Here followed, CNV selected comments of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen in the above event concerning Cambodian chairing of WHC meeting, achievements under Hun Sen – 2008-13, … the three fundamental issues in the fourth term National Assembly Royal Government, etc…
Cambodian Chairing of the World Heritage Committee’s Meeting
I am glad that HE Khoy Khun Huor, governor of Kompot made a report with regard to the pagoda, which is about 100 years old. Since there is a small temple behind the pagoda, I would urge the Ministry of Culture and relvant institutions to make their protection possible for the temple. It is small but it is one among many on our territory. We are chairing now the meeting of the 37th WHC meeting with participants coming from 127 countries in Phnom Penh. HE So An, in his capacity as chairman of the meeting, would be the person to approve admission of any proposed art object in the list of the World Heritage Committee.
In 2009, among the 21 proposed country cadidates, Cambodia was elected second after Switzerland. Cambodia also had the chance to host this very important meeting. It is to everyone’s knowledge that Cambodia has a great number of heritages. They offered Cambodia the chance to host its 37th WHC session. It is indeed an honor not only for the Royal Government of Cambodia, HE Sok An, who chairs the meeting, but also the people of Cambodia in the whole country. We all are proud of it.
No Campaigning for Me
Please allow me to say something in Kompot today. I will appear once again on June 24 in Batheay of Kompong Cham before I will disappear for a while. I will not say anything during the campaigning period. There could be some prepared text but perhaps it is best to just stay at home and fulfil routine work of the Royal Government. I will leave it up to the members of the National Assembly and members of the Cambodian People’s Party to engage in it. I think I have spoken a lot already. It has been a habit that I pursue since 1998 and all along in 2003, 2008 and now 2013.
Achievements under Hun Sen – 2008-13
Please allow me to say a few things. Since 1979 up to the present, I have compared the different status that we were at the brink of death and that we survived from it with bare hands. We have made it this far. Look around you, what has happened? What did we have in 1979 and what do we have now? It is necessary to make this observation before you make decision as to who deserve the votes to continue leading this country. In between 2008 and 2013, people can ponder what have the Royal Government and the Cambodian People’s Party done for the people in Kompot, Angkorjei district in particular, and in the whole country in general. Has the Cambodian People’s Party-ruled Royal Government led by Samdech Techo Hun Sen made any progresses?
Just in this pagoda, we have seen a new Buddhist temple and many accessory buildings. We also see the school buildings and the national road 3, which have sprung up in the fourth legislative term of the National Assembly Royal Government. The road has not yet completed. The inauguration will be in the fifth term of the National Assembly Royal Government. We just had hydropower in the fourth term too. All these should clearly indicate our progress from term to term and serve as firm bases for our people to make their decision to give their votes to the Cambodian People’s Party.
Proportional Representation Voting System
I would like to express my sincere thanks to our Buddhist monks and people in Kompot province for voting for the Cambodian People’s Party in 2012, when it received 63.08% of the votes. This shall secure the Cambodian People’s Party five seats. We already had five seats from the elections in 2008. With this number of votes, we will continue to occupy these five seats. With our electoral system, unlike the one they use in Singapore, it would be impossible for us to gain all six seats (for Kompot). However, if we were to use the electoral system like the one in Singapore, the Cambodian People’s Party could have occupied all 123 seats in the National Assembly already.
We are using the proportional representation system. With this system, for instance we need 5,000 votes for a seat. We have 50,000 votes means we have five seats. We still have 4,998 votes left. We would not get the remaining seats if the other party in contest has a single vote more than our remaining votes. I am so grateful for the elections in 2008 in Kompot that the Cambodian People’s Party won five seats. The number of votes in 2012 has also indicated a rate of up to 63.08% will secure the five seats that we have. We should aim for that. I am calling on all of you, who benefit from the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party and my premiership, to continue to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party, which ranks number four on the ballot sheet, symbolizes with a deity spreading flowers. I am grateful in advance to your love, pity, satisfaction and trust for the new term of Prime Minister.
Kompot’s Key Role in Bringing Peace and Land Measuring
The people in Kompot may have seen already the key relationship to peacemaking in the coun try. In fact, Kompot achieved full peace about the same time as those in Pailin and Mealai. Why is that so? I may recall for you that the integration of former Khmer Rouge areas from Phnom Voar. Taken Koh Sla all the way to Oral of Kompong Speu province happened only in 1996 like in Pailin. You could have remembered when Pol Pot’s soldiers came out and attacked the train in Phnom Voar, where three foreigners – Australian, English and US were killed. We have put a stop to all that through the implementation of win-win policy. In Kompot as well as in every corner of the country, people can go wherever they wish.
