I am so glad to be here at the University of Specialty of Cambodia for the graduation ceremony and diploma conferment for some 3,114 graduates, which is the first time of its kind in the beginning of year 2010, after my presence at the inauguration of the SOS School on January 4 and the third phase segment of the national one, followed by the celebration of the January 7 victory. Let me take this opportune moment to wish you all a happy new year, good health and success in whatever you all are doing.
I am so happy to have heard progress made by the University as I listened to HE Sdoeung Sokhom’s progress report, which is a culmination from the whole development process of the 31 year period. I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for efforts by the leadership of the university. Not only have they made progress in Phnom Penh, but they have established branches in various provinces like Kompong Thom, Battambang, Kompong Cham, etc. I am sure this progress has been recorded not only on material basis but quality of education service too.
I may take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the scholarships that are being offered in my own name, and other Cambodian leaders’, for students who are resources-lacking and wishing to continue their studies. It is indeed the best way to share resources and to provide better chance for them to go on with tertiary education. I have noticed that our children who are born after 1979 have expressed interests in learning and being knowledgeable. It is a good thing that the University here and others have made every effort to respond to their demands.
May I offer my appreciation and thanks to professors who have worked for the quality education in the university and I also join with our graduates today for their new step of success in life. It is hard to grow trees because it is to take many years to give fruits. However, growing human resources is to take 14 long years for those to graduate with a Bachelor degree. Going higher will definitely take longer.
Let me take here a case of my own children. I was the one to bring them to school and to give my remarks with approved signature in every page of their logbooks. As for one of my children I saw him off to school since when he was barely five years old and he graduated completely at 32 years of age. He spent more time in tertiary education than in the secondary education level. He had chance to go for practicum in Congo, and also had his study and teaching mathematics in Brighton, England. Upon his return, we both always have some discussions. My wife always noted that we both seem to have some disagreements.
It was not a conflict but just he liked asking questions and I said to him I have sent you for study and when you finished and come back with more questions. It should be me who had more questions to ask you about. My wife said it was because he did not know that he had to ask. He finished and achieved many degrees – the first Cambodian to have studied and graduated from the Military Academy at West Point, and in UK, etc. but as he had all his studies done, he came back asking me questions.
One day on the issue of Constitutional amendment in 2006, he waited in England until I got out of the Parliament and called me to find out why there was a need for amendment.
I have taken a long time to explain him. I have brought up the Canadian case as an example, where whoever gets the majority will form the Government. Where there is higher democracy, there could be lower voice. However the matter is far deeper than just this concept. Though elected by majority, the winners had become hostages by the minority with smaller voices or people’s support. The only way to bring elected winners by majority to fulfill their missions in response to the wish of the people is to have constitutional amendment.
We have come to this because it gives our country a chance to get out of political trouble at every elections time. With a two-third majority approval, it has taken us a lot of lobbying before drafts can go into discussion and approval. We need 7/10 quorum for a meeting on so and so matter. We do not have that required quorum and when we ask them to join us in the meeting, in fact to fulfill their duties as elected parliamentarians, they gave us their uncompassionate remark ‘if you are the best why you need us.’
7/20 quorum requires 84 or 85 sitting parliamentarians so that a meeting could go into session. CPP had at the time only 73 sitting parliamentarians. We had to beg the opposition even for a meeting to happen, far more for adoption on drafts. We are always under threats from the minority. That is why I say ‘where there is higher democracy, there could be lower voice.’ The opposition has become the one to offer power for CPP. The opposition was angry with Funcinpec, the ally of the CPP in the Royal Government, for having betrayed them twice. That was indeed a long explanation to my son.
As you can see here those with majority have been under constant threat by minority leader, and this case has been taking its toll in one of our neighboring countries. Without the minority we would not be mature so amendment of the Constitution is a way out. I have spoken to you about the case of my son who has posed me the questions. Since I have five children, five more of my in-laws sitting around the table make us ten, then shedding light on many issues.
