Two days after the Water Festival, Samdech Hun Sen went to the province of Seam Riep to inaugurate and to launch the groundbreaking ceremony of roads 5 and 6, and 76 and 68, etc. where he talked about roads achievements, road 48 and rails in the framework of ACMECS, and the cooperation between CPP and FUNCINPEC.
… I am very pleased to join our Buddhist monks, national and international guests as well as our people in the district of Puok of the province of Siem Reap at the inauguration and groundbreaking ceremony of roads with credits of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). I wish to take this opportune moment to seek an apology to the fact that I have come in rather late in initiating the road construction of this part. Procedure taken in concluding a deal to renovate the road from Siem reap to Poi Pet could be a lively example on how to solve issues relating to removing residences along the projected areas. Despite the fact that it has taken a lot of our time, I still see that it is better to have it at last. I am glad that I have come today.
… HE Sun Chan Thol, Minister of Transports and Public Works, already mentioned the histories involved in the efforts of renovating this road, and our aim to have a road of 368 Kilometers around the lake of Tonle Sap. I am glad that the current ADB representative to Cambodia has informed everyone concerned about its decision to offer loan to Cambodia for this road construction project, which is a response to the wish not only of the Prime Minister of the country but the people of Cambodia as a whole. HE Sun Chan Thol already told you that we will spend about 77/5 million US dollars for the renovation and construction the above roads and bridges, about 26% of which is the contribution of the Royal Government of Cambodia for settling compensation policy for the removal of residences of 3082 families along the road project.
… We have set a central line dividing the road into two parts, one each side of which a width was set for enlargement of the road. Unfortunately, residences had been set up more and more along and over the projected area. However, the Royal Government exercises comprehension and care for those affected by the road enlargement project. Last week I have ordered the release of another 1.5 million US dollars more for that purpose. We had similar issue for the National Road 1 from Baavet to Neak Loeung. We did the same for the Japanese assistance for the construction of the Kizuna Bridge in the province of Kompong Cham. It is because this lesson that I have said that no matter what form of assistance you may take, from whoever it may be, Cambodia has to reserve its counterpart fund for projects in case.
… HE Minister already said that the road has been put for auction in three parts – first, the 50-Kilometer road between the district of Kralanh and Sisophon, to be built at the cost of 15 million US dollars by the Thai SBP company; second, the 50-Kilometer long road between the district of Kralanh and the provincial town of Siem Reap, to be built at the cost of 15 million dollars by the same company; and third, the 50-Kilometers national road 5 from Poi Pet to Sisophon to be built at the cost of 11 million dollars by the Thai Civil Group company. As for the construction and placement of bridges and drainage system on the national road 56 and 58, we have offered it to the Cambodia-China High Way company for a sum of 10 million US dollars at the inspection service provided by the Korean KGI company.
… I hope with all arrangements I have just said we will have a good road and finish them by the projected date in 2008. More important than that with the roads in place, I hope that we will have more tourist visitors as predicted and projected by HE Minister Lay Prohoas and HE Secretary of State Thaong Khon of Tourism. According to their prediction, with conditions being far less than good, there have been at least a thousand tourists traveling across the area, and in good condition, for one day, their numbers would triple. We have a corridor road number 48 from Koh Kong province to the national road 4, including also four main bridges.
… I wish to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks to the Asian Development Bank’s representative and all of its leaders for such an important and huge loan for Cambodia so that it could implement one of its colossal projects. Thank also goes to the Ministry of Transports and Public Works in expediting the whole process from hiring consultant to auctioning, etc. The Ministry of Finance and Economy, local authorities of the provinces of Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, as well as people residing along the projected area also deserve similar thanks. As we are talking about building new roads further, I wish to also put into official use the ADB-loan road length of 368 Kilometers –- 268 Kilometers of which covers one part of the national road 5 from the province of Kompong Chhnang to Sisophon and 100 Kilometers of which covers the national road 6 from Skun to Prey Romeas.
… A part of the national road 5 from Phnom Penh to Kompong Chhnang was built with the Royal Government budget because we then had a special event where the road has to be built for use between Phnom Penh and U Dong. Therefore waiting for loan approval from ADB was impossible. The 91-Kilometer road was implemented by the military engineering team. Traveling between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh used to have three different options – first, by air that links the two places; second, by water, along which stops were made in Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Pursath, and Battambang provinces; and third the road, which has two prongs – one goes to Kompong Thom before continuing to Phnom Penh, while another goes to Banteay Mean Chey before turning back to Battambang and Pursath. As we have more roads built and renovated, traveling in the area has become less time consuming compared to a long and exhausting journey in the past. This I do not mention life threatening incidents in the past like all sorts of attacks damaging roads, bridges, rails, etc.
