Today, my wife and I have a great pleasure to join with all of our Buddhist monks and people in putting into official use the “Tep Vong Safety Road” which the people and Government offered as token of appreciation to Samdech the Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong who has returned the 26 kilometer road for use by the people in the district of Stoeung Hao and the public at large.
I could recall that on December 30, 2001, at the Pagoda of Chant Burei Vong in the Province of Kandal, there was a request made by Samdech the Great Supreme Patriarch (GSP). I at that time thought maybe the request itself could be for the construction of residential hall or a Buddhist temple. However, I was caught by surprise that Samdech GSP has indeed paid great attention to our people’s hardship in this rural coastal area. In fact if it were not for his request we might not deem it urgent to build this road yet.
The people in this area, road users in general, would not only be grateful to those who built it but also to those who initiated the construction – Samdech GSP Tep Vong. Upon reception of my approval, a one-month feasibility study was conducted by the Military Engineering Team (MET) of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) led by HE Khvan Siem. According to report by HE Khan Siem, the construction of this road has come through many difficulties ranging from construction materials such as rock of all sizes have to be brought in from Kompong Speu. Efforts have also been made to get a path by edge of the mountain and this area is prone to much raining in the year.
However, to move slowly in the construction is better than doing nothing. I use to refer to the infrastructural development at the pace of a frog-leap. Some politicians say they would not apply the frog-leap strategy and I warn our people of what Pol Pot used to say under his time – the great leap forward. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, MET has yet to pay more for some companies and it has made efforts in making money available for the clearance of debt involved in building this road. Total cost of the construction is 27,348 million Riels.
Today we also celebrate the inauguration of the 16-kilometer road – Hun Sen – Keo Phos that connects the Tep Vong Safety Road to the village of Keo Phos in the Sre Ambel district of Koh Kong Province, which is built by Oknha Mong Rithi at the cost of 58,000 US dollars. Though this road is still a dirt road, I hope that Oknha Mong Ritthi to make it DBST in the near future. Who benefits from the road really? Before its construction, people in the area have to travel to Tum Nub Rolok in Sihanoukville and by the NR 4 to get their catches to the market in Veal Rinh. The distance is 71 kilometers and they would travel in 2 and a half hour.
Aside from this, fuel companies also transport their fuel through a small road at the Tum Nob Rolok area before they get to the NR 4. With the Tep Vong Safety Road in place, traveling through the above mentioned itinerary would take only 20 minutes and cost only 4000 Riels. Transports of fuel would benefits from 56 kilometer road shorter and also shorter time to get to the market. In this instance, the Royal Government, through making this road available at their disposal, helps deduct their cost of transport and save their time.
Some persons say “a gift is for short term, a job is for life” What do you think when people in this area used to have difficulties in getting their catches to markets, while with this road built the catches get to the market easily? Are they saying this is not a Government’s efforts in job creation? I warn them to stop lying about or they would end up in a fate of Le Pen in France who, in his 70’s, has become opposition for life as his support never once increases. They should not apply similar strategy in Cambodia. Take for instance they should not use the strategy of “no conciliation” or “me exists only when thee not.” CPP would not be against any political parties or take someone as enemy. I do not mean that they should stop oppose me or CPP at all.
In the name of those monks, people and others who have benefited from this road I would take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Samdech GSP for having requested for this road to be built. Now we have the road done, what remains as our concern is the road maintenance. I know that we have fuel companies like Tela, Sokimex, Caltex, Shell, PTT, Pheapimex, Edwoods, Kok An, Kith Meng, etc. using this road and it is their duty to voluntarily make contributions at their will. I would insist that people and small companies other than these would not have to pay for maintenance. What I am talking about is voluntary contribution in road maintenance.
Samdech GSP just proposed another project to build a nine and half kilometer road from here to the Oil Factory and according to the study made by HE Khvan Siem, this road would cost up to 1.9 million US dollars. This road has indeed been once rehabilitated by HE Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, as a laterite covered road. I wish to declare to Samdech GSP that the requested road would be built by Edwoods Co. and the rest nine kilometers from here to the NR 4 has to be improved as well.