Having given you this experience, I would reassure you that human resource development will take at least 16 years and more for some people. One fact still is that some graduates, even after finishing their long-time development could not promptly activate their knowledge in their fields of work. I would therefore urge you all to go on studying together with works that you are going to involve in the near future. HE Sdoeung Sokhom has just mentioned about percentage of graduates who have not been able to find jobs that are corresponding to their areas of expertise.
As far as this point is concerned, I have an experience to share with you that those who have the chance to work or find a job in accordance to their training background is a good thing but the 25% of graduates who had to work in a different field of expertise should not be a matter of underestimation. Because they will gain new knowledge and experience, but also if they are self employed, it would be a great job creation pattern. That is why we not only pay attention to creating job not in line of duty but also encourage and facilitate whenever possible for self employment too.
In the course of dealing with impacts of job losses due to world and regional financial crisis and economic downturn, the Royal Government of Cambodia has had to spend some three billion Riels for urgent training to provide and diversify skills for job. Among those who have taken up the opportunity provided by the program, I wish to single out one encouraging fact that some have opted for borrowing loans for self employment, which I am so proud that 4% of them could go for their own business, which will keep not only himself busy but also the rest of his family members.
Some of you who have come to study here do not wish for a government job or those in private sector but to acquire knowledge for their own business development. A country could not afford to provide everyone with Government or private sector jobs, especially in the time of financial and economic difficulties as such. Many countries have had to cut down number of workers and tied up financial resources, whereby repercussion impacts on various investment projects, and our country could be no exceptional case.
Income of citizens in various countries has gone down because they lose jobs. Their losses have a great impact on us. Firstly, garment where exports to these markets have had to reduce since the purchasing capacity has shrunk. Secondly, tourists traveling to all destinations have reduced in great number too. Fortunately, in Cambodia we still have achieved a positive growth of 2% in comparison with the figure achieved in 2008. However, it is worth noting that amount of money spent by tourists has shrunk too.
Therefore, in light of what I have said, I suggest that you all continue to make efforts in your study and go on studying. Do not let yourself be a conservative for not probing with new knowledge. Thing happens everyday in the world. We need to be ahead of the situation. Information is keys. No matter who you may be – politicians, businessmen, etc. – have to have accurate, clarified and certified information so as to benefit from evolving situations – whether in economics, financing, marketing, culture, technology and science or politics.
For me, if ever a day goes by without information, I would give a comparison as I have had no food. That is why it is my usual habit that before going anywhere, take for example coming here, I have some primary reviews of the situation and information that reaches to me everyday on my mobile. I have taken it this much that sometimes we have problem in keeping abreast with what is happening. I wish our people achieve sufficient and correct information that they can use in making their judgments. I do not want our people to receive information from the press that is lacking professionalism and providing only deceived facts, which could not lead to any judgment at all.
That is why I wish to mention here about the fact that according to my observation, opposition parties, because of their deception in information, have grown smaller and less influential by the day. That would be exceptional in Japan, where I do not think Prime Minister HE Hatoyama, while he was in opposition, may have done information deception at all.
I would again urge you to ponder on what I have said regularly when I have to offer my vision for jobs for graduates. Leadership and work methodology have three stages. Firstly you have to have a good plan, and this has proven to be true in all sectors of society – from government, political parties, companies, down to families. Having done that I would say you have achieved some 30% of what you need to do and it will be your guidance of actions. The second stage is to get the plan organized and implemented because if you have a plan but neglect its implementation, it will be good for nothing.
Having come to the stage of implementation you have achieved another 30% of whatever you wanted to do, which together with planning you have a score of 60%. The last point is the most important factor as either government officials, business agents or family members will have to remember, that is to deal with accidental situation or force majeur in the course of implementing the plan.
This is a very important point as we could figure out who among our officials have appropriate capacity and responsibility. These are important criteria for functional appointments. All plans rarely get implemented smoothly without obstacles. According to experiences there have always been force majeur or unpredictable conditions. Take for instance, as a country Cambodia has its planning for five years, ten years, etc. However as everyone can see the world financial crisis has been unpredictable making impacts on our country’s planning but also at the other level we have had impacts from local disasters like flood and the Ketsana typhoon.
