Refugees to Come to Cambodia Voluntarily
… I would continue to appeal for continuation of effort to strengthen quality of education. Each school or university needs to work on quality of education because our human resource will have to compete in job market locally, in the region and in the world. I am ambitious. Today there will be clarification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interior on issue relating to the agreement signed with Australia to allow voluntary resettlement by certain refugees to Cambodia. It is an obligation that Cambodia has to fulfill. There is of course differing opinion in Australia on this issue between the ruling and opposition parties. Here, we also have those who staged demonstrations at the embassy. They have not had access to agreement. However, there is a point mentioned in the deal that the resettlement will be on voluntary basis. No one is to be forced to come to Cambodia.
(The press) can go interview those people. In older days, we also had refugees from Cambodia to foreign countries. Those people also gave interviews to the press. They said Cambodia is not fit for those refugees. If it is not up to the standard yet, let those refugees decide. It is up to them. If they decide not to come, they do not come. What else can we say? That is the principle of making decision on voluntary basis. However, Australia thinks Cambodia has the required standard to a certain extent, according to the previous visit of the Australian foreign minister. They want to sign the agreement as soon as possible. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Interior have been working on this issue. I think they will throw a press conference to enlighten the issue today.
Please understand that we will not just accept without making a thorough consideration on the matter. No one is going to come voluntarily to Cambodia without knowing what the country is like. I just bring this issue up to enlighten us the need for Cambodia to improve its human resource and work closely and in a timely manner with its socio-economic evolution and those of the region and the world over. No one could in the current circumstance stand idle.
Top-to-Bottom Reform of Education
As far as education is concerned, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will have to figure out its reform strategy in tertiary education. The Ministry will implement educational reform from bottom to top and in reversal order. We cannot make sudden jump from a normal pace. Let me give you an example about the secondary school exam. I hope those of you who will take the retest have been studying hard. I am urging every student to pay attention on the study. They cannot afford to just learn and pass the exam in their last year in school. When it is time to jump, because of the speed you have made from afar, you will be able to make a move.
The other day HE Dr. Hang Chuon Naron said that students who learn well pass their exams. It means you have to have knowledge to pass. There will not be irregular chance for diploma any more. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has also prepared lessons for our students to study for retest. They posted them in the Ministry’s website. You can download them and make a good study. Someone has proposed through CNC TV that the Ministry should confer understanding by limiting the subjects for retest to ten only. They have got to learn them all.
Flash Flood in Phnom Penh, Message to Farmers
I wish to talk a bit about the fact that we have finished with the celebration of the Phjum Ben ceremony. Yesterday there was a heavy rain. I had the feeling that our people in Phnom Penh might have some temper. I am seeking their understanding that flash flooding, especially when we had downpour between 70 and 80 millimeters like yesterday, flash flooding is unavoidable. The golf course that covers a free space of hundreds of hectares was also under water. I am seeking our people’s understanding. We are taking more measures to extract water through newly widening drainage system.
According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, rain will continue through to mid of November, with a longer cool period than normal year to follow. Against this prediction, I would continue to encourage our people to take personal measures to retain water in reservoirs for irrigation purpose. I wish that you do not let the water off from the reservoirs on knowledge of predicted more rains.
Those living along the river would know that it is important to have their water reservoir full at this time of year. Please look after the dam as before soon the time when fish jump out of the reservoir will come. Kids like to widen the waterway out for fish to get through out of the reservoir. That would lead to losing water for fish and will create problem for rice cultivation.
Talking about this, I should raise here that after deregulating the fishing lots on 8 March 2012 and allow the community to take control of their water resources and cultivation need; we seem to have achieved a harmony between those who needs to let water out for fishing and those who need to keep water for cultivation. The chronicle conflict between fishermen and rice cultivators is over./.