According to the report of HE Khoy Khun Huor, governor of Kompot, our youth volunteers and cadastre officials have measured a large number of land parcels already. However, I have given order for them to return to home (in light of the forthcoming election). They work hand in hand very well in measuring land for people in the province of Kompot. They have measured land for about 38,000 families. They have helped in handing out land titles for 2,900 families in 12 villages. I am sure our cause has let people to gain confidence in their production on the land where they legally own.
Three Fundamental Issues in the Fourth Term National Assembly Royal Government
In the last five years, here or anywhere in the country, we have encountered uncountable difficulties and scored many great achievements. However, there had been three fundamental problems that we had made stern encountering and resolving:
(1) New Industrial, Agricultural and Sectoral Progressed after the World Economic Crisis
Shall we compare the situation between the time before the election in 2008 and this time before the election in 2013, we would see the differences. In 2008, we had this world financial crisis and economic downturn coming with high inflation that affected severely our people’s living condition with regard to the price of foodstuff but also less order for garments from Cambodia as well. In 2009, a number of garment factories had to close down because of the severe blow of economic crisis in the United States of America and Europe. Those who fancied three pairs of new dresses per annum had to go with less. The impact had been tremendous on the part of the Royal Government who had to do everything to guarantee the balance of the macro-economy, prevent shooting prices of electricity, fuel, water, etc. in Phnom Penh.
These hazes have yet to be over in Europe or the United States of America, though it seems to have grown a bit better than before. We have evaded successfully the effect of the explosion of the economic bomb, thanks to our strict economic management. The Royal Government had been doing anything it can to increase income and prevent excessive expenses or even move it off the list. We have finally brought our economy back on track and generated a new growth, after it fell from 10% to 6.8% and then 0% in 2009, before it surged to 6% again in 2010, 7.2% in 2011 and 7.3% in 2012. We anticipate our growth to be somewhere above 7%.
On my way here, I noticed many factories along the national road 3, and there are many one the national road 4 as well. You may like to remember that your children could find jobs in those factories because of no other party but Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party. Their basic salary may have just reached 80 USD, which is still low for us but if we compare it to those in India, Bangladesh, Laos or Myanmar, we have done better. As the economy grows, our export has widened and grown too. We have recorded a 4 billion USD from garments export and roughly about 8 billion USD including other products.
Agriculture and Service Sectors
We have ensured a sustained growth in agriculture over these years, despite the fact that we encountered so many crisis. We suffered from Ketsana storm effect in 2009 and high flooding in 2011 but we had secured the ability to export a surplus of about two million metric tons of rice, according to the report of HE Chan Sarun. Cambodia used to import food from other countries. We now are exporting our rice to other countries. We are now in the state of needing to improve our milling and packaging capacities. This has brought about the chance for traders from Vietnam and Thailand to come and buy our rice. We are calling on our people to make more investment on rice mill, warehouses and increasing purchasing price that give more value added to our farmers. Once rice is purchased and milled locally, we would have the use of more rice brand, broken parts and husk, which can be used for other purposes.
With regard to tourist sector, last year we received 3,500,000 tourists. In the last four months of this year, we already registered 1,500,000 tourists in the country already. We expect to receive some four million tourists this year. There is no doubt that some of them may make their ways through to Kep and Kompot’s Bokor. Having said so, I would assure you that our country has once again benefited from growths in agriculture, industry and service sector. In fact, when you sit at home watching cable TV or making call is also a type of service. We could be sure that all this would not be around if Pol Pot were to stay on.
Salary Increase of 20% Per Annum Implemented
There is one remarkable achievement that the Royal Government has scored despites world economic fever. The Royal Government has continued to fulfil its promise to add 20% as an increase to the salary of our civil servants. Since we started in 2008, but we go slowly. We are concerned that going fast would result in bitter experience like in Greece. In Khmer we have a saying that goes “galloping slow is better than fast” or “drop by drop the bucket is full, a great down pouring could come to half-empty bucket.” I still subscribe to my term “frog leap development” rather than “a great leap forward.” We will in the forthcoming time change our increment strategy from 20% of basic salary per annum to increment in accordance with the growth of the economy.
