I am glad to be here with all of our people and would like on this occasion to seek your understanding that my wife could not be present because of her involvements in family as well as Red Cross affairs. I am glad to see that after the successful implementation of the win-win policy, today we come to the Buddhist monastery of Sla Rum Chey to put into official use of its temple and other achievements. I am glad to learn that HE Sbaong Sarat and Madame have taken their resources and efforts to help our people to build up this temple. What is even more heart warming is that the land of 25 hectares has been registered belonging to the pagoda.
I am so glad that this achievement has taken shape in this area where peace has come to this part of the country at the last stage. After the war we have our land heavily strewn with mines and scattered UXOs. But today I wish to take this opportunity to thank de-mining teams who have done a great job in making this place a safe place for such a construction as well as for our people to have a safe livelihood here. This place has something to do with the death of a British citizen in 1996 and we have also discovered the person who ordered the arrest of de-miners at that time.
We have transformed our country from fighting to development in every corner and we would not let any setback happen. Today is March 15 and in three more days it will be the 38 anniversary of the republican Lon Nol’s coup against Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, then Head of State. The war flared up taking many people’s lives. That is why I urge all the time that we have to maintain peace and stability that we finally achieved. Win-win policy in this form had yet to be implemented with success, though we have a different type of situation in the Republic of South Africa where it was solving a different matter – Apartheid and racial discrimination.
What we have suffered here is internal conflict that brought us to war of total destruction. One may pose a question to oneself, what could we have achieve if we were to have no war in 1970? We can say that we would be among our neighboring countries in terms of development. We just won independence in 1953 and the construction was in full swing in 16 years since then. It is important to recognize the reality that the Sangkum Reastrniyum of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk had achieved for the country. Take for instance the pagoda of Slat Rum Chey was first built in 1953 but only to be desolated by the war that followed.
It is in this note that I have toured the country and told the people that if it were not because of peace that we have attained, we would not be able to achieve so much in development. The two have reciprocating implication on one another – peace and development and vice versa. In order to develop the country we have to have peace, while peace will be maintained only when there is development. We have to move by two legs or we will face many problems.
We are in the run-up to the elections and I am making an appeal as always that no matter what party you like and vote for, we have to try and exercise our rights in a disciplinary manner. As of now we have a matter of concern. It is the usually the ruling party that is being accused of threatening the smaller ones. In the case of Cambodia it is otherwise different. Now we have a situation that a party to-be-contesting for power suffers defection from the top ranks to join with the Cambodian People’s Party. As this has happened, they accused CPP of “buying” those politicians and the Party representative has compared those who left the Party as waste matters, rotten bark of the tree, etc.
As this has become a serious concern for them, they have now resorted to threats as a means to maintain loyalty. They force their members to write a contract pledging their loyalty to the Party. Now that I say the small (not-yet become a ruling) Party is threatening the big (ruling) Party. Look in the last elections, the big Party with 73 seats (123 seats in the lower house) was locked in an impasse because of what could be termed as the threat from the small Parties that won seats in the house.
It is in this remark that would urge ruling, non-ruling Parties, in or outside the Government to collaborate in favor of national unity. This is what I want and nothing more. It is a precondition that is quite essential. Losing stability would quickly lead to other serious problems. I am sure we all do not want that to happen again and politicians should learn to listen to the people’s desire for peace and stability for the sake of development./.