… Today I have a great pleasure to join with monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and our compatriots in inaugurating a new achievement in Prey Roang Pagoda – a pagoda of more than two hundred years old, or about three human lifetimes. This pagoda was constructed in 1800, which could be said prior to the time when the French imposed its protectorate in Cambodia. This pagoda shared similar fate as others in Cambodia both in time of the Khmer Rouge and after the liberation on January 7. Anything that was known to have died before January 7 has revived after the January 7. Take for example, this pagoda was used as a place in which bricks and clay jar were produced. Thanks to the people’s belief in Buddhism, after the fall of the genocidal regime, and despite some war continued, with the leadership of the consecutive venerable monks, this achievement has in the end become real.
… Aside from being here with all of you to cut ribbon to inaugurate the achievement in this pagoda, I have the duty to respond to various other requests. HE Governor Tep Nunnary has already made a report with regard to the overall situation of Kandal Stoeung district, and taking this chance I would like to talk a little more about some visions reserved for the people living in Kandal Stoeung and along the canal of Prek Thnaot. Let me recall that Kandal Stoeung, despite the fact that it is situated far from the bank of the Mekong River, has been the worst flood affected district in Cambodia. In 1996, to observe the flood situation, I traveled with HE Kun Kim on road 38 in my departure from Takhmao to Angsnuol, via Roleang Ken and Kompong Tram districts. In 1991, I came along those districts along the canal of Prek Thnaot. In 1996, while there were no floods in the eastern part of the country, we had flooding rising from the west causing Kandal Stoeung to be inundated. In 2000 and 2001, this area was also flooded. This situation requires the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to conduct appropriate studies in addition to projects that it oversees in this area. Infrastructural development in this area has to take into consideration issue of flood diversion.
… According to the report by HE Minister of Water Resources Lim Keanhor, the road number 38 was cut open to let the water out during flood time. If we were to not do so, the flood would make its way to the capital city of Phnom Penh. According to the study and financial support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB,) we have found an alternative for relieving flood pressure. Therefore this road 38 could be renovated so that the National Road 2 and 3 could be linked to one another. In recalling that this road was once renovated by the Mong Rithy Group, I wish to inform our compatriots today that the vision and determination of the Royal Government is to have all the asphalted roads in the Sangkum Reastniyum of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk to be re-asphalted. Between now and 2005, they must be completely asphalted, in conjunction with the efforts to construct new roads and those destructed by war. The roads building projects would be realized by mobilizing construction resources financed by the national budget, loans, grants and private investments.
… A number of asphalt roads before, like the part between Kratie and the border with Laos, via Stoeung Treng ruined by war would be renovated with the loan from China. The part between Tonle Bet and Kratie would be constructed with the financing of ADB and OPEC Fund. There left a number of roads that we are seeking fund for the reconstruction. We have also started renovations of a number of short roads like the one that links Takhmao and Saang Koh Thom (in Kandal Province.)
… Of course, 2005 would cover a time span beyond the term of the current Government, which should be replaced by a new Government at the end of 2003. The elections were held in July 1998, and the National Assembly sworn in on September 29. At least I would be present through to September, 2003. So the arrangement would have to be in accordance with the stipulation in the constitution that the Assembly has a five-year mandate and it could not be dissolved before the mandate, or unless the Government were dissolved twice within a period of twelve months. But this Government is born out of a two third majority. Therefore, there would be no votes enough to dissolve this Government. In this regard, the current Government would go on in its term till there exists a new Government to take over. Let me clarify that I wish to go on for another term through the electoral and not automatic means. If I were to gain to support in the election, I would step down and transfer power peacefully.
… Talking about this, there has a piece of article in the Cambodia Daily in which an initiation of coup attempt was proposed. I would warn that it is free to advise but it has to be in conformity with the constitution. It was reported that three months before the general election (in 2003), HM the King should set up a provisional Government. I have no belief at all that HM would take this proposition into consideration. This statement bears a coup attempt in a cold manner. Let me clarify this point that this Government is subject to no pressure of dissolving, except the National Assembly. From this point onward, if the constitution is free from any amendments, there will be no chance for any provisional Government in Cambodia, and there only is full-right Government. Even in the period of elections, the current Government will conduct its daily operation and function until the new Government is sworn in. Whoever attempts to dissolve the current Government and set up a provisional Government would be linked to coup attempt, no matter in what form it may take.
… I wish they understood the people’s suffering and difficulties if war were to take place. We are just in the process of solving a dilemma, which is poverty on one side and war on the other. In addition to being poor, people would have to suffer from war, families escape fighting, and bridges, schools, etc. being destroyed. Now our people are still poor, but surely they would not want another war but peace. We could not afford to run for life again, to die of fighting again, to send husbands and sons to war again, and/or even to have wounded people.
… Taking the people’s requests into consideration, I would announce that the nine-kilometer long road Number 38 is to be reconstructed and re-asphalted. The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology will implement the project as this area has impacts on both land and water resources. It may need to seek pre-financing from the privatization account or the road maintenance account. May HE Tram Iv Toeuk of the Ministry of Transports send a team of experts to assist the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology in the course of making this road asphalt/bitumen. This road 38 of Kandal Stoeung would shorten traveling time from Kompong Speu to a part of Takeo and Kandal without having to come via Phnom Penh, but taking shortcut from the National Road 3 to the National Road 2.
… May I suggest that HE Tep Nunnary and HE Khim Bo (Deputy Governor) to give instruction to the provincial public works and transports to conduct a study of the road links with and around Phnom Penh to find out the number those that are asphalted and not renovated yet. They should be incorporated into later projects. I have stated already that between now and 2005, all previously asphalted roads will have to be re-asphalted. HE Tram Iv Toeuk has an obligation to collect related data on roads for reporting and discussing with HE Minister Khi Taing Lim on the number of bitumen roads that have yet to be renovated. We have started three lines already. The first line extends from the border with Vietnam to Koh Thom district of Kandal province. The second line from Prey Chhor to Kong Meas districts of Kompong Cham province and the third line is the road 38. There will be more to be renovated.