… Today, together with Excellencies, Ladies, Oknha, Gentlemen, Monks and all of our fellow compatriots, I am very pleased to be able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony to build a Bailey Bridge, which has a total length of 150 meters crossing the canal of Angkor Baan, in the Angkor Baan Commune, Kongmeas Ditrict, Kompong Cham Province. As it is said in Major General Kong Eang’s report, there has never been a bridge at all over this canal before. Taking this opportunity I wish to express my prime thanks to the provincial, district authorities and officials for their efforts to overcome difficulties in the last two consecutive years due to flooding in 2000 and 2001.
… May I recall that I used to come to Kongmeas district twice – once in 2000 and again in 2001 – to provide relief packages to our people as they were affected by flood in those years. I used to say ‘no one of our people should be left to die of hunger.’ I also have to thank our people for striving to overcome hardships one after another making it quite difficult for a country that is still poor and recently-out-of war like Cambodia. However we now have a good chance to sit and discuss with each other in an environment of calmness, security, peace and pleasure.
… This time of the year is the dry season – or a period of time that water is scarce. The provincial and district governors must take their time to visit the rice field in order to monitor the dry-season rice situation. As I have placed the order that “no matter what cost it may take, where there is short-term (dry-season) rice with water reservoir access, it has to be irrigated till harvesting is possible.” As for the dry-season rice in this area, I have notice a good growth because of silt brought by flood to cover the rice field every year. Without some rain, however, it will have difficulty in growing still. We also have to restore water streams/canals in areas where the water reservoirs are there but their waterways are silted up. My proceeding order is ‘no rice field should be left to die of no water when there are water reservoirs nearby.’
… I would like to express my happiness and appreciation to the Ministries of Water Resources and Meteorology, Agriculture and other institutions and individuals for the interventions made in this regard so far. So I wish that HE Governors, Deputy Governors of the province, the districts, etc. to continue to monitor and resolve issues relating to the dry season rice that is making a yield.
… Let’s now talk about the Angkor Baan Bridge. Major General Kong Eang and HE Deputy Governor of Kompong Cham Mao Phirun, have filed requests for the study of the bridge one after another. I used to travel through communes along the Mekong River from Chhlong district (in Kratie) through to Khsach Kandal (in Kandal.) In fact crossing Angkor Baan Canal in rainy as well as in dry season was difficult. According to the report of Major General Kong Eang, in order to help relieve our people’s difficulties from the lack of a bridge, a study has been conducted and projected an expense of about one million US dollars. This amount of money would be equivalent to about Kg 100 in gold. What I would request here is that our people take it as their own property and take good care of it.
…If we were to distribute this Kg 100 of gold to people in all the districts that are using the bridge, from Muk Kampul district (of Kandal) to Kongmeas and Kompong Siem districts (of Kompong Cham), we may have one person receiving one tiny piece of gold. But once it is done that way we would continue to have no bridge and to pay for each trip when one travels across this place. This is what we would say is the effort to relieve hardship from our people by taking away expenses through the construction of roads, bridges, schools, and other social and economic infrastructures. It is like the Royal Government or the generous person donates cash to our people and our people recollect the whole money and contribute into the building of the bridge. According to schedule the construction would be finished by July.
… I am sure that our people now are aware of the tricks used by some people and they would not let themselves be cheated anymore. Let me warn you all that if you are cheated once or twice, you are still considered victims of the game. But if you let yourselves to be cheated for the third time, you would be taken as being stupid. So I am sure that our people would not let themselves to be cheated for the third time at all. They have enough intelligence to competently judge all matters. Despite the criticism I faced from serving our people, I continue to submerge myself in efforts to develop the country. Like this bridge would be exposed to use by all of the people of Cambodia, and not just for those who supports Hun Sen. It is the property of all Cambodians. It is a public property.
… Let me talk a bit about the fact that we have three groups of engineering team. We have one engineering team that is attached to the Ministry of National Defense, one with the General Staff, and one with the infantry army. There is another team as well that is called the Hun-Sen Engineering Team that is seconded to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. It is good that we have such teams in line as they are working fast from their nature of the army. Let the Military Engineering Team of the Ministry of National Defense take all the construction of roads along the (Mekong) river – from Chhlong (Kratie) to Tambe, Kroch Chhmar, Kompong Siem, here in Kongmeas, and down to Saang, Koh Thom. Let’s check all the bridges on this line to see if any bridges need to be renovated or constructed further. The area towards our border in Pursath, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri and a certain number of places like the National Road 5 should be left for the Military Engineering Team of the General Staff.
… In 1996-97 I have come with Oknha Ung Sea to renovate a road between Prek Koi to Muk Kampul, and to Kompong Cham. It has been now been damaged by flood. I wish to offer this road to be renovated immediately by the team of Major General Kong Eang as well. May the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology participate in the process to help with the study of the water current and pressure for the construction to take place. A bridge called Spien Pongro in Koh Sotin district of Kompong Cham is also offered to build according to the proposal. It would be a 105-meter Bailey bridge. In the Royal Government Rolling Plan for 2002-2003 to 2004, Cambodia will have 6000 meters of Bailey bridge to be mounted. We have put 150 meters in Angkor Baan, 105 meters in Pongro, 200 meters in Prek Takoeung in Preah Vihear, and 111 meters to be put in Angkor Borei of Takeo. So taking the amount of time that is left before the end of this mandate, we have to race against time on this matter. By July 2003, in this mandate, I would be able to continue to build between 4,000 or 5,000 meters of Bailey bridges.
… In my visits to both South Korea and the People’s Republic of China, I have requested for assistance. I have converted every donation into engineering machines. I have been offered the machines at the cost of US$ 2 million from the President Kim Yung Sam. In my meetings with HE President of China Jiang Zemin I have also converted all assistance (Yuan 50 million in grant and Yuan 50 million in loan) into Bailey Bridge.
… Coming to Kongmeas reminds me of Ker Pok of the former Khmer Rouge. He used to send in his forces into this area to kill people in Kongmeas. But now he passed away already. He is one of the accused announced by the tribunal. Pol Pot and Son Sen died already. Ta Mok, Nuon Chea, Khiev Samphan are still alive. Duch is in custody. He (Ker Pok) died failing to stand trial.
… I have been awarded by a private company of an apartment at a cost between US$ 40 – US$ 50 million. But I have already declared in the Cabinet meeting at the Council of Ministers that the apartment must be registered as the national property. We may be able to sell this house later and the money from the sale should go into building the Cambodian Embassy in Seoul. Or we may sell it and swap to purchasing engineering machines or Bailey Bridge. There was an American who died of old age and made a will to give so and so amount in US$ to Hun Sen. His lawyer did what he had wished by sending me the money. I also sent it to the orphans in Cambodia.
… I agree to offer a shed on one end of the Angkor Baan Bridge. I also see it a positive idea and accept to finance the construction of roundabouts on either heads of the bridge and to be equipped with solar energized lighting system as well. I accept to offer a school building in this school of Angkor Baan and Oknha Lao Meng Khin will cover the cost of the construction according to the requested standard…/.