… I have a great pleasure for the return this time to meet all of you in the district of Prek Prosob after my last visit to provide emergency assistance together with other charitable persons at the time of flood. May I take this opportunity to express first of all my regret for keeping all of you waiting for the three bridges to be built in such a long time owing to the fact that partly we had a study to be completed, and partly waited for the supply of bailey from the People’s Republic of China, and also a bit of financial constraints. HE Kung Ieng has mentioned just now that late is still better than never. A number of projects have been placed in the eastern side of the River Mekong at Chhlong district of Kratie, but also we have to day three Bailey bridges to inaugurate on the western side of the River Mekong at Prek Prosob. We now have on the Chhlong side built the Chhlong Bridge, the Peam Te Bridge while to downstream of the River Mekong from Chhlong we will have to build the Oknha Tit Bridge and a number of other bridges so that the district of Kroch Chhmar of Kompong Cham is well connected to this system.
… I used to compare the road 73 (a juncture from the national road 7) from the district of Damber (Kompong Cham) to Chhlong as a rake handle with one end of the rake on the right goes to Kratie and another on the left goes to Kompong Cham province. In the past we had our famous singer Sin Simuth’s song of “Kratie and Phnom Penh – not far from each other” because of the engine boat service, which normally took a full-day trip. In building the three bridges, we have put the ferry services to an end. With HE Ngy Chan Phal of the Ministry of Rural Development and HE Ngy Ta Yi, I have contributed a sum of 16 million Riel as ferry charges for our people to cross the three water passages. Along the national road 7, we had put to a stop of ferry service in the Tonle Bet by the construction of the Kizuna bridge, and more will cease service along the Se San river after the construction of the last part of the national road 07 is over. I should take this opportunity to recall that we also will have a bridge built across the River Mekong at Neak Loeung.
… Let me take this opportunity to thank the Ministries of Rural Development, Public Works and Transports – who are the principal financial officers to this development project. Thanks also go to HE Finance Minister Keat Chhon – whose native place is Kratie – for his saving manner allowing us to get the three bridges built at this time. I also thank the engineering team of the Ministry of National Defence for its thorough study for the construction of the three bridges. The CPP working teams in the area also deserve praise and appreciation as well. The three bridges – Prek Roka, Saok Kraom, Prek Chik – is 222 meters altogether stretching on a length of 70 kilometer-road, without which traffic in the district of Prek Prosob would remain disconnected. Because I was living not far from here, the Peam Kohsnar commune of the district of Stoeung Trang, I have a good knowledge of the geographical setup here. I used to come by a lake called Boeung Rai and next to it there is a lake called Boeung Veng with so much fish.
… Talking about fish, I wish to remind all fishermen that it is because they electrocute the fish they can not complain of having less and less fish to catch. They should stop pointing their fingers at the Royal Government because of the result of their own actions, take for instance using explosive to kill and catch fish. They also are the ones who trap fish in congested net – in which small and big fish and water products are caught. When they found out that their fishing activities are worse they blamed the Royal Government. Listen to what they may say, before I spent just a short time to electrocute fish and I got a lot, but I caught none or less now. So they should all think of their actions, which indeed have brought them this hopeless result. Making the false accusation worse are indeed some of the human rights organization.
… The Royal Government and myself have been accused of doing nothing by those people and organizations, and as we all see today, the Royal Government and I did do anything but build just three more bridges, various water canals, school buildings, roads, etc. Let me warn them that no one would lose in the circle of peace and national reconciliation, including my opponents. I will pursue a policy of that no one is left defeated in the cause for peace, national reconciliation, democracy and development leading to the reduction of poverty. I am grateful to the rebukes with words like “a diktat” as by using terms like this will indeed reflect that Cambodia is fully democratic and of course in certain countries, ASEAN included, doing so would be severely reprimanded. On the other hand, these people never rebuke Americans because they would enjoy no more money if they do so – Well I do not mean the US citizen or institution in general, but institution like the International Republican Institute (IRI).
… I was born right at the final stage of war against the colonialists in 1952, which brought Cambodia its independence in 1953. After we had independence, the area between Prek Prosob and Stoeung Trang, we had rulers named Put Chhay and Bun Um, and after them we had a group of robber led by Meam, Kai Chheang, who were arrested by the Government forces in 1965 and 1966 respectively. Later the Pol Pot’s central headquarter was no where but right behind Prek Prosob. At that time Cambodia won independence and peace, but there was still instability. The Sangkum Reastr Niyum’s development lasted about 16 years, and after that war broke out. Since 1970, Prek Prosob area was named Special region 304 under the command of Ker Pork and Koi Thuon. Chhlong was part of region 21, and Kratie’s Snuol district and Kompong Cham’s Dambe was Special Region 505. What did we gain from this evolution? After the liberation in 1979, when my nephew came for a wedding of his brother in 1994, he was shot dead by the Khmer Rouge, and my father in law who lived across the river was also shot dead in broad daylight. That’s what the war brought me as well as our people in general.
… Because I was born in a place not far from here, I know very well how people cope with tremendous difficulties because pf their villages located along the waterway. Without a bridge, people depend on ferry service which is time consuming, and relatively unsafe. Once the road is built it means poverty has been reduced through infrastructural development. For people living in this area bridges and roads are their hope. We notice the increase in marriage and there is often a case of three-baby birth and delivery. I remark that it happens mostly in families of the poor. This time of the year is the wedding season and Cambodia’s birthrate is somewhere around 2.4 and 2.5. In the city we notice increase of birth spacing, and it is my disappointment because I wanted more grandchildren, but my children do not like it. This year I married two children and my eldest son perhaps will get married in 2006.
… by quoting a statement “the third term legislation Royal Government is focusing on irrigation and hydrology,” the provincial Governor just mentioned that the water reservoir of Rolum Phnov that was built under Khmer Rouge time could be restored for irrigating an area of 1300 hectares for about 870 households in their dry season rice cultivation. According to the study by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, once finished, the reservoir would have an irrigation capacity up to 3000 hectares, and I wish to declare today that I order the restoration of the reservoir. Because it is an inundated reservoir, I would urge the Ministry of Water Resources to expedite additional studies and because of its cost is not high I would recommend HE Keat Chhon to invest right away. Sanmdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh, President of the National Assembly and President of FUNCINPEC, and I have come to an agreement that we will focus on hydrology in this term, while in the second term we allocated more resources on roads and bridges than hydrology. In this term the bigger slice will go to hydrology. That does not necessarily means we no longer build road or bridge because while water is prime in one place, road would be in another.
… From this point of Prek Prosob to Boeung Rai, we have bridges in place already, and to Preah Andoung we have one more bridge to put at Prek Sdei. Some people has requested for a construction of road along this system – between Preah Andoung and Peam Koh Snar. It is unfeasible in term of resources and technology as the road would not last as it would stay under deep water in the flood time. Some people in my native place said I paid attention to only other places not to one’s own native place. My response is that my native place is throughout Cambodia and construction of roads and bridges will have to take into consideration geographical environment and economic efficiency.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion contributed ten million Riel for each of the three pagodas requested for assistance – Prek Chik, Saob Loeu and Preah Neak Sen, offered a three classroom building to the school of Hun Sen Saob Kraom, a set of solar lighting for each of the three bridges, two water wells for the village of Ta Mao kraom and Kraham Kar Loeu, two six classroom buildings.