Friday, May 29, 2009

Keynote Address at the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting

Phnom Penh, 28 My 2009

- Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Co-Chair of the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting,

- Excellency Mr. Jan Kohout, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, EU Presidency and Co-Chair of the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting,

- Excellencies Heads of Delegations of the EU and ASEAN Member-States,

- Distinguished Delegates,

- Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honor for me to be present at the opening session of the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting and to deliver my keynote address at this important meeting here in Phnom Penh. I am very much pleased that Cambodia is hosting this ministerial meeting before the end of its role as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations. In my view, there is no doubt that the convening of this ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting is very much timely and highly relevant when our two regions, let alone the world at large, are confronted by numerous global challenges, in particular the current international economic and financial crisis.

Our ASEAN-EU cooperation dated back to more than thirty years ago, and our close relations at present are becoming ever stronger and covering a wide range of areas. In recent years, the ASEAN-EU cooperation and partnership have been growing and expanding in scope and depth, especially following the convening of the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit in Singapore, in 2007, which brought together leaders from both sides. The ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit was a historic milestone for both ASEAN and the EU, as the relations between the two sides were raised to the highest level.

At the more practical level, I wish to note the ASEAN-EU cooperation has been carried out through the various existing frameworks and mechanisms, such as the Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative (TREATI) and the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI). At the same time, the ASEAN-EU partnership and cooperation are strategically guided by key documents, namely the Nuremberg Declaration on EU-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership, the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, and the ASEAN-EU Action Plan.

In the area of political cooperation, ASEAN and the EU have been working closely together through the various frameworks, such as the present ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with the EU. At the same time, ASEAN has welcomed the significant number of accreditation of ambassadors by the EU Member-States to ASEAN, which clearly has demonstrated the EU’s strong commitment to strengthen its close cooperation and partnership with ASEAN.

Moreover, I am delighted to know that ASEAN and the EU will be signing the “ASEAN Declaration of Consent to the Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by the European Union/European Commission” and the “Declaration on Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by the European Union/European Commission” at this meeting later today. The signing of these documents represents another significant step forward in ASEAN-EU relations. As you all would agree, the EU/EC’s accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) will undoubtedly promote peace, security and stability in East Asia as well as in a wider region. Given the important role of the EU in world affairs and the significance of ASEAN-EU relations, I am of the view that we need to continue accelerating the process of the EU’s accession to the TAC as early as possible, perhaps sometime within this year in order to maintain the momentum, the interest, and the political will of both sides.

With respect to the economic cooperation, ASEAN and the EU have been working closely and actively to promote trade and investment between the two sides. While more could be done to expand and deepen economic and trade relations, I am of the view that it is in the best interest of both ASEAN and the EU to move forward, with concrete progress, on the FTA negotiations on a region-to-region basis. Given the size of the markets, the enormous economic potentials, and the volume of trade between the sides of the regions, it is essential for ASEAN and the EU to proactively continue the FTA negotiations because it will bring enormous benefits and interests to ASEAN and the EU. Therefore, I personally feel that we should not lose sight of the broader and longer-term interests of the two regions, and we need to maximize our great potentials and the strategic window of opportunity that we now have.

On global issues and challenges which negatively affecting both regions and the world at large, I strongly believe that ASEAN and the EU can play a more active and more forceful role in the world. There is no room for a passive role for us, and we—ASEAN and the EU collectively—need to take on the global challenges with head on. In this regard, I wish to share my view on the global issues and challenges, as follows:

First, the global economic and financial crisis. Today, we are confronted with serious implications of this economic and financial crisis throughout the entire world, to a varying degree. The current global economic and financial crisis has clearly undermined the progress that it has been made thus far, particularly in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poverty reduction in the developing countries. Surely, the current crisis presents with both the danger and the opportunity for some countries, particularly those in the developing world. The danger is that some countries may resort to protectionism and other national measures, as a way of coping with the fallouts of this global economic and financial crisis. The opportunity is to work together to reform the international financial institutions so that they will serve the interests of all. In addition, ASEAN and the EU can exchange their experiences in policy responses and the sharing of best practices on how to manage the ramifications of the crisis and to learn from the G-20 on how they are committed to achieving the recovery. I think this is one area that ASEAN and the EU can engage each other more in the future.

