My wife and I are deeply happy to be able to come today to your graduation ceremony, in which 639 teachers have graduated from three cycles of training – 13th, 14th and 15th – some of them could have been out teaching already. I am sure your parents and loved ones also feel it this way as you have done a great deal of efforts for your graduation and for becoming competent teachers who will go back to teaching in Kandal, Kompopng Chhnang and Kompong Speu provinces.
Let me say something about how this School of Pedagogy developed. This place was in fact the farmland belonged to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Khmer Rouge’s regime, on which vegetables are grown as supply for diplomatic missions in Phnom Penh. Upon entry to Phnom Penh, I conducted a search for areas that belonged to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the previous regimes. And this place was brought to my knowledge. I then advised them to put the farm back in cultivation for providing vegetables for those working in the foreign affair service. The situation had gone on until 1986, at which time I was Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs. Having then seen the School of Pedagogy next door was in search of possibility for enlargement, I then decided to transfer the land to the School.
When the Vietnamese forces withdrew from Cambodia, almost every province kept a house for me, let alone five were kept for me in Kandal province. I did not accept the offer and I do not allow personal interest to mix with that of the nation. The situation evolved until today we have a regional center for teachers training for the provinces of Kandal, Kompong Chhnang and Kompong Speu. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports from previous regimes through to the present day for their efforts in overcoming numerous difficulties helping increase the number of teachers. Let me have your attention here at this point that never forget to give your respect to teachers, as it was thanks to them that you have come this far. And we have a Teachers Day to celebrate as well in this sense.
According to our discussion on the National Development Strategy for the period between 2006 and 2010, we have come to a total number of primary schools increased from 2468 in 2000 to 6180 in 2005. In the whole country we have 1621 communes, but we have 6180 primary schools. Taking distance from home to school into consideration, before students were at two kilometers from school at the farthest, but by 2005 the farthest distance has reduced to 1.5 at the farthest – thanks to the fact that we have more schools built in rural areas. The secondary school has also increased in the period between 2000 and 2005, during which either new building is added or more teachers are provided aimed at increasing schooling and teaching quality for our students after the primary education. It is worth noticing that in some places, there was more than one college in the commune. Primary school facility for this instance has been transformed into college education. This will further help reduce distance between home and college for local students, especially for female ones according to gender concept.
We are paying heed to the possibility of decentralizing school access – in term of building more school facilities in the local areas – to females students in rural areas so that they can benefit from schooling like male ones owing to the fact that they do not have to go too far away from home for school. We also need to change parental traditional concepts of keeping daughters from far-away schools by providing equal access for education for children of both sexes. We have this situation where elder daughter in the family has to work hard without schooling helping younger ones who – thanks to her effort and sacrifice – benefit from completing education, after which, because of lacking of education, she cannot make a better life. It is in this remark that I therefore advise us all to give your respect and consideration to elder sisters. We must try our best to increase participation from women in all political decision. I am longing for participation by women in all decision making levels, from commune to the Royal Government, the National Assembly as well as the Senate.
I wish to say a few things today before the international women’s day. My intention is to have women participated in politics, while demanding that a small group of women should refrain from interfering into the state’s affairs or their husband’s works. We have two situations involving women making decision or influencing the decision making of their husbands. First, they control the system of running affairs, for which reason some of them have urged their husband for signatures, and this cannot be forgiven. Second, they also are the ones who decide who could be or could not be promoted. While demanding participation by women in the decision making process, we also are cautious of women in small number who happened to interfere in the state’s affairs. I will refrain from approving those requests for promotion, because they would be no ones but corrupted officials as they bribed for their positions.
Along with this I may ask HE Pok Than who actually has proposed for the sharing of leadership from the primary school level upward? Who has actually proposed the request to Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh? I sent the letter back with my response that this is going to be untold and unimaginable destruction. I said in the letter we should base on qualification and not the party’s quotas in this matter. I instructed HE Im Setthi and HE Kol Pheng to take this matter up for discussion, where quality and qualification are the decisive factors. I wish to state clearly that I do not accept any request for the school leadership to be shared by political parties, and we will maintain it according to professional career development. I will nullify any approvals in violation of the principles I mentioned.
