Firstly, I would like to express my warmest greeting to the presence of members of the National Assembly from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). I also convey my warm welcome to the idea raised in the speech of HE Sam Rainsy. I think if everything according to this spirit happened a year ago, Cambodian could have had one good year already (after the elections of the fifth legislative term of the National Assembly). What happened on 22 July 2014 was not much different to the spirit of the negotiation on 17 September 2013. Putting the two negotiation results next to one another, there is not much difference. Unfortunately, the situation had gone worse and sadness came to the country before conscience reigns. I strongly hope that HE Sam Rainsy and members of the CNRP will keep record of everything that we discussed on 16 and 17 of September 2013, on the phone on 9 April 2014 and again on 22 July 2014.
HE Sam Rainsy has just reiterated in relation to the cessation of the so-called policy where fish would eat ants when it is flood time and vice versa when flood recedes. I would urge the Cambodian people in the whole country to take note of the speeches of leaders of the two political parties. We knew from where comes the insult and threat to place so and so in prison should one come to power. So long that the Cambodian People’s Party is in power, everyone is able to live together as has been shown in reality. I hope they heed their words “we are getting older let us perform good deed for our people”.
I have a firm hope that we, in the Cambodian People’s Party, will not be named puppet of Vietnam anymore. If you continue to name us that, it means we would continue to be enemy and that everything one talks here is only for obtaining good image. In this respect I am calling on every Buddhist monk and the whole people of Cambodia to take note of the speeches.
The 22 July 2014 negotiation has been great and we have to make efforts to implement all agreements. Today, we agree with each other that it is just the beginning of a long process, especially the internal regulation. In which we will be able to establish the tenth commission (on investigation and anti-corruption) of the National Assembly. We then proceed to dealing with the amendment of the Constitution regarding the organization and performance of the National Elections Committee, in which there will be electoral reforms and finally, the election of members of the National Elections Committee.
I am glad that we have come to an understanding. Yesterday, the situation had me so concerned when I received a report from HE Sar Kheng. However, when HE Sam Rainsy flexibly altered, we have come to this meeting today. I thank HE Sam Rainsy for his understanding.
Culture of Dialogue
As I said it yesterday, I had high concern if we could have this meeting or not. We still have issue to deal with leadership structure of the National Assembly with regard to members of the CNRP. One of you will have to sit up there (the First Vice President of the National Assembly) and five others for five other commissions. What we are doing now and hereon is to follow up what we have discussed and agreed. Next step, we will continue to work on amendment of internal regulation, as we have already agreed, basing on a culture of dialogue.
Let me take this chance to appeal to colleagues in the National Assembly, especially leaders in the permanent committee and in every commission of the National Assembly to work on basis of dialogue more than to bring about confrontation. This can be coordinated with the fact that there will be seven from the Cambodian People’s Party and six from the Cambodia National Rescue Party in the National Assembly’s commissions. In every commission, where anyone party’s candidate holds the post of head of the commission, there will be five members more from the said party and four from the other party. Let us work more on dialogue and try to understand each other for the sake of our country.
Hope There Will Be No More Insults
I have a strong hope that from now on fight by whatever means will die down. It is true that freedom of expression must be respected while a limit to it should also be a consideration. For example, we find it unacceptable to have been insulted as foreign puppet, especially the puppet of Vietnam. I wish that this must stop. If that will go on, the fact that you are here (in the National Assembly) means you are sitting with the Vietnamese puppet. I thank HE Sam Rainsy for making a statement on the issue. I thank HE Sar Kheng for taking over these difficult duties. In fact, HE Sam Rainsy had to contact with me. Due to the load of work I had, he had to work through HE Sar Kheng. We have created today’s situation not through scolding or confronting one another but from dialogue. I also thank all concerned working groups.
I also learnt the fact that HE Sam Rainsy, HE Eng Chhai Eang, etc., have been accused of taking my bribe of 20 million USD. Someone (sitting) in the National Assembly who made known that I bribed them 20 million USD. HE Sar Kheng, Tia Banh, Say Chhum, Bin Chhin, etc., all know about this. I am sure that these people are not so cheap to accept my bribe, if I have any. That was the source of the uncertainty feeling yesterday at around 12am. Even after midday, contacts to HE Sar Kheng came endlessly to include this and that. That brought me concern. I knew from where the opposition is. It is best that each party strikes internal deal before setting it out rather than because of internal issue, it creates problem to national level session of the National Assembly.
