Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comments at the Graduation in Vanda Institute (Specialized in Accounting and Auditing)

Today is my last work day in a year's time and I would have no further schedule of works after today. I would seek your excuse that my wife, because she is busy in many of her obligations, the preparation for our daughter's wedding party included, cannot come here today. It is indeed proud to see the progress made by the Vanda Institute, which after some years have transformed from a center to tertiary institution with the present infrastructure, technical equipments for teaching and learning purposes. The progress has been made step by step, slowly but surely.

Will and Ability

Some politicians have promised our people that they could find them jobs producing nuts and bolts for airplanes. I don't know for whom the Cambodian will produce those kinds of stuff. Some even preached about giving out cows and according to them the promised figures would make this country full of cows. I mention this to have your attention of what we mean by the toad-pace development or what we used to say the will cannot be seen through without ability.

Vanda Institute Progress

I would take this moment to express my sincere appreciation to the Vanda Institute for making efforts to expand its ability providing education in the area of financial management and auditing to our students. The number of classrooms, which used to be not many, has now increased to 77 and I would also like to assert my praise to the fact that the Institute has proven to be successful in consolidating the internal unity and leadership. I also would act on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia to give my sincere congratulations to the graduates for making such wonderful efforts till they reach this stage of education.

Private Education —

A Correct Decision

I am so proud of the decision that I have made to allow for private institutions to provide tertiary education because of which policy students who could not win scholarship could continue to study and this has been clearly envisaged in my thesis "Ten Years of Cambodia's March" published in 1989, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the January 7. If it was not well understood and the fact that there needs for private education facilities was denied I am sure Cambodia would by this time have less number of educated human resources. When people are improving their living condition they would opt to send their children for higher education … and I have here some 34 scholarships for poor students as well. In all every year I have about a thousand scholarships.

However, there is one factor that is decisive and that is the self decision and effort. Henceforth, I am sure your parents and families would want first of all your good actions in response to their commitments while you were in schools. I seek your showing gratitude to your parents, sisters and brothers whose efforts have been put together for you to come this far.

The Forthcoming January 7

As we are approaching the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Cambodia from the Pol Pot's genocide on January 7, 1979, and as I see that most of you are 30 years old and under, I would recall it as the second birthdays of your parents and families… It is so absurd that there is one Cambodian who used to be a soldier in Vietnam claimed himself on the Sambok Khmum Radio that he is the father of the liberation movement, while Samdech Chea SIm, Heng Samrin and I never claim so. How could he lie? One right thing he mentioned was I came to arrest him at home. HE Say Phu Thang and I, at that time was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, because we could not reconcile anymore, and decided to arrest him. After his arrest, I did not become Prime Minister, but HE Chan Si, and this is a true thing to say as we are nearing January 7.

We have raised him in high rank, but as Minister for Defense he ordered for conducting searchers at the houses of Samdech Heng Samrin, who was then Head of State, Prime Minister, and President of the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Council, Samdech Chea Sim, who was then Minister for Interior, and they were also on their way to my house, but I would not let him time to do that. I have four regiments in Phnom Penh … How dare he claim to be the father of December 2 and January 7. He was the Minister of Defense but he had no soldiers because they were my soldiers … I just wanted to let part of the cat out of the bag after 30 years time…

In my last letter to my wife, which was kindly delivered by my messenger, I wrote "… as this letter finds you I have left you very far already, a distance that I would not know myself how far it is …" How could I guess how far it is as I do not know where I am going, I was not sure if I had to fight with Polpotists or the Vietnamese soldiers or if I would have any other choices… You may make sense that it was far different from your condition right now where you have the possibility, ability to get what you wish to be accomplished. In between 1970 and 1975, not many students could study because of the war. In between 1975 and 1979, the whole country closed down all the schools and after 1979, all schools started step by step, some had their classes conducted under the trees.

UNTAC, Khmer Rouge and Win-Win Policy

After the Paris Peace Accord in 1993, UNTAC spent over two billion US dollars and after they left Cambodia was a two-part country - one under the Royal Government and the other under the Khmer Rouge. This has yet to count in HIV/AIDS that their soldiers had brought into Cambodia. UNTAC should not think of itself as the story of success in Cambodia. After the mess they left, there was this meeting in the People's Republic of Korea under the chairmanship of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, then HM the King, in which Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, representing the Democratic Kampuchea, requested for what they called "the Minimum Political Program" or in short a new political agreement between the Royal Government in Phnom Penh and the Democratic Kampuchea … I could go on for three days on this. Cambodia was in limbo with no ceasefire and there were soldiers of the Khmer Rouge and the Government, whereas a huge part of Cambodian border with Thailand was under the Khmer Rouge's control. Is that what they call the UNTAC story of success? This is not to deny some of the positive things UNTAC had achieved.

