Presiding over the 2006 stocktaking and 2007 directives setting meeting of the Ministry of Interior, Samdech Hun Sen delivered a prepared address (which is unavailable in English) with the following selected comments.
Before we abided by the consensus system, which I later discussed with HE Sar Kheng to abolish it. We have now removed the ranking system of first, second … deputy governor to just deputy governors, whereas the Governor is the united commander. We applied the consensus system at that time because we had the co-minister for Interior and as we now have removed the latter, there is no need for keeing the ranking system.
On Investment and Land Ownership
The Royal Government has offered the local government power to approve any investment projects up to 2 million US dollars but concerned ministries/institutions with their branch offices at the provincial and municipal levels seem to be hesitant. Indeed governor of a province is powerful and soon we will have a law for a unified administration in which the governor is in fact the Government’s proxy for each province. It is therefore necessary and urgent that those institutions have to transfer in a timely manner their power and authority to the provincial government in relation to investment.
I have an idea that maybe we should swap positions between Ministers and provincial or municipal governors as I used to say that a provincial governor used to have a big power and when s/he is becoming a Minister, s/her also behaves as if s/he is still power-rich as provincial/municipal governor. May be they should swap their position for a year. A provincial governor may not be able to perform the position of Minister or vice versa because it requires different skill and expertise. There is a need for coordination in relation to power and authority.
In fact I do not want to limit the approval limit of 2 million US dollars to the provincial investment authority but this could be a starting amount. I would consider the possibility of providing approval rate to a bigger amount. However, with such a small amount to start with, it is noticeable that we are in a state of indecisiveness, whereas only 30 projects have been approved so far.
Another matter of concern is land conflict and I have raised this issue in the stocktaking and directive setting of the Ministry of Environment once. I do not believe that the provincial authority is not aware of deforestation or land grabbing in their geographical administration. I would urge all institutions concerned to give inspection to the issue. A survey needs to be held. Some people just put some fences and declared themselves to be owners but others have grown fruit trees that provide already fruits.
I warn about setting protection area that is raised to me by the Governor of Koh Kong province. The protection area was drafted since when the Khmer Rouge have not yet left the forest area, take for instance Daun Sam area. On reality people already settled there. I ordered HE Yut Phuthang Governor of Koh Kong that there are two different issues – one, area covered by the Royal Decree, any encroachment upon the people’s residences will have to be resolved for the people’s interests. and two, reserved land for future increase of population that is proposed by the provincial authority would be re-issued by a Royal Decree.
Some people have indeed settled in that particular area with a house or other livelihood activities in place but they would sell the land and seek for other land opportunity. This issue has to be carefully looked at. I understand your difficulties but I would urge you to put a stop to further logging, to confiscate illegally grabbed land and/or punish with a fine, etc. We have done so in the province of Banteay Mean Chey where a group of experts have been sent to resolve land conflict, as a result, much of the land is being recognized and returned to the people.
On Issue of Gangsters
After my reaction to issue of gangsters, the head of national police, the governor of Phnom Penh also issued their orders, especially on issue of Samurai sword selling in public. If they were to prove being unable to resolve the problem of gangsters they should be replaced because they do not make efforts to crash them. They should do the work everyday and not only when the Prime Minister is talking about it. If you do not know how to prevent violence from sword fighting among youngsters, you should give your posts to others. We have more from samurai sword fights to car or motor races.
I think this matter should not be reminded by the Prime Minister, Minister of Interior, National Police Commissioner, etc. at all. In fact they should consider this as their day to day works. Indeed today’s talk about issues of gangsters should be a final remind and I would also appeal for cooperation from parents and their supervisors in educating their children …/.