It is a great day for me to be able to join with our officials and people here in observing the constructions of two bridges in the district of Stuong in the province of Kompong Thom. The construction site commenced after I declared from the inauguration of the the Kompong Chen Tbong’s Buddhist temple and assured HE Kvan Siem I would make a visit one day. I am glad to see our people here and I think the report of HE Kvan Siem has made our people and all of the participants understand about the project. Through all-out efforts made by various people involved, a construction team of the military arrived and has carried out construction work for almost 72 days. A number of works have already been done.
Our working officials here did not have time to enjoy the Khmer National New Year but to continue to work hard and some of their families have come to the construction site to meet their husbands or sons instead. Our troops not only could not enjoy the Khmer New Year but also took that moment to depart from the country to join with the UN mission in Sudan. Their commitments and sacrifices have been great. They have removed UXO and mines for the sake of the construction. It is indeed important that I extend my sincere appreciation to the military and its leaders – the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ general staff, the Ministry of National Defense, and various levels of the military construction teams.
The bridges in construction never exist before only in Svay Sar we had a small wooden bridge that people raised money to repair every year. The bridge has been 1965 years already and after 41 years it must have come to its rotten stage. What concerns me most has been the fact that we have no more four-meter Bailey iron bar in stock. I have just ordered HE Minister Sun Chan Thol to make a calculation on the Chinese assistance of 200 million US dollars to build two bridges over the Mekong and over the Tonle Sap, the construction of the national road 8, and the enlargement and asphalting road from Snuol to Ratanakiri to find out if there would be any remaining part so that we can purchase 2000 meters of the seven-meter width and 2000 meters of the four-meter width Bailey bridges.
People who have no knowledge or information inside out of the process of financial system and management have claimed to increase the salary for the civil servants. They should be aware of the fact that doing so while having no money would lead to canceling the construction of bridges and roads, etc. One may think of doing so through taxing our farmers because if we were to impose a tax of 50,000 Riel per hectare we would have a lot of money from 13 million hectares. But, increasing salary for our Government officials only to leave farmers carry this burden would not be a good solution. We once tax the people in the form of “patriotic contribution” but only to stop since 1991. My declaration of imposing no tax on farmers has already come to an end after ten or fifteen years. But it is not time yet for us to get our farmers to help the state.
For the moment farmers need the state to build schools, roads, water canals which are parts of my strategy of water, electricity, roads and human resources. If I were to be re-elected in 2008, I would continue my policy of imposing no tax on our farmers and I would accept to act on those people’s behalf in the parliament. A few days ago some people went to the front of my house in Phnom Penh demanded reduction of oil price, while in oil producing countries prices of oil also fluctuate. We demand reduction of oil prices but we need more cars, motor bikes and other means. Those people should know that it is not true to say that the Government is not taking this matter seriously. It has not increased tax on oil is a measure that they should be informed.
The construction of various bridges in the country, including those in Stuong, has a wide ranging repercussion in the people’s living condition. As far as rice cultivation is concerned I urge our people to grow short-term rice because we have predicted drought in midst of the season. More works need to be done as to reserve water in higher land so that people can make use of it for rice cultivation.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offers to build two school building of 12 classrooms and some consumer food for the military engineering team working on the projects.