1,178 Families Receive Land Titles in Siemreap

I am so contented to have this opportunity to hand out for the first time the land ownership titles to 1,178 families in the communes of Roen (737 families) and Tbeng Lej (441 families) in the district of Banteay Srei of Siemreap Province, where youth volunteers of group 115 and 137 are operating. After my presence here, Deputy Prime Minister HE Tia Banh, Minister of National Defense, will continue to provide on my behalf the land titles for people in other districts where the cadastral information index has been displayed for about forty days – thirty days is the required time for display of cadastre information and another ten days for the preparation of the final titles.

We have started this job with braveness of our cadastre officials as well as the participation from all levels of local authority and the young student volunteers. I am so happy that the work has gone on smoothly though we cannot deny some difficulties caused by weather disturbances. I think I have met the young student volunteers twice already. I met with the first three groups of young youth volunteers when I came to Siemreap province for the ASEAN-US Business Forum, where the US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand and President Thein Sein of Myanmar were also present. Not long ago, I had the second meeting with the young volunteers and the cadastre officials when I came to Siemreap again.

Care for Young Student Volunteers and Cadastre Oficials

Let me bring up this issue about the need to take care of both the young student volunteers and the cadastre officals at the same time. It seems that some have visited and brought supplies for the junvenile student volunteers and forgotten about the cadastre officials. The twos are like left and right hands. With only one of either two, the job would not be fulfilled in this speedy manner. I appeal to generous people and institutions who visit and bring supplies for the young student volunteers to also do likewise to the cadastre officials.

Take for instance the supply of rice. I did not have information about rice marketing. Today I wish to make a correction. I have advised to supply 200 Kg of rice for each team. As we have ten members from the youth volunteers and a team of another ten cadastre officials working and living togther, they have up to 400 Kg of rice (per month). They also have instant noodle which I am sure is more than enough. However, as far as my standard for rice to be provided – Phka Khnhei – is concerned, where there is an abundance of it in Battambang, Siemreap and Pursath, there is no such rice variety in other places. So I readjust the standard of rice to the rice variety that is similar to the Phka Khnhei standard, such as Sen Pidor, etc. or even Somaly rice, which is the top quality rice for export.

As far as rice production is concerned, some countries produce only sufficient rice for comsumption but they could still set aside some for export too. You may doubt this. They produce top-quality rice on their available rice field for export and they either consume the low quality rice grown themselves or import lower quality rice from other countries for local consumption. Well, having said that, please readjust the rice standard to the one with more or less similar quality that is available in the local rice market.

December 2 – the Front and the Meeting

The other day I satated that if there were no December 2 event, we would not be able to produce the October-23 Paris Peace Agreement. Anyone would like to know how the negotiation (for the Paris peace agreement) went may want to ask sister Pung Chhiv Kek (or Dr Kek Galabru) who is the President of LICADHO. She is one of the live witness of the negotiation process. She is also a part of the process. She and I have been acquainted since when we first met in Luanda of Angola, then she was spouse of a French Ambassador to this country. She was so daring to contact with us.

She and her husband worked as messengers on this negotiation between us and Pyong Yang. We also depended on the former Ambassador of the Palestine who was married to a Laotian wife. She is now the President of LICADHO and she is telling the truth. It was exactly what she said when she mentioned how she was involved in initiating the negotiation process. That we all are sitting here is of course because we have something to do with the December 2, 1987 negotiation. She was the one that ran between HM Preah Karuna Preah Baat Norodom Sihanouk, currently Preah Borom Ratana Kaod, and me. She always came to see me in the hotel to discuss papers regarding various concerned issues. Her husband came to fetch me from Bangkok all the way to France.

Since we have here the army chief and deputy-chief commanders – Pol Saroen, Kun Kim, Meas Sophear, Khun Chhay, Chea Tara, Chhin Chan Poar, etc., I wish to share with you the news that we have the arrival of new tanks, which I am sure the press has already made the publicity about it. I just want to stress that as a country we need to have things we need to protect ourselves. There is no country on earth that does not have tank, artilery, etc. In numerous countries, they conduct military exercises very often, including also missile test fire. We purchase military equipments only to strengthen our self-defence capability and not for threatening anyone at all. We also could not disclose information as to from where we purchased those tanks. I did not mean to send a political message at all but to share this news with our officials and people who are here gathering.