Second, climate change and the environment. At present, we all know well that the global warming and climate change have negatively affected our world, our region, and our respective individual member-states and societies. In recent times, the entire world had witnessed more frequent natural catastrophes, tsunamis, droughts and floods, and the rising sea level. In this context, I believe it is important for both ASEAN and the EU to work together in addressing climate change and the environment, especially at the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit in December of this year. I hope that all participating ASEAN-EU countries in this Summit will be able to build a consensus on a post-Kyoto global framework in Copenhagen. At the same time, we should collectively urge the most industrialized countries to respect the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), especially the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Roadmap, in order to for us to take the necessary steps to prevent the increasing degradation of the world’s environment, to reduce the greenhouse gas emission and to help make the world a better place for humanity. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the EU for choosing Cambodia this year as one of the pilot countries for the Global for Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project.
Third, food and energy security. Food and energy security will remain as one of the world’s global challenges for some time, despite great efforts and coordination to deal with and manage this challenge. I am of the view that both ASEAN and the EU could give their priority and attention to the cooperation in this area, especially in coming up with alternative clean and renewable sources of energy, such as hydropower, wind energy, solar energy and so forth. To ensure food security for our two regions, if not for the whole world, I think that we should avoid encouraging others to really develop bio-energy which could have real impact on food security, if more arable farmland will be used for bio-energy production only while the world is facing with an increasing of population.

Fourth, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I believe that the world is not safer or more peaceful when more countries have access to nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction or when more countries could produce such weapons. To the contrary, I think that we should work more concertedly and systematically to reduce the number of stockpiles of those WMDs and to continue building a more credible non-proliferation regime throughout the world. In ASEAN, we have the Treaty of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ). Over the years, we have been trying to get nuclear weapon states (NWS) to accede to this treaty, and so far only China has indicated its willingness to do so. I hope that more nuclear weapon states will be considering their accession to this treaty and by doing so they would support a region free of nuclear weapons or other WMDs. At the same time, ASEAN and the EU should work together to actively urge those countries that have not become members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to do so because it is in the interest of ASEAN and the EU as well as the world at large if they could join the non-proliferation regime.
Fifth, non-traditional security issues. Another area that ASEAN and the EU have been collaborating closely is combating of human smuggling, drug trafficking, illicit trade and circulation of small arms and light weapons; and fighting money laundering and international economic and cyber crimes. I believe that this is in this area of non-traditional security issues where ASEAN and the EU should be strengthened in the future, especially in capacity building and sharing of information and best practices. We should expand the scope and the depth of our cooperation in addressing the non-traditional security issues for mutual interests and benefits.

Sixth, the pandemic diseases. With the recent outbreak of the swine flu, the world, once again, has focused its attention and priority on this emerging infectious disease. In fact, in our region, I proposed to convene a two-day special meeting for the health ministers from ASEAN and the Plus Three Countries to meet as urgently as possible. On May 9, in Bangkok, the health ministers met in the framework of ASEAN Plus Three and agreed to boost the stockpile of antiviral medicine and protective equipment to fight this deadly disease (H1N1) as well as to look at other ways of sharing the supplies in case of a pandemic. The swine flu is just one of the global infectious diseases that we need to actively promote our closer cooperation. We should not wait until such an outbreak of infectious disease. Instead, we should enhance our collaboration within the region, and certainly between the regions, such as ASEAN and the EU, to ensure that we can respond more effectively to the outbreak of any infectious diseases, such as this swine flu, Avian Influenza, and so forth.

Before concluding my remarks, I wish to underline the following areas where the ASEAN-EU cooperation and partnership should give more priority to:

First, we need to continue implementing the ASEAN-EU Action Plan, especially in carrying out the Phnom Penh Agenda to Implement the ASEAN-EU Action Plan, which will be adopted by the ASEAN-EU Foreign Ministers later today.

Second, we need to move quickly to realize the EU/EC’s accession to the TAC, without further delay.

Third, we need to work closely together to ensure the success of the FTA negotiations as early as possible.

Fourth, we need to cooperate more actively and support each other in the areas of integration and the community building process, especially as ASEAN is now implementing its Charter.

