Monday, March 9, 2009

Comments at the Opening of the Cambodian Vision 2008 Conference

28 February 2008

In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen made some off the cuff comments on some issues that are selected and translated as follows:

In just months from now they will bring the following topic for their electoral campaign. They would tell people, in relation to the country's economic growth pattern from 2005 through to 2008 that ranges from 13.4% in 2005, 10.8% in 2006, and 9.6% in 2007 that Cambodia is going backward. I am talking about this so that they cannot make a big fuss during the election campaign. They would say that Hun Sen sets the growth only at 7.3% for the forecast of 2008 and they would thereby interpret that the Royal Government's low-rate prediction signifies the falling growth. I bring this matter up so as to warn our people of their campaign slander.

In relation to revenue from fuel or gas, over the past one year, we have managed to change the mind of those who have been bogged in the Nigerian oil curse. I brought this matter up with the visiting President of the World Bank, the General Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about this important issue as well. I told them maybe it is counterproductive to talk about spending money while we have a lot to talk about earning it.

Some questions raised to us have been naive as what we intend to use the money from oil and gas for. I would say it is a naive question, which is posed by foreign partners not Cambodian ones. They also could have been our partners in planning national development policy. We have national development plan, annual development plan, three-years rolling development plan and each one is going to be sponsored by capital from so and so sources - some of which is marked to negotiate for financial assistance, etc. If we were to have money from fuel and gas why can't we use them?

I am here to stay and I am waiting to hear for Ambassadors from contract companies in fuel and gas exploitation in Cambodia if anyone of them would ask on behalf of their companies to negotiate the price, from which Cambodia would suffer loss. I hope I would be re-elected to wait for this. Chevron came to meet me the other day and it has, according to my knowledge, prepared for a scenario that it will build a factory on Koh (island) Wai. I do not know how many years more. They talked about spending money and also blamed us about corruption. We are ready to ponder the Nigerian example for Cambodia's better sake.

There is a rumor that I met with HE Thaksin in Phnom Penh last Friday but at nine o'clock this morning HE Thaksin might be arriving at Bangkok already. Some said former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin came to see me in person and secretly. I would say if he was here I would not keep it from the public. He is my old friend. We have been on telephone talks frequently after he was removed from power in the coup. I called him the day he was ousted by the coup to convey my considerate feeling. I have nothing to gain from keeping it a secret and I have full right to communicate with anyone or any country in the world.

As far as issue of UNHCR is concerned, I would urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Interior inspect and give a report to me on issue of refugees who are citizens from some foreign countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, etc. I would ask UNHCR on what count they had the right to bring those refugees into Cambodia without prior consultation with the Royal Government of Cambodia. Take for instance it is absurd that Afghan people have taken refuge in Cambodia when their country is not under the Taliban anymore? My question is why some foreign nationalities found residing in Cambodia have been presented with permissions of political refugees in Cambodia by the UNHCR, whereas the Government has no consent./.


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