Please allow me to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Samdech the President and Vice Presidents of the National Assembly and HE Cheam Yeap who has led the construction of the Parliament buildings. HE Cheam Yeap has signed a proposition, which comes along with the signature of Samdech the President, requesting for July 7, 2007 as the inauguration date for the new building as it falls on the 60th birthday of the foundation of the National Assembly.
We have made an observation tour altogether on the achievement of the new buildings and it is not wrong to say that there no other state building that is bigger than this one. Take for instance we have a compound of around 3 hectares of land. It is good for us to have such an important state institution to be standing in this large facility.
Maybe I should recall a bit about the history of this place. In their capacities as the President of the State Council and the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Heng Samrin and Samdech Chea Sim provided me, the Prime Minister, with all necessary supports in developing this area. Otherwise it would continue to be left as a fishing lot. Normally this place turns to be a fishing ground when the flood recedes. Then State and Government leaders came here to fish and to grow vegetable. I wish to thank HE Say Chhom and HE Kong Sam Ol for their efforts to get a contract company to drain sand from the river bottom to fill in this plot.
The city was then under the leadership of HE Hok Lundy and Sim Ka. I offered the land to UNDP for its regional office building but they turned our offer away. They later came back to ask for the land and I said it was late as we have offered it for the construction of the new parliament building already. As you can see that the Prime Minister does not give a priority to his office building but the National Assembly’s building despite the fact that he has the rights to do. This building complex costs US 26 million dollar. The office of the Council of Minister costs only US 10 million dollars and if we were to give it a priority the office would be ready before the parliamentary buildings that we are observing today.
It is because NA is the representation of the people’s power that we have given it our priority. Unlike what they said about people power in the Philippines, in Indonesia or in Ukraine some years back. I would say that is informal people power. The real and formal people power is the one that is bestowed by elections upon their deputies to represent them in the parliament. I would not call the demonstration to cause a President or a Prime Minister to step down as a real people power at all.
In 2003 there was an attempt to bring about the situation in Cambodia on that path and I warned them with my opposing might. I at that time prepared to get in to the city some 320,000 people as what they called “people power” in opposition to their mobilization. They wished to get thing going the Georgian way as the country got stuck after the elections. I warned that their people power would be put to test with mine. But to reflect the true meaning of the people power, we should try to decide our power in every five years. It is this respect that I think we have made the right decision to get this top people power building built in this very right place. It is indeed going to be an historic building for Cambodia.
Many foreign guests have looked into the current office facilities of the Council of Ministers, and I quickly wherever I can get their attentions that the building is yet a good one but what is the most important for us is our effectiveness and efficiency. If the Royal Government is to keep the US 26 million for public infrastructural building, we could build more roads and bridges but we could not afford to leave the top institution representing the people’s power in a poor condition at all. As far as I know each member of the National Assembly has got a private office in the new facility.
Because of the fact that we have a small population, I would suggest that we should maintain the number of MPs to 123 and what is more important is that they all come to work. As of now I learned that some members of the Parliament do not attend the parliamentary sessions at all. As of now the National Assembly has piles of laws to be adopted so when we have this new building and the session continues to take place only one morning, the number of law to be adopted would continue to be in less number. I warn you of being blamed by our people that it took them to pay US 26 million dollars for the building but there is not much to get from.
We have made efforts to build this new parliament building not for own sake or anyone else but the Khmer generation to come. It is not for CPP or Funcinpec or any party at all. Whichever party gets the people’s support will have the right to work in here. I wish to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to those workers who help build the parliament and I admire what truly comes out of the real Khmer effort, creativity and patience. I wish that all who worked here be registered. We have documented all the Parliaments of Cambodia in the past except the ones under Pol Pot regime that we do not know where it was. If we were to find no parliament in that regime, there is no point of hunting as it was not a parliamentary regime anyway. Pol Pot was the one who held the whole power.
I wish to inform HE Samdech President of the National Assembly that I would suggest to return the current National Assembly building to the Supreme Court which is also the symbol of top legal power. I do not wish to interfere in the court’s affairs but it is a duty to see that the court has got a decent place for its work and dignity. The court as we know is the one to enforce the law. The current Supreme Court’s office is to be offered to the Court of Phnom Penh. It is good to see that some of the MPs have already started moving in and I would urge the Municipality of Phnom Penh to attend to the matter of electricity urgently so that the facility will be complete.
At the time when we had the political stalemate after the elections, the Royal Government got a 1 on 12 expenses to continue its work. The CPP MPs were allowed to borrow US$ 1000 per month but the CPP later did not demand their returns as they could use the money to help people in their constituencies. In 2008 we would not be suffering with similar stalemate anymore. We already have adopted for the 50 + 1 in replacement of a two-third majority in the formation of the Royal Government, and relevant amendments in the Constitution have already been made. CPP got a 53% support since 1998 and now 60%. In the future whoever has a smaller majority would have to go talk to the majority party.
It is important to see that the more democratic we become, the less number of vote for an adoption it is. In Canada they do not talk about percentage. Whoever gets the most votes can form the Government. But as far as the situation here is concerned we all from the majority to the minority vote parties in the parliament have collaborated in this office of the National Assembly construction and achievement. We could get an arrangement in the near future for our students to tour the new Parliament./.