Today, my wife and I are so happy to join with all of you to put the Techno overpass, which the Phnom Penh Mayor, HE Pa Socheatvong, requested to call the 5-January Overpass. As the year 2015 passed and we are now five days in 2016, please allow me to express my sincere appreciation and wish our people in the whole country as well as those residing abroad with the four Buddhist blessings.
The 5-January Overpass, 40th Wedding Anniversary
I am so pleased that we are inaugurating this achievement altogether … 5 January is in fact falling on the fortieth anniversary of my marriage. As the mayor of Phnom Penh proposed this name, some presses and spokesperson of political parties have been making silly comments. I came across news in the Phnom Penh Post this morning that the inauguration of the overpass falls on the wedding anniversary of the Prime Minister. I just wanted to ask if 5 January belongs to me alone. If the press is silly, I wish leader of political party and member of the National Assembly are not. I would not bring this matter up if they name the overpass after the 40th wedding anniversary of Hun Sen. It is just a coincidence. The Municipality of Phnom Penh has its own reason to name it 5-Jaunary. At the beginning, we called it the Techno overpass. However, this junction does not belong to (the Cambodian Institute of Technology) alone. It is a junction where stands the Customs and Excise Department, formerly Ambassador Hotel, the Kim Il Sung road and the Russian Federation Boulevard … Techno is also not a Khmer word. They have decided that since we are inaugurating it today, the overpass may take name after the day – 5 January.
We are putting the overpass of 5-January into official use before schedule. The overpass was constructed with financial management that we called “wrapping palm sugar in palm leaves.” This means that we are using fund from Phnom Penh city development for the construction. We did that in the constructions of the new Monivong Bridge, Kbal Thnol overpass, 7-January overpass, Stoeng Meanjei overpass, and now the 5-January overpass. We will have more overpasses and underpasses to build and I will share with you later. I wish to thank the Municipality of Phnom Penh and the company of Cambodian expatriates for their joint efforts in getting things moving from the time of former mayor HE Kep Chuktema to HE Pa Socheatvong, who always came to see me for issues relating to infrastructural development of Phnom Penh.
In like a few months ago I talked about need to find solution for three problems in Phnom Penh – traffic congestion, drainage blocking because of flooding and waste. In 1979, we did not have waste because there was not much to eat. As of now, we have too much to eat and failing to remove waste would create heaps of garbage. From 1979 through to 1980, there was no need for overpass as spending the night for a week in the street would have no traffic accident. There were no cars and traffic. As far as this road is concerned, I used to drag barrel of water along. There was traffic congestion since those days. The schools of Peo Um and Indra Deva are on that side. Students would go from here and at 5pm, they closed traffic to allow passing of train. It was congestion of mostly bicycles because there weren’t many cars like these days. From the pagoda of Neakavorn to the area of Toek La Ak, to Kampuchea Kroam road, it was flooded in every rainy season. Phnom Penh was flooded in its older days too.
Ruling Party’s Political Framework Offers Chance for Rapid Economic Development
Traffic circulation in our country is going to increase because there are more and more cars, motorcycles, and/or tricycles. One may say that it all happens because of the political platform that I set out to eliminate war and to let our people reap from chance to develop the country. As the country, each family, and individual benefits from the chance, they have more incomes with which they purchase means of transport such as cars or motorcycles. Over a long time, we have too many that brings about issue of congestion. Two elderly citizens talked with each other. One asked why we have everything like today. “Because we are making efforts,” the other answered. “Under Pol Pot time, we also made efforts, from morning till night, why were we still poor?” said the previous elderly person.
It was true that there needed to have efforts made by each family but those efforts could yield only in the context of correct political platform of the ruling party, in which people could carry out their economic activities. There are two interrelated things here – firstly, correct political platform that provides chance for family to develop and development of national economy; and secondly, people have to make own efforts. Today we are putting into official use of the 5-January overpass and I hope that we will have better traffic circulation. We are blocking road this morning creating a traffic jam but after the ceremony is over, a better situation will prevail.
Overpasses, Underpasses and Express Way in Four More Locations
I have four demands from the Municipality of Phnom Penh to sort out today. I already signed the requests authorizing construction of – (1) three curved overpasses at the Kbal Thnol in Khan Chamkar Morn; (2) an underpass to improve traffics at the junction road of Russian Federation Boulevard and Monivong Street; (3) an overpass at the junction of Phsar Dey Hoy and Russian Federation Boulevard in Khan Sen Sok. Fourthly, we have an approved project to build expressway over the rail track to evade traffic congestion for people who need to get to the International Airport of Phnom Penh in time. We do not use state fund to build this road. We allow for private investment. Use of the road will require fee paying. I hope that overpasses, underpasses, and expressway in all four locations will be of interest to our people to avoid traffic congestion and accident.
A Marriage in Time of War
… I do not forget to recall that at this time, forty years ago, thirteen couples of men and women were to be married as husband and wives lined up … women were seated in row of long stool before men … I posted messages explaining in Facebook about the fact that some people saw my wife and I were in traditional costumes. They asked if in those days those costumes were allowed. I said I would be remorseful if I failed to give explanation on those few photos we took in 1988. At that time, our youngest daughter was already 5 years old. In fact, under the Democratic Kampuchea, they made us wear black dresses. In the wedding, there were no parents, relatives, and/or friends, whatsoever. However, my wife and I felt the love of one another before marriage … Couples married in fully traditional setting would not survive if they did not love each other. However, no matter how your couple life started, when you love and understand each other, couple’s life will last long.