Fifth, we need to continue strengthening the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership by ensuring that the existing mechanisms and frameworks are working effectively and efficiently, especially the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting.

Sixth, we need to strengthen ASEAN-EU cooperation in the regional and international fora, where ASEAN and the EU have an important role to play, such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Finally, I wish to congratulate and thank all of your for participating in the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh. I also would like to extend my best wishes to all of you for a very successful meeting and a pleasant stay in Cambodia. I have full confidence that the 17th AEMM will be a success.

Thank you very much and a good morning to all of you.

Remarks at the Opening Workshop on Maritime Security

Raffles Le Royal, Phnom Penh, 26th May 2009

- H.E. Carol A. Rodley, US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- H.E. Margaret Adamson, Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have known that many of you Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen have traveled a long way to gather here for the cause of contributing and sharing your experiences to make sure that Cambodia has the foundation of knowledge for preparing and creating its new institution to be in charge of Maritime Security. I would like to highly evaluate your physical and mental sacrifices for the joint assessment on the general situation of our Maritime Security. In November 2007, I presided over this workshop once, during which my speech clearly notified the participants that the Maritime Security is a key factor for national security, peace and socio-economic development. In particular, the Maritime Security will contribute, as a regional and global partner, to the fight against pirate activities; illegal drugs and human trafficking, and other activities related to the regional and global security and in the meantime participating in the combat against terrorism acts across the world.

The workshop in 2007 actually integrated and promoted the awareness of the Maritime Security to participants as well providing the Royal Government with the vision of building and developing the capacity of Maritime Security. For this workshop, through the special working group in charge of Maritime Affairs, I would like to urge for the creation of The National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS) in three months after this workshop. As experienced by many countries, this National Committee will comprise of the Minister of National Defense who is the Chairman, and the Vice-chairman and other members will be the representatives from related ministries and institutions. At the same time, the establishment of the Secretariat, which is an agency for this National Committee, has to be quickly established at the time of setting up of the National Committee for Maritime Security.

On the 17th of April 2009, the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) established a working group under the leadership of His Excellency Senior Minister Om Yin Tieng to carry out three main tasks toward setting up a national mechanism for maritime security. This has boasted the spirit of the first workshop on maritime security held on 27-28 November 2007.

This working group has assisted His Excellency the Admiral of the French Navy, head of the squadron in charge of the Indian Ocean that has captured pirates three times in the area. Furthermore, this working group has met and discussed with legal teams from the US and Australia specialized in maritime security.

As recommendations, I would like to draw your attention on two main points. Firstly, the institution in charge of maritime security should be organized to respond to current trends and reality. The main responsibility should fall into the armed forces’ jurisdiction, especially that of the navy with active coordination from specialized institutions and sectors, such as: customs and excise, fisheries, commerce, environment, industry and mines, petroleum authority, criminal police, maritime police, immigration police, air force, maritime transport and port authorities etc. I believe that the National Committee for Maritime Security needs to be composed of these mix elements in order to ensure this vast and comprehensive task. We have no difficulty in organizing these components together, thus we need not to wait!

Secondly, this National Committee can bear the name as the "National Committee for Maritime Security" or any other names. But, the important thing is that the institution needs to carry out its main task, which is to prepare sufficient laws in line with national and international legislations to ensure smooth conduct of maritime security activities. Operations in any foreign vessel need to respect national laws of the country where the vessel is transiting. For this, national legislations need to be strong and conform with international laws to ensure vessel owners' confidence.

Regarding Maritime Security, the national law must clearly reflect the international law aiming at ensuring the support to our operation from foreign vessels’ owners. In the sense, the Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security should be comprised of a large amount of great lawyers to carry out their up-coming hard duties.

The task force for preparing the national mechanism for maritime security has decided to launch a seminar which I am confident that it would produce more fruitful achievements. Furthermore, the team must be ready to draft necessary acts to establish the national mechanism for maritime security and timely submit to the Legal Council of the Council of Minister for review. Then, I believe that the national mechanism for maritime security is responsible for effectively forming its secretariat, human resource, lawyers and several operational sectors.

