No More Import of Other Country’s Wastes
I have seen from time to time on TVs issue of import of chicken legs from other countries. Why should they import leftovers from other countries? In addition to raising chicken to cater to local demand, strong measures must be taken to prevent such import. I would urge Governor of Banteay Meanjei province to make efforts and use all forces at their disposal to take stern measures to prevent import of chicken legs from Thailand. This should be an order for the whole country, especially those provinces bordering with other countries.
If you let this goes on I will have to come to the conclusion if you are weaker or the traders are stronger. What concerned us most is our people’s health. You may have been informed about the fact that some countries have even forbidden import of foodstuff from Japan because of fear of radioactive contamination (due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor incident caused by Tsunami). We have not come to that alarming measure yet as we maintain that if the Japanese people could eat their food, we Cambodian could do so too.
In the 1980s, in trend of technical changes Eastern Europe, there was this intention to bring old technology to Cambodia. One of their mobile TV broadcasts given to us, we had to make an extra box so as to place air-condition as it comes without. I then told our officials that Cambodia is not a dumping site for any country at all. This has been illustrated clearly in telecommunication technology that we would rather go for digital than to accept more offer of analog system.
When HE Yim Chhay Ly was Minister of Health, in 1990, there was a proposal for investment on electric production on an island from where they will not only provide us electricity but also an addition of twenty million USD. I asked about possible impact on environment, especially radioactivity. They said, from burning ten thousand tons of wastes, they would have like a small bottle of radioactive matter. I said well that was enough to destroy our coast. There was also this other proposal to bring wastes to Cambodia and make fertilizer for us. I also rebuked the proposal.
Concerning this proposal of setting up a plant to process used engine oil bought from local market, and the request for approval from the Cambodia Development Council (CDC), for reason of insufficient materials, investors asked to bring them from outside. I told them if they bought spent engine oil locally, I would agree to it but to bring from other countries for this matter, I do not consent with it. They said if they could not bring spent engine oil from outside market, they could not do it. I have no reason to let our country to be dumping site for other countries’ wastes.
Let me warn you that if this is allowed to go on and on, your family members too could be affected from consequences of your action. There was a time between 1975 and 1979 that we had to eat anything. Under Pol Pot’s regime we would eat just about anything caught alive. After Pol Pot’s time, we would eat any food that we may found. Degree of quality was not a concern. As of the present, we have to talk about food safety standard. Under Pol Pot’s regime people died of hunger and nowadays Cambodia people fell ill or died of overconsumption. So food safety is our concern and we must do more to keep a high standard on this.
I have mentioned this issue also in the plenum of the Cambodian People’s Party Central Committee. We have to first prevent and put an end to encroachment for land in the Tonle Sap area and coastal zones that are defined to be area 1 and 2. We need to have a clear definition as to what are the zones used for and work out a boundary. So far some measures have been taken to define the zone around Tonle Sap, but some actions have caused discontent because boundary setting has been done on land that people are cultivating. I demand that a consensus worked out among concerned authorities.
From the helicopter, I used to see floating rice area and I am sure we have not made use fully all the land there yet. This sort of land can be given out to people in form of social concession land. In 1986 I went to visit our troops in Tonle Sap area and also again at Prey Kabas of Takeo, I instructed that floating rice cultivation area and floating rice practice must be changed into dry season (or short-term) rice area and practice. Land that was used before war could be reviewed and given it out to people, except if it were land that was claimed illegally. So I urge concerned authorities to pay attention to this matter and work out a viable solution for the people.
Aquaculture and Fisheries’ Department Regular Control Mission
As far as fish culture is concerned, it is indeed my pleasure to see that it has made a remarkable progress year after year. I used to visit some of the aquaculture sites like one belongs to Oknha Di Po where he breeds and raises lobsters. Cambodia can no longer depend solely on the Mekong River, Tonle Sap Lake, etc., where the water is deep, to provide protein for our people. Aquaculture is now our alternative in addition to wild catch.
I would urge the Fisheries Department to continue to take action and attention in sending out their staff to take permanent patrol duty at their fishing zones. I would urge that these controllers must refrain from misusing power for own benefit and/or acting in collusion with traders who would not abide by the laws and regulations. You are not allowed either to extort anyone for anything or to be shareholders with them. Fishing tackles of all sorts must be properly defined and instructed them to fishermen when fishing is to be allowed for each catching period.
