Making Progress in Education
Today I am so pleased to be able to join with all of you again for the graduation and diploma presenting ceremony for 3,354 graduates of the Royal University of Laws and Economics (RULE), after my presence on Monday this week to do the same for graduates of the Cambodian University for Specialty. In truth, both the private and state universities have been competing for my presence within my tight schedules. I have certainly been busy with my state affairs and my trips to provinces and foreign countries.
While doing so, some have said that what else the Minister of Education would do, when Prime Minister has done all the jobs of presenting diplomas for students. When I presided over the inauguration of schools, they said it is the job of the Minister of Education. When I presided over the inauguration of hospitals, they said it is the job of Health Minister. When I look after the work on irrigation, they said it is the job of Minister of Agriculture … I would consent that when those people are insane, why would we be with them. Let them go their way and we just take it down for record keeping.
… HE Pith Chamnan, on behalf of Minister Hang Chuon Naron, who is now in Singapore, has made a report about the overall development of education of Cambodia. I am so satisfied with the progress, especially every reforms taken over the past recent years as they are giving us fruits so far. Outstandingly, we are reaping benefits from reform of education practices from Primary to Secondary, and to Tertiary education, for which quality education is the objective. It is true that in every country there always are challenges, no matter how advanced they may be. Look at the debate between the US Republican and Democratic candidates we would learn right away that in their countries there are still major challenges. Poorer countries are facing particular sorts of problems of their own, while richer ones also do for their own.
Used to Teach Two Subjects
As for RULE today, I would affirm my pleasure to see the progress the University has attained. I could remind you the short and medium courses we had in the past. I could recall that I used to teach in this University three to four times in the 1980s. I had my lecture for some 3,000 students and there were two topics that I addressed. The first topic was about evaluation of international and national affairs. This is the topic that only people in leadership would be able to do it in those days. The second topic covered areas like in the Royal School of Administration (RSA) about methodology of leadership and works and organizations. Some of those taken the course, heads of deputy heads of districts or Khan, in those days may still be alive […]
Today we also have the presence of some of the former students of RULE and are working in the Royal Government – HE Bin Chhin, HE Cham Prasidh, HE Var Kimhong … they are former students of RULE. As for me, since 1990’s, I have made my presence in graduation and diploma presenting ceremony for RULE almost every year. From 06 August 1996, I presided over the graduation of diploma presenting ceremony for 296 graduates, for 2,434 on 08 September 1997, and increasingly more every year thereafter. Sometimes I had to come twice.
Private Sector’s Participation in Human Resource Training and Development
I am so proud and happy to see that policy laid out in the Royal Government’s political platform provided chances for the private sector to participate in investment for human resource development. Human resource training and development have been the state’s efforts too. We were a bit hesitating initially for the steps taken but later we decided to widen the trail. In the beginning, we allowed on the National Management Institute to go on this path and later it has become National University of Management. It is no longer part of the Royal University of Phnom Penh and it allowed before any other state University courses for fee-paying students. We then build up on this initiative to encourage other state universities to provide tertiary education by both the state scholarships and fee-paying programs.
It is in this concept of liberalization that some universities grasped the chances to apply methods of using their own ability and resource to develop their facilities or I may call it using whatever the university has to develop it. Aside from providing courses for those enjoyed the state scholarships, universities are providing courses for fees. That has brought about solutions that help with salary for professors as well as for constructions of required buildings. I came for the inauguration of three buildings. If we were to foresee no such need what could we do now to deal with situation like this year that we have over 50,000 high school graduates.
Now we have the state and private universities to absorb high school graduates and this has marked the provision of wider chance by the Royal Government for private sector participation as well as for the state university to provide more fee-paying programs for them. This has resulted in bettering salary of professors and developing further infrastructure required. It is relieving indeed pressure entirely on the national budget. I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation to efforts and progress made by RULE as a university so far […]
Achieving Diplomas – Paying Gratitude to Parents
With appreciation and congratulations to the progress, I would take this opportune moment to join with graduates of both state scholarships and fee-paying programs, though the majority of you are from the fee-paying programs. This has in fact illustrated efforts made by every individual and family to sacrifice times and resources for this educational endeavor. This is the point for which I am appealing to graduates to return success to your parents, superintendents, and family members as a whole for their times, resources and efforts to pay for your studies.
I am so thrilled and respectful to efforts of our youth. I happened to meet with young girls who worked in the golf fields pulling golf bags along golfers. They mostly are students in universities and some of them are in their last years too. I am so proud with their efforts because they value education and knowledge. They are willing to serve while studying. They choose to study at a certain time to reserve their working hours to pay for their school fees or for their other needs. They worked hard and sometimes have less time to study, while some are too free to take drugs and be a gangster.
Let Us Act to Stop Drug Use and Trafficking
It was sad indeed. I hope that our youth in the whole country will not bring suffering to parents because of own actions, especially drug use and trafficking. We would not resort to harsh measures as in Thailand or in other countries, which brought about killings. However, we will not forgive those in the drugs ring. I am taking this opportune moment to appeal to authority of all levels and the armed forces to act together to suppress drug crimes that are raging from one country to another. Each country has different measure to deal with this issue and Cambodia will implement its laws. Some have suggested that we reinstate death penalty to execute criminals and drugs dealers. We will not go that far. We will just apply life imprisonment for those who commit the heinous crimes.
