… Today I have a great pleasure to return to the district of Baray, where on April 22, 1997 and again in 2000, I had come to observe our people’s living condition in face of threats caused by floods. I could recall that the flood relief efforts were conducted within the compound of this pagoda and I was standing right on the ground by the temple there talking to our people sitting on boats that were landed around the temple. My presence today is for a different event as our people and monks here have offered me this wonderful opportunity to inaugurate a Buddhist temple in the pagoda as a token of official opening of the temple to the Buddhist followers for religious practice. My contribution to the construction of the pagoda is small but HE Thaong Khon and Madame, his relatives, as well as many other Buddhist followers have made a good sum of contribution for the finalization of such a construction. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the people of Baray district as well as our people in the whole province of Kompong Thom for the supports they offer to me in the leadership role for peace, development and poverty alleviation in our country.
… Kompong Thom had been affected by severe flooding in 2000, 2001 and 2002, followed by drought. Our people have proven with their stiffened efforts in overcoming the difficulties caused by the above natural calamities so as we have kept ourselves from being hit by famine. I have declared resolutely since when I was Prime Minister in 1985 that Cambodia was hit by drought that the Government would leave no one to die of hunger without any actions taken upon reception of information. The philosophy has been pursued every year thereafter. Our people’s efforts have brought about changes in almost all fields. It is because our people’s living condition has improved and every religion they follow is making substantial progress as well. Take for instance according to the statistics that is made available to me in the district of Baray, we have 33,129 families and 48.55% of the figure have got their own homes with brick or corrugated roof, 19.41% have got TV sets, 360 families have got tractors, 5,301 families have got motorcycles, while 18188 families have got bicycles, etc.
… In this district I have put out a small development centre. Though it may not be corresponding to demand, however it does provide a great deal of help, as HE Governor has just mentioned, in terms of water supply for rice cultivation. I have built here a total length of 45 kilometres of canals that provide water for irrigation to 7350 hectares of dry and rainy season rice. Despite I have been busy with development project in other places, my development centre here has also been a source of assistance to our people on issue of water for irrigation. I am glad to see that our people have taken all their efforts to fulfil their obligation or a promise that was made with me that as long as water is provided, you all will not leave the land uncultivated. I am also glad to see that our people in the areas west of Phnom Penh have also proven that they fulfil their obligation upon being supplied with water. What I am seeking from our people is nothing but cultivating land when water is supplied. In areas west of Phnom Penh, by the time we celebrated Prochum Ben Day, it was completely dry and now it is a green rice field. I have also initiated a tree nursery centre which could provide up to 200,000 trees a year for distribution to our people. Not only do we no longer chop trees, but also grow more.
… With the presence of the Islamic people at the inauguration of the Buddhist temple, I am very glad to see that the solidarity has been achieved among those of Islamic and Buddhist followers. It should not be a source of frustration but a promotion for the development of our country. In many places that I went for the celebration of Buddhist events, I noticed the participation of our Islamic people, and also our people who follow Christianity. This reminds me of a clever reply by an Islamic man in Pursat when he was asked about the birthday of Allah. He said Allah and Buddha were born the same time. The Governor of the province who asked the question was startled only to satisfy with the explanation that “they both were reborn on January 07, 1979.” They may have different concept of ages in other countries of the two Gods but in Cambodia the concept is one that they were all dead in the period between 1975 and 1979, only to revive on January 07, 1979.
… Last night we had a signing ceremony between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations on an official document for the cooperation on the establishment of a tribunal court to try the most senior leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea for the crimes they have committed between April 17, 1975 and January 06, 1979. This is indeed a moment of joy for our country as we all are making joint efforts to make it happen and today we also have this old-aged pagoda rebuilt. Monks in this pagoda were disrobed and some were killed. We now have 80,000 monks and 3998 pagodas throughout the country and we have between 80,000 and 90,000 teachers and the figure will soon soar as we have 5000 teacher graduated a year…
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered 20 million Riel to the Svay pagoda, five million Riel each to the pagodas of Treal, Puon, kompong Sdech and Tropeang Chhouk, ten million Riel to the Primary School of Bun Rany-Hun Sen-Svay Chi Aok, a set of two computers, one printer, one photocopier, two 14″ colour TVs, two VCRs to the Chea Sim-Kompong Thmar College, a set of two computers, one printer, one photocopier, two 14″ colour TVs, two VCRs to the Hun Sen-Taingkork College, to the Colleges of Baray and Treal, a school building of six classrooms each to the Junior College of Srah Banteay, the Primary School of Wat Por and the Primary School of Utumpor, and 31 tons of rice for labour to the people in the commune of Sra Lao…