The win-win policy has brought Cambodia to a complete end of war and it is now ten years already if I were to count in the time when Khieu Sam Phan and Nuon Chea came to my house and make known their breakaway. In the world history, it is the only example of a former Head of State, former Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly came reporting their defeat to the Prime Minister in power. But because it happened in Cambodia, it is not a big story.

Khieu Samphan, who is now in custody, every time we met for political negotiation, always criticized us and sometimes I wondered if he had been instructed to do so. He even insulted us as members of the Supreme National Council (SNC) by saying that “we (the Democratic Kampuchea) showed our understanding to let the puppet to join in the SNC…” at that time the SNC was formulated to be 6 + 6 or six from the State of Cambodia and another six was made of two from the Khmer Rouge, two from Funcinpec and two from KPNLF (former Premier Son San's faction). I have responded fair and square that I am so "thankful" for the understanding from the "killers" …

Acceptance of the Truth ...

However, I never want to win at the cost of anyone's life but for those who insulted me fiercely and came to me. It is the real victory. Some people asked me that some politicians have insulted me severely, would I accept them if they come to me. I said I would, because to me they have been defeated already and they have chosen to return to the fold or in other words they have come to accept the reality.

Some people criticized me for inviting Khieu Samphan to my house. I rebuked in return why before this stage any countries, France, the United States, and the United Nations also included, are giving Khieu Samphan diplomatic visas, giving red carpet treatment to him, and why can't Hun Sen this time do that?

I have at the time the need to deliver three messages - which 1) inform the remaining Khmer Rouge forces to cease activities because their leaders were with me at my house, 2) inform the Cambodian people that the war in Cambodia came to the end, and 3) inform the international community of the latest peace development and consider investment and tourist activities in Cambodia...

Make Better Use of the Time ...

I am so shocked to have noticed that some of our youths have not made full and positive use of their times as they have resorted to drugs, gambles, school evasion, etc. It is true that this must be some sort of incidents but we should try to scale them down … I wish you all to continue to study because no matter what you are, even the Prime Minister could not do the job if he does not learn more. As for me, no information for one day is like being incomplete. That is why sometimes I hold a huge phone so that news can be faxed to me anywhere and anytime.

Good Rice Crop ...

This year we have a good yield of rice but we have a bad impact of financial crisis. Last year when the price of rice went up, those residing in the city complained whereas those farmers were so happy and this year, the prices of corn, cashew, soybean have gone down, there is complain from a reversing trend.

I would seek our farmers’ understanding that if the price is low you may have to keep them for later stage as the price would go up again. You have rice to keep in store is better than nothing in hand. Some countries in the current situation have been hit with more problems than we do. In India - the terrorist attack in Mumbai, in Afghanistan and Iraq - violence is prevalent, those are challenges and some impacts on us too...

Price of Oil and Related ...

I would make it clear to the oil companies today that if we were to have no oil we will not die but if we were to have no rice, we surely will. When I stop asking them to go down, they do not do either. Today I would ask those companies to make me a present to bring the price of oil down further. Maybe Sokimex and Tela could take the lead in this matter. I would ask the Government mechanism to monitor the price in the international market and compare them with the local prices …

… I have also instructed that private electric companies have to adjust the prices because the price of oil has gone down. As for the traffic rule, I would urge our commuters to put on helmets and those who sell helmets should not take this opportunity to sell at high price at all. I have noticed in other countries they put on helmets 100% but I request people in political positions and administrations to show others they were the first to respect the regulation.

Closing Down Gambles ...

Now is the issue of gambling. The Royal Government of Cambodia allows for slot machines to operate in hotels aimed at attracting foreign guests and tourists but with the permission granted there is this tendency of not respecting the law and regulation. They have opened shops of gambles with slot machine license from those in the hotels where there allowed Cambodian nationals to play. Leaders of Khans in Phnom Penh must be making efforts, especially the Khan Phnom Duan Penh and Mean Chey. I may have your attention that crimes and thefts have rooted in those places.

Former Senior Citizens ...

I have the news of the death of Mr Keng Vansak, the well known scholar on Khmer Studies, though his theory is in contrast with that of Samdech Tjuan Nat in terms of Khmer grammar and Khmerization. He was to visit Cambodia on my invitation, which I would be responsible for his tickets and residence so as for him to come visit the country.

I wish to share my condolence with the family of Mr Keng Vansak. I had done the same for Mr Sostene Fernandes, former military commander under the Republic of Khmer, who died after his visit to the country. I would be glad I was able to do that for them.

I have been Prime Minister for 24 years now and I would go on for another five years, which will make it 29 years as Prime Minister, the record breaking in Asia as well as in the world. I have come from the youngest Prime Minister at the age of 32 to the long-serving Prime Minister and in 2013, there is no doubt, Hun Sen is going to run for the post again...■


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