave him a present at that time a bridge for the Stoeung Hav (stream) in Sihanoukville at the initiative of Samdech Preah Udom Vongsa. I wish to also express my sincere appreciation and thanks today to Samdech Udom Vongsa Muong Ra for the efforts he has made in building up the Muniprosithivong pagoda 13 years already. The pagoda is not one of the oldest in Cambodia but it was named as such by Her Majesty the Queen Sisovath Munivong Kosomak Neary Rath Serei Vadhana. This area was under constant fights in the period between 1970 and 75. It was completely damaged and its soil was dug and moved to level some other places. Because of this, the pagoda was rebuilt late in 1990 compared to other pagodas. Up to now it has been 13 years of reconstruction.
… The fact that the Buddhist pagodas are growing in numbers in a period of twenty four years after the fall of the genocide clearly indicates that Buddhism was damaged only physically but spiritually it stays in their minds and souls. In 1979 we were really poor and in some place people could not mobilize resources for a religious ceremony. We had only a few monks, one of whom is our current patriarch. But now we have many monks and take the number of pagoda in Kandal alone there are 373 pagodas with 6056 monks. This figure is bigger than that of soldier and police forces in the province itself. We also have many more meditation and Dharma Study centres. I have also contributed in all 389 school buildings to Kandal for the secular world. I used to say between the secular and the Buddhist worlds, it is a knot of two strings, the combination of which will help us foster national development.
… Under the leadership of the two sects’ patriarchs our Buddhist parishioners have gradually refrained from committing sins but doing merits, while this also helps our administration in the secular world to educate the people on how to be law abiding citizen. More importantly, the Buddhist pagodas have extended their assistances to those in need caused by natural calamity such as flood or drought. The patriarch of the Mohanikaya sect has instructed all pagodas to bring up from 15 children in according to their resources. The Buddhist pagoda for us is not only a respectful place but also a shelter in which our custom and tradition are stored, especially in time when our country was under foreign colony. Pagodas were places where Buddhist bibles and knowledge are kept and except for women, all men of different generation could become monks and learn all those materials. Unlike in some countries, Cambodia could retain its Khmer characters and the French could not Romanise Khmer letters at all.
… In the last few days there have been groundless interpretations on issue of abdication for which HM the King issued a message to make clear the spread. HM the King has been disturbed in the last days by report that HM the King is challenging power with Prime Minister Hun Sen. HM the King issued another message that HM would abdicate. The Constitution does not stipulate about how HM the King abdicates but HM the King will be head of state for one’s whole life. Let’s think why should HM the King, who presides over everyone abdicate and go to a position that is being criticized everyday. As long as one is in politics one is equal with others across the board. It is true that when HM the King issued a statement that any member of the Royal families who is doing politics is a normal citizen.
… HM the King is not just a King but a heroic King of ours. Some political parties who boat about accompanying HM the King, they actually do it in words. Like in one instance HM the King said to Samdech Krom Preah and me that a “grandpa” came to HM and proposed that HM take power and “the grandpa” will fulfil all duties on HM’s behalf. HM mentioned that “he” wanted me to conflict with Samdech Krom Preah and Samdech Hun Sen for power and “he” will perform me all duties. How silly is this. Prime Minister has to be a person from a winning political party and a member of the National Assembly. It seems that March is not a good month for Cambodia. On March 18, 1970, a coup was launched and today is March 11, 2003. Last year, also in March, there was a Ph. D. holder who suggested that the Royal Government should be dismantled and a provisional Government should be set up in replacement under the leadership of HM. I thought this chap is thinking of a coup and I would order an arrest immediately as the coup is illegal. But he escaped right away. I would not be afraid to exercise the law, no matter who the person may be – a devada, a royal family member, etc. If they committed mistakes, they are as guilty as normal citizen or we could not guarantee democracy. HM the King, in response to all allegations about power challenging, said “I would not do such a cheap and illegal act.”
… I have the courage to fulfil all of what I have promised and I would not hesitate to react when I feel something is wrong. Take for instance I have offered to guarantee three things for the former Khmer Rouge soldiers and staff. That is what I called the core of the win-win policy. First, I offered to guarantee safety and life protection to every one; second, to guarantee that they could retain their ranks and occupations, and third, guarantee that their property will be recognized. The three promises have enabled them to live with us.
… What is then the cause of a conflict? With all of the venerable monks, I would argue that jealousy is the one. It has been a reason in various scenes — take the Chinese story of Sam Kok or the Hluong Preah Sdech Kan into consideration. One was jealous of the other and a war was waged… Because of jealousy HM the King was once overthrown… That is why we have to seek out the root cause of the conflict. HM the King issued one statement after another and I wish to make clear that a group of royal family members could not protect Royalism, but only the whole people could. And I am sure the Royal Government is obliged to protect the throne…
In that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered to renovate a dirt road of 4,934 meters for the villagers of Samraong Khang Choeung, a dirt road of 8,200 metres for the villagers of Kompong Hluong commune, and five small damn of a total length of 5,500 metres for the villagers of Tuol Ampil, Prey Lvea and Ponhealoeu.