… Today I have a great pleasure to come once again to the province of Kompot aimed at inaugurating various achievements. I wish to express my sincere thanks to all Buddhist monks who reside in the Prey Tomp pagoda and their parishioners for their generous offer for me to preside over the inaugural ceremony of the temple. I am considering the offer an honor and a confidence placed in me. Normally the person to cut open the ribbon would have to be someone whose birth date would not be conflicting with that of the temple inauguration and also whose presiding would bring prosperity.
… I have noticed a large living hall with beautiful sculptures that happens to be my first encounter. This achievement is quite impressive or we could also say a new achievement on the old site. I have learned that this pagoda is already 200 years old. It was well developed before the war in 1970. Unfortunately it was completely ruined under the genocidal regime. This fate was no different to other pagodas in the whole country. After the liberation in 1979, our people returned to their home villages (from displacement) and cleaned the place for eventual religious celebration. From 1981 up to the present, with help from both local and external sources, especially from the United States of America, it has become once again a huge and beautiful pagoda.
… According to the report of HE Governor of the province, the total cost of the construction was US$ 362,900 – an amount that could put in place so many school buildings. But we also have demands in the Buddhist world for such an infrastructure to be built. Therefore, in Cambodia, development has to be done in secular world along side with Buddhist world. May I take this opportunity to once again express my deep appreciation and thanks to those whose contribution of resources have responded positively to the spiritual and material needs of the Cambodian people.
… Because of war and the genocide many Cambodians have fled their homeland to settle in foreign countries. What is worth mentioning here is the good point of the Cambodian government that since the liberation in 1979, we have always offered opportunities for our people living abroad to send in money for their relatives residing inside the country. Eventually, they also have a chance to come to visit their relative themselves and our people inside the country also could send their children for education abroad. This is what I called the implementation of an open policy. Let me recall a fact, if I may, that some politicians, in 1989, 1990 and 1991, were disturbed by the fact that so many Cambodians returned to visit their homeland. They then warned them of being recorded in what they called a black list. Those people would be meant to have come inside the country to offer assistance to what they called a “puppet regime.” As far as I know they even had run an article in Le Monde for it. For these people it was not enough for them to have controlled our people inside the country, but also those residing abroad. The fact was that they were afraid that those who came to visit Cambodia would observe the factual progress inside Cambodia, which is totally contradictory to their fake propaganda.
… The open policy of the Cambodian government in those days was quite applicable. We have now extended further this open policy for our people who reside abroad. They could, despite the fact that they have a foreign citizenship, come to participate in politics inside Cambodia. They are eligible to be elected and to vote. They also have a life visa. This is the best method to gather the Cambodians living abroad together for the sake of joining with the local Cambodians for development. One good point that I have to mention here is also the fact that Muslims are also present in today Buddhist ceremony. This is what I called a peaceful coexistence of different religions in Cambodia.
… May I offer my deep thanks to the local authority of all levels for their efforts in dealing with hardships resulting from flooding in 2000 and 2001 and the protracted drought in 2002. I wish also to take this forum to pronounce my appreciation for the commune councils recently elected for their collaboration despite the fact that they are from different political parties. Some communes have started to improve their local infrastructure like rural roads, canals, etc. These actions would not disappoint our people’s confidence at all.
… Let alone in Kompot, we have a good production of salt. In 2000, 2001 we had a bad salt market as salt producing companies had to import salt from abroad for local supply. This was the case because there was so much rain in Kompot that salt could not be produced. It was very difficult in those days because we have to guarantee the price of salt at a stable and affordable price for our people to purchase for their fish-fermentation season. But there has been less rain in 2002 for the same period salt production has increased to a surplus of 60,000 tons. This surplus could be reserved for local consumption in 2002, 2003 and even to 2004. Please take good care of salt stocks. The Royal Government and people of Cambodia would like to have stability not only in politics and security but also economics. Fluctuation of prices of basic commodity products would also impact on the political stability. I wish therefore to express my deep thanks to our salt workers for such efforts they have made. According to the meteorology of the Ministry of Water Resources, we would have more rain towards end of May. But some places enjoyed some bit of rains since before and right after the Khmer New Year (April 14, 15 and 16.) Taking this opportunity I wish to appeal to concerned authorities to pay heed to reserving water.
… Today is a good chance as we have all former Governors of Kompot here. HE Som Chen used to be the provincial governor, HE Koi Luon was then party secretary of the province and later we have HE Chai Saingyun from chief of staff to be a governor. The situation was then critically tense as the backpackers from Australia, France and Britain were kidnapped and killed in Phnom Voar by the Khmer Rouge. But we now have a good security.
… Let me clarify a bit about the renovation of the national road 3, 31 and 33. The reason why we have been late is because we have to follow a long procedure. However I would say that by the end of 2002, the construction would start. As for the road between the provincial town of Kompot and Tropeang Ampoe, the national road 3, we have already finished negotiation with South Korea and they have come to conduct their studies already. As for the part between Vealrinh and Tropeang Ampoe, the World Bank would be taking care of. I am so sorry for such a lengthy procedure but as we used to say: “late is better than never.”
… In response to the request for contribution to realize some achievements in the pagoda, I am to offer Riels 62 million. I also approve the request for the renovation of a dirt road from the entrance of Wat Tomp to the Prey Chas village at a length of two kilometers, by the Ministry of Rural Development…