This area we are talking about is the dragon’s head (in my imagination of Cambodia as a dragon). Months ago I traveled a lot to the tail part of the dragon shape (Stoeung Treng, Ratanakiri, Kratie, Mondulkiri provinces which are in the north-eastern part of Cambodia) whereas its body lies along the provinces of Kompong Cham, etc. We would soon have a new seaport in the Stoeung Hao district of Sihanoukville which is to start the construction in July this year between a local company – Edwoods and a company from Japan. The port will be in use by 2012. Judging by the fact that more growth is anticipated by 2021 we would need to export more and existing port facility would not be adequate for such an economic expansion.
I would warn against any land grabbing and encroachment since this area would be soon an industrial area. I would order pulling out any markers planted on public land property. Some people have guts to claim land in front of Angkor Wat. We have proofs and one of the leaders is an activist from a political party. They did that because they know that the authority would not do anything to them since it is election season. Any actions taken against them would allow them to accuse the authority of politically motivating.
A Non-Governmental Organization made a survey about three months ago. The response is that 82% people have been using new infrastructural development. This clearly affirms that the policy to improve infrastructure is correct and if I were to get support for the next-term leadership of the Royal Government I would go on with this policy at the frog-pace development. I would say that today’s frog is powerful and could make stronger and faster leap than before. We would continue to see that roads, water canals, schools, hospitals and public constructions would be on our agenda.
If the whole country continues to be in segments because of no bridges, no roads, etc. we could not get the economy going. In the same poll, 82% also said they have trust in the central Government, while 95% said they have a plot of land of some kind, only 5% said they do not have. We should try to see that the 5% will get their shares in what we call land for social concession and 70% said the central Government is on the right track. Efforts must be made to get the dream of the rest to be fulfilled.
On this solemn occasion I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the local authority of all levels and the armed forces for their efforts in keeping security during the communal election making it free, fair, just and transparent one. I wish to thank everyone and every institutions involved and the media – state and private – for their helps in making the electoral messages and electoral procedure across to the voters. I also thank the CPP officials for exercising self-restraint to their utmost to avoid conflict with other party provocative messages and actions. Patience has indeed brought about a better electoral situation.
Wining or losing is not the most important issue for the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia. What is the most important is that the elections are being conducted in a free, fair, just, transparent, and non-violent manner. It is indeed the Royal Government’s victory.
On behalf of the CPP leaders, HE Samdech Chea Sim and HE Samdech Heng Samrin, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the CPP members in the whole country and its supporters who enabled the CPP to break the previous vote records. In 2003, CPP received over two million votes in its favor out of total five million votes. This time communal elections CPP received 3,100,000 votes in its favor out of 5,100,000 votes or 61% of the total ballots throughout the country. This figure – put in general elections context, CPP would occupy at least 90 seats in the National Assembly out of its 123 seats. I would say that the Cambodian people have voted for what they already have in hand – peace, political stability under the leadership of the coalition government comprised of CPP and its partner.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks for the Office of Customs and those companies that continue their import-export activities and also the Sihanoukville Seaport staff and workers for their works – day and night. The Customs Office has proven to combat smugglings that are normally taking their chance from the time when the whole country is in electoral period. The March – tax income has increased highest that never exists in the past three years. According to the report the provincial authority payrolls have all been ready for the month of March since March 15 and I would urge those involved making efforts in paying the salaries for the sake of enjoying the coming Khmer New Year.
I take this opportune moment to appeal to the commune councils to continue their work till the take-over by the newly elected ones. The official electoral result would be announced on April 24. Those who function in standby have to provide security and public order for our people to enjoy the New Year. I also appeal to our people to unite though they indeed have voted for different political parties. They have to unite and do not let the electoral results be a divisive factor of their community and unity. Let the elections become a vote for development and security for the country. The commune council is not a political party and it does not have opposition. They have to cooperate and to make decision on the basis of the 2003 Law on Commune Administration. Any discussion necessary should be done with the Minister for Interior.
Some politicians mislead the people of what they call to be short-term gifts. I would urge them to think that those short-term assistances – in flood, in drought, skill training, building roads, schools, hospitals, fires, etc. have all been the life enrichment from the part of the Royal Government. Take another example, my wife has been collating assistances to help the Cambodian army especially those in rural areas – on islands, etc. Any request from so and so for a negotiation on decentralization at the local level was just an attempt to meet with leaders of CPP in order to send a signal that they would join the coalition Government in the fourth term. It is easily predictable. It is their attempt to separate CPP and Funcinpec. Whatever happens to Funcinpec at the local level, we still have the coalition and we will continue to work with each other.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of O Treh Thmei, a school building of six classrooms to College of Stoeung Hao with computers and accessories.