The Military Foundation Anniversary – 9 November 1953

We have just celebrated the 56th Independence Anniversary and the 59th Military Foundation Anniversary. Why the 9 November 1953? The military foundation process has come in stages and we are so proud that all parties never fight on the military foundation anniversary. Take for instance the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was set up not on November 9, 1953 but long ago according to some historical facts that are relating to the resistant movement led by Samdech Preah Karuna Norodom Sihanouk in Siemreap province in his crusade for independece from France. There were also army of the Khmer Issarak and then later Lon Nol that manipulated the fact on the Cambodian military to a nother direction and dimension.

Later, in the national liberation movement, May 12, 1978 was the start of establishing a military forces, in which unit 125 was founded. However, in order to avert possible disagreement on the date of the foundation of the Cambodian military, the Ministry of National Defense and the Chief of General Staff of all parties concerned, who before fought against one another, have unanimously set November 9 as the foundation date. Therefore, we celebrate the National Independence and the military foundation anniversary on the same day. As for the Nationl Police, we settled on 1945 because, though under the French colony, they were under the under the leadership of Preah Karuna Norodom Sihanouk, who deceased on October 15.

The Post-mortem Title for Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk

Please allow me to take this opprtune moment to inform all of the people in the whole country that we had publicized the November-10 subdecree to present the post-mortem title “Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod” to Preah Karun Preah Baat Samdech Norodom Sihanouk, the Cambodian Great King, King-Father of Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity. Please allow me to elaborate further why we need to present another title for the deceased King. According to the tradition of the Kingdom of Cambodia, every King has got three titles – first, the birth title, second, the coronation title, and third, the postmortem title.

Take for instance, before he was crowned, Samdech Ov, Samdech Ta (grandfather), Samdech Ta Tuot (great grandfather) was Prince Norodom Sihanouk. On the throne, he had his title as Preah Baat Samdech Norodom Sihanoiuk Varman, and now his post-mortem title is Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod. My mother used to tell me about Samdech Preah Norodom, the former King, who after his death took the post-mortem title as Preah Sovanna Kaod. Former King Preah Soramarit took the post-mortem title as Preah Kanjana Kaod.

As for the title of Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod is concerned, HE Tia Banh could remember, on October 15, in Beijing, Samdech Kong Sam Ol, Minister for the Royal Palace, sent us about ten different versions of what post-mortem to present to the late King-Father. We then presented the titles for HM the King and Queen-Mother to consider. With helps rendered from all Buddhist patriarchs and chief monks, the title of Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod carries the several notable terms – great, eminent, esteemed, etc. as we wish the soul of the King-Father to go to heavenly peace.

School and Road Buildings, Solar Energized Lighting

As far as land measuring and titling is concerned, I would like to take this time to give my sincere appreciation to the local authority of all levels who have taken active participation, especially the support of the people in resolving the land issue according to the principle of implementing new action based on existing policy. I am so grateful for all the efforts of the cadastre officials and young student volunteers, and here the group 101 and 102 happen to be working a far distance. It is remarkable that the vice head of the team is a female and is good at speaking too.

Now let’s talk about school. We have provided a school building for the Primary School of Tbeng Lej in the district of Banteay Srey. It is now 95% completed. The school was requested by the young student volunteers of team 105. The construction of two other school buildings – one for the Primary School of Jub Rumdeng and one for the Primary School of Choek Jrung, commune of Kontuot, Svay Loeu district of Siemreap, has yet to start as they are waiting for the right road condition to transport construction material in. HE Sieng Nam, member of the National Assembly haas also built and covered three lines of rural roads with laterite of the total length of 10.7 Km in the communes of Boeng Mealea and Ta Soeun of Svay Loeu district. Let’s wait for the northen wind to come to harden the soil so that heavy equipments can move in for the school contsruction.

Set People Conflict Aside

The land measuring and titling work here in Siemreap generally relates to a total area of, according to the report of HE Su Phirin, 137,459 hectares in seven districts, 27 communes and 43 villages. It has been recorded that 23,604 families have their land conflict with state land property, 11,819 families have their land problems with 33,237 hectares of economic land concession, and 5000 families with 54,906 hectares of forest land concession. According to the report here, we will present titles of 1,282 land parcels of 1,223 hectares to 1,778 families today.

