Three Phase Constriction of NR 3
Today I have a great pleasure to attend two important events – putting into official use the segment of 134.8 kilometers of the National Road 3 from Phnom Penh to Kompot province and the groundbreaking construction ceremony to build the NR 33, 31 and the detour road 117 – which are in total length of 106 kilometers. The NR project has completed and the new NR 33, 31 and provincial road 117 will be completing under the soft loan from the Republic of Korea. We also celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the National Road 3 between Kompong Trach through to the border with Vietnam under loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and grant from the Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Program (AusAid).
I am so glad that the NR road 3 that what we have been waiting for a long time has actually become a reality. Please allow me to take this opportune moment to share with you a brief background on how we get the NR 3 constructed. As we all know that the NR 3 is one of our long roads – over two hundred kilometers. Despite its length, because of lack of resources we had commenced the construction of the road in steps that I compared to frog-leap pace. As it is known to all now that the NR is now completed thanks to a three-phase construction strategy.
The first-phase construction of the 21.5 kilometers segment between Viel Rinh and Tropangh Ropeo of Kompot province started on 06 June 2001 under the soft loan from the World Bank. That was only about one tenth of the total road length to be reconstructed. The project still did not answer to people’s need for traveling between Phnom Penh and Kompot. It was under the former President of South Korea, HE Kim Dae-jung, that I sought his favor to help us with the second-phase construction project, which also included a bridge at Kompong Bai River, from Tropang Ropeo to the city of Kompot. The construction then started on 30 July 2004. The two projects, as you can see, funded by the World Bank and the Republic of Korea, together link Viel Rinh through to Kompot city from the National Road 4.
What remains to be a question is the segment between Phnom Penh and Kompot, which has shrunk in many parts from originally seven meters in width to either six meters or even five meters in some places. In addition to that various Bailey Bridges along the way have been small, only 4.2 meters in width. Upon the visit of former President Roh Moo-hyun the Kingdom of Cambodia to observe the Angkor Kyung Yu exhibition along with the official visit, I presented him with a number of important reasons as to why Cambodia should rebuild the NR 3. The proposed third-phase of the last NR segment was accepted for consideration but has come into action and completed under HE Lee Myung-bak’s presidency.
In other words, the segments of NR 3 from Tropang Ropeo to Kompot city, and from Kompot city through to Phnom Penh are the fruits of cooperation between the Cambodian leaders and two former Presidents – HE Kim Dae-jung and HE Roh Moo-hyun, and the current President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea, who have all supported this very important road project that is responding to Cambodia’s need and expectation.
I stayed in Kompot two nights to solve (the South Korean plane crash accident) in 2006 and noticed that Kompot province and city was barely different from the 1990s, when HE Saom Chen was the provincial governor. If we were to now look into this map, Kompot at present is embarking on a significant change. Aside from the NR 3, we now have the NR 31, 33 and the provincial road of 117 kilometers and just a few months ago we also have a NR 41 that is constructed with the financial assistance from the People’s Republic of China and connects the NR 4 through Kandal, Kompong Speu and Takeo provinces through to Jum Kiri district of Kompot province.
Having brought this up, it is now known to everyone that the southern corridor of Cambodia is now being connected with many roads, which will be serving the need for local as well as regional integrations. Though it has been implemented in a frog-leap manner our ambition to be well connected by roads has been fulfilled to a great extent. In this effort, the three projects for the NR 3 has culminated in an achievement of some 122 kilometers that has been contributed mainly by the Republic of South Korea, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government’s Aid Program (AusAid).
HE Chang Ho-jin, South Korean Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia has said that the road will definitely save traveling between Phnom Penh and Kompot a lot of time. As I remember, while being in Kompot during the plane crash incident in 2006, on the way back starting at 20:00 hours, I arrived home in Phnom Penh at 24:00 hours. I think the situation here is now different. With better road condition, however, I would seek your consideration on speed while driving. I also noticed that there is this showroom of Korean pickups and trucks. The two-and-half ton Korean trucks are very popular among Cambodian people. I am sure you would say the same to the Korean motorcycles.
