In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Hun Sen made a number of comments on issues of gangsters, porno publications, investment in human resources development, and the proposed amendment to the Constitution on Article 90, from 2/3 to 50 + 1 for the setup of the Royal Government.
On gangsters and publications of pornographic content
… It has been obvious that the problem of gangster continues to get in the way of the study of our students and the teaching of our teachers. I do not accept that we could not solve this problem as this problem could not be addressed by only school and teachers. On the other hand there requires a collaboration of schools, teachers, district authorities and offices of education at the municipal/provincial or ministerial level. Especially the armed forces – take for instance, police and military police — could also be of assistance. I used to mention that if we cannot eradicate the gangster (big brother) issue, we all should resign from positions of Governors of provinces and districts and let they take over your positions instead. It is quite disturbing to the majority of students and the fact that they carried weapons in to school compounds impose serious threats to peers and teachers.
… It is in this issue that I would like to place an appeal for stricter measures to be taken irrespective of the criminals’ relations to whom it may be. They must be caught, though they are children of the army officials or provincial governors, etc. Social order and security has become a debating subject because a small group of bad youngsters has caused endless disturbances, and the use of drug has also stemmed from this issue. We do not have bad intention for these kids but we should try on the other hand to help them through education to be provided by schools, parents, society and other measures that can be taken for the prevention of those kids from problems such as bloodshed clashes at various sites from religious rites to weddings ceremonies. I therefore recommend the authorities of all levels and police of all posts top provide support to all schools so as to create a safety system for educational institutions and for parents whose kids have disobeyed. I am sure that parents will be of good understanding and offering us supports in return for the sake of evading those kids from eventual death or wounds.
… I am taking this issue as a result of the ineffectuality on this matter over the past years. Years ago and in our Cabinet meeting of July 16, I made more comments on televisions because by 1998 pornographic films were televised on cable. I was able to change that by one of my strong message to them and later I expressed my discontent on the accompanying dancers on stage for their inappropriate clothing. They have now altered their dresses, but I still see that more need to be done. Now let me take us to a publication that is causing us an alarming shock on our culture. This one is “Chumtung Rikreay” magazine or “Amiable Youth” — written and published by Lim El Djurado – a Director of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The publication is indeed pornographic, and what is worse is that it has got the authorization for publication from the Ministry of Information. It is available at bookstalls that are not far from the Prime Minister’s house, let alone nearby many schools in town. It is indeed a disappointment.
… Another publication also enjoyed the authorization from the Ministry of Information is “Sexual Health and Partners” – whose content is nothing but sex — also by same author. I came across another sexual discontent matter in the issue 56 of the Angkor Thom Happiness magazine. This one is the “Kolab” magazine which runs a story “Love for Lady Boss.” In this case what does the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Culture do? Why should we overlook the consequences for the authorization of such publications? In Cambodia, freedom of press and speech is fully applied as newspapers could criticize anyone, while radio could broadcast opposition opinion at will. I could conclude that this freedom of expression is nothing but a freedom of creating social problems. As they obtained authorization from the Ministry of Information, H.E. Khieu Kannharith should review this matter and if necessary, authorization could be withdrawn. After reviewing if it is found that the matter could not be solved because of the absence of laws, we then have to come up with a bill and/or issue more sub-decrees to handle the case.
… The social value is sinking when students do not make progress in their studies. We now have to keep in mind this objective — “education for all” and “all for education” – so that we all are working in similar pace throughout Cambodia, not only in line of teaching staff. Some teachers could be targets of threat by bad students, gangsters, etc. There may be remarks that Hun Sen is meddling in sexual expression or in author’s rights. Let me clarify that this is my term (till 2008) as Prime Minister, I have the responsibility to bear before the Cambodian nation or in Khmer it means I have to be responsible for both right and wrong. If you wanted to do all this you should wait till when you became Prime Minister. This is similar to what President Bush and Presidential candidate John Kerry were arguing about same sex marriage issue.