(2) Leadership Decision on Border Defence
Though there was a hard hit of the world economic crisis, we averted it and stood up again. The second difference was that before the 2008 election, the Thai army invaded the Buddhist pagoda of Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak and the area of Preah Vihear temple. The situation dragged on until almost midterm of the Royal Government before it improved in 2011, when there is a change of government in Bangkok. What lies here is how to make leadership decision? I have the necessity to bring the difference between the role of Prime Minister and of Minister or district/commune leaders. A wrong decision made, like in the case of Preah Vihear area, we would have a war disaster that we might also need to send in soldiers from Kompot too.
The country was in its election campaign. On the 15 of July, the Thai army invaded us. As incumbent Prime Minister with full command rights over the armed forces, what decision should I make? Let me explain how I did it. I also wish to have your attention on the fact that if Hun Sen were not to be present, what actually could have happened?
I urgently convened the meeting of leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party and the Royal Government to study the various options placed on the table as how do we go about resolving the issue. At my house in Takhmao, my house in Phnom Penh was under reconstruction, I consulted with others that we had better choice but only the least bad. We could not anticipate the good option. We came to three different options – firstly, we exercise patience, though the possibility of having armed clash was imminent, so as to contain the situation from raging out into larger scale.
Secondly, the possibility of having armed clashes in the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak pagoda area, the Preah Vihear temple and adjacent areas, for which we would have to disengage relevant election offices as people would not be able to go to vote. The third option is to have armed clashes along the Thai-Cambodian border while postponing the national election completely. Among all three options we pondered, we decided to keep with the first one – to exercise calmness but to stop them from further intruding. It was hard to figure out the correct one.
Used to be a soldier who fought in 105 battles and wounded five times, lost one eye, I almost could not hold myself seeing that they stepped on our sovereignty but we could not fight back. Time proved that my decision was correct. Some people said why Hun Sen did not command General Hing Bun Hieng to get ready for war. Now we could see that with a correct decision we avoided armed clashes and did not have to cancel the election in the region. However, some military officials and commanders could not make it to help with the elections. We later had some fights, though, in the area.
In Bangkok, the Thai politicians used the issue of Preah Vihear to downfall the Royal Thai Government that was close to Thaksin. In Cambodia, (opposition politicians) use the issue to cancel the election because they were sure that they would not win it.
You may agree that, if it were other person holding the post of Prime Minister, the situation could have gone on a different direction. The same is true for the forthcoming election that our people should be considerate in making their decision with regard to such important decision. Some may want to exercise defence rights and war followed. We not only handled the military move effectively but also prepared all relevant materials ready for the UN Security Council. Would you the voters give some thought on it whether three-pronged strategy that I used was not relevant? Firstly, we used military to resolve the problem on the spot; secondly, we put into practice the diplomatic process through ASEAN to the UN Security Council; and thirdly, we activate our legal process to the International Court of Justice.
At present, the Cambodian relation with Thailand is now improving. Let me assure you that having a good neighbour is like having gold or mine if otherwise. When Thaksin (Shinawatra) was Prime Minister and now Yingluck is the Prime Minister, we reap the situation like gold because we did not have to pay for war. It is on this note that Cambodia is making every effort possible to build peace, friendship and cooperation with our neighbours.
(3) The 2009 Ketsana Storm and 2011 Flooding
Coming to the third issue – flooding of 2011, which prompted us to divert expenses to rescue our people and fix damages of infrastructure, all of which have reassured our generation of growth …
I have talked a lot already now. I would just advise others who are candidates for the Prime Ministers to review their qualifications. They should know that (this candidate) used to lead the country through numerous hardships, like preventing the return of the Pol Pot’s regime. We built the country with on one hand and fought to keep Pol Pot away on the other. This Prime Minister conducted negotiation and formulated the win-win policy leading to a complete national reconciliation. In the recent five-year term, this Prime Minister has resolved the three tests – the world economic crisis, the Thai invasion and the natural disasters.
These should have illustrated efforts made by the Royal Government to resolve for the people consequences of these tests. Some politicians did not help the people but demanded to foreign countries to suspend their assistances. My dear people, you may ponder that those assistance provided by foreign partners were not for any particular person, for example the European Union’s assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture the other day. If those countries were to suspend help, and stop buying Cambodian products, who would suffer? It would be no one else but our Cambodian people. What happen when they no longer buy our rice or cassava, close factories?./.