… Poverty reduction and promoting economic growth do not mean that (the Royal Government) give out money to everyone as someone said that more and more money have been borrowed, but no one seems to have received them. No country in this world would go to borrow money from other countries for giving out to their people, and I am sure donor countries would not approve such requests. Benefits from the loans lie in the fact that our people shorten their traveling time and expenses, where our people can use these savings for other needs. One more thing that should be mentioned is travel comfort.
… A bridge near the Royal Residence in the Provincial town of Siem Reap is not yet starting. Why? The renovation fund has already been disbursed by the APSARA authority. That is a reason why I like to use the military engineering team. I approved the project since the Khmer New Year, and now how long have we been since then? We cannot afford to let a project that is supposed to be attractive to tourists sitting still like this. I warn you of this bridge that if the construction project does not get started in two weeks from now, no one is to spare in office. The first to be removed from position is those in the APSARA authority because they are the ones that have to provide money. The bridge would cost only 180,000 dollars, less than the amount spent during the three-day Water Festival that we have celebrated and concluded this week.
… As for me I would not see this or that is from CPP or from FINCINPEC, if they fail to perform their duties – take for instance the Governor of Siem Reap and the Head of APSARA authority – would be stripped off their positions in case they fail to get the bridge construction started.
… I also take this opportunity to beg drivers of siren vehicles to refrain from using siren in un-disciplined manner. I have told my bodyguards to use siren only when the road is congested. Vehicles with siren are those of senior officials but they put up laud sounds enough to disturb the Buddhist monks, and worse still wake up patients in hospitals. I hope officials with siren vehicles to tell drivers to use siren only when necessary and not to disturb all around. In Siem Reap, we have defined three ways of building road construction – first, the national budget would be used in laying down infrastructure; second, construction and renovation, or maintenance of roads around the hotels must be resolved with the responsible participation of owners, and third, we have to consider using the formula of 50 + 50 that is being used by the Phnom Penh municipality.
… I also wish to seek our people’s assistance in keeping the roads in good condition for long-term benefit. Not to overload your vehicle to cause damages on roads. Forest concession is still in prohibition. More than that, drivers should drive slower because traffic accident is on the rise almost as high as HIV/AIDS. Before mine related death toll is number 1, HIV/AIDS number 2 and traffic number 3. At present, all three reverses with HIV/AIDS is number 1, traffic number 2 and mines number 3. As far as road maintenance and renovation strategy is concerned I wish to advise those involved to change the procedure used so far as it has been time consuming and allowing small problem to become big one.
… We have to find a better response procedure. We cannot afford to accept the procedure where at the start of reporting there was a hen’s nest in the road, and when the matter passed through to the Prime Minister it has turned into a pond already. That is, when the requested maintenance fund is disbursed, the amount could not afford the renovation of the expanded nature of the damage. As I have talked a lot about roads today, maybe I should tell you about the rail. ADB has accepted in the framework of ACMECS to offer fund, and Malaysia to offer rail. We also have more to do for water canals.
… I have said that our people harvest rice in water is better than harvest nothing. This year we have a good rainy season and dry season rice. The same is true for people in the district of Puok. The three-day Water Festival finished with great success to the joy of everyone. The nature of the ceremony is very ceremonious compared to before. About three million people came to Phnom Penh to observe the festivities. Phnom Penh dwellers on the contrary have come to rest in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, etc. I am very happy that the Phnom Penh municipality has taken effective measures in safeguarding the people’s security and safety throughout the event. I have advised security apparatus that aside from Phnom Penh, security restraints have to be taken at other places like Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, etc. Along with this we just destroyed anti-aircraft missiles in Kompong Speu on November 11, in addition to 230 short range and 34 long rage missiles in 2004.
… The above achievements have been attained thanks to the joint efforts of the Cambodian People’s Party and FUNCINPEC. FUNCINPEC under the leadership of Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh organized its extra-ordinary congress recently. On November 21, CPP will hold its extra-ordinary congress. The two parties have a common objective as we deem that any party’s success would be the success of the coalition, and there is nothing better than that. We – CPP and FUNCINPEC – would not be in conflict even in words, as used to have enough of that in past. We would furthermore collaborate from bottom to top in getting things done.
In that occasion Samdech Hun Se offers ten million Riel (about 2500 US dollars) to the pagoda of Khemara Samaki of Puok, two school buildings of 12 classrooms to the primary school of Prey Chrouk, a 120-meter of Bailey Bridge to the district of Puok, and an 8500-meter dirt road from the national road 6 to the village number 5.