Monday, March 9, 2009

Comments at the Inauguration of the Hun Sen - Svay Rompea Junior College in the District of Svay Teab, Svay Rieng Province

28 January 2008

It is indeed a great pleasure for my wife and me that we preside over this auspicious ceremony to put into official use the Hun Sen - Svay Rompea Junior College (HSRJC) and a 13.5 kilometer sand covered dirt road. It is indeed another achievement that we have scored after the liberation in January 1979 in the province of Svay Rieng's Svay Teab district in particular. I am so happy to note that we all have increased the pace of development day after day - big or small, fast or slow.

We have here seven school buildings or 32 classrooms in which five buildings or 25 classrooms for general education, a building for vocational training, and a building for directors. It is also equipped with special solar energized lighting system, water pump and football field. It is known that the cost of this college is 340,000 US dollars in all.

It has started as far as I know from 0.4 hectare of land and a sum of money has been spent to expand the school ground to the current size of four hectares. I usually urge not to sell land that belongs to school, hospital, etc. These professional places have to be expanded instead for future need. The number of population of today will not be similar for the next day because we have a good number of births everyday. Increase of birth means that we have more children who would eventually need more school for education.

You may remember that after 1979 when we toppled the regime of Pol Pot, we had a population less than five million but we now have a figure of 14 million. You can see that the need for life necessity has been increased, partly of course the need for school in which we have to take into consideration their well beings - the teachers and students when talking about building school project. Having said so, I am satisfied with the setup here.

I just talked to Gen. Sao Sokha, the Head of the National Military Police, who initiated and sponsored the building and development of the Hun Sen - Svay Rompea Junior College if it is possible to later develop it into a senior college. He said he could see to that recommendation. Therefore I advise that in the school year 2008-2009, this college should be upgraded to a senior college aimed at gathering students from the area around to continue their studies here. We still have space and the infrastructure is already in place. So children can study here from primary school to junior college and to finish their senior college studies.

I have a sad memory of the time when I was young, and I was not the only one to have had that experience, that I had to go away from my family in pursuit of education. But we now have a situation different from what most of us had undergone. Now there are more schools to be built closer to residential areas. This is to respond to the Cambodian tradition that parents do not wish to let their teenage children to go too far from home or family. So we have narrowed down the gap in gender disparity in term of education, which is a basic solution to addressing the gender issue.

Indeed we have one more achievement to celebrate. That is the sand covered road from the national road 1 through to the college. We covered the road with sand because we could not get rock or laterite, which is too expensive also. But sooner or later we will have the possibility to improve one way or another these rural roads. HE Sieng Nam, MP of Siemreap province, had asphalted some of rural roads in steps because reconstruction of dirt road every year cost him more or less. I learned that HE Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry also wants to do so for Takeo province. Other officials think of doing that in Battambang province as well.

My wife came by with me and noted that there are a few palm trees and she admires the idea of keeping them in the school. They have been here with us since our ancestral time. It is a symbol of Cambodia. We should avoid taking them out to make space for anything.

In Svay Teab district among its eleven communes, we have 36 primary schools, six junior colleges and 3 senior colleges or in other words we have about three primary schools for a commune. This has indeed been the policy of the Cambodian People's Party which is stipulated and adopted in its ten point prioritized policy by the CPP Extraordinary Congress of its national representatives on January 12 and 13. The policy of education and human resources is indeed still a priority of the Party policy. If the CPP is scoring another victory in the forthcoming elections, which is six months from now, this policy will indeed become the policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

I do not start up campaigning but if you want this policy/resolution to actually be implemented or Hun Sen to stay on as the Prime Minister, you may have to vote for the CPP leadership. I still think of 21 years ago or in 1987, when the Government of the State of Cambodia proclaimed water, road, electricity and human resources to be its prioritized policy in the national rehabilitation efforts. They have been correct and continue to be responding to the present moment. Talking about this during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung, I requested for a supply of electricity from Vietnam to the provinces along the border on the Cambodian side. HE Suy Sem, Minister for Industry, Mines and Energy has negotiated for an initial supply of electricity and now we have proposed to increase the amount of electrical supply.

We have been faithful to the cause of national development and the people and national interest. We always refrain ourselves from making empty promises and making plans that will stay on paper. The Cambodian People's Party has the best human resources who faithfully advocate our country's development policy implementation.

You may want to hear a tale about the King's pumpkin. Trying to figure out who is faithful to him, the King invited his officials to take seeds of pumpkin to grow and tell them to bring him some when they harvest. Different groups of officials behaved differently. Some picks a great number of them, while some less, but there was a group who did not at all. Some months later the King summoned them to ask about the pumpkin. A group of officials told the King they grew a lot of the pumpkin but when they brought some for the King they were stopped and turned away by the guards. Another group told the King they also grew many of them but could not harvest yet. One other said they did not grow pumpkin because their children accidentally spilt the seed and the rats ate them all. The last group says they did not even take the seeds because the seeds are already cooked. CPP has the third and fourth types of officials but does not have the first two. It is a good food for thought and a good lesson because the season of "telling a lie" has approached.

I am joyful that HE Jieng Am, the Governor of Svay Rieng province, reported on the cultivation progress in the past year. Because of the drought in 2005, I initiated the construction of the "twin-canal" which runs through two provinces - Prey Veng (at Kompong Trabek River) and Svay Riend (at Vai Ko River). The canal has enabled our people to grow dry season rice whereas before it is almost impossible to even grow rainy season rice. We also have industrial zone in Bavet which creates the economic potential and requires more labor forces. It has now been 8000 laborers and we all think that in the future Bavet will become a city.

We have a four star general of the police who build schools in the East; a four star general of the military builds schools in the west. These achievements we have achieved after downfalling the genocide regime of Pol Pot, protecting our rebirth, preventing their returns, disorganizing the Pol Pot's politically and militarily, while bringing a full peace to the country.

Last night I saw on TV a violent act in tribal clashes and killings in Kenya with death soaring in great number. I was so astonished with the cruel scene. This is the country where Mr. Yash Ghai, the special UN human rights representative to Cambodia comes from. I do not mean to humiliate him but to suggest to the UN to re-consider someone whose country is in a better shape. There is a piece of article in the International Herald Tribune reporting that when Kenyans were in trouble, the UN officials were in hunting tour. As a member of the United Nations Cambodia has the rights to urge the organization's exercising thrift because it has many places worthy to be spent on. Giving money to Yash Ghai to work in Cambodia would be a loss because Cambodians are not the worst since they have solved their problems and made progress from killing fields though to the present condition./.

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