… It is indeed my great pleasure to join you all at the inauguration of the Oknha Mong Port at Keophoh and acknowledgement of the continuation of the port development in the second stage. The port with 309 meters long and 22 meters wide which could accommodate any ships at the sea depth of 4 to five meters is indeed a new achievement. Another achievement here to mention is the warehouse of 80 meters by 66 meters, which could house up to 18000 tons of goods and the third achievement to be acknowledged is indeed the containers stockyard at the size of 15 hectares. The fourth to inaugurate is the clean water reservoir of 12000 cubic meters, the electrification of residences and the port facility, and the paved road between the NR 04 and the port itself at the size of 12 meters by 15 kilometers.
… I am very glad to witness all the achievements today with all the efforts made by Oknha Mong Rithy. It should be mentioned also that Mr. Oknha has been doing a great deal for the country especially in the area of the NR 04 at Prey Nub district and in between the province of Koh Kong and Kompong Som for the initial difficulty in getting the project of development of palm oil off the ground. The project suffered a great deal from the economic and financial crisis in Asia which by the year 1997, which prompted a number of foreign partners to withdraw their shares from Cambodia. However, the local company of Oknha Mong Rithy not only survives the hardship but also expand its area of expertise in growing palm oil and the construction and arrangement of a port by the sea, which I would praise of his efforts for the implementation of my vision of opening the sea access that I proclaimed a few years ago.
… It is a wonderful start giving Cambodia more than one access, which indeed is a profound development for the sake of competition and economic integration heading for efficiency. When I paid a visit to Vietnam they always posed us a question which one of the two rivers – the Mekong and the Bassac, that Cambodia is making a practical use of. They asked this question because they plan to build a bridge across one of the rivers so they need our confirmation for the architectural plan of the bridge. If we were to use any particular river, they would build the bridge with a special height. What was my answer then to Vietnam? We have two rivers and we want to make use of both of them. I proposed to Vietnam to build the two bridges of certain height so that Cambodia continues to make use of the rivers – the Mekong and the Bassac.
… The same is true for our seaport facility. So far we have the seaport of Sihanoukville and we now are expecting growing economic progress that one seaport could not handle the overall development. I foresee that by this time we have two seaports, I imagine that later we will have one more port at Koh Kong and another at Kampot – two of which would help promote economic efficiency further. Traders would love to use any port facility that is closer to their destinations or from their ports of origin. However, the sea depth at the point of port construction mentioned could not accommodate all ships at all time like the seaport of Sihanouklville. This does not deny the fact that companies with financial and technical ability could pump driving ways in and out of the port in the future. I therefore am looking forward to a fair competition of all the port facilities that we currently have – both state and private ones.
… I had a discussion with HE Minister Sun Chanthol of Transports and Public Works on issue of what we do for those companies. It is not a bout whether the state company could survive or not but about the whole economy. Take for instance if we apply strict policy on private ports in Koh Kong, Keophoh or Kompot, we could then improve the competitive edge of the state-run port of Sihanoukville, but we risk experiencing economic loss for the whole nation. That is why the state-run Royal Air Cambodge went bankrupt because of its high-loss operation and we are still covering its loss until today. If we were to think of profit made from Royal Air Cambodge alone, we risked losing more in the whole economy. Our point is to attract the most tourists possible to Cambodia so whichever air company is taking them in is all right as long as more arrived to Cambodia with a $20 visa, airport tax, jobs for our people, VAT, etc. If we paid much attention to Royal Air Cambodge, how many tourists could it take in to the country?
… In 1987, I could recall, and HE Tea Banh should remember also as he was Deputy Prime Minister as well, in one of the meetings at the Council of Ministers on issue of industry and handicraft, I refuse to accept the proposal by the Ministry of Industry for the closure of handicraft that produce tires for bicycles, motorcycles so as the state-run tire factory at Ta Khmao could survive. I affirmed that I would rather close down the state-run factories because of overstocked products with low quality. In a competitive environment, as long as your product is of good quality, you are likely to be the winner. I visited CP Company in Thailand in 1989 and they have a slogan “farmers are life-partners, customers are bosses.” I say this theory is not simple because the factory produces animal feeds and they have direct relations with farmers.
Therefore farmers are their first and direct people for them to take care of. Users are bosses is also impressive like what we have in the competition of bicycle tires that customers would go for a high-quality and nice-looking tires and they have to serve the customers’ needs.