It is those conditions that we could measure up capacity and capability of our officials at all levels, which to my experience I have always found them to be of two categories of officials. This is in fact not new as I have raised since when I gave lecture to the senior party officials in the Party Cadre School back in 1980s. The first type of official is the one whom I define to be taking responsibility and resolve issues on the spot. They would not leave the issue unresolved or unattended. This type of official deserves to be considered and if they lack background education, complementary training should be provided.
The second group of officials is usually seen to be doing two things. Firstly, they are to do nothing but reporting to their seniors and secondly, they are to leave responsibility to low level staff. Having done so it is indeed a good thing to leave them where they are in terms of responsibility and rank pending their retirement time. They evade their responsibility leaving the matter for their seniors or supervisors to resolve, and/or put all faults on their lower rank officials for whatever goes wrong. This group of officials is normally found out to be devious.
These are exerted from my long experience in leading and managing (human) force. This year is in fact the 40th anniversary of the day when I started my mission in the national liberation movement in response to the appeal made by Samdech Prreah Norodom Sihanouk in 1970. I was then not even 18 years old as I joined the Marquis on April 4, 1970, whereas my birthday is in fact August 5, 1952. I have since then changed the birthday to be that of when I joined the national liberation movement.
Over the past 40 years I have tasted so many different ways of life. Life as a soldier whose commander ordered to get him tea and/or get their clothes washed. The nature of my career ascension is not like a helicopter that gets off from the ground. I have had so many hard times. That is why I never like it when someone makes a shortcut in their career ascension. Today is also indeed the anniversary of my 33 years as the important leader.
While Samdech Chea Sim (President of the Cambodian People’s Party and President of the Senate) and Samdech Heng Samrin (Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party and President of the National Assembly) never once claim to by my superiors, a man in his insincerity claimed he were the father of December 2nd (the day when the National Liberation Front gets established) and the January 7 victory (the day when the Pol Pot’s genocidal regime was toppled), and worse of all he claimed himself to be my superior.
Since when did he come to Cambodia and involve in the liberation? How could he claim himself to be Hun Sen’s superior? I never had a superior to answer to since June 20, 1977. I became my own commander and I was the only one who bore the highest rank at 25 years old. I may recall too that today is the anniversary of my 31 years in the Government and 25 years as Prime Minister. I became Minister when I was 29 and the Prime Minister when I was 33 years old. I am the Prime Minister for 25 years now and I have another three and a half years more in my term. Samdech Chea Sim the other day has declared my candidacy for the post of Prime Minister for another term and I will not accept any proposed term limitation.
We have now achieved, according to the July 31 – August 26 polls by the IRI (International Republican Institute), 79% approval rating on issue relating to whether Cambodia is on the right path. In response to the question whether those respondents will cast their votes for CPP, the rate has increased by 1% – which is 53%, comparing to 2008. There have been 31% who responded they may vote for CPP, which similar category of response is also 5% more than last year, and those belonging to twelve percent who would not vote for CPP has now recorded a 2% less.
I am sure IRI has shared this information with some political parties already. They even ranked the different areas of support base for the CPP-led Royal Government – building roads, schools, hospitals and health centers, irrigation systems, electric generation station, peaceful state of the country and better business environment. There have also been many diversified responses as to why would they cast their votes for the CPP. They were giving supporting facts to the liberation of the nation from the Pol Pot’s genocide, economic growth and better road conditions as well as leadership by Samdech Hun Sen, etc.
Solving unexpected business is indeed a major factor for all level officials. As responsible persons in a political party or in an institution, one should be prepared for all sorts of incidents, take for instance the fight against financial crisis too. I have an appreciation for the provincial or sub-national level authorities as well as the mechanism of the Cambodian Red Cross and the National Disaster Management Committee at all levels for their actions in time of disasters. It is true that intervention from superior level is unavoidable but first local actions and solutions must be applied and encouraged.
I also would like to send a message to provinces along the border that the weather in the forthcoming days will continue to be cold according to the information and forecast that I have from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. Last night I called (deputy commander-in-chief) Gen. Chea Dara at Preah Vihear and Sar Thavi, Deputy Governor of Preah Vihear inquiring their information and observation about chilly weather. I have provided since December some 20,000 sets of casual jackets for our troops along the border and on islands.