As is affirmed by HE Chang Ho-jin, today we are opening Korean financed roads project for the NR 31 of 54.79 kilometers from the junction at Kus through to the district of Kompong Traj, the NR 33 of 36.7 kilometers from the Kompong Traj district through to the city of Kompot, the provincial road 117 of 11.25 kilometers from Ang Sophy through to Toan Han at the border with Vietnam and the detour road of the provincial city of 3.69 kilometers from the commune of Jum Kriel on NR 33 through to Treng commune of NR 3. The construction timeframe spans from August 1, 2011 through to January 2014. The project will be implemented by Kukdong Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd and HHI Co Ltd. Joint Venture at a total cost of some USD 35.3 million.
As for the NR 33 segment from the district of Kompong Traj to the border with Vietnam, 15.838 kilometers, together with the construction of a vehicle checkpoint, which will be ready in 18 months will cost 18.8 million USD and financed by the Asian Development Bank and the AusAid with counterpart fund provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Well, I used one good reason among so many in my negotiation with HE Roh Moo-hyun about why Cambodia needed to rehabilitate and enlarge the current NR 3. Salt production and transportation to throughout the country is definitely our important and urgent need though it may not be the only reason. You may learn that we also have on Kompot the production of cement, while a new blue water seaport will be under construction soon. It is impossible for Cambodia to depend only on the port at Sihanoukville if we were to augment our production and increase our trade volume inside and outside the country.
It should be noted that there are so many interesting and touristic sites like Toek Chhu (water fall) and Bokor (mountain) where construction of tourist facilities and infrastructures by the Sok Kong Company have been said to be ready by early next year. It has attracted many tourists already even at this stage. I may think of going there in the late 2011 or early 2012 too. It is for this reason that so many tourists have flocked to Sihanoukville province and city one day and left there the next like what HE Thaong Khon termed Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Kompot and Kep as “Stars of Cambodia’s South West.”
While expressing thanks to the AusAid I would also share with you an information that I will be meeting with HE Julia Gillard of Australia prior to the East Asia Summit. I also will meet HE Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea in Bali, Indonesia, too. The meeting will be on November 18, 19 and 20. HE Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has already left. Though there have been some difficulties reported with regard to the Summits, I am sure we could find a way to resolve all problems within the framework of ASEAN and its partnering nations. I hope that the ASEAN meetings this year will be crown with successes.
For next year, 2012, Cambodia will be taking the rotating chair of ASEAN to organize two consecutive summits – the 20th and 21rst ones. I hope we will have our overpass at the Pet Lok Sang junction ready then since the 20th ASEAN summit is to be organized in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh in April 2012. As is affirmed by HE Chang Ho-jin, by this afternoon there will be a signing ceremony between the Republic of Korea and Cambodia on the reconstruction of the NR 21 from the city of Takhmao of Kandal province through to the district of Koh Thom and the border with Vietnam, about 60 kilometers, the shortest distance of trading point between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Concerning the flood relief effort, I would like to take this opportunity to send a message to all concerned institutions of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Cambodian Red Cross, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and local authorities who have made their efforts in solving the flood related problems for or people. As is reported, as of the moment of speaking we have provided relief kids to almost 340,000 families over the 350,000 families affected by flood. I wish our people understand and it is my apology that some families may have received more items in assistance than others, and some may have received them before others too.
One of the reasons is that some assistance is being prepared and provided by our Chinese friends and some by our Japanese friends and others. So the Chinese relief kit would contain basic items that may not be the same to those in the Japanese relief kit. Some would get the Chinese kits and some would get kits from other donors. It has been our aim to let donors and their representatives to take their relief kits to the affected people by themselves. Relief kits prepared and provided by the Cambodian Red Cross and the Royal Government of Cambodia contained almost similar items and amounts too. I therefore seek your understanding of minor discrepancies.