This is one of the reasons why the Cambodian People’s Party supports a proposed amendment of the Constitution on issues of forming government and other important decisions from a two third majority to a simple majority or 50 + 1. I think it is time to take this matter up for discussion or we will face a failure in good governance in particular and the rectangular strategy as a whole. I could give you an example where in some place someone who used to be a butcher has been proposed to a position of Governor or Deputy Governor of a province. My intention in making this an issue is for both CPP and FUNCINPEC to continue to unite and make efforts in implementing their works effectively.
In the past weeks, political development has been fast but we have found a problem solving approach which is purely Cambodian among parties involved. The political mission of 71 hours has become a great pride for Cambodians. The Cambodian medicine is good for the Cambodian sickness. Once the accused have acknowledged their wrongdoings and expressed their regrets over what they had done in the past, and that also includes the letter from HE Say Bory, I think it is enough. My intention is to harm no one and to destroy no one, better still to keep no one out of the election. Our victory is real when we all can unite for the country’s development. We should see our victory in the achievement of coordination and concession-making by all political parties of different tendencies. In my meeting, more than three hours, with HE Sam Rainsy, President of the Sam Rainsy Party, we have discussed a wide range of topics.
I wish all to see that I have been surrounded by tricks all around initiated by some bad peoples. Their tactics are to keep me to fight in all directions, to fight in many battles at the same time so to speak, aimed at bleeding me to death. I have uprooted the tricks now. As far as the amendment of the Constitution is concerned, we think of a wider strategy whereby no one party could block a chance of forming a Government. If CPP wins the elections, CPP will continue to invite FUNCINPEC and other parties to join in the Government and CPP also expects other parties to do the same if the win the election. In so far as things go, the two-third majority voting system had been good for a country like Cambodia, but its side effects have been also greater than bearable. A vote for removing senior Government official has been very difficult. Take for instance, according to the system as is stipulated in new article 125 and old article 106 of the Constitution, when there is a definite absence of the Prime Minister for death or for physical handicap leaving the post of Prime Minister vacant, a new cabinet must be organized according to the Constitution. We have to seek a two-third majority to get its approval.
In my telephone conversation with Samdech Krom Preah he said the higher democracy the lesser votes there will be. Some in FUNCINPEC suggests Samdech Krom Preah to ask me what if FUNCINPEC does not join in the process. I am sure they have to do some calculation. What we are taking now is to allow no one political party to be a hostage of the other party, and I am sick of having to confront with bargaining deals for so and so ministries to be established. The amendment of the Constitution is now. We all have to make efforts from now to the election and see who will get the votes to establish the Government. If they could not get a 50 + 1 votes, they may invite another party to join them. I warn those who oppose to Samdech Krom Preah in the amendment of the Constitution to reconsider their positions, while CPP would not hesitate in doing so. CPP calls for an amendment made in all relevant articles in the Constitution, except the law on stripping off immunities of the parliamentarians has to stay as it is now – a two-third majority requirement.
CPP once again reiterates that it in no way abandons FUNCINPEC because we have been partners for a long time already. But I warn them that as a true partner, we should not deal with our works by placing conditions. SO I wish to mention once again what I have said that 1) we are now at the time where the Constitution should be amended from two-third majority system to 50 + 1. In doing so CPP does not leave FUNCINPEC alone. As I said to HE Nhek Bun Chhay at the wedding ceremony of the son of HE Kun Kim that CPP is a blood donor to FUNCINPEC and if CPP dried out and FUNCINPEC does not know how to make use of the blood, both parties will fall. I reiterate that CPP support the proposal placed by Sam Rainsy Party for the amendment of the Constitution on decision making vote system from two-third to 50 + 1, but also all relevant six articles.
Taking this opportune moment, in relation to freedom of expression, I wish that HE Minister of Justice, Ang Vong Vaddhana, to listen to the calls for changing defamation lawsuit from being addressed in the criminal code to that of the civil procedural code. Many countries still have defamation as criminal charges. However I think we should place it in the civil procedural code in Cambodia.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered to re-build the ceiling of the conference hall to the School of Pedagogy, a two-floor building of ten classrooms to the Hun Sen-Ta Khmao College, a building of five classrooms for the College of Application of the Hun Sen Regional Center for Teachers Training, and a two-floor school building of ten classrooms to the Hun Sen Regional Center for Teachers Training.