From the first seminar to the second, it takes 19 months. For this second seminar, I believe that the 3-months time is long enough for the team to well and completely perform its task.

The seminar should pay more attention on the vision of maritime security - the relationship between maritime security and other security related issues - and the international relation of national mechanism for maritime security which are created by the national committee for maritime security and invite experts from the United States and Australia to share their experiences on the issue.

Taking the opportunity, I would like to praise to Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security and the American and Australian partners for their good cooperation in launching this seminar.

I would like to express my appreciation to and wish all delegates, Lok Chumteav, Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, national and international guests, good health and new achievements.

Let me now give the discussion about the establishment of the National Committee for Maritime Security to the seminar.


Address at the Delegation of Position to the Head of National Anti-Drug Authority

Phnom Penh, May 19th, 2009

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, I am pleased to participate in this important ceremony to reassign the leadership of the National Anti-Drug Authority.

I would like to convey my profound gratitude to H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG, Minister of Interior, who have taken the highly challenging responsibility as the head of the National Anti-Drug Authority for the last 10 years and brought about countless achievements and pride to the country.

In particular, this ceremony is being held at the time when H.E. SAR KHENG is busy with the management and leadership of the Ministry of Interior, especially in the decentralization and de-concentration process, along with our needs of new human resources to lead the National Anti-Drug Authority. In this spirit, I strongly believe that H.E. Deputy Prime Minister KE KIM YAN is fully capable of assuming the leadership position of the National Anti-Drug Authority to achieve further outcomes in the prevention and fight against drug trafficking and use.

Under the management of H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG, the National Anti-Drug Authority has made numerous significant achievements in the fight against drug trafficking and use, either at national, regional, and global levels. I am extremely proud of all past achievements made by the National Anti-Drug Authority, especially with regard to policy formulation and international cooperation. So far, the National Anti-Drug Authority has continuously strengthened and expanded its activities by integrating itself into all sub-regional, regional and global mechanisms even though this body is young and lacks experience compared to other anti-drug bodies in the region and the world. These achievements represent the national pride and reflect the proper implementation of the Royal Government’s strategy in the fights against drugs. In this sense, I would like to praise the National Anti-Drug Authority for all of its achievements.

I would like to take this opportunity to go back to the history of anti-drug effort in Cambodia. The first-ever anti-drug body in Cambodia was the Anti-Drug Office which was established in 1994. Later on, in 1995, given the nature and complexity of anti-drug job, the Royal Government established the National Anti-Drug Authority which comprised of ten ministries/institutions as member and was chaired by the then Co-Prime Ministers. Adding to this effort, the first Anti-Drug Law was approved in 1996, followed by the Sub-Decree on the Establishment and Operation of Secretariat of the National Anti-Drug Authority. This secretariat acts as an agency of the National Anti-Drug Authority. Later on, as the Royal Government faced with more challenging tasks, I proposed the King to transfer the leadership of the National Anti-Drug Authority to H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG. The transfer of leadership from H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG to H.E. Deputy Prime Minister KE KIM YAN is based on the identical ground when H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG assumed this position. This attributes to actual implementation of reform programs with the Royal Government’s firm and determined political will.

Along with this, I would like to stress that the fight against drug is not that simple as this job involves multi-sectors and complexities and require close cooperation between competent agencies, such as law enforcement, education, and rehabilitation agencies. I think no single institution or country can succeed on its own in the fight against drug. Drugs have been threatening both developed and developing nations as they are striving to seek solutions and effective responses to this problem.

In particular, it should be noted that, prior to 1990, the use and production of drug did not take place in the country. However, after the 1993 General Election, as the market is opened, drugs start to take root in the country, in particular, during recent years. Cambodia used to be a victim, when the international mafia, capitalizing on our lack of law and regulation, instability, and unawareness, induced the people to plant cannabis and export overseas, which severely damaged the country’s reputation. Moreover, while the Royal Government is fighting hard to eliminate cannabis and locked in the rehabilitation of economic infrastructures aimed at integrating into the region, the criminals take the opportunity to traffic in drugs, especially they even attempted to use Cambodia as their discreet production ground.

After years of experience in addressing the issues relating to drugs, I would like to commend all levels of drug enforcement forces and related units for their efforts and timely crackdown on all attempts to use Cambodia as a route, market, and production place.

