… Today I am glad to return to the province of Prey Veng and I wish to recall a brief history of the pagoda of Prey Puon. Before it was called the pagoda of Prey Puan (forest for hiding) but later it was known to be Prey Puon (a forest of Puon trees). It was called Prey Puan because in those days our people ran off from villages to hide themselves here in fear of being forced by the French colonists to pay for their identity cards. On the contrary the Royal Government is making payment for issuing identity cards for our people for free. In 1998, the Royal Government had initially thought of making our people pay a small sum of money for their identity cards, but we had in the end decided to issue for our people for free. In Prey Veng we have a statistics that people who are at their ages of holding an identity card is 60,000 and so far we have approved about 40,000 already. The Royal Government not only provides the cards for our people free of charges but also let them free from tax on land. If we were to collect tax on land from our people, the national budget would swell up but our farmers would eventually be suffocated with tax burden. So our people should be aware that the Royal Government is helping everyone. It should be considered a kind of investment for our people.
… I am paying more attention now to rice cultivation and I have observed that dry season rice cultivation in the whole province of Prey Veng is making a good progress. Take for instance the whole province possesses only 60,000 dry season rice area and our people have cultivated up to 64,344 hectares or 107.24%. We should think of means to increase dry season rice cultivation further next year. Prey Veng has got 258 millimetres of rain and in the district of Kompong Trabek alone has enjoyed 160 millimetres. From helicopter I have also seen good rice in the districts of Ba Phnom and Preah Sdech and we should be able to harvest early season rice by July or August and this could be a relief for our people’s hardships left over by drought last year.
… I have a piece of information of current event to share with our people today, especially our Islamic people as in the last few days we had discovered terrorist links in the Kingdom of Cambodia. In fact together with the United States, we have identified them long ago after the terrorist attack in New York. Now we have just found sufficient proofs that there are hidden links in Phnom Penh for terrorist activities in Cambodia. I wish to declare that the Islamic people in Cambodia are innocent people and they are convicted of no links to outsiders. I wish to take this opportunity to inform Islamic leaders and people throughout the country that they have nothing to be concerned with regard to this incident. What happened in Phnom Penh was just relating to a few foreigners who hid in our country for future terrorist activities. When HE President George W. Bush placed final ultimatum for Saddam to leave Iraq, I have appealed in the district of Ba Phnom that our people should remain quiet and I offered two guarantees for the United States and allies – first, there would not be any demonstrations held against the US and its allies and second, there would not be any terrorist attacks on the US and its allies’ interests here. We have kept our promise strictly.
… But (fighting) against terrorists is not a separate mission for the US and its allies but a global action and I have told the US officials as well as those focussing their attentions on this issues that “fighting against terrorism is not a separate obligation of the US and its allies, and Cambodia should see it as an interest for the sake of its own security as well.” If anything done against the US interests in Cambodia, the real victims are the Cambodian people and a few days ago I have sent a letter to HE President of France Jacque Chirac in relation to all these matters. Through serious investigations we have discovered and arrested the links (to international terrorism group). What follows is that I have decided to close down the Om-Alqura organization and they should no longer have activities in Cambodia. Those people who were arrested would be detained according to law and those who have not been involved would have to leave within 72 hours so that this is a guarantee that Cambodia is not a shelter of terrorists. And our Islamists in Cambodia who have studied in the school organized by the group would not be charged. The Ministry of Education has to take the responsibility to make the place into a Junior or Senior College for the time being so that our students could continue their studies.
… Terrorist acts take place almost anywhere in this world. Take for instance the September-11 incidents where two planes crashed into the World Trade Centres and a plane crashed into the Ministry of Defence of the US and just days ago there was a serious explosion in Saudi Arabia, which provided fund for the Om-Alqura organization, and many people have been killed. This kind of tragedy must not be allowed to happen in Cambodia because real victims in the country affected by terrorist actions are innocent people and in our case the Cambodian people. So I wish you all showed your understanding with the Royal Government as this is relating to our national security and we will soon organize a meeting of Foreign Ministers from many countries, and the US Secretary of State would be one of them. May our Islamic people, especially those who used to have contacts with the Om-Alqura organization understand, keep calm and do not worry about what happened in the past few days. Some people may raise a question that why we do like this to please powerful countries. It is indeed a common obligation of cooperating with countries in the region and the world to prevent and to fight against terrorism. It is lucky that we have discovered this thanks to Buddha, Allah and Jesus. This should not be understood as a repression on Muslim in Cambodia but for our own national security interest.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered 20 million Riel, a generator, and 18 tons of rice for labour to the pagoda of Prey Puon, three million Riel to the pagoda of Peam Antea, four million Riel to the pagoda of Kork Thlok, three million Riel to the Pagoda of Kirisakor, eight million Riel to the Islam community in Kompong Trabek, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Prey Puon, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Trung Nives, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Kansaom Ak, a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of Samraong and a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Anlung Reach.