Monday, March 9, 2009

Selected Comments at the Stocktaking of 2007 and Directives for 2008 of the Ministry of Interior

13 March 08

In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen gave his comments on some particular issues as have been selected and translated as follows:

Post-Election Political Impasse

I wish to make this point clear. We will have a transition period after we launch the election campaign. After the election is held, in Cambodia, unlike in Malaysia where the Cabinet line-up starts thereafter and the Prime Minister takes the swear-in ceremony, we have set for the first National Assembly meeting with 60 days after the elections. It is the transition period when the new Cabinet will take power like in 1998 and 2003. According to our experiences, we have suffered political deadlocks.

As of now we would not face with such a deadlock situation because we already have amended the Constitution from the two-third majority to 50 + 1 or simple majority to get a pass for the formation of the Royal Government. By this way any party that wins the elections would be able to get the Cabinet line-up, while room for bargaining will be there no more. If the CPP team loses the elections, they will have to leave making way for the winner.

As I am talking about this I would like to give some advice with regard to some of the works that need to be done vigilantly. Some criminal actions have been the source of vigilance when the authority is engaged one way or another in the preparation and conducting of the elections. The case of drug making happened in Kompong Speu's Phnom Sruoch at the time we had the commune council elections. Tax evasion, illegal logging, etc. take for instance should not be allowed to take advantage at this time. That is why in our law, when the country is in the elections, the Royal Government has to assume power in order to see these issues through.

It is so ironical that as the CPP is getting prepared to accept the results of the elections and solemnly declares it will make way for any winning Party to form the Government, some Parties have already declared and lobbied so and so countries or community to not recognize the electoral results. Have they ever thought what if they were the one that wins the elections? I call these people the ones that get wet before plunging into the water.

Maintain Public Order and Protect National Property

Political stability, macroeconomic stability, in which efforts must be made to curb inflation, maintaining economic growth are what the Royal Government or incumbent Government will have to carry on. No one is to pack things home because s/he would not stay in the new Government. I gave this instruction once to communal elections that no commune head would be allowed to move furniture or stamp from the office for own profit. They are national property and they therefore need to be maintained.

You may be advised that if we all are keeping stability in order, we would also have some easy start as well. If other parties were to win we would be appreciated for what we had done to provide them with a smooth commencement and disciplinary startup.

I know you would say that other Parties would not think the way I do for them. At that time, they would be going on to insult and making problems here and there. But thank God we seem to have less of these problems as most of the people who have involved in destabilizing, protesting, etc. seem to have changed their course. Protesting is their rights but we wish they respect the law. I warn any move to produce people power style like in some countries in the region or elsewhere in the world like in Ukraine, for example, or they will be rebuked effectively.

Trafficking of Women and Children

I learned that it has been a lively discussion on the issue. In fact, thanks to numerous measures, we have scored many successes in this front, to be more specific, the trafficking of children and/or adoption of children by foreign nationals. What has now become a problem for the authority to fix is the trafficking of human in the form of marital relationship. Because Cambodia is one of the ASEAN members and a partner to many countries involved, some of the members and partners who are very much close to Cambodia told us of many risks on this front.

One example they gave me was that a country in America organized a tour to Asia. This is quite official and legal. But when arriving in Asia they serve as sex workers. We do not have this situation yet. But we have to be vigilant with crook's tricks. In Cambodia one of the regular incidents is that young girls are tricked to come to city for works. They were eventually cheated. Another form of cheating has been emerging and quite popular now is the formation of marital relation. I learned from the Ministry of Women and Veteran Affairs that the Ministry of Commerce granted license to the company that brokers fake marriage.

I ordered the cancellation of the Ministry of Commerce's permission. I would urge all relevant institutions to be more cautious in giving your permission especially those at the grass root level. We have to act on this matter quickly and effectively so as to prevent further cheating. I would give you a scoop of how this has gone from cheating to political issue. There has been some pressure for me to allow the opening of the Taiwanese office in Phnom Penh. Their argument is because more than half of the Cambodian women who have been married to the Taiwanese are actually living illegally, whereas some have been traded there for work in the brothels.

Implication on One China Policy

I foresee this will happen. Some politicians and civil society activists have gone so far to argue that Hun Sen does not allow the Taipei Office in Phnom Penh because he is "afraid" of mainland China. I would make it clear once again that whether China is angry or not would not be the matter here but what matters is the principle of sovereignty. I would tell you frankly that the one who lobbies for this evolution has got a lot of money. A string of signature would bring about millions of dollars. But this is not trade issue or money but sovereignty. Ask yourself what is our reaction if for instance there is movement to segregate one province of Cambodia, and/or even to become a member of the United Nations. Our answer would be no.

The case is also true when Taiwan is actually a part of China. I would remind you that before I worked with the Republic of Korea while having diplomatic relation also with the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK) because it is a different case to this matter. The two Koreans occupy the seats at the United Nations. China is a member of the United Nations and the permanent member of the Security Council, whereas Taiwan is not. As of now we have 2,500 Cambodian women in Taiwan who we have contacted with NGOs and related agencies to get them back. We will not go through formal channel.

They may argue that Hun Sen abandons his own citizens. I deny that. We will take them back only by a different channel but not trading for the opening of Taipei Office in Phnom Penh. I also warn that they should not have illusion on the office in Phnom Penh or anywhere in Cambodia. It is a part of the Cambodian foreign policy, in the meantime, I demand that Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Women and Veteran Affairs, and Justice to jointly review the process for granting marital permission. I also appeal to all parents, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts to give more thought on this as their immature and information lacking decision could eventually bring negative consequences./.


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