Along with this, the crackdowns and prevention of drug usage require cooperation from all related governmental institutions, civil society, and private sector which must do it in parallel and strike a balance between law enforcement and education to ensure that the public are fully aware of the danger of drug and rehabilitation measures for addicts. These three strategies complement each other, namely law enforcement, education on the danger of drug, and rehabilitation for drug addicts must be implemented in parallel. This approach is necessary in order to promote social moral, security, and order.

The government is absolutely determined to protect the independence, sovereignty and land integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia by combating any attempts to threaten peace, political stability, security and social order, and maintaining peaceful livelihood of the people. At the same time, the Royal Government is of clear view that socio-economic development is associated with the rehabilitation and development of many sectors; hence it is a must to prioritize growth base sectors. Obviously, ensuring peace, political stability, security and social order is the prerequisite and vital supporting environment for economic growth and social development. Of course, we have laid out numerous measures for these matters and made quite a number of prideful achievements.

Despite all the achievements made so far, we are still confronting with some remaining issues besides drug, particularly issues of gangster and traffic accident which are the obstacles to social and economic environment. Even though these issues look small and light, if we do not prevent and eradicate them early they can have disastrous consequences on socio-economic development in the near future.

Issues of teenager and gangster is directly related to the delinquency of overjoyed teenagers, making friends with gangsters, loss of conscience, forgetting gratitude of parents, guardian and bring society with insecurity and disorder. With respect to these issues, we must take measures in all forms in order to send them back to school for the sake of their future and the society at large. Through this, I would like to appeal to all teenagers to give up all indecent activities, because socializing with the delinquent and gangsters and using drugs would bring no benefit and light to your future and families.

Although education and human resource development must be done through education at schools where there are available teachers to teach, there must be also cooperation from parents, guardians, the elders and all members in the family and the whole society. Also, we must acknowledge that inadequate education and family breakdown are also the motivations for teenager groups or gangsters to commit crime and misconduct. Therefore, parents and students’ guardians must make effort to instruct their children to go to school, to be at home, to be with the family and make good friends in order to keep them from socializing with gangster group, escaping from home, playing truant and sparking problem at public compound and schools. I think that this is the common concern for families, the government and the whole society, which we must jointly prevent and combat, especially through existing measures such as good communication between schools, families and society.

Separately, the issue of traffic accident at the present time has become a chronic social disease which can spread rapidly and turn unmanageable. The traffic accident issue is a huge one and poses long term impact on socio-economic development as well as poverty reduction of the people. If we examine the figure of fatal traffic accidents, we know that it is pretty shocking. Obviously, the increase in the mean of transportation is a sign of progress; however anarchic traffic is the symptom of disease which causes social disorder. Therefore, traffic issue is both the determinant of honor and pride of the nation and the determinant of disgrace and shame of the nation.

Regarding the issues of drugs, we have always considerably and timely suppressed and prevented the crimes of trading and trafficking drugs in a large and medium scale. However, some other crimes such as the distribution, retailing, which have always happened at the local level, seem not to have been extensively cracked down yet. At this juncture, although the selling and distributing scale is petty, it posed anarchy and insecurity in the local community, affecting the national security and social order. This problem has created the unhappiness and open criticism from the local people. In this regard, I would like to suggest all levels of provincial and municipal authorities to take immediate actions in those areas or locations where drugs are being distributed and used. Along with that, all levels of local authorities, law enforcement agencies and court must cooperate based on the spirit of ownership in implementing these works with consciences and abide by the professional code of ethics aiming to make the community safe from the threatening of drugs, armed robberies, gang, mob bullies and traffic accidents.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to suggest and appeal to all ministries and institutions of the Royal Government, especially the National Anti-Drugs Authority, all levels of local authorities, civil societies as well as private sector to pay attention and strictly implement the points as follows:

1. Participate in and cooperate with every activity related to the dissemination, education on the danger of drugs use and treatment in order to rehabilitate the drugs addicted people. At the same time, the efficiency in providing public services must be improved at all times to increase closer cooperation.

