… It is indeed a great pleasure for me to return to see you all, and those who had offered me helps in about thirty years ago. It is indeed my pleasure to come to this place to preside over the inauguration of the district office and the national road 73, but another important objective for me is to take this opportunity to see our people here and I hope that you would not mind benefiting from the Royal Government’s development efforts in a slower pace in this area. I have a good knowledge of this district as I stayed here in the time of hardships and it was one of the hotbeds of war in Kompong Cham province. In fact the district office of Dambe has changed its location four times already. In 1979 the office was at Phsar Stoeung of Ponnheakrek, and later was moved to the pagoda of Chong Cheach, then again to a place between Ponleak and Chong Cheak, and it was in this last one that the office stayed for a rather long time and I used to spend a night out there as well.
… In 1982 I came here with the then late Governor of Kompong Cham HE. Preap Pichey and we stayed in Punleak, where there were Pol Pot fighters around. I came by the market of Suong and HE Preap Pichey and I went into the market where I encountered a fortune teller. I asked him to tell me how my fortune was and I told him I had to pass an exam. He told me as much as I placed money in exchange for his calculation. He finally said I had to work hard in order to pass the exam. He had no idea who HE Preap Pichey and I were. We went to see something else and when we returned the fortune teller was nowhere to be seen. Taking this opportunity I would like to thank the Ministry of Interior, the provincial authority and related institutions for the allocation of funding for the construction of such an office. Secondly the 46 kilometres of the national 73 has in all three bridges of the total length of 81 metres that we are putting for inauguration today.
… As HE Kong Ieng mentioned the road condition prior to reconstruction had been seriously damaging and it is understandable because in the war time the area was one of the frontlines that so many tanks had been mobilized and fighting had been fierce for the capturing of Chhlong on one front and Tonle Bet on another front. When the South Vietnamese soldiers withdrew from Cambodia, they left about 30 or 40 dead tanks. B-52 bombers were also used over this area and in those days I was in the area between Tropeang Pring and Komproeus under training in a special force for one year. The road was badly destroyed, but may our people accept my apology for being late in its renovation. In 1991-92 I had also allocated some fund and fuel for the renovation of the road but the road could not survive heavy loads of logs. Between Dambe and Kompong Cham, our people had to spend a night before they could return to Dambe from Kompong Cham and one person would pay 20,000 Riel for the trip. After the renovation of the road, between Kompong Cham town and Kratie, the travel takes between 2:30 hours to three hours and between Kompong Cham and Damber would take only one or 1:30 hour only.
… In this term I could only offer to build red soil road but in the next term, if I were to be re-elected, I would try to have it paved and asphalted. As far as road construction is concerned, we already have secure funding for the renovation of the national road 7 between the province of Kratie and the Cambodian-Laos border, and as for the part between Stoeung Treng and Laos, we have a procedure to follow with the People’s Republic of China. The day before yesterday, I had a meeting with HE. the PRC’s Foreign Minister who said that the construction site should start by early 2004 from Kratie to Stoeung Treng, and from there to the border. We also have a road down from the border with Vietnam to Ratanakiri that is financed by Vietnam and we will have the road 47 and 48 financed for the construction by Thailand. On June 24, we will launch the groundbreaking ceremony to rebuild the national road 2 using the Japanese fund for the part between the Takeo town and Phnom Den. For few other roads we need to look for funding sources.
… The situation of Cambodia is different from many countries in the world, take for instance when the Prime Minister of Thailand talks about his country problem, he talks about traffic jams on Saturday and Sunday. This is the case of countries where development has been there for fifty or even 100 years. On the contrary in Cambodia, Prime Minister is talking about building roads, which road is to be built first and to be asphalted first, and which bridge is to be concrete and which is to be a Bailey one. When some people say Cambodia should take a model of this or that country’s development, it is in fact unrelated. We have to cut a hat to suit our head and not vice versa… I have a son who was born here and he used to travel on buffalo’s back. He is currently doing his study in the United Kingdom and once he finished I would suggest that he come to work in the military region II as he also had his study in the military academy in the United States. I wish my son live and work here so that he could see the destruction by war in Cambodia.
Samdech Hun Sen offered on that occasion five million Rield each to 18 Buddhist pagodas and 2 mosques, two school buildings of 12 classrooms, a sewing class building with fifty sewing machines, a director’s office of three rooms to the Junior College of Dambe, and solar energized lighting system on the three Bailey Bridges along the road 73, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Hun Sen-Dambe, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Svay Kambet, 53 tons of rice for labour to the villagers of Dambe and Sambat, a set of two computers, one printer, one TV and VCR, a 7KVA generator to the Hospital of Dambe, and a set of two computers, one printer, one TV and VCR, a 7KVA generator to the district of Dambe.