Commune and Village Safety Program
As we all are living in villages, I am sure you agree with me that it is correct for me to encourage implementing the commune/village safety program under the leadership of the Ministry of Interior. Once we achieve safety at the village and communal level, the whole country will eventually be safe. I would stress on the importance that we have to mobilize our people to engage themselves in this large scale campaign for their own safety. This is not a job to be fulfilled and can be fulfilled by police force alone. Officials of all levels who are living in various villages also have the duty to carry out this task too.
The idea was first suggested at the 65th anniversary of the national police and has been proposed to the Ministry of Interior as far as I could recall. Now it has become a political platform of the Royal Government of Cambodia. It must be said too that it has been defined and pointed out by the Cambodian People’s Party in its plenum with wide-ranging support (from its members). I am sure our officials can contribute ideas and thought on various issues, not as bosses but as villagers at large, in public forums that are organized to tackle local issues. Please act out together for safety for our people.
This morning the Mayor of Phnom Penh, HE Kep Chuktema, has made a proposal to bring (traffic) lawbreakers to court, a next step after education has been carried out a while ago. Some lawbreakers have now picked the public road for their car race. Seeing this development, the matter of traffic law offense must be filed for court action.
We could not make them respect law with a small fine for their offenses. Since instruction and education do not bear fruit, we have no choice but to bring the issue to court, where criminal punishment might be a thing to come out with.
Retirement Age to Be Strictly Applied
(As far as retirement age is concerned) let me assert that we will observe the law of retirement strictly without exception.
According to the discussion I have had with Minister of Interior, retirement will be observed according to law and exception will be allowed only for governors of cities and provinces till 2013. For instance, the governor of Phnom Penh capital will be allowed to extend his job till after the elections in 2013. This special measure will be applied for like ten governors only.
However, deputy governors of provinces/cities or districts will not be permitted for such extension. This is also to be applied in all ministries and no permission will be given to any case at all. I will not approve such a request.
In case of need, at retirement ages, people (with needed knowledge and long-term experience) can be appointed to political functions after they are retiring from public functions. I am sure you have a good understanding of the need (for new generation to take over the jobs).
As we all started (taking leadership functions) when we were in the late 20s and early 30s, it is a normal coincidence that all of a sudden many of us have turned to be in the 60s, take for instance, HE Kep Chuktema (Mayor of Phnom Penh), HE Su Phirin (of Siemreap), HE Ung Samy (of Prey Veng), HE Chhun Sirun (of Kandal), etc. and various heads and deputy heads of departments and offices.
Let’s be clear here that people to take over the positions should not be in only for few months before their retirement age too. We also need to get our in-coming replacement generation ready (for the transition).
As I mentioned on February 22, the trend (of border dispute) seemed to have been more favorable for solving problem by peaceful means as is recommended by the UN Security Council and through the ASEAN mechanism for a ceasefire along with the Indonesian observers to be sent to Cambodia and Thailand.
(The two sides will) continue through (existing) negotiating mechanisms, with appropriate involvement from ASEAN chairman. Those mechanisms, the meeting of the two foreign ministers, the General Border Commission (GBC) that is co-chaired by the two defense ministers, etc. need to be conducted initially at Jakarta, Indonesia. I think this is quite an appropriate form of involvement.
Since bilateral discussion or closed door meeting does not bring us anywhere, now let’s have an open door discussion so that everyone can learn about what is going on, especially ASEAN chairman would be in a position to circulate information among ASEAN members and even report to the UN Security Council.
It is anticipating that the forthcoming meeting will be first conducted between the ministers of defense as this meeting would not require (Thai) parliamentary ratification. What remains to be seen here is when the Indonesian observers can come.
We now have reached a formula of a bilateral negotiation in the presence of a third party. (The Thai) side may call it anything they may see it but this is a formula that we have a third party that will witness whatever the two sides have discussed and agreed on. The ASEAN chairman can either co-sign with the two sides on any outcome agreement, if there is going to be any, or issue a statement in recognition of the outcome of the negotiation.
As Cambodia will chair ASEAN in 2012, I have anticipated that Cambodia will not be able to act as ASEAN chairman and a member concerned, or in other words to be an arbiter and sportsman at the same time.
In this development, Cambodia may seek ASEAN’s consensus to let Indonesia continue its role then. Indonesia is fit to do this job because it has reserved an active role in the region. However, there will be eight more months from now.
As I said it out loud that this border issue between Cambodia and Thailand will take us a long time to resolve. Lately PM Abhisit and army commander Prayuth Chan-Ocha seem to have garnered for a war when they said Thai is ready to strike with full force if Cambodia attack it first.
Cambodia has got no need to go into Thai territory and to open fire first. It has never done that from beginning to end.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha also said that there will not be troop withdrawal and I wish to reaffirm my February 17 proposed initiative that I called for ceasefire and troops stay where their stations are. I have not asked for troop withdrawal.
Again, I must make it clear that the two sides must stay where they are. If Cambodian (soldiers) infiltrate (against order) into Thai territory, they will be shot at and if the Thai soldiers did that to our territory, they also will be shot at.
The two sides have rights to protect national sovereignty. If one side nurtures no intention to invade the other, that means there will not be tension. Since we will have the presence of Indonesian observers too, that will be quite assuring.
We must understand that the forthcoming mission by Indonesians is to conduct observation (on both sides) that I have said Cambodia will allow them to go anywhere, anytime and anyplace they may like to.
I would like to thank the ASEAN rotating chairman for taking active role (in this matter) and I hope that as Cambodia will chair ASEAN in 2012, Indonesia will continue to carry on this role on behalf of ASEAN. There may not be objection to Indonesian playing this role (among ASEAN members) I hope./.