2. The National Authority must prepare a circular or declaration on defining the roles and functions of the ministries and institutions, which are members of the National Anti-Drugs Authority, for the Royal Government to adopt for the sake of efficiency of their duty implementation. The law enforcement agencies and state-owned civil institutions, which are members of the National Anti-Drugs Authority must design the education programs on the danger of drugs for their own institutions and actively and permanently participate in the activities of public dissemination. Along with that, you must set up the Rehabilitation Center for Drugs Addicts, gangsters by providing vocational trainings, jobs and sports. Also, you must mobilize them to help support the society in order to repay their indecent deeds in which they have to clean the public spaces, roads, gardens, maintain roads, sewage system and canal renovation.

3. Strengthen law enforcement ability and take permanent measures to crack down, prevent and eliminate gangsters, mob bullies, robberies, production, trading, distribution and use of drugs, illegal acts and prostitution. Along with that, the law enforcement agencies must take immediate action in solving armed robberies, gangsters, mob bullies, drugs and traffic accidents by turning down all kinds of interventions, which violate the legal procedures and must punish and fine all crimes without discriminations.

4. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, while giving license, must require all productions to produce drugs education spots (one minute at least) in all tapes, CDs, VCDs, DVDs. In the mean time, drugs education spots are required to be played before the movies show in every movie hall, aiming to keep the people in public informed about drugs.

5. Call on all kinds of media, newspapers, radio, state-owned and private-owned TV stations to disseminate articles on drugs education and actively broadcast the drugs education spots free of charge. I would like to appeal to the commentators and program directors to integrate the danger of drugs use into their programs as much as possible. The Ministry of Information must promote this kind of work intensively by calling on all private companies to consider on the possibility of inserting message on danger of drugs in all kinds of their products (e.g. the use of drugs is to destroy future and lives).

6. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports must publish and disseminate the danger of drugs to students at all levels more extensively and integrate the study of law on controlling drugs into higher education curriculums and put some of those contents into all levels of education programs. The Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs must encourage and appeal to the Buddhist monks and pagodas to join hand in education on the danger of drugs to all parishioners as well as savaging the drugs addicted people in various pagodas.

In sum, in order to make the above work effective and efficient, I would like the National Anti-Drugs Authority to coordinate and pose favorable conditions for all ministries and institutions, all levels of local authorities, civil societies and private sector to participate in all activities. At the same time, the National Anti-Drugs Authority must record the total and evaluate those contributions in order to consider about the possibility of providing certificate of congratulations or honorary medal every year for the sake of contributing to fighting against and eliminating drugs. This work is the art of attracting the contributions and increase the spirit of competitions with an intention to make sure our country is away from the threat of drugs.

On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to declare the support on the principles and action plans requested by the National Anti-Drugs Authority so far, especially the 6 prioritized strategic plans, raised by H.E. KE KIM YAN, Deputy Prime Minister, and I would like to support the process of drafting the law on drugs control as well as the creation of the National Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drugs Addicts. Through this, I would like the newly appointed head of the National Anti-Drugs Authority to speed up these two efforts and at the same time, all ministries and institutions, especially members related to the process of creating the National Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drugs Addicts, must actively participate to make this work smooth and successful. Once again, I would like to express my appreciation and highly evaluate all efforts to deal with all the challenges with considerable achievements. In this sense, I strongly believe that the National Anti-Drugs Authority under the leadership of H.E. KE KIM YAN, Deputy Prime Minister, together with strictly additional measures, will keep our society away from the threat of drugs.

Before ending, I would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank the National Election Committee, all levels of local authorities in all provinces, cities and the national and international observers as well as all relevant institutions for putting joint efforts in making the election of city, provincial/municipal, and district/khan councils conducted on May 17, 2009 successful, free, fair, just, transparent and free of violent.

Finally, I would like to wish His Excellency newly appointed Head of the National Anti-Drugs Authority great success in a mission to lead the National Anti-Drugs Authority and may I wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are present at the meeting today, the four gems of Buddhist blessings: longevity, nobility, health and strength.


Address at the 146th Anniversary of the World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day Under the Theme of “Our World - Your Action”

Phnom Penh, May 8, 2009

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished National and International Guests!