… As we are in the stage of implementing the rectangular strategies, I represent the majority of the people to keep this society safe and one or two NGOs could not advise me to the contrary. Some people are paid by foreigners to keep an eye on the Royal Government, the National Assembly. I would not in any instance object to the non-governmental work as a whole but I would just want them to be realistic. People in the National Assembly represent millions of people in the whole country, and they have given birth to the coalition government with me as the Prime Minister. I have the obligation to oversee everything, and encourage what is right and improve what is a shortcoming. Various crimes have been reported in the press ranging from conflicts at the game boots to child hitting one’s mother, etc. I made several speeches on many occasions and each one went in three TV stations — TVK, Bayon and Apsara. A study of the speeches should be carefully conducted as to what I have recommended on this matter.
… Failing to do so a dark society would eventually take shape, with many youngsters of ours become gang members, and it would be a dangerous situation. We have to enforce the law and what do we have the law for if we do not abide by it? Take for instance there has been a claim that I bribed Samdech Krom Preah US$ 50 million, in exchange for HM the King Sihamoni able to ascend the throne and Samdech Krom Preah to be President of the National Assembly. Now the law has been applied in relations to such a groundless remark. A number of countries in the world, take for instance France, in between 1992 and 1999, MP immunities have been stripped off more than once. If the press would like my comments on the matter, I would suggest them to take the question to the court.
… Today all of you have become professors or teachers. You have spent 12 years studying in the general education system and another four years in tertiary education which add up in all 16 years of education. Growing a tree would give us fruit in just five or six years. Growing a human being has taken us 16 years as you can see. I agreed with HE Senior Minister Kol Pheng for having quoted Lao Tsu as saying “though I am 80 years old already, if I find an 8-year old kid who knows better than I am, I ask him to teach me. If I meet someone older than I am, who does not know, I will teach him.” It is true that knowledge is never at its end and we can always fill it up. I may let you know that my study is going on and my research is endless. There are things that we do not know so it is important to increase one’s knowledge always.
… Another point that I want all of you to understand and behave appropriately is when you, after graduation of bachelor degree, come to meet with your teachers who may have only secondary level of education. What would be an appropriate manner from you to them? We should be thankful as because of them you have come this far. The fact that you may teach a class higher than your former teacher, but a teacher of one day is a teacher of the whole life. We also have to respect their experiences as they have gathered in such a long time in their professional lives.
On the Constitutional amendment from 2/3 to 50+1 vote
… One political issue that I would like to share with you all today would be useful for us in evaluating our country’s situation. We used to say “bamboo shoot will eventually replace the bamboo.” Recently there are two “pundits” (political commentators) saying that this slogan is wrong. In fact the slogan means that younger generation like you will take over the task from senior generation, not only in education but also in politics.
… What I wanted to bring up today is the fuss around issue of amending the Constitution to provide confidence motion for the new Royal Government from by a two third majority to a 50 + 1 formula. This was brought up on January 29, when CPP conducted its 31st plenum. It received an official proposal form the opposition party for the amendment of the Article 90 of the Constitution, with the above content. The proposition was rejected by CPP and it has become a subject of discussion in cafe and NGOs on the reason why CPP does not accept the offer.
… Let me from this podium clarify that it is nothing but a political trap. It sounds like a generous offer but there is a huge secret behind. Up to this moment, on the contrary, the opposition does not write to Funcinpec yet on this matter. Why they wrote only to CPP? H.E. Say Chhum, on behalf of CPP has written a letter in response and a clear position has also been taken in the speech of Samdech Chea Sim to the plenum. When the question is asked why the proposal is written to CPP and not to Funcinpec, one could have a good understanding on the move. Their ultimate aim is to seek a split within the coalition of CPP and Funcinpec. A “yes” answer from CPP is equal to the breaking down of the Royal Government. Why? All Funcinpec officials joined in the creation of the Royal Government would certainly feel that they would be disapproved as the Constitution goes into amendment. This could be their first concern. While later in the parliament, when Funcinpec disagrees with the move, another concern would arise as to whether CPP leaves Funcinpec for the Sam Rainsy party.