I have talked a bit too much. I am grateful to and welcome words expressed by HE Sam Rainsy. I would urge our people and Buddhist monks once again to take note of words of leaders of the two political parties – HE Sam Rainsy and I, that we will end the policy of fish eating ants at flood time and ants eating fish when flood recedes. Literally, the political concept of if there is you, there would not be me or vice versa and if I win I will have you in jail. It is true that we could have had this situation one year earlier. However, late is better than never. HE Sam Rainsy and I have agreed that complicate political issue must end today.
Post National Assembly’s Extraordinary Session Press Briefing
I am sure you press people have heard what HE Sam Rainsy said already as they might have let the voice be relayed to press room. The discussion today has gone out of the framework between only two political parties to a nationwide. People in the whole country have heard words from the mouths of HE Sam Rainsy and I. They – people and Buddhist monks, must take note of leaders of the two political parties. The basic issue is unity. Though it has come a year late, it still better than never. I am sure people of Cambodia in the whole country are joyous with clarification on the issue of revenge – in flood time ants eat fish and in flood recession time, fish eats ants, from HE Sam Rainsy. Whoever came to power is a matter but s/he should let those out of power live in peace. As I have stressed just now, when the Cambodian People’s Party rules the country, every party can live with us. I hope other party would do the same.
With regard to insult over the Cambodian People’s Party as the Vietnamese puppet, I have made it clear already. Let us wait and see if the politics of coloring one another would go on while leaders of both political parties are determined to the unity spirit. I think people can give point on which party would or would not abide by the spirit. We would increase education among CPP members of the National Assembly and those who support us to respect other political parties from different political tendency. We will see if they would subscribe to the same value. I am sure in the press industry you have better mean to follow this matter up.
With regard to this mindset of ants eating fish in flood time and fish eating ants in flood recession time, you may as well learnt that in about two third of my life, I cling on to dialogue, win-win and national reconciliation policy. Though some of you may belong to younger generation, but I am sure from your research and study, you will find out how I fought to get win-win policy to succeed in uniting the country. I hope that political parties will pursue this spirit and would not want our country to fall apart. I am confident in the words expressed by HE Sam Rainsy and I hope he will get on to educating his party internally to cease national division. CPP will do likewise.
As everyone can see, being in power for more than three decades, CPP has made all it can to mend national division and to reconcile the country changing it from confrontation to collaboration. It is to everyone’s knowledge that how hard they scold and how much they reprimand me, including my life. Finally, I just had to be the one to help organize everything. As of this moment, my mind is working on appealing members of the National Assembly from the CPP to vote for the CNRP’s candidate for the posts of First Vice President and Heads of commissions. Their votes will not suffice. There is a need for CPP to provide additional votes. My role is to make sure that CNRP will get the most votes. You may understand me as well as leaders of the CPP. All we want is for people to live in peace and work together for the country.
With regard to the law to protect the head of government, I think HE Sam Rainsy raised this issue once on 16-17 September. He said he would propose such a law and would seek the Cambodian People’s Party’s support. Later one, politicians exploited the proposition to be a protection sought by CPP. On 22 July 2014, HE Sam Rainsy brought the issue up again. I told him it is not necessary. If we raise the issue only to the benefit of exploiting it in propaganda, let everyone protects his/her own privilege. The point is if whether there will be respect for previous leaders or not. Things happen in many countries. In the Philippines, one of their former Presidents is still in prison. After Benigno Aquino retires, would he be safe? Even as incumbent President, he already had to face up with various accusations. I think it is not time yet. Perhaps, it is for your generation to think about this.
As for the verdict for the Khmer Rouge leaders, I followed it closely. I was lucky yesterday that I had time to watch it live on TV. I am happy with the verdict reached by the hybrid court. Sitting down to have lunch with my wife, after watching the court delivering verdicts to the former leaders (of the Khmer Rouge), I talked to my wife that we had to wait for 35 years and exactly eight months for this day. We toppled the genocide on 7 January 1979. No one recognized it. They even blamed us for bringing them down. They even accused us of falsifying proof. In the course of negotiating (for political settlement for Cambodia) I have made it clear that the most suitable place for the Khmer Rouge was in the court of justice not in the Supreme National Council.
Even in the Paris Peace Agreement, we had been refrained from referring to them as the regime of genocide but the prevention of the recent past. In 1979, the court of the former People’s Republic of Kampuchea, already gave the regime’s leaders a sentence. Yesterday, justice is served again. It proved that what we did 35 years ago was correct. It is a relief. Though those ageing leaders would not live long enough to serve the term, but the trial should please our people./.