It is my pleasure and honor to participate in the 146th Anniversary of the World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day, under the theme of “Our World - Your Action”. This gathering is indeed essential for Cambodia as it represents our firm determination and effort in promoting our socio-economic development in the world’s context, especially in relieving the hardship of our people.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and on my behalf, I would like to congratulate and highly value the Cambodian Red Cross, its management, employees, Red Cross youths and volunteers, donors, national and international organizations for their tight cooperation in the fight against poverty and in protecting the value of humanity.

Over the past, the Cambodian Red Cross has performed its duty effectively in rescuing victims in various disasters such as flood, drought, and storm. The Cambodian Red Cross has faced countless challenges in mobilizing human and financial resources to rescue and support victims in time of emergency and need. In undertaking its mission, the Cambodian Red Cross has received both technical and financial assistances as well as mental support from national and international institutions, and domestic and foreign donors. The mobilized resources have been used and managed effectively and transparently without discrimination on the ground of race, color, and politics. I have observed that both domestic and foreign donors have provided humanitarian assistances to the Cambodian Red Cross, either in terms of finance or materials, to assist victims at all time, especially in time of emergency. This charitable act reflects the culture of mutual support, one of many long-standing characteristics in Khmer culture and has a comprehensive meaning for individuals as well as for the whole nation. This spirit is spreading the significant of “Culture of Sharing” which is the foundation and vision for the operation and continuous development of the Red Cross’s movement.

After taking note of the speech delivered by Her Excellency President of the Cambodian Red Cross, I think the Cambodian Red Cross has become a credible and well-known organization in the international arena, attained through countless achievements in the provision of education and health care services to the community, protection of humanity principles and value, and response to and prevention of disasters etc. I believe that the Cambodian Red Cross will remain a big humanitarian organization in Cambodia and continue to act as an agency of the Royal Government to oversee humanitarian work in order to assist and relieve the suffering of victims. In this sense, I would like to appeal to the Cambodian Red Cross to continue its current efforts to implement the strategy and realize the vision for poverty reduction and promoting human’s value 2003-2010.

On behalf of the Royal Government and on my behalf, I would like to highly value the Cambodian Red Cross for the hard work in developing itself to become a well recognized organization and receiving supports from national and international organizations, development partners, and international donors. Moreover, I would like to show my full support to the inclusion of volunteers, especially Cambodian Red Cross youths, into the prevention of and response to disasters, health care and aid services.

The Royal Government gives priority and is committed to promoting socio-economic development, including the support for humanitarian work of the Cambodian Red Cross, which plays a core role in addressing people’s needs in emergency situations, especially during natural disaster and wars. I would like to recall that we cannot forget the pain and sufferings during the Pol Pot Genocide Regime and after the 7th January 1979 when our lives suffered from fatigue, food shortage, infectious diseases, and psychological effects left behind by the Pol Pot regime. The hardship endured during that time required us all to join hand to undertake humanitarian activities by giving particular focus on mobilizing fund, resource and grant from all kinds of sources in order to help Khmer Rouge survivals. I can recall that at the time of economic and social complexity and hardship, the Cambodian Red Cross was established to help the government overcome those challenges, especially to save people’s lives from hunger and miseries.

Natural disaster has destroyed an uncountable number of houses, agriculture yield and wealth and created a huge impact on people’s daily lives which in turn become a heavy burden to the Royal Government. In this sense, the Royal Government took prompt actions to save our people although it requires giving up valuable resources and paying direct visits to the disaster sites. At the same time, leaders of the Royal Government and myself always pay great attention to the misery of our people. Furthermore, I am of the view that poverty and natural disaster still represent the challenges that we must jointly address with a high sense of responsibly.

As Lok Chumteav President of the Cambodian Red Cross mentioned earlier that the world is worrying about the negative impact of global warming, climate change and widespread of diseases such as “swine flu” which affected the livelihood of our people severely and presented many challenges to social and economic reform processes. These challenges are inevitable, unpredictable and emergent. In this regards, I would like to request the National Committee for Disaster Management and the Cambodian Red Cross to closely cooperate with one another further to prevent and prepare for disasters rather than focus only on providing assistance in order to successfully fulfill our mission to save the people.