It is also my intention to inform you all today that the flood relief campaign is to be wrapped up in days ahead. Except for Kompong Thom and Prey Veng province as I have instructed HE Nhem Vanda, First Deputy President of the NCDM yesterday to expedite relief kits distribution in the two provinces already, I conclude that there are not many more that need to be done and I would leave the task to the Cambodian Red Cross to carry on. It is now time for the Royal Government to concentrate on rehabilitation which will be of a rather massive scale.
I also wish to thank my wife, who after returning from attending to my father (in a hospital in Singapore), in her capacity as President of the Cambodian Red Cross, has made it quick to visit and bring relief kits to Prey Veng, Kandal and Kompong Thom’s provinces. She also has to leave with me the day after tomorrow for the ASEAN Summits in Bali, Indonesia too. I am so grateful to her.
That being said, I also wish to justify that it has been a correct decision for us to cancel the boat race from the water festival this year. I wish to inform you that the seasonal Mekong flooding this year has been two meters higher than the previous years in provinces of Kratie, Kompong Cham, Phnom Penh and Prek Kadam of Kandal province. As is recorded on 09 November 2011, the level of water is 2.5 meters higher than every year. Therefore you all may understand that it is too risky for us to celebrate the boat race event in the water festival as usual. It would present us not only life risk but also a distraction of human labor from restoring rice cultivation as water subsides.
I am so glad that our people understand it and I also would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciations to the local authorities as well as Buddhist monks for organizing boat race events in their own ability and rivers/water systems for our people’s joy of traditional water festival celebration. Though the number of people from province to visit Phnom Penh during the festival has gone down for that matter still there were some of them. People in Phnom Penh went out to Kompot, Kep, Kompong Som, Koh Kong, Siemreap, Preah Vihear provinces. I am sure that people in Dangkao district of Kandal, those from Kompong Speu, Takeo and Kompong Chhanang provinces have come to Phnom Penh.
It has been said recently by a politician in opposition that (the CPP or the Royal Government of Cambodia have been using) development to cover things up. They said that our people have been fooled by the fact of good roads, bridges, more motorcycles and cars. They call it a trick (by the CPP and the Royal Government) to cover things up. What is in these people’s mind? If the Royal Government were to do nothing, they would quickly criticize the Royal Government’s lack of leadership on ground that the country is being left in poor and lacking infrastructures.
It is also their irreversible mind that once those things have been built, they blame it to be the Royal Government’s tricks to cover things up. What are they talking about? Would they mean dictatorship, lack of democracy and/or freedom of expression? Let me clarify this. How do we go about addressing issues of human rights? Human rights, to my understanding, stems from access to food, healthcare and education, but first of all it is the right to life. In time of flood, some two million people are facing with hunger and health disaster.
Despite limited food in stock and resources we have made all possible efforts to address their needs. People were evacuated to safe and high grounds and provided with basic food and needs for their lives. An absolute order has been issued and effectively implemented that no one who is known to have suffered from hunger would allow to be left to die without authority’s intervention and care. This I would deem the right to life, the first and foremost right that any person must have. What have other (political) parties done? Not only did they not do a thing to help they also insult the Royal Government either for being too slow to offer help or to provide help for vote purchase.
I do not know what to call but it may be an unresponsive opposition. It seems internal rift that led them to take some extreme measures. When there was this event in Tunisia, they quickly compared me to (President Zine El Abidine Ben) Ali. They did not compare Tunisia with Cambodia. Why? It is because never Ben Ali holds elections. We do so in Cambodia. They later compared me to Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The most insulting they do in contempt of my life is when they compare me to Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
It is to everyone knowledge that Gaddafi fought a war that was unleashed with help from NATO and was finally arrested and shot to death. As far as I could recall the US also has called for an investigation on the incident too. Why did they kill him? In usual practice, no killing is to be committed to arrested leader or prisoner. No extrajudicial killing is allowed. I would find it acceptable if they were to compare me to Abhisit Vijjajiva of Thailand who had to concede to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after the election was conducted in every five years.
