18 March 08
Comments on some topics are being excerpted and translated as followed:
Welcoming People and Achievements
It is a pleasure that I have come back again to see all of our people so that together we put into official use the bridge of Prek Chrey and launch the construction of a new bridge in replacement of the old bridge at Stoeung Mean Chey in Phnom Penh city. The 105 meter concrete bridge will connect Phnom Penh on its southern exit to the national road 2 and, we also rebuild a new bridge at Stoeung Meanchey to 19.6 meter wide. We have longed for this bridge to be ready for our people traveling across the stream at the time of Prochum Ben (BUddhist traditional ceremony that people offer food to the Buddhist monks who will end their three month stay in the temple). I wish to thank and give my appreciation to the efforts made by those who are involved and concerned in getting this project done.
As the bridge of Prek Chrey and access road is done, I see two more tasks that need to be addressed. First we need to enlarge a section of the road from Stoeung Mean Chey to eleven meters wide as we still have five meters left available for this to be done. Second, electric poles and lighting has to be mounted through to the national road 2 intersection.
As far as the bridge of Stoeng Mean Chey is concerned, it is indeed difficult now to travel to this part of the city so we need to enlarge the bridge's width to almost 20 meters, and the construction will take one year to finish.
Price of Land and Phnom Penh's Development
As the project completes we see that the price of land has gone high. As for building this road and bridge, we have spent so much time because one side we have to negotiate with people to get the road straightened up a little bit to avoid tough-curve accidents, but we also have to face with the reality that it is impossible to get the soil from other place to level up the road because of the high price.
Phnom Penh has gone into its 574 year anniversary which falls on the time when Cambodia is in full peace, cooperation and development, whereas for the capital much improvement and progress have been made. In one of my audiences with HM the King, HM told of what he saw as a positive development of the Capital from the bird's eye view in HM's visit by helicopter to see the dry season rice cultivation. The lodgment construction has extended far off to Angsnuol district and more people may come out to live here because there is too much smoke in Phnom Penh.
The Coup 38 Years Ago and the Royal Palace
I was in the village of Kdol, Tunloung commune of the district of Mehmot in the province of Kompong Cham that one evening I heard over the radio the news about the coup removing Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. It was 38 years ago. War raged throughout the country. I am telling you this because I wanted you to understand that any sinful actions taken by any men would be repaid by their lives being destroyed. Our people have had to bear untold suffering too. Whatever happened, the true victims are people and the nation and we should try to make every thing we possibly can to prevent it from recurring.
The coup was indeed aiming not just removing a leader but to root out Constitutional monarchy in the country to its true meaning. Why? If the action was then aimed at Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk alone, they would have replaced Samdech by another prince from other lineage and the country could have retained the Constitutional monarchy. But Lon Nol created the Republic Khmer. It has taken us a long time to get rid of these elements and to create once again full peace throughout the country. The win-win option turned our country from bullets of all types to sounds of all senses - music and song, Buddhist preaching etc.
I never claim to be the best royalist but I have contributed with CPP and other leaders in restoring the Constitutional monarchy in Cambodia - we can call it the second Kingdom after the monarchy has been dead for 23 years. Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk took up the throne once again and HM was indeed elected in 1993 because all parties together agreed to re-establish the second Kingdom. This means that the second Kingdom has no dialectical connection with the previous one but is born out of the people's wish and will through the election.
On practical aspect the former Kingdom of Cambodia as well as the current Kingdom seems to have similar way of doing thing except that the latter is developing the country in a speedy manner thanks to the availability of modern and easy-accessed technology. We have now a full-fledged Constitutional monarchy and we have the Constitution that guarantees the role of Head of State for life and could not be infringed upon. I just recall you that. Whoever want to be King, to be a real King in Cambodia, one has to get elected. However it is indeed to say to all of you that we should be happy that we have a strong Constitutional monarchy, liberal and pluralistic system that we have to defend it absolutely.
Infrastructure Development - Poverty Reduction
We have saved money from any sources we can for developing this bridge and with infrastructural development we will be able to move on to reduce poverty. It is also part and parcel of the equitable distribution of the economic growth, which is to transform growth into public property that people can benefit and make positive impacts on their livelihood.
We have left from the Sangkum Reastr Niyum of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, many achievements like the rail that we have launched the rehabilitation some days ago. People also have from those days been trained to be Government officials, etc. We therefore should try and protect the country's peace and stability in order for development to gain its momentum./.