In just days ahead, we will celebrate the January 7 Liberation Day. If there were no 7 January victory, there would not be 5-January overpass here today. Where would it come from when people already died? People talk of human rights and we must recognize right to life is the most fundamental one. Some people have gone into extreme thought in their heart and mind, 7 January brought them to life. Only they dare not say it out. My life went through very bitter suffering and experience. I would say perhaps there is no leader in the world, whose life suffered what mine did. My child is dead before me but they (Angkar or Pol Pot’s organization) did not allow me to give a proper burial. Limit of my patience reached a level that no human being could have endured. I had a mission order to attend. Travelled with me was a cruel commander. As I was the one who rode the motorcycle, I took the chance to visit my wife in hospital. People told me my child was dead. I begged to stay and take care of my wife and child. “Though you stay, your child would not come to life again and your wife would not be better” was what I got as an answer.
If I were to kill that cruel man, I would become a killer and risked of being killed too. There would not be Hun Sen to lead the resistance. With my wife in her five-month pregnancy of the second child, I had to leave her for resistance to liberate the country (from the Democratic Kampuchea). I will write and post more (about events in my life). What kind of feeling a man would have when his own son called him uncle? Hun Manet called me uncle for two months before he accepted the fact that I was his father. Under Pol Pot’s regime, they called him son of the traitor. In France, when he visited recently, they called him that again. I would not rebuke but allow such virtue-lacking attitude for the public to see the kind of words used by the opposition. If there were not 7-January, there would not be Bun Rany today and Hun Sen would not be here as well as he could have fought and died in battlefields.
New Traffic Law, Right-Hand Drive Vehicle, Vehicles on National Road 4
After verifying things, I may resolve some of the people’s requests concerning implementation of the new traffic law. I am calling our people to give the Royal Government some time to see through and draw on experiment. In just three days of law enforcement, we have reactions from numerous sources. It is not that the Royal Government and concerned institutions neglect people’s demand but we needed to know where originates the problem. The National Police and Ministry of Interior will conduct meetings to figure out shortcomings of law and realign them. A monk visited my Facebook page and asked whether as Buddhist monk, he also need to put on a helmet? I am asking HE Neth Savoeun to inspect this issue or the Buddhist monks would also be fined. I would let the Minister of Interior to take up the issue.
People who reacted are mostly those who purchased their motorbikes or cars without proper tax papers. I have passed people’s requests on to National Police and Interior for consideration and solution.
Concerning right-hand drive vehicles … HE Pa Socheatvong filed the paper since 30 December … as I come here, I had asked for the letter, which addressed to Deputy Prime Minister HE Sok An, and approved. Letter of notification from the Council of Ministers will follow. With this regard, firstly, no more right-hand drive vehicles are to be imported. This is an issue as in ASEAN, as traffic in six countries – Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia carry out on left hand side, and four – Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao and Philippines– on right hand side. Secondly, allow existing right-hand drive vehicles to pay tax and provide them with legal permission to drive, for instance 400 trucks owners must come before law to pay tax. Thirdly, there are demand to change no wheel-drivers of vehicles from right to left hand side as it is not safe. I agreed and approved the request.
For people who own vehicles and reside along the National Road 4, according to the report here, company has granted free-of-charge using roads to trucks carrying workers and others … It has discovered that there are 23,907 cars belong to people who reside along the National Road 4. Concerned authorities already have their identifications. These vehicles pay toll fee for entry and exit every time they travel. As of 7 January, these vehicles will no longer pay toll fee there. We have to set time as to when exactly, on 7 January, to cease toll fee collection for those vehicles. We also have to call urgent meeting with participations of Ministry of Interior, Transports and Public Works and Economy and Finance, and AZ company to figure out new vehicles our people (there) would buy and those who reside about 300 meters behind both side of the National Road 4 …
Consideration should also be take on those who live off the National Road 4 but frequently pass through to visit their farms, etc. They pay for entry and pay for exit. You must consider that matter as well.
Readjustment of Cost for Issuing Driving License
Cost of issuing driving license is a major issue here. Everyone needs to have his/her driving license. People cannot borrow other’s license. They may borrow motorbikes but not licenses. Some have only one motorbike for many in the family. I urge the Ministers of Economy and Finance, Interior and Public Works to figure out readjustment of costs for our people. I have not come to resolving problem for those who drive cars yet. The cost of issuing a driving license for motorbikes of 125CC and below will not pay Riel 60,000 but Riel 25,000 only […]
I urge the Ministry of Public Works and Transports, which has their representative offices in various places to make efforts in teaching traffic rules to people, not how to drive motorbikes. They could think of spots and hire some TV, cable TV perhaps, to go on air. Before (concerned institutions) issued driving license with permanent rights to drive, which I would say either too much to the right or too much to the left. Now, may I have attention of Minister of Public Works and Transports HE Tram Iv Toek, they have to change for a much shorter driving right period and (the Ministry) allows them so short time to swap for new ones. I hope we have resolved the problems and this will help strengthen respect and implementation of traffic rules in place. I urge that the Ministry will work as a priority to issue driving license for those who do not have ones. Those who already have them and just need to change for new ones, they could wait./.