In response to what you have called for and as I have said on many occasions, I assure you, in 2013 there will be change from the fourth term to the fifth term. Hun Sen, if reelected, will be Prime Minister not in the fourth term but the fifth one. In the case that the CPP loses the elections, not even a slight concern should you have, I would appeal to all CPP members to support the electoral results. Within 60 days you could come to the Santepheap building where I would declare transferring power to you.
However, it is the most evil thing they disdain my life as (that of) Gaddafi. How could they make Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution, the war of foreign aggression in Libya and the killing of Muammar Gaddafi – a case of comparison to me? When I responded to what they said, a member of National Assembly said I made a threat to them. Well, let’s be clear here who is threatening who? Did you not threat an attempt on my life (by saying all that)? I urge you to compare me to those who lost the elections but not with anyone who was killed because s/he lost the war. If you resort to war, I would have to take precautionary measures because I have the duty to defend the Constitution and national stability.
It was hard for Cambodia to achieve peace. UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) spent almost two billion USD to get Cambodia to a unified stand. However, they got out of Cambodia leaving us a country divided into two, with two governments and a continued civil war. It has been a great benefit for all later for the unity that we have found (thanks to the win-win policy I have formulated and implemented). Let me have their attention on one fact that the more you insult me the more you lose?
According to a VDO conference between France and Phnom Penh, there would soon be four heroes in a political party to leave their parliamentarian positions. They hope this will put international pressure on the Royal Government led by Hun Sen. This is something that is known to just a few. As they may bring this to all foreign embassies’ attention soon, I would give you a scoop. Later in another 3D-VDO conference, they have raised the reason they need to look for four heroes.
This is something to do with the Article 76 of the Constitution concerning issue of unconstitutionality. The Article 76 states that the National Assembly should have at least 120 seats (in order to …). They hope that with the four leaving the National Assembly, the number of occupied seats in the NA will be shrunk to 119. They believe the situation would not allow the NA to adopt the Law on Finance for 2012 Management on ground of lacking constitutionality. The four would not be replaced and they would leave for three months. I would urge them to pay attention to the point that interpretation of the Constitution is the sole competency of the Constitutional Council.
I would suggest even a better option for them. All 26 of them should all resign so as to be heroes. If they all resign, it would be easier to solve the matter as the National Election Committee (NEC) would have to divide their seats for four other parties. In the forthcoming session of the National Assembly, there will be a discussion on the law of finance for 2012 management which comprises of both internal and external financial sources. One reason here is they do not consent with us borrowing money from the People’s Republic of China.
It was the same trick they wished to put pressure on the CPP in 2008. They threatened not to participate in the National Assembly session until so much was to be conceded to them. They just depend on one fact that if they did not take part in the National Assembly session, the National Assembly would have insufficient quorum. However, to take part or not in the Assembly session is not a problem as long as the National Elections Committee declares all elected members of the National Assembly. If all 123 members were declared fully elected, the National Assembly could function. Whether you reported the session or not is up to you. I think they should take a look into an article by France International which is titled (in translation) “Opposition Activists Faced with Exhaustion.”
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks through Ambassador HE Chang Ho-jin to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for the provision of assistance in infrastructural development in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I also would like to express my sincere thanks to the Ministry of Transports and Public Works and all concerned institutions for sharing efforts with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Korean institutions concerned for the respective NR 3 and others. As you all know that Republic of Korea also has construction sites elsewhere in our country such as Siemreap province.
I also thank provinces and cities of Kandal, Kompong Speu and Takeo, and the capital of Phnom Penh for the good cooperation they offered in this project. I also thank the people who live along the NR 3 and all other roads for their sense of cooperation and participation./.