… Today I have a great pleasure in returning to the province of Prey Veng, especially to the district of Sithor Kandal, to join with all of our people and monks here for the inauguration of the Bailey Bridge of Chruoy Sarset. This place sits between Kompong Cham and Prey Veng and on either side we could see school buildings that I had offered to build for our people. I have been impressed when coming here I saw three school buildings on one side and two on the others. In the district of Sithor Kandal alone I have built for our people 25 school buildings of 132 classrooms or one third of the number of school buildings in this area. I remember that on April 8, 1996, I came here to inaugurate the Hun Sen-Chumpu Prey Junior College and back on December 07, 1997, I came here to harvest rice in the commune of Russei Sanh, and again on September 19, 2000 I came here to offer flood relief to our people in the village of Kbal Boeung, Ampil Krao commune.
… I am glad that HE Nhem Vanda has been doing a great deal of works in the province, let alone in the district of Sithor Kandal, on my behalf. In his duty as the first deputy head of the National Committee for Disaster Management, for which I am the president, he represents me in resolving problems for our people in this place as well as in others. I wish to express thanks to the military engineering team of the Ministry of National Defence for the works and achievements they have done for the sake of our people in the area. Gen. Kong Ieng has been placed with the duty and responsibility of overseeing not less than one hundred construction sites along the Mekong River area from Kratie down to the border with Vietnam. As far as I could collect, they have fulfilled their missions competently and there have been no complaints whatsoever that are caused by all three military engineering teams – that of the general staff, the infantry unit, and the Ministry of National Defence. I am grateful to our people and those generous people who have through Dr. Sat Sami offered the installation of solar energized lightings on the three Bailey Bridges.
… When I had a meeting with H.E. former Prime Minister Ju Rongji of China during the ASEAN + China Summit in Phnom Penh, I proposed to him the possibility of helping Cambodia with Bailey Bridges and he then decided to provide another 1500 metres of Bailey. When I met with the new Prime Minister of China I also brought the issue to his attention and he agreed to consider on the request. Building Cambodia’s infrastructure has been my firm intention. This could be proven when I was in South Korea I decided to convert the two million US dollars of grant by HE President Kim Yung Sam into engineering equipments. I did the same when I was in China…
… I know that road condition in the area had been very difficult but by this time the condition has improved. From this place one could travel to Koh Sotin and to Oraing Ov on good road condition and via the Pongro Bailey Bridge, which is one of the longest Bailey bridges in Cambodia. Soon we will have this place connected to the national road 8 via the Ta So Bailey Bridge in the district of Pearaing of Prey Veng. This is going to provide us another road link which will improve our communication and transport need. You could be informed already that I have gone to the provinces of Mundulkiri, Pailin city, Preah Vihear all in the purpose of pushing for good road constructions aimed at opening up wider opportunity for poverty alleviation or hardship alleviation. I wish to have your attention a bit on the concept of equitable distribution of economic growth, as to from which point to start first. If we were to mobilize all resources only for the city construction, we would have our rural area in shabby shape. So we have to spell out a good balance between how much of what need to be disposed to the rural areas and how much of what need to be gathered for the city.
… As for the rural requirements I have put out three priorities – water, roads and schools. Our children have to be guaranteed with the right for education and this is the basic right from birth. Pol Pot had ignored this right. In the mean time I have a great pleasure to see that our people have a farsighted thought that assistance in term of one Sarong or ten kilograms of rice is not a matter of life and death. We have to see what is the basic need of our people and addressing those basic issues – water, schools, roads and bridges, are to get the problems out by their roots. I was born into a poor family and I have been brought up with concept of the poor people, so I could claim that I know very well the taste of being poor. I know in what way a bridge could be of assistance to people in flooded and disconnected communication areas. My brother and I used to sit on another side of the river waiting for my father to come take us home from school in his boat. Sometimes he came rather late for he had to go check his fish trap first. So the concept has instilled in me since my childhood and the whole story of Hun Sen is that of those poor people as well. It is a general condition, and at least to the majority.
… Starting from June 26, 2003, I would not be around anymore as it will be the start of the electoral campaign period. I have to come here quickly because I have to finish some of the inaugurations before the campaign time. Some people ask if I am one of the candidates in the forthcoming general election and I wish to tell that I am the Prime Minister candidate. The reason I will not be presenting myself in the period is because I do not wish to get involved in conflict. Though we are approaching the new election the current Government will finish its term only when the new Government swears in. I hope nothing bad would happen to me and I am sure that people will be my unbreakable shield. It is in this regard that will try my best to perform actions for the sake of peace, security and development for our people.
Samdech Hun Sen offered on that occasion 20 million Riel to the Serei Samakivoan pagoda, a school of six classrooms to the Primary School of Prek Sandek, a school of six classrooms to the Primary School of Kork Roka, five million Riel to the hospital of Sithor Kandal district, a 20 km of road and an 115 meters Bailey Bridge to the district of Sithor Kandal.