It is indeed my pleasure to be able to join all of you here today – not only those from the area of Kravanh but also people from the western part of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pailin with deputy Governor of each province, including those of the provinces of Kompong Chhnang and Prey Veng. I have so much pleasure to put the 138-meter Bailey bridge into use over the Rive of Pursat and to inaugurate the new director’s office in the Hun Sen College of Kravanh. It is indeed an historic achievement that is worth remembering that never exists before. My wife who is here present with me has also been in this place many times to distribute Red Cross relief. By the end of 2004 I came to Satre with HE Minister for Water Resources Lim Kean Hor for a relief effort in distributing water pump machines to save the drought affected rice fields.
I came here once again on March 8, 2005 to review the project of digging water canals and establishing a stand for the Hun Sen water pump station 48. I told the new Governor to choose between two projects – water canal and the bridge. The answer was for both. Having learned of the number of children died from crossing the river in flood time, I have ordered the installation of a Bailey bridge over the river. Not only students, but also those people old and young, the most suffered of all are sick people and women in labor, who have to endure all the pains of waiting for the ferry to cross from one side of the river to another for medical assistance and attendance. I could imagine how worried their parents could be over the fact that their children have to cross the river to school.
What do we achieve from the bridge? As is said by HE Gen. Kvan Siem, if we were to develop this area into a tourist site, we are to illustrate the site as a rich historical area. HRH Srey Raja, one of our former Kings was here building a bridge as well. Historical figures involved would be Khleang Moeung and his lady. We have in our history three Kings – the western zone King was Preah Chan Raja, the eastern one was Preah Srey Jeddha Sdech Kan. It is indeed a good thing to protect and restore those historical sites. Only to your understanding, Cambodia is no longer a divided nation. We have already linked our road 56 of 197 kilometers to Thailand in 2000-2002 and this road has yet to cover similar extension to Thailand as we had this bridge to be built first. Now that we have the bridge in place, we can focus attention on other things as to build the road.
We now mobilize our military engineering forces to the district of Storng in the province of Kompong Thom as they are the only force with capability to work in areas affected by mines and malaria. They the are leading forces in construction in places where it would not be appropriate for civilian engineering teams of the Ministries of Transport and Public Works and of Rural Development to perform. I am grateful indeed to the Ministries of Finance, Rural Development and Transport and Public Works for their flexible implementation of the project in making this bridge installation possible. I am grateful also to many Government senior officials and the CPP work team who have come to this place to both observe the construction and to listen to our people’s needs.
I wish to reaffirm that we have to continue our priority in building more roads and bridges. In my rough estimation we would need about 40,000 meters or 40 kilometers more of Bailey. We have already put in place a length of 12 kilometers, but more need to be done. Take for instance in the area of the Pursat river, we would need one bridge from ten to fifteen kilometers to the next. The same is also true for the people in Kompong Thom’s Stoeng Sen (small river Sen) where more bridges over the river must be installed. I have talked to HE Minister of Transports and Public Works that wherever the state could not cover the construction costs of small bridges, perhaps we should try BOT type of construction with private companies whereas the state would look into investing in bigger bridges over the Tonle Mekong, Tonle Bassac and Tonle Sap in form of loan, grant or BOT. We should look into this BOT possibility as our people would save time for same expense if they were to travel by ferry.
I talked to our officials that to integrate Cambodia into ASEAN, Cambodia should first integrate within itself – take for instance ASEAN Highway, ASEAN Railway, etc. How could one talk about integrations when we have to cross the river Mekong at the point of Neak Loeung by ferry. The western side of the river and that of the eastern side has not been linked yet, how could integration be possible? That is why I said it is far from complete to integrate politically and administratively, but we have to see the need for all-out integration. It was in this respect that we have speeded the construction of the national road 56 via Pailin to the border with Thailand. We also have a road link from Banteay Srey to the border with Thailand via Anlong Veng, Tropeang Prasat, etc.
Cambodia is stepping into the start of the rainy season rice and our people irrespective of their political beliefs and affiliations should try to boost up production. From now on I think we should not mention anymore about “quota” and let the word be said only in the parliament, the Government, and the Senate. Officials in political functions would be proposed by party’s quota but those from Governor, Director General, General Commander, and General Commissioner would not be bound to appointment according to quota. If we were to speed up the reform process we should put an end to the quota system in the police, military and civil administration. We must expedite neutralization of the armed forces and civil administration. All proposed appointments should be based on qualification of the proposed candidates. From the mountain of Kravanh, I wish to declare one and for all that everything is to proceed normally whereas law would be the basic tool for measuring actions.
The Senate and the National Assembly will be born out of elections, from which parties’ quotas will be brought into the Royal Government. The winner will form the Government, and it should depend upon that winning party whether it wishes to have a one-party or coalition Government. I am making this point clear so that one should not be misled by false comments in the newspapers. How could the country advance when we all talk about party quota in the court system – the CPP court, the Funcinpec court, etc. One has the right to affiliate oneself with so and so political party, but one must be neutral in one’s performance of functionary duty. I think we have allowed more than needed time for such an adjustment and it has now roamed out of control. I hope all ministers – both CPP and Funcinpec – would not act in negligence because the Prime Minister would nullify their decisions.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered ten million Riels each for the Buddhist pagodas of Ratana Ram in the commune of Samraong, and Kompeng, a school building of six classrooms each to the Primary School of Hun Sen-Bak Chenh Chean, and Prey Kanlang. Whereas in principle Samdech agrees to the request for an installation of the Bailey over the Pursat River in adjacent to the current concrete bridge, while ordering the Ministry of Transports and Public Works to conduct a study./.