We will not go back to make amendment of the Constitution to bring to life the death penalty but those drugs criminals should not see that that was a loophole for them. I had chance to sit briefly with President of the Philippines and we exchanged on drugs issue. I also did the same with other leaders, President of Indonesia for instance. We had come to an amazing fact that despite being in prisons, some of the criminals could also organize their trafficking routes and business […]
There are challenging issues and we need to find ways to address them. With my joy for the graduation of our students today, I should bring to attention one fact that some of you are from poorer families and you had to request scholarships from different sources or to seek financial help to pay for your studies. Today, you are proud. However, some parents are today in suffering and tears because their kids involved in drugs, gambling and or hateful public actions. I would take this auspicious moment to express my congratulations to parents, family members and their supervisors for their successes today.
To Expand China Market for Cambodian Agricultural Produces
I would share with you that on the coming Sunday I will be taking a one-night trip to Thailand to join in a meeting of heads of State and/or Government. I will take that chance to meet with Prime Minister of Thailand and leaders of some other countries as well. As usual, meeting like that, we could have talked about a particular issue and normally it is not for public attention. On 13 and 14 October, President of the People’s Republic of China will come for a visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia. If all go according to plan, there will be not less than 28 papers to sign. It is a big number. When I was in China in 2004, there are many papers signed but this time we will have more.
One major issue here is to seek an expanding market in China for Cambodian agricultural produces – ranging not only rice but also cassava, and others, including also bananas. We are also seeking to have increasing tourist arrival from China. Some people mocked me about my call for 1.3 million Chinese visitors. Now we had some 800,000 of them. That we have now direct flights between Chinese provinces to Cambodia, we hope number of Chinese tourist arrival will move to a bigger number. We are now facing with the reality that there is a growing demand for Chinese language tour guides. In Cambodia, to find Chinese food is easy […]
This is what we call mutual assistance. We go to China and Chinese will come to us. Our two-way trade has top realize target of 5 billion USD in 2017. We will be able to achieve this because we already topped 4 billion USD in 2015. In 2014, we did almost 5 billion USD already. Now our export is getting bigger to the Chinese markets, it will be a better chance for Cambodian farmers and people. As for rice, China is not a rice-shortage country. However, China accepted to buy 100,000 tons from Cambodia. At the same time, from a country that is short in rice for food, Cambodia is now a rice exporting country, however, at the time of fluctuating prices and uncertain world economic growth.
Uncertain of World Economic Growth
It is now clear that world economic growth is not certain. IMF has brought down its prediction again, and again. In the latest ASEAN summit and related summits, and other meetings, the meeting between ASEAN leaders and IMF Managing Director on world economic growth seemed to have no optimism. The US growth takes a slow pace, while EU has had to deal with the Greece debts. They also had this major issue of Brexit thing. I think in this month, we will have a special envoy from the UK to Cambodia. We will have to renegotiate trade deal. We exported some 882 million USD to UK under the regime of European trade. That the UK left EU, we have to know if our trade deal will stay the same that continues to offer us favor like those under the European regime.
While strengthening existing markets, we are also working to access new ones. Existing markets would count in those of China, South Korea, Japan, Europe, the US, and new ones would include focus to Eurasia …, which include some of the former Soviet member states with who we have signed observer or partner agreements. We also are looking to the Middle East. We are trying to get there so that our Muslim people will stand a chance to produce Halal food and export to the Arab countries. We are working hard to expand markets and we do everything we possibly can to achieve that […]
Income Tax to Apply on Salary of One Million and Over
… Last night I had to go through a 20 pages document seriously before allowing it to go into agenda for the Cabinet meeting on 21 October. It is the Law of Financial Management for 2017. We are planning to bring it to the National Assembly by the first week of November and the law should be ready, after the Senate’s approval and HM’s signature, for implementation in mid December. Let me clarify a thing about salary that I brought it up in this place early this week. There have been complaints and demands about (the worker’s) minimum salary. Well, the most important point here whatever the demands are, we do not have money. I wish to share with you though that our income tax which applied before for any salary that was 500,000 Riel and above, and later 800,000 Riel and above, will move next year to a new ceiling.
To help with officials, armed forces, teachers … the Financial Management Law next year will exercise income tax for the salary that is 1,000,000 Riel and above. This means that those with 500,000 and 800,000 salary and above are no longer subjects of taxes. Only those with a salary of one million and above will pay income tax. However, there will be a norm to impose tax. That is for state income.
According to our budget goal, in one year, we aim to increase 0.5% but we will have to strive to reach 0.7% of income, making way to 18.5% while countries in region have reached 20% already. We are rolling a small step at a time through public financial reforms. That we are working on tax payment culture, the Royal Government has taken into consideration other issues such as tax on transference of property from parents or grandparents to children and/or grandchildren. They no longer need stamping taxes […]
We Will Keep Up Our Works, Boat Race on the Way
As for political situation, I do not have anything to say. However, political situation in Cambodia seems to rest in people’s tongue. They may say it is tense and later it is a détente. It seems that the tongue has its say. As for us, we are working. We are moving forward. The majority of people do not seem to care about whether it is tense or détente like some said it to be […] Let us just prepare for boat race […] Well that should be enough about politics. As you may see, venerable monks, though people bragged about crisis, you would still have to go to the dining hall and be strictly in rainy season regime. When the rainy season is over, some may want to get back to secular life. That is normal.
Peace, Infrastructure, Income Keep Phnom Penh Quiet during Phjum Ben
Before ending, I would once again thank the authority of every levels and everywhere, the armed forces and pagodas throughout the country for taking parts in allowing our Buddhist parishioners to exercise their Ben and Phjum Ben religious and traditional ceremony in a peaceful and joyful manner … the country has been safe. I am so happy to see that our people are going to every corner of the country because we have ensured peace, infrastructural connectivity and people are more resourceful to travel wherever they wish to. That has left Phnom Penh quiet during the Phjum Ben day holiday. People left cities to go to their native villages to see their relatives and to exercise traditional and religious rites and offering…/.