Furthermore, it should be noticed that even though Cambodia hardly faces big natural catastrophes as other countries in the world do, however we still experienced fire, typhoon, flood and drought which occurred every year, and these problems required all of us to seek measures promptly in order to mitigate the accidental impact. Of course, we do need not only human resource, fund and materials such as foods, but also techniques and other modern facilities to combat these disasters.

The efficient, transparent and accountable management of donation is the perquisite to fulfill our mission to rescue the victim and reflects the responsibility of relief operators to donors and all aid providers. The dire need for food and clean water, evacuation from troubled site, accommodation, clothes and medicine required the Cambodia Red Cross and relevant agencies to make effort to mobilize assistance and support from all sources. Our duties to relieve the suffering and misery of the victims must be fulfilled in the context of response during disaster and post-disaster livelihood restoration which may take months or even years. Post-disaster relief program might be beyond the capacity of sub-national authority, hence there must be intervention from government at the national level to cooperate together with the Cambodia Red Cross in providing aid or loan to communities for building house, starting up business, providing health care service, clearing wreckages, repairing roads, bridges and schools…etc.

These above factors indicated that the loss resulted from disasters is tremendous, and our effort made, resource and time spent in relieving the misery and restoring the livelihood of our people are even far bigger which requires us to have clear national strategies and policies for resolving issues that affect our economy and society. This is one of the most important obligations that the Cambodia Red Cross contributes immensely to the Royal Government. What I am also interested in is the role of Cambodian Red Cross Youth Volunteers in promoting the obedience for traffic law whose violation triggered deadly accidents and disorders on the roads at the present.

I also noticed that the violation of the traffic law which caused traffic jams and fatal road accidents is becoming a chronic social disease which requires all of us to tackle. Obviously, on some boulevards, due to the lack of obedience for the traffic law, coupled with the reckless driving of some drivers have sparked disorders which caused fatal traffic accidents and the loss of wealth and lives of our people every day. However, I am extremely surprised and proud for the activities of the Cambodian Red Cross youth volunteers, who have actively participated with the traffic police in improving the respect of traffic law. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my appreciation for the commitment and activities of the CRC youth volunteers, who have enhanced the social values with high conscience by promoting the respect of traffic law as well as reducing the traffic accidents, which is one of the Royal Government’s worries. Moreover, I would like to appeal to all people to jointly promote our national honor by strictly respecting the traffic law; and to the CRC to continue cooperating with the Ministry of Interior and other relevant ministries-institutions, all levels of authorities, national and international organizations to participate in strengthening the respect of traffic law among our people.

The mission of CRC is truly significant and I would like to highly value every effort made by the CRC in effectively implementing the humanitarian mission, conforming to its vision and policies. At the same time, I would like to solemnly stress that the Royal Government will continue supporting every activities of the CRC in a cause to salvage the vulnerable and for the sake of humanitarian acts.

I would like to take this opportunity to share a number of concepts with the meeting, especially the CRC and related institutions in order to contribute further to the strengthening of effectiveness and efficiency of its implementation to timely and effectively response to the need of the vulnerable as follows:

1. All related ministries-institutions and all levels of local authorities must continue paying additional attention by cooperating and supporting the CRC activities in disseminating extensively to the people about disaster preventive measures and preparation, and in improving the management mechanism prepared to response to the possible disasters. Along with that, I would like to request the CRC to pursue implementing its obligation in expanding the training on preventive measures and early warning system to the communities through strengthening the capacity of the Red Cross youth volunteers and related stakeholders at the central and local levels.

2. The CRC and the Committee for the Disaster Management, which is the institution responsible for managing and coordinating disaster related activities, must continue cooperating closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, all relevant ministries-institutions as well as all development partners to prepare and prevent bird flu, in particular the swine flu, which is now spreading very fast in a number of countries in the world.

3. All ministries and relevant institutions must closely cooperate with the CRC and the Committee for Disaster Management in order to implement the National Strategic Development Plan for disaster risk reduction by preparing clear-cut indicators on the achievements to measure the progress, responsibilities for reducing disaster risk and inserting the disaster management plan into the National Development and Disaster Management Plan.

4. Related institutions, especially all provincial-municipal authorities must stay with the people in order to seriously study about the impact and losses caused by the outbreak