… To amend the Constitution we have to seek a change in the quorum as well. CPP could hold the national assembly meeting as it has the quorum needed because to set up a Government then, we need only 63 to 64 votes, and CPP possesses 73 votes already as it occupied 73 seats in the National Assembly. Once CPP is leading the Government alone, there will be an alteration of all positions of all the commissions under the National Assembly because the formula 50 + 1 is applied – the positions of President and Vice Presidents of the National Assembly, Heads and Deputy Heads of the various commissions of the National Assembly as well as those in the Government. Therefore, first of all when CPP gives a “yes” answer, Funcinpec would immediately feel that it has been cheated. Once disagreement prevails in the National Assembly, the final outcome of this would lead to a Hun-Sen-50 + 1 Royal Government, which would not last till 2008.
… We can also ask if CPP accepts the proposal, where could be the virtue, morality and faithfulness in cooperation between partners? We have an old saying that goes “once in difficulties, everyone is called upon, once the honey is available, everyone is forgotten.” Samdech Krom Preah (Norodom Ranaridh) and I, together with all of you, we overcame all sorts of obstacles in setting up a Royal Government. With such an opportunity offered by another opposition party for CPP to rule alone, would CPP be happy to accept it? CPP would not do so. CPP possesses a political seniority and experience, and would not bait the trap easily for individual and immediate interest at all. We are on the contrary looking at an alliance of forces that would provide favorable condition for political stability, peace and development for a long time to come. CPP does not accept their offer and we have the obligation to work with its current partner in the coalition Government.
… I am sure you all get the points. This is politics. Politics could be thankless and if it is thankless towards a partner, then it is not politics anymore. In that instance CPP would not be a trustworthy partner as well. We, CPP and Funcinpec, have been working together in all circumstances – in difficult as well as in peaceful time, but I am sure we have more peaceful time than difficult one. It is indeed normal when in working places we have some differences as what could have happened for those plates that rattle in the basket. With regard to this I would like to reaffirm that we have to look for the whole forest and not just one tree. We must provide one another with a sharing win –win situation, the result of which would be development for the whole country. CPP would not betray Funcinpec, and so would I not to Samdech Krom Preah. Now it is reasonably understandable as to why CPP does not accept the offer to rule alone.
… Taking this matter into discussion, please allow me to inform you all that Samdech Krom Preah has made a great sacrifice for the stability of the country. Would you happen to know who has got the news that Samdech Krom Preah would be selected as King? It was H.E. Jacques Chirac, President of France. When HM the King Norodom Sihanouk declared his retirement, I was attending the meeting of ASEM in Hanoi, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Walking together to the meeting room, H.E. Jacque Chirac said to me “isn’t it obvious that now is the time for Prince Ranaridh to become King?” I replied in reaffirmation that “no, he would not be the one because he has to go on leading Funcinpec, as it is the foundation of political stability and the constitutional monarchy as well as the lasting of the throne.” H.E. Chirac said to me, well that is a good thinking. Later on I gave similar answer to H.E. Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi, Wen Jia Bao, Thaksin Shinawatra, Badawi and President Arroyo of the Philippines.
… The fact that Samdech Krom Preah abandoned his chance of being King is indeed a great sacrifice. As you all can see that the transfer of the reign to HM the King Norodom Sihamoni is a smooth one and took us only a week to do so. If Samdech Krom Preah offered to stand for the throne, HM the King Sihamoni, then was a prince, would not have stood as candidacy. Let’s imagine if Samdech Krom Preah were to not stand for the throne, then in face of CPP accepting the formula 50 + 1, Samdech Krom Preah would not have a chance to be President of the National Assembly, and positions in the Government would not be guaranteed too, what would happen to Samdech Krom Preah then? How would he be blamed by Funcinpec members? CPP would then be a cheater. I raised this thinking so as those who voted for CPP and Funcinpec could understand as to why CPP rule out the possibility of ruling alone./.