From Dirt to Asphalted Road
It is indeed a great pleasure that I have the opportune moment to return to the district of Ji Kreng of Siremreap province to put into official use of the 13 kilometer long road – ten kilometers of which has been asphalted already while the remaining three kilometers will be asphalted shortly. My presence here today is on the one hand to share my joy with our people and to see with my own eye to encourage those who have contributed in building this road. I also wish to stress the need for our country that in the near future we will single out a number of roads as priority for changing from dirt to asphalt.
The road has indeed been built and re-built many times by Oknha Sieng Nam to connect three communes together – Ji Kreng, Thlork Kraom to Anlong Samnar. But it was so damage prone and rebuilt every year. That is why in my opinion we will asphalt a number of important rural roads like we have done here. HE Sieng Nam also helped build similar roads for the Deputy Prime Minister HE Sar Kheng in the province of Battambang and HE Chan Sarun, Ministerv for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the province of Takeo.
We have asphalted so far the secondary roads of 110 and 118 along side the river of Bassac and more will be upgraded too in the near future. Maintaining dirt road every year has been so costly that we have to visualize a plan aimed at ranking roads by priorities and asphalting them. It used to take more than an hour to get from Anlong Samnar to the NR 6, which I think would give no chance for the sick to get to hospital in time. I have only one nationality so it is indeed my wish and effort to get thing done for the sake of this nation and people.
No other Interest but National
Some politicians have more than one nationality and possess houses in foreign countries. As far as I know some has got up to 600 hectares of land in Siemreap province. It was a plot of land that has been reserved for the construction of the Handicap Center. How do they get the 600 hectares of land? Some politicians have to pay tax to foreign countries… As for me I have no other plan but to think of strategy and review the possibility that will be implemented for the generation of income. One side we have to exercise thrifty policy from the national budget and to gather assistance from external sources on the other and this also includes the act of resource sharing among our people.
Some politicians say that foreign countries gave a lot of money and they should divide the money among our people. I would ask your advice as to which country would give their money for you to do so. I would argue that no country in this world that would offer their money for you to do so. Every thing to be financially assisted, take for instance, has to be ranked in order of priority. Take for instance this district level road would not get financing because it would be classified as low economic efficiency. You should think of this road as the money that the Government helps reduce the cost of your travel on this road.
To reduce poverty is not a simple issue. I used to say that I always want the salary to go high for our Government officials but if I were to pay too much attention on that, neglecting the construction of the roads, schools, hospitals, our people would go on suffering. Increasing salary has to be performed on a solid basis or in the end it will come to taxing the people for salary rise.
A Bigger Share to Infrastructure, a Small Share to Salary
I am accused by some politicians that I do not pay attention to the officials and employees’ salary but as I said you all have your parents living and working in the countryside. Do they like to have their parents go without roads, bridges, water canals, hospitals for the sake of salary rise? The best way to deal with this is perhaps to solve the need on the two fronts – to increase a certain level of salary for the staff but also to save a bigger part for roads, bridges and school construction.
Some people forget the fact that how many percent of population that depend on salary and demand the bigger share? I do not deny the fact that there is a need for salary increase and if we were to keep the money from building schools, roads, etc. we could give staff salary a bigger package. When they said the money could be divided among our people, please tell which country authorizes that. As far as we know donors normally come to us with conditions – take for instance the Work Bank and Asian Development Bank for instance. They give out loans, grants and conditions attached – foreign consultants have to be used.
Take for instance HE Kol Pheng came to see me the other day and told me that there are in all five experts to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. We need only three out of five. They said if we can’t take two more they would not give us the money. No choice but to accept their condition. So they should not fool our people on that issue.
I would seek other politicians’ to stop making remarks that supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party are the “Yuon” (the Khmer term for Vietnamese), while other people keep asking questions why people vote for the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). It is indeed so simple (for this fact) because people know that CPP liberated them from the genocide, preventing the return of the genocide, bringing peace and development to the people, and if there were no CPP, we would not have today.
Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the Heroic King Father said on December 2, 1987, during our meeting in Fère-en-Tardenois, France, that if it were not for the army of Your Excellency (Hun Sen) and the Vietnamese troops, I would have been dead. Many of his children died in that regime. One of his children who survived in foreign country at that time attacked me and I had to respond in protection of my name. I appeal to HM the King to issue a message to warn anyone who claims that monarchy belongs to only oneself. The National Election Committee already warned him but he paid no attention to that.
I wonder what happens if he were to shield himself under the flag of monarchy and lose the elections in competition with the simple people. He already lost many times using the card of being son of Samdech Ov (the Heroic King Father). The CPP said in case it is re-elected Hun Sen will be posted the Prime Minister or if they are happy with Hun Sen they should vote for CPP. We tried to protect the monarchy but they do the opposite.
Reduced Fishing Lot, Increase Dry Season Rice Field
I recall when I came to the district of Sot Nikum, and because of information given from Anlong Samnar, that I set out in 2000 the policy of reform which takes out 56% of the fishing lot for people’s use. In those days there was this misconception that confines fishing lot to wherever there water stretched. Over half a million hectares of the lot has been trimmed out for people’s use ever since. The people of Anlong Samnar have changed their cultivation from floating to dry season rice. In Kompong Thom the policy has brought about some 20,000 hectares of land for dry season rice.
For your information, the price of rice in Vietnam is between 1000 and 1050 US dollars per ton and in Thailand the price has gone up between 1050 and 1090 US dollars per ton. In Cambodia, the price of rice has been between 650 and 700 US dollars per ton. I seek our people’s understanding of those living in town and not cultivate rice to try and keep the price of rice within a reachable level so that our people in the cities – workers, etc. could go on./.