In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen made his remarks on foreign aid when he outlined the sum of technical assistance that has not been reaching to Cambodia as a recipient country and its people in general. After the opening session of the seminar, Samdech Prime Minister gave his responses to the press on issues of new head of the National Supreme Council on Border Affairs (NSCBA). CNV has made the following selections of those comments and translated as follows:
… Well to go to the point that I mentioned in the speech about “things that I am sure you all have understood what I wanted to say.” In his opening remark, HE Deputy Prime Minister Sok An mentioned that in 2002 there was an amount of US$ 115 million or about 20% of the total foreign aid, according to a study done by the United Nations Development Program, that had been spent on human resource development or capacity building. We should ask a question of where the money goes in fact. They did not stay in Cambodia but went back to donor countries or to experts who have come for capacity building works. I wish to clarify to our senior officials here today that the amount of money was not spent on local labor for capacity development purpose, but they are a sort of money that is taken back through capacity building and development seminars, etc.
… In Cambodia we have said in many years about doing to help and helping to do. He have been experiencing the situation of doing to help so far and how much longer can we change to helping to do. What do we mean by doing to help? It means the recipient country’s officials did not do anything or write anything but waiting for foreign experts to write for them, to tell them what to do, and even to do it on their behalf. Aside from this we also have this complication from the fact that if we do not accept their technical assistance, we then would not be granted with their aid. I once had a talk with the director of the Asian Development Bank and I proposed to him to cut out unnecessary technical assistance, and allow the Cambodians to take up their guts in doing it themselves. Well we know that when it comes to a matter of serious issue such as the Civil Law and Civil Procedure assisted by the Japanese and the Criminal Law assisted by the French.
… However there are works that can be done by the Cambodians. I would compare the Cambodian situation to a boat that is subject to the rise and fall of water level. When there is high water, the boat rises and vise versa when there is no water. I mean we would continue to live when there is foreign assistance, and we would not survive when there isn’t. I would call for an immediate reform in relation to technical assistance. If we were to count the number of seminars conducted, there are lots of them, and the money spent on that far exceeds the amount used to restore water canals. To me capacity is when we all could do the job ourselves and if we fall we should try to stand up right on that spot. Many countries in the world started to build their nations without helps from foreign experts, and I count it that we are lucky these days to have such valuable assistance.
… I mean we have to do away with this exceeding degree of dependence and should stop the bad habit of enjoying themselves, take for instance three new years in a year – international New Year, Chinese/Vietnamese New Year and Cambodian New Year, while some also observed Christmas. We should work harder and learn more while sharing what you know or your knowledge with other people. Can you believe it that a foreign expert coming to Cambodia for one week and could write us a report on what is best to do with our hydrology? He did it because he made use of data generated by Cambodians who had no chance to benefit from what they have done. So it is now time to reconsider the doing to help or doing on behalf so as we all have to change our attitudes in this matter./.
Responses to the Press on New President of NSCBA
… I have received three letters of notification from the Royal Palace. One is concerning the removal of the portraits of Samdech Ov and Samdech Me (former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath Sihanouk) from public display. This matter was returned to the Royal Palace for further discussion and HM the King Norodom Sihamoni wrote a letter to the former King, and the matter has been followed through already. In general, we are striving to have the former majesties’ portraits as they are.
… Well last night you may have seen on TV about the former King Norodom Sihanouk’s quitting his position as President of the National Supreme Council on Border Affairs (NSCBA). On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia I have sent a letter to HM the King Norodom Sihamoni to seek his appointment of a replacement. I wish to affirm once again that the fact that NSCBA was born out of the Agreement between the Cambodian People’s Party and Funcinpec, and the Royal Government requested a Royal Decree from HM the King to establish the National Committee in Charge of Border Affairs, with representative of HM the King being the President, the Senate and the National Assembly as Vice Presidents, and the Royal Government as members.
… Due to the fact that the former King, the representative of HM the King resigned from the position, I have written s letter to HM the King to request a replacement. In relation to speculations of conflict between myself and the former King, I would not see why there has to be a conflict, one should read the royal message from the former King rather than selling yourselves to speculations…