My wife and I together with Excellencies and Ladies who have come from near and far to join with all of the monks and people – parishioners of the Koh Russei pagoda in the inauguration of the Koh Russei pagoda’s temple. My wife and I are proud and happy that we both have been provided with an honor to preside over the ceremony today. It is indeed a good chance for my wife and I to visit our people, in Stong district, who HE provincial Governor Nam Tum said have been waiting for 27 years. In the war prior to the genocide, the genocide and the war thereafter, the whole country, the province of Kompong Thom included, suffered a great destruction, ranging from Buddhists to Muslims, from human rights to human lives. We have survived in an abnormal condition as we had nothing left in our hand because the genocide left us with complete destruction of infrastructure, human resources, and currency value.
Many countries in the world suffered changes in their leaderships but their socio-economic structure have been left intact. Cambodia is not like other countries in the world. Pol Pot destroyed banknotes and we had re-established the currency policy and re-issued the banknotes in 1980. Great sufferings and difficulties have been placed upon us to bear – where husbands and wives had been living in separation, untold number of orphans and widows – making Cambodia the only country with its top ranking of widow and orphan population. As for the Buddhist pagodas and Buddhism, we have a noticeable number of pagodas and meditation centers. Today we have this Buddhist temple here in front of us built by various monk leaders and my wife and I have not yet made a contribution. In this solemn occasion and the fact that the Head Monk has requested for contributions to help repay the remaining costs of building the temple, my wife and I are willing to contribute a sum of 40 million Riels.
My wife and I are very happy that we have scored so many achievements especially what we have done here in the district of Stong. In fact no one could ignore the contribution effectively and generously offered by HE Nguon Nhel, Deputy President of the National Assembly and Madame, HE Chea Chanto, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia and Madame, HE Thong Khon, Secretary of State for Tourism and Madame, and others in the workteam for Kompong Thom. HE Nguon Nhel who before was responsible for Kompong Chhnang and Kompong Thom, is now entrusted to look after Kompong Thom and Preah Vihear. I am also grateful to members of other political parties that contributed for the construction of the province as well.
In fact I came to Stong in 1988 but about a few Kilometers from this place when HE Do Sohaan was then the Party Secretary and HE Khiev Horl was the Governor of the Province. I brought my four kids here and my eldest son gave a bunch of flowers to the Singer Nu Sib here. You may have remembered that we once had a brief loss of Storng when one of the then Vice Ministers for Defense failed in keeping control of the area. I ordered HE Tia Banh and Sin Song to come restore security and order here again. The failure that time was not because the Khmer Rouge was strong but because our commander here fled the battle. This is an experience, and it is true for any organization when their leader is running away, those under command would be scared and lose confidence. So it was not that 21 or 27 years that the people have waited for me, because I came only in secrecy.
I am glad to have heard from the report of HE Governor Nam Tum on the restoration of 27 water reservoirs in the period of 2004-2005 to irrigate from 10 to 15 thousand hectares of dry season rice. Once in 1986, I traveled with the navy and noticed problems relating to floating rice cultivation in the area. As it was a high flood time, floating rice had been destroyed. Our problem here lies in the fact that floating rice was destroyed because it rose slower than flood or was dried out because the water level was too low. I declared immediately at that time to transfer floating rice cultivation to dry-season and flood recession rice cultivations. It is now about 20 years already. People in Takeo took this opportunity to request for water canal in which the speech of HE So Khun at that time stated that “Samdech told the people in 1986 to change from floating rice cultivation to dry-season rice cultivation” and they have changed the floating rice area in Takeo province to dry-season and flood recession rice cultivation area.
In the report of HE Governor Nam Tum, there is this place called Boeung Ta Tuk where there has about 60 thousand hectares of land that is left uncultivated. Our cultivation activities have stretched only a few Kilometers from the national road 5 to the direction of Tonle Sap. The area in between the Tonle Sap Lake and the current cultivation area is left uncultivated and under inundated forest. I appeal to the provincial authority that we must increase rice cultivation in the remaining area but not affecting the inundated forest, i.e. to restore previously cultivated land. We have to find ways to bring water to the place for dry-season rice cultivation. I ordered an intervention of sixty tractors here last year and I covered its fuel cost as well. This year I would be ready to provide the tractors but the cost of fuel should be covered by the provincial authority.
In China, I have requested their assistance in form of agricultural machines, while in South Korea I accepted their offer in form of roadwork engineering machines. I have provided Samdech Krom Preah some machines (50 plough machines) and excavators, water pumps (100) so that they will be used for helping our people. But they seem disappear. What I am saying here is in the aim of helping or else the change of their party headquarter location would not mean anything at all. We used the old Council of Ministers’s building but I stayed as Prime Minister for over 20 years. I wish that they send those machines to help people in time. I would expect they understand because in just two years time we will have to race again or if they do not speed up I would have to leave them behind.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion, in addition to the 40 million Riels for the pagoda of Koh Russei, offered the Primary School of Koh Russei two school buildings of ten classrooms, the College of Reasmey Sophoan fifty sewing machines, a lab building and a water reservoir, the Primary School of Anlong Pring a school building of five classrooms, the College of Rung Roeng two school buildings of ten classrooms, one building for sewing practice with fifty machines, and a three-room director’s office, a water control damn to the people of Masakrong commune, and a study for building a bridge of Kompong Chen Tbong and a bridge of Stong, after which the construction will have to finish before flood time, and a bridge at the district of Prasat Balang will commence in 2007.