… HE Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior, has brought forwards important recommendations to our seminar on power delegation to the office of Public Works and Transports at the provincial level to issue number identity to all vehicles. There is some kind of conflicting procedure of two Sub-decrees where the idea of concentration and de-concentration has not been made clear. I have just had a confirmation from the Secretary of State on the issue that indeed the Ministry of Transport and Public Works is doing the work of issuing number license – where number plate of motorcycles have to be collected from Phnom Penh whereas all vehicles number license have to come to Phnom Penh.
Let us see the fact that a citizen in Udor Mean Cheny bought a second hand vehicle, would you think he comes all the way to get a number license in Phnom Penh? This morning there was this issue of all engine boats up to one-ton load capacity will have to come for registration in Phnom Penh and each number license is valid for only 12 months. I asked the Governor of Stoeung Treng (where it is far and using numerous boats) would those with one-ton load engine boat come to Phnom Penh for the number? I see this as a concentration of power at the time when we try to transfer power to the provincial level. I think we should leave the work to the commune council or we might take long time to discuss the issue.
I say that from now on the Ministry of Public Works and Transports must transfer power to the office of Public Works and Transports at the provincial level to see about issuing number plates to vehicles of all kinds. If the general direction of transports does not have any works to do, we should dissolve it because its existence would make our people’ lives difficult in getting the number licenses for their vehicles. Aside from that traffic order control would be in great difficulty as the local forces will oversee the vehicle numbers while they are being registered in Phnom Penh. Income from the procedure should be kept for the sake of the provincial activities because they are all national income only that one is kept at the provincial and another would be kept at the national level.
I would suggest that those in the senior level should not try to act at the grass-root levels. This power should indeed have been given long ago to the provincial office according to our policy of concentration and de-concentration. Our people in the provinces should contact the office of the Public Works and Transports in your province and not to Phnom Penh. If they have their dossier with the Ministry in Phnom Penh, they should take it back and return to their provincial office, and as far as I know the section issuing the vehicle’s number license has been in a corrupted manner of work.
Another recommendation is indeed covering one part of use of road feeder. The Ministry of Public Works and Transports has put forward a draft on use of road feeder. In general, the concept is good. So far the cost of paying our people residing along the road has been far greater some times than the cost of building it. What remains to be discussed is about the fact that the road between villages should also have road feeders. What we want here is road feeder at the national road level, or roads with two digits take for instance road 5 and its truncation 58. If we were to set out criteria to the village level – take for instance the road into the pagoda where there are people living along – no one would like it to be built because they are afraid that their land would be encroached upon. I have instructed the sub-decree to be re-examined. I would recommend the Ministry and the offices of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction to allow people to build road in appropriate distance from the main road.
I wish to have the attention of those provinces where there are roads of one digit and two digit numbers cutting across by preventing people from building too close to the roads and tell them we may need to expand it to 15 or even 20 meters wide. We may see altogether that for some roads, they are indeed the result of building water canals – take for instance in the development project west of Phnom Penh – where we had up to 70 kilometers of master canal, and on the side of which is the road. Any attempt to expand it to the size of 11 meters, the canal would have to be re-leveled and that in return we should not issue any sub-decree that is not applicable. Take another of example of the canal at Kompong Trabek (Prey Veng) to the river of Vaiko (Svay Rieng) – any expansion of the road would damage existing infrastructures – take for instance the canals, the optical fiber, public electric pillars, clean water system, etc. We should base our decision on practicality or we would damage those public infrastructure invested by the Government. I do not sign a sub-decree in relation to the development of Siemreap regions because it would demand the removal of those living along the national road 6 to 200 meters and it would affect schools and hospitals, etc. Distance from one hotel to the next will have to be a space of 300 meters, how to go about implementing it when we have many hotels already built in between? There have been many points that are inapplicable.
Those of you who are Governors of cities and provinces where there lie parts of national roads – both one or/and two digits – have the responsibility to make our people understand that construction of houses will have to be at an appropriate distance from the road for the sake of being damage-free from expanding the roads.
Another recommendation relates to the issue of overload capacity and those vehicles of overload capacity must be brought to and kept at the station provisionally. There has been issue of fine but then the vehicle is allowed to go on. What we want is not to get them fined but for the sake of traffic safety. Any overload goods must be removed and fined before letting them go. Fines seem to be inefficient so it would be better if we park them up and bring them for provisional confinement. If we fail to do so, traffic accidents or damages caused to bridges or roads would be incalculable.
As to my clarification on right-hand drive vehicles, I accepted that the imported right-hand drive vehicles already in traffic in the country would be given number license but that should not be misinterpreted to allow importing right-hand drive vehicles. I have some recorded tapes on cars imported from Thailand and it was done in the cleverest way. We had an agreement that any right-hand drive vehicles have to be made left-hand drive before allowing to export to Cambodia, but there was this method of changing them back to right-hand drive vehicles upon reaching the Cambodian soil. I do not agree with request for setting annual quota for importing of vehicles…/.