… I have a great pleasure of returning to the district of Komchay Mear today. My trip here has never been frequent. Ten years ago I spent a night in Sieng Khveang – the native birthplace of HE Nhem Vanda, Deputy Head of the Disaster Management Committee – in the visit to inaugurate a Buddhist temple and the Koh Keo College. However, HE Sar Kheng and HE Nhem Vanda as well as some other senior officials who were born in this area, have put together numerous achievements for the district of Kompchay Mea. As far as the cow bank is concerned, I learned that HE Sar Kheng has operating a roving share of about 800 cows. I have contributed 9 here.
… Today my visit here is to inaugurate a new school building of 16 classrooms at the assistance of two non-governmental organizations and HE Loy Sophaat, who is currently the vice chairman of the permanent committee against drugs. On behalf of the people of Komchay Mea, and the whole Cambodian people, I wish to express my sincere thanks to both the organizations and HE Loy Sophaat for such an extraordinary contribution on the basis of sharing one’s wealth with one another. Aside from that, HE Sar Kheng and HE Nhem Vanda have also contributed in the construction of various school buildings.
… As for me, I built many schools in Prey Veng. However, only a small number were built here in Komchay Mea district. HE Ung Samy, Governor of Prey Veng, just listed that there are in all 182 school buildings of 896 classrooms were built in Prey Veng at my assistance; seven of the buildings of 30 classrooms are in the district of Komchay Mea. As I am here today, I would offer to build some more… A few days ago I went to Pursat province, where the former governor of Prey Veng Chhay Sareth has been moved to, and I told him I followed him from Prey Veng to see how he gets on with his work, and I would do the same to HE Ung Samy, former governor of Pursat.
… When I was at Sieng Khveang in 1995, HE Tep Nunri was then governor of the province of Prey Veng, the area was severely affected from drought that was extending from 1994 to 1995. All surface water resources were completely dried up and I am seeing similar situation today. From the chopper, I have a good bird’s eye-view of the villages along, most of which are being built in stages.
… Many parliamentarians and many charitable persons, Lok Chum Teav Long Sakhon, wife of the deceased HE Sin Song, have contributed to efforts in providing assistance to the province of Prey Veng. HE Governor of Ung Samy affirmed in his report that this year drought has affected all over the province – about 55,000 hectares – but 40,000 hectares has been recuperated thanks to efforts made by the drought-fight campaign. As for the district of Komchay Mea, we cultivated 20,000 hectares or about 90% of the planned 23,000 hectares. This situation has put us all in a serious food shortage situation but I think we will overcome all shortcomings thanks to our resolve to combat it together, first and foremost, the efforts made by each individual household and/or community.
… Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development to review the cultivation of the past year (rainy season) and to have a better assessment of the dry-season rice cultivation. The previous rainy-season rice cultivation suffered major damage but we also are optimistic to see that the dry-season rice has increased clearly. I analyzed the cause of this move on the basis of two important factors. First, we have mobilized leadership through all levels of agricultural and local authorities to pay attention to the cultivation of dry-season rice as cultivation of floating rice was inapplicable. The second factor is that damages of the rainy-season rice have brought about our people’s efforts in growing dry-season rice for food or in replacement of/as a compensation for food requirement caused by loss of rainy-season rice.
… In general, due to scarce of rainfall or surface water shortages, we have shortcomings in the cultivation of rainy-season rice, however, thanks to our people’s efforts to cultivate dry-season rice, the country has recorded a surplus of about over half a million tons. Taking the situation by case, we have families with surplus and also families with food shortage. I hope that income from other sources – construction works, food-for-work labor, would compensate the loss suffered by families with food lacking. Cambodia is, nevertheless, in a better situation than some countries in Africa.
… We have a short-period dry season in the middle of the rainy season every year – by end of July and early August. I therefore recommend all-out efforts to be prepared for the intervention in providing equipments and resources for the irrigation for rice cultivation as well as other crops. Let me have your attention that the Royal Government of this term could be summarized to be the “hydraulics-oriented Government.” You may recall that the first-term Royal Government was building schools and pagodas, while the second-term Royal Government was pursuing its focus on roads and bridges. Samdech Krom Preah (Norodom Ranaridh) President of the National Assembly and President of Funcinpec, a partner in the Royal Government threw his full support behind this move.
… However, we should continue on school building, road and bridge construction in a similar momentum as those on irrigation. We need to have not just a directive from so and so person but a national movement backed up by the government forces with the Ministry of Water Resources as core actors in mobilizing all sources of funding. What is perhaps applicable is the formation of small-scale hydraulic projects like those we have installed in Prey Veng.
… Yesterday I have instructed the Ministry of Water Resources with its local offices to come up with small scale hydraulic projects with detail assumption of costs, economic efficiency and technical setup. The project will be exposed to various foreign donors or charitable persons. We should consider all means to get irrigation system in place and working for the benefit of the country’s fight against water shortage in agricultural activities. Another source of assistance could come from efforts of the Buddhist monks, whose contribution would partly help the people’s local agricultural activities as the people cultivate and harvest good crops, the Buddhist monks would also be benefiting from a good food offer as well.
… The Team of HM the King, Samdech Ov Norodom Sihanouk, and Samdech Me Norodom Munineath Sihanouk offers help in digging water canals, and so do those teams of Samdech Chea Sim and Samdech Heng Samrin, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh and HE Sar Kheng. I asked HE Cheam Yiep why the province is called Prey Veng (far stretched forest), and he said because there used to be a far stretched forest. But as we all can see today, it is a far stretched land/field because forest was cleared. This cannot be interpreted without taking into consideration the need for cultivate in line with the growing number of population. Some people commented that lack of water is the result of deforestation, and they did say so for too much rain. I might assume that we have four kinds of such people – those who speak, those who do, those who look on and those who point fingers.
… Let me share with you a matter in our negotiation with China. Our sea border has yet to have adequate protection and we will soon have oil exploration companies. Our sea patrol has been fairly limited, so it has become the most important need to resolve. As the negotiation goes on, some MPs commented that the Royal Government purchases poor-quality patrol ships from China, while the ships has yet to be manufactured. So they talk about it, but there is no fact there. Some politicians believe in confrontation for development of the country but we all learnt in school that a bundle of chopsticks cannot be broken.
Samdech Hun Sen has on that occasion offered 40 sets of PCs, one printer, copier, and a fifteen KVA generator to the College of Cheach, ten million Riel for the roofing of the Dharma Hall to the pagoda of Komchay, a school building of five classrooms to the primary school of Tamey, a school building of fiver classrooms to the primary school of Cheach, and a ten thousand dollar Bailey bridge to the people of Cheach commune of Prey Veng and Dauntey commune of Punnheakrek district of Kompong Cham.