… It is with great pleasure that I am returning to the province of Mundulkiri once again today to inaugurate the national road 76 of 70.30 Kilometres between the districts of Keo Seima and Sen Monorum. The construction that include also 28 Bailey Bridges of a total length of 546 metres and 93 drainages has completed and some additional projects have been added to them. I am glad to be with all of our people here today on this occasion and I am grateful to the report by HE Governor on overall situation of the province of Mundulkiri. Up to the moment we could say Mundulkiri is in its starting position for development.
… I wish to thank related institutions – the Ministries of National Defence, Finance and Economy, Public Works and Transports, Rural Development, General Staff and the local authority for their supports offered to the engineering team of the general staff in realizing such an achievement that we are celebrating its inauguration today. The work we have done here is not too simple taking into consideration the geographical condition. First of all we have to take into account of mines and unexploded ordnances, and malaria as these could not be dealt by civil engineering team. It was in this respect that from the beginning I have instructed to strengthen the military engineering team. We have de-mined not only for the construction or roads and bridges but also for our people to evade from casualties caused by mines and unexploded ordnances in the future.
… An area of over one million square metres has been de-mined and UEXO has been removed. HE Gen. Khvan Siem reported that 342 UEXO have been discovered. We have sent here, in addition to 175 soldiers in the brigade 79 and 52 engineering motors, an intervention unit of 54 soldiers and nine engineering motors to the construction site. As we are here we learnt that the need for importing Bailey Bridges into Cambodia is still big and we should not build bridges of wood anymore, though this area is one of the dense forest areas. Wooden bridge last very short – one or two years only. It reminds me of the two nights that I spent here with my wife in 1990. We went from one mountain to another just to learn of the provincial situation and to ponder for ways to develop the province.
… Our people in this province commuted to the plain area via Vietnam. Vietnam in those days allowed our people to travel inside its territory so as to get to the plain from the hilly and landlocked area of Mondulkiri. Only 42,148 people are living in the province or three persons per square metre. We have higher density in the plain area, especially along the river. There is a saying that is specially made for this province “the province of sticky soil that no one would want to come, but once one settles in, one does not want to go away.” I would take this to have two meanings. First, because it is not easy to go to and fro, once they are in Mundulkiri, they do not have the strength to return the plain. But it could also mean that they do not leave Mundulkiri because of natural beauty.
… As far as this road is concerned, the investment put into it could not be comparable to the construction roads in the plain areas like Kompong Cham or Kratie because we have to cut up 142 mountains for roads. I will take this matter for discussion with the Ministry of Economy and Finance as we have two different road construction standards here. Well the road has brought down the amount of time spent in travelling between the plain and Mundulkiri. HE Tram Iv Toeuk of Public Works and Transports arrived at Mundulkiri at 5:00 pm after he joined me in the inauguration of the Angkor Baan Bailey Bridge in Kompong Cham. Before travelling from/to Mundulkiri our people had to spend three days and nights in difficult road condition inside the country, and seven days commuting via Vietnam. But Mundulkiri now is only seven or eight hour away from Phnom Penh now.
… We have a better road condition now between the district of Keo Seima and Sen Monorum. We now have to return to review the part between Keo Seima and Snuol of Kratie. I have also instructed HE Ke KimYan just now that our priority is the road between the districts of Keo Seima and Koh Nhek. We have built already the roads to Preah Vihear from Kompong Thom provine, and we will soon inaugurate it. We have now to divert resources to improving the condition in Koh Nhek and we could not accept the situation that our people have to transit overnight on their way to Sen Monorum (the capital). May our people in the district of Koh Nhek be patient as the construction is making its way, and they should rest assured that the road will reach them in Koh Nhek as decision has been made already and we only wait for the budget to come and time to start.
… As far as a road to the Buorsra fall, I have instructed already to include this one in our prioritized project as it would attract tourists to the fall. Taking this opportunity I wish to announce to all of our people in the plain areas to visit Buorsra fall and the province of Mundulkiri itself. I would predict that Mundulkiri is a place of great potential in the future as it will attract tourists, investments and it will surely become an agro-industry area or an important pole in our economy. I would say by 2015 or 2020, the northeast of Cambodia, which includes Mundulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stoeungtreng and Preahvihear, will become a pole of economic potential in the Cambodian economy. As I used to say integration Cambodia with our neighbours and the world is not yet a complete procedure, we have to fully integrate the different areas inside the country. We have here 12 ethnic minorities who have treasured their traditions and beliefs. We have also resolved issues relating to forest reforms.
In addition to the construction of the 96-Km road to the district of Koh Nhek and the 38-Km road from Sen Monorom to the district of Pechrada, Samdech Hun Sen offered fifteen million Riel for the construction of a Buddhist temple in the pagoda of Ratanakmundul Raingsey, ten million Riel to the ethnic minorities in Mundulkiri for the construction of a staircase at the Doh Kromom mountain, two school buildings of 20 classrooms to the people in the district of Koh Nhek, four school buildings of 24 classrooms to the Junior College of Sen Monorum plus a Director Office, a school building of six classrooms to the village of Chhneng, a school building of six classrooms to the commune of Sre Chhouk.