The report of HE Su Phirin focuses on one point but we also have to look into various other points that need to be justified as well when or if the case arises. My recommendation at Koh Pij was that we must resolve the land issue without leaving unresolved issues and conflict for our people when we leave the place. The work to clear land conflict and to provide thereof land titles to the people this time is of a great historical significance as they will be there for generations to come. The titles will be there with the people unless there is another Pol Pot style land reform and nationalization of land property. Our people will possess and own the land onward and we must not leave them in ownership uncertainty or conflict.

There are three points that I would raise here today as we have to look for way to improve them. Firstly, as is reported by HE SU Phirin, 170 land parcels of 195.5 hectares concerning 42 families, whose owners have come to fill in the cadastre registry forms, have been measured already but the procedure completed later than the public display timeframe of cadastre information index has led to the extension of the public display for another thirty days before the land titles can be issued. I wish the 42 families understand the procedure and I am so sorry that they could not receive the land titles from me today.

Secondly, the 181 land parcels of 649 hectares relating to 9 families do  not have sufficient information and certain land identification, whereas some land parcels have landed in conflict and insufficient cadastre information, where owners have already filled the forms but not complete the procedure yet. In case that the lands have conflict in nature, first it has to clear all conflicts and owners must follow all procedures like other land parcels before entering the thirday days public display of cadastre information index. We also cannot hand them land titles today either. This sort of land cannot proceed.

Thirdly, the land of 294 hectares that concerns with roads and canals, those public state lands and those lands that are objects of demand by some people, have yet to assign cadastral identification with the number of land parcels and families who own the lands. It is important that procedural implementation should start from cadastre registration form. I demand that this issue must be clear from today onward. How many families have demanded for these lands? However we already issue a sub-decree for them. I urge all provinces where land measuring and titleing campaign are in full swing, not only the province of Siemreap, to take this matter seriously. The point is we cannot afford repetition.

As far as this is concerned, I think the team 115 and 137 could not now head anywhere else but to stay on completing this job. They are not their mistakes as they only assist the measuring and issuing land owners’ registration form. The cadastre officials are responsible. The provincial authority, who is also head of the land committee, is responsible. As in the first case, it will takes some days to complete, but in case two (649 hectares) and three (294 hectares), all procedural steps must repeat, including also familily attestations. We must be accountable for this task or we would leave three major problems when we leave the place. Institutions concerned must take immediate actions for the improvement and justification of their works relating to this issues.

Let me straighten out one thing that whether to display cadastre information index or not does not depend on the deadline or order but whether the job has completed or not. I wish you remember this point. Defining a timeframe in which the task needs to be fulfilled for public display of cadastre information index would let unfinished jobs to jeopadize the the process. I am ordering that any provinces with this order in place must withdraw it and return the work to the head of the teams – cadastre and young student volunteers – that are working in target areas to decide when to make public display. I could not accept it when you push the responsibility around.

ASEAN Chair and Summits, Getting Back to School

Please allow me to say a few words about ASEAN that Cambodia is its chair. We have almost completed the preparatory stage for the hosting of the ASEAN Summits and related summits. HE Tia Banh will host the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting from November 15 through to 17 in Siemreap province and I will chair the ASEAN Summit, related summits and EAS summit from November 17. We will also have the official visits of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of the People’s Republic of China and Prime MInister of Japan. We have so many summits to chair and we are so proud to do that.

As for some of the young student volunteers who have not yet finished studies, I urge that you continue to pay attention to your study. Once you finish the study you have your choices whether you like to go on with the work as the volunteers or not, it is up to you. As some of you who have taken six months leave already, I would urge that you return to your study and you cannot take more leave from school. As for those who already finished their studies, they may decide if they want to go on. We have also prepared the awards in recognition of your efforts and I have also instructed for the preparation of grateful notes for your parents and/or sponsors. This should give them with something they can be proud of as their children take part in this mission to measure and issue land titles for the people. I will also present awards to officials but not their parents or spouses.

I am grateful for all supports for this task and according to the report I got from each provinces we can say that firstly we have a favorable weather condition now as there is less and less rain. Secondly, people are in their phase of cultivation that they do not have enough time to join the working teams, and thirdly, our people now understand better about the efforts. In some places, people packed their food to join the team to measure land. Before, the cadastre officials and young student volunteers are waiting for them at the land to measure now they came waiting for us instead./.