Samdech Hun Sen and Madame visited and inaugurated the new the provincial hall of Battambang, while giving his comments on histories related to the province and political development of Battambang, the country’s need for more Bailey bridges and its easing political tension.
… My wife and I have great honors and pleasures to join HE Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, His Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen, as well as our Buddhist monks, and parishioners of Islam and Christianity in this joyous occasion to put into use the new office building adjacent to the old one for the province of Battambang. Taking this solemn opportune moment I would like to express my sincere appreciation for efforts made by everyone concerned, most importantly by HE Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, who leads the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP’s) work team in this region that covers Battambang, Pursat and Pailin. It is a praiseworthy art of resource sharing that HE Deputy Prime Minister has led for the construction of the building and various other projects for the sake of our people’s interest.
… Today is December 3rd. Yesterday Samdech Chea Sim issued a message on behalf of the Cambodian People’s Party in commemoration of the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea. Then we overthrew the regime of Pol Pot on January 07, 1979 which gives us life and revival to the present time achieving various works for peace and development of our nation. Battambang, though, was liberated on January 12. It is one of the provinces with the most complicated history, especially in the most recent years. I am glad at what HE Prach Chan, the Governor of Battambang, mentioned in his speech of the establishment of a research group on the history of Battambang, which, together with a few other provinces, was under the Siamese occupation for over a century.
… Thanks to the Franco-Siam 1904, and then later 1907 accords, Battambang returned to Cambodia after Chao Fa Ben and his family placed Battambang under the control of Siam. HM the King Sisiwath issued the re-organization of Battambang on December 06, 1907, when the region was divided into three provinces – Battambang, Siemreap and Serei Sophoan. From then on Battambang and the region underwent political changes in 1923, in 1925, in 1940, in 1953, in 1957, in 1965, in 1967, and in 1979. From 1979 up to the present, we have HE Prach Chan as the seventh Governor – after his predecessors Keo Ki, Lay Samun, Koy Buntha, Ke Kim Yan, Ung Samy, etc.
… In November 1984, when I was acting Prime Minister because HE Chan Si was sick, I conducted a visit to Brigade 1-79 stationed near Sisophon. The Battambang administrative coverage was large those days. Then came the 1995 border campaign, which the dry season offensive operation started in 1984 and early 19885 aimed at expanding the occupation along the border areas of Yean Dangkum, Site B, Site II, etc. I then visited O Chrov from where we could overlook the Thai side. In November 1996, I conducted a discussion about establishing a new province, where a part of Battambang was named Banteay Meanchey from 1988 with HE Um Sarith as its first Governor. Because of its unpredictable developments, there has been a saying that goes “Prey Nokor falls down, Phnom Penh dismantles, Battambang scatters, Angkor Wat is joyful.” In 2002 and 2004, when I came here with HE Sar Kheng, I said “Kompong Cham reunites, Phnom Penh is happy, Battambang is attractive, and Angkor is joyful.”
… The province of Battambang has been a forefront and active battle. In 1989, after the Paris Conference failed, following the previous one in 1986 which also failed, we have had to set a timeframe for the withdrawal of the Vietnamese troops from Cambodia – which was September 30 of the same year. We were committed that whether we would have a peace agreement or not, the Vietnamese troops must be withdrawn. Even in 1994-95 Battambang was not yet fully stabilized. Finally we have been able to put an end to the war not at gun points but as a result of the win-win policy. It is clear to everyone as to who controlled Battambang in the past. The province sometimes was controlled by two, three or even four factions. The win-win policy brought the different factions together to become one Khmer again.
… Thanks to the positive development as a result of the implementation of the win-win policy, we now have the ability and chance to develop our country as a whole. HE Sar Kheng said to me that we need about 70 more classrooms or so, 60 of which would be for the provincial town, and ten for the district of Thmor Kuol. I told HE Sar Kheng the other day that we have a need for another 40,000 meters of Bailey bridge in addition to a sum of 14,000 meters that we had already had. As far as the river Sangke is concerned, not one or two bridges are needed, but we should think of one bridge for every five or ten Kilometers. Take this vision into consideration, how many bridges should we need for Battambang’s Sangker river, Pursat, Kandal’s Prek Thnaot, Tonle Touch in Kompong Cham’s Koh Sotin. In 1995 we inaugurated the bridge of Svay Daun Keo here in Battambang.
… As the old provincial hall is about 100 years already we should maintain it as an historical heritage. The new office building is born out of HE Sar Kheng’s creative skills and I wish we all take it as a state property which belongs to our people as a whole and not just the Governor. The groundbreaking ceremony was in November 2003 and the building is finsihed two years later. It is good to have a good condition work place but what is more important is the work force’s commitment and efficiency. Some people ask why we keep working in a tiny office of the Council of Ministers. Building a new office would take 7 to 8 million US dollars but we should keep the money for roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, etc. We now have China assisting us in building a new eight-story office for the Council of Ministers. The new office of the National Assembly is being built with the national budget.
… Financed by the Royal Government and some foreign sources, we have been busy developing irrigation networks from Pursat, Battambang to Banteay Meanchey for the sake of agricultural activities. But more needs to be done as areas on east side of the Tonle Sap lake is left uncultivated for a long time now. We have to search for available and uncultivated land for our people. In addition to that, for people in eastern side of the lake, seeds must be provided – both floating and short-term rice, in addition to vegetables. We have to take further actions in prevention of deforestation and loggings, and I learned that there is activity to smuggle natural oil to Vietnam across the province of Battambang. Efforts must be made for selecting a company to rebuild the national road 10 using BOT formula.
… I observed that this year we have a good rice cultivation and I thank the provincial authority and the people of Battambang as well as all over the country for their efforts in cultivating rice despite the fact that this year some of our people will have to harvest rice in inundated rice field. It is also important that the provincial authority pays attention and takes effort in ensuring stability, security and public and social order. I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the Governors of Battambang and Banteay Mean Chey for their efforts of establishing camps for re-education and fight against drug addiction. The country has also gone into a time when we got rid of various political stalemates the border treaty also included. HM the King signed the supplemental treaty with historic support of the elected National Assembly, the Senate, and the Royal Government of Cambodia. With the signature, it is an approval for the Royal Government and the National Assembly continues to implement the works with all countries related aimed at building a realistic and developed borderline – development is better than confrontation in rhetoric, in politics, in diplomacy, etc.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offers a 100-meter Bailey bridge to the communes of Bay Damraim and Choeung Kiev, a 95-meter Bailey bridge to the districts of Banan and Battambang, a 60-meter of Bailey bridge to the district of Bovel, a 13500-meter canal for taking water from the district of Mongkul Borei to Komping Puoy, a 1.570-meter paved shore to the town of Battambang.