People who operate the fishing lots, if they wish to continue with the business they have to exercise high sense of responsibility or they would not be allowed to go on but also to face with punishment. Setting a timeframe for our people to catch fish only one time throughout the year for instance could be a harmful policy as fishermen would catch anything and everything from baby to grandparent fishes. Seeing this effect, a reform has been put into practice where fishermen and/or people with rights to operate the fishing lots would have to have a plan to conserve and develop their lots. Controllers must take actions before the fishing season closes so as to check if mother fishes have been well preserved or have they been caught and taken for commercial purpose which would deplete fish population next year and years to come.
Let me first talk about companies that enjoy the rights of economic land concession but fail to start their projects. I would urge again to take those lands back from them. Yesterday I have signed two documents to take back land provided for concession from 12 companies. Some companies have asked for land but do not have capital to develop it while others have capital but fail to secure land for development. I would also urge concerned authorities to increase the amount of deposit for each concession. After they start a certain percentage of their approve project, we can then transfer the amount of deposit back to them. We must try and prevent a situation where people ask for license but never do anything with it. We must see that our deposit requirement is sizable and our disciplinary measure is to be stronger. Confiscated land will be filed and given out as land for social concession to poor people who need land for cultivation.
I would also urge the court and competent authorities to expedite cases of forestry offenses, which involve those who operate business illegally but also (government) officials in forestry department and environment. The two will have to be reprimanded. Effort to look after forestry resources and take actions against forestry-related offenses will have to be conducted on a regular basis. As far as logs caught and presented on TVs, I doubt it is new crime as those logs seem to be old.
I see that this issue requires cooperation also with neighboring countries, especially Vietnam. I am sure on their side Vietnam would be willing to cooperate with us on this matter. As far as log transporting is concerned inside Cambodia, Snuol district of Kratie is where the operation is often carried out. That is why I issued a letter from the Prime Minister to remove two officials of environment. I would warn forestry officials whose duty is to protect the forest but to act in collusion with traders to destroy our forest of severe actions and punishments.
Well as we are approaching Khmer New Year, let me tell you a story. It is about what I call “Pumpkin Seed Officials.” There was a King and he would like to study officials’ minds and actions. One day, after the court session, HM told his officials to collect pumpkin seed to grow. Many have collected them. As the season to harvest the pumpkin, HM the King reconvened the court meeting and asked the court officials if they grew any pumpkins. There three groups of officials making their cases about growing pumpkins.
The first group said they have grown so many pumpkins with the seeds collected from HM the King and soon the palace opens its gate, they would bring them in. They did bring in a lot of them. The second group presented their case that they could not grow them because the seeds had either been eaten by rats or left unattended. The third group came out and said ‘we did not grow any pumpkin as we ate all the seeds.’ HM the King then approved that those who had consumed the seeds were faithful officials, while those who left them unattended and for rat to consume were lazy officials. However, for those who said they planted so many pumpkins from the seeds, HM the King judged them to be unfaithful and ordered them to be stamped by elephants. How could they grow pumpkins out of cooked seeds?
This has brought us an idea that those officials who grow pumpkins out of cooked seeds are not faithful. So long as for what I have said above, I warn those officials and investors not to repeat after this example. They assured one way or the other that they have so much money to develop this or that size of land when they asked for land concession but once they got the land they failed to keep their promises. I also wanted to say a few things to the court officials, police and military police on one matter that I call ‘Befriend with all’. Let me give an example from our country.
It was about the time when Cambodian was under the French colonial era, there were two people of opposite views. One group, because they were unhappy with the other group assured that when the Japanese entered Cambodia they would sued them to the Japanese. When the Japanese did enter the country and they were to report to the Japanese about the other group, they saw that that group was already befriended with the Japanese. They then said to themselves they would do it when the French came. Later, the French returned, the group went to report it to them but failed again as the same group was now befriended with the French too.
This is to say that people should be careful about making friends with everyone or relying on someone for own interest like being good friend to the police, the military police, the court, etc., that s/he could be evaded from all legal matters. I do not mean to stop our people from making friends but to make friends for protecting bad interest is what I am calling for attention. Whatever it is legal aspect should be the point here. This should be construed as real-life story where a good citizen, having known about a bad case of trafficking, fails to report it to competent authorities because the traffickers are friends to all of them./.