We have to keep following up the weather so that we will have to take timely measure to help our people deal with unforeseeable conditions. We have to provide accurate and updated information for the public, as access to information is primary in getting oneself informed, instructed and prepared for upcoming.
After the liberation, our country was in a state of partly at war and partly at peace. The country had been at peace for a wider area and most of the time, but for a smaller part and less of the time that it was at war. The win-win solution has brought peace for the country and a complete cessation of war, a condition on which we have been able to urge for national reconciliation and unity for the very first time.
Peace and political stability is primary condition for development. Students and professors do not have to take shelters from bombardments as they did in the past. It is now the best time for us. Let’s hold on to it tightly and don’t let go of it. I am so disappointed to the fact that some of our youngsters have involved in drug and rebellious association. I want to have your attention here that alarmingly most of them are children of soldiers, police officers and officials. I wish that this indication be taken by all. Parents should take their best chance to educate their children or they could not prove themselves to be leaders of our people.
I have a few responses for our friends in the western border of our country. Yesterday Foreign Minister of Thailand, Kasit Phiromya said our pagoda Keo Sekha Kirisvarak has been built in Thai territory … Let me clarify that what you have said is an insult that is not to be forgiven. It is always the case that when you have internal political problem, you always divert the public attention to the border issue. Yesterday in your country there had been a red-shirted demonstration against Surayudh Chulanond and maybe there had been some kind of compromise that the red-shirts had dissolved.
I may give this remark for Kasit and also if Abhisit wishes to have better relations, he has to find a way to manage his foreign minister. You have made a small issue of Thaksin being appointed Cambodian advisor as a huge matter but you ignore the whole issue of Preah Vihear temple. I have wished to leave the situation as quiet as possible, but you have stepped on my foot again and again. You have threatened us of your cut in assistance and loans and because I have returned them to you, what else do you have to put Cambodia under your pressure?
I have what is called confidential documents in my hand. It is a plan prepared by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to the letter by Kasit Phiromya, consists of 18 points, in which positive and negative points are laid out for different political decisions and scenarios … You don’t have to talk about sending back the Ambassador. I can wait till there will be a new Government. It is alright now that we have had Charge d’Affairs. You threatened us with border closure, are you not planning so now? Cambodia will not buy Thai goods. They may be sent to before the Thai Government House in Bangkok.
How could they consider Katina as Thai assistance? As of today I am asking any Buddhist pagoda in Cambodia to first seek the Royal Government of Cambodia’s instruction before making a decision to accept Katina from Thailand. Also as of now no more aid and/or loan would be discussed or accepted from the Thai Government, though we will continue to accept individual assistance. They seem to have included the Kompong Cheuteal project administered by Princes Mahachakri Sirindhorn in a form of Thai Government assistance, if it is so considered I would not let any Cambodian to go study there at all.
As far as Ambassadorial posting is concerned, Cambodia will take action in reciprocation. Fifteen minutes after the sending of Thai Ambassador back to Cambodia, we will follow suit. I have made clear already that Thaksin’s appointment is not the beginning of the fall in bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia, but the July-15-2008 Thai army invasion of Cambodian territory is.
If it was truly your intention to accept me as your ‘teacher,’ as you had demanded while you came to see me in Phnom Penh, then as your teacher, I tell you no to do that anymore. Cambodia does not recognize the unilaterally-drawn map which encroaches upon our territory. Cambodia will continue to uphold peaceful means in solving the problem but will not allow for your ill intention …
I have told Abhisit already I will not take opportunity to launch actions at the border while you are in turbulence at all. I will not give order for my army and/or people to do so too. But the former PAD-activist Foreign Minister seems to have expressed his rudeness on us. Let me warn you that no condition so to speak about sending back Ambassador. Cambodia will not die because of that and we will wait for the next Government …
You (Kasit Phiromya) have accused me of interfering your internal affairs. But the fact that you acknowledged to have known me for twenty years means you did recognize the tripartite coalition (of Democratic Kampuchea) in the past and that was an interference in the Cambodian internal affairs … was not it? …