… A year has gone by since my presence last year on March 29 to inaugurate the 96-metre Bailey Bridge of Pongro with eleven solar energized lights, the 75-metre Bailey Bridge of Roka Kaong with seven solar energized lights and the eleven-kilometre road between Pongro and Mohaleap. We are gathering here today to celebrate another groundbreaking for a new 160-metre long and 7.2 width bridge across the Small River (Tonle Touch), the longest one to be built by the military engineering team in Cambodia.
… I have a great pleasure to see that my determination and will, as well as those of our people, has been realized for the benefit of the people in this area. I wish to extend my gratitude to Ms. Lim Tho, Yoeung Chan, Mr. Kuy Lo, Sun Kimsoeun and Thai Bunthan for providing parts of land in their property on either side of the bridge for the sake of the construction. Though the Government has paid them a sum of money in order that they move out of the land to start a new residence somewhere else, their gestures in doing so have been a good example and I understand that they should be encouraged by the gratitude from the Royal Government of Cambodia and people who would travel across this bridge. If it were not of their contribution, we might have a hard decision to make to have a bridge across this place. Again our experience has shown us clearly that no one could achieve anything – roads, bridges or water canals, etc. — without the participation of our people.
… Taking this opportunity I wish to express my sincere thanks to the People’s Republic of China from whom, through its former President, the Bailey bridge on our right hand is provided to me. In 2000, HE Jiang Zemin visited Cambodia and I was asked what I wanted? I told him I wanted some Bailey bridges as I know that the People’s Republic of China produces plenty of them with good quality which is suitable not only for use in Cambodia but in many other developing countries. I was offered the 7.2-meter-width bridge for 1000 meters. Later on Cambodia had a visit of HE former Premier Zhu Rongji who then donated another 1500 metres. Last year, in 2003, the People’s Republic of China offered a non-project grant of Yuan 50 million aside from the project to build road from Kratie to Laos and I have requested it in Bailey bridge. In China they say if you want to be rich you have to build roads while in Cambodia we also say there is a way or not to mean that road/way is important in our daily life. We have used a length of close to 20,000 meters of Bailey bridge from China already.
… I am also taking this opportunity to convey my thanks to Mr. Su Jisin from a Korean Corporation for the provision of 30 solar energized lights to five bridges and we will have eleven of them on this bridge. As far as assistance is concerned, donors would not hesitate in making offer as long as they see that their assistance is being of effective use. Again I am grateful to the local authority as well as our people who have supported the project of building a bridge across the Small River, a tributary of the Mekong River. The bridge will be a great achievement as it will serve as a connector between areas along the eastern side of the Mekong of Kompong Cham and Phnom Penh. Thanks also go to the CPP activists in this area, namely HE Khiev Kannharith who have also brought with him to work in this area his aged old parents. As long as we have solidarity we will all be able to do everything. Why don’t we look at termites, they are small but they can build a huge nest and what we are putting together today will be left for our children’s sake.
… In the second term of office we have built in Kompong Cham, according to HE Cheing Am’s record, 45 bridges of 2,394 meters – 39 bridges of which of 2,232 meters are Bailey bridges and the rest of 162 meters are concrete. It is not a complete statistic though, as we have various achievements to get recorded here and elsewhere throughout the country. We have built so far roughly 1965 bridges and in just weeks from today the figure will reach 2000. Some people say that the country is getting poorer as the Royal Government is putting efforts in improving infrastructure and I do not understand what they are aiming at in their speech. We will continue on this track. Some people may ask whether the bridge will be finished or not if the new Government is not taking shape,. The bridge will be finished waiting to no Government to get formed.
… The working groups (of the partner parties) are in the process of negotiation and I should not say anything so as to let the discussion proceeds. But I wish to tell you all a few things of the meeting on March 15th with Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh. Samdech Krom Preah called me on Thursday in order to coordinate for the meeting of the two teams led by HE Say Chhum (of CPP) and Samdech Krom Khun Sirivudh (of FUNCINPEC). I made it clear with Samdech Krom Preah that the phrase “no Hun Sen” must not be heard again or I will no longer talk again. Another person, whom I will not speak about and to, is seeking an inclusion under the plaque of someone else… When people ask if the bridge could be constructed while the Government is in the making, I would recommend you to ask if you would eat at all while waiting for a Government to be formed. During the call on Thursday that lasted nearly half an hour, Samdech Krom Preah assured me that the phrase “no Hun Sen” will not be heard. Samdech Krom Preah said to me “I myself could not stand it if I were to be rebuked the way you are.” If Samdech Krom Preah could not accept it how could Hun Sen or voters who supported Hun Sen stand it. Things seem to have calmed down but, as to when the new Government is formed, I could not and I don’t want to predict as some politicians do, which would cause complicated problems. Let it be, whether before or at the time or after the inauguration of the bridge that we are starting to build today.
… This year seems to be odd. From the end of October last year to the present some places have not got any rain at all. On March 28, there were some rains in Kanchreach district of Prey Veng, Kravanh of Pursath and few other places. On the contrary the Prek Thnaot canal is almost completely dried. It seems that rain is approaching and may be in the next few days we could have some rain… Tonight there is going to be a show and I hope our people enjoy it while refraining from splashing water at one another as this could cause serious accidents. Days ago I met a relative of mine who own a passenger boat between Sihanoukville and Koh Kong. He told me after the national road 48 is in use his business is going down. We also have a line of road from Kratie to Phnom Penh and from the Chhlong Bridge to the Peam Te Bridge and people do not travel by boat anymore.
… I wish to have our people’s attention that the effort we made in putting together all these achievements is hard but we have to try harder to protect and look after them or these achievements could be damaged for nothing. I was told in Kompong Speu the other day by the authority that the Kun Kru bridge (In Gratitude of Mentor’s Bridge) is facing heavy-load traffics from huge lorries that are taking shortcut from the national road 4. I wish the Ministry of Public Works and Transports to come up with a regulation aimed at maintaining and caring of Bailey bridge. We have two types of Bailey – short ones along the national roads and those that are built along the dirt roads or provincial roads…
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered ten million Riel to the pagoda of Serei Charam, torenovate a 4500-meter road to the national road 11 and a school building of five classrooms to the Primary School of Pacnam of Pongro Commune in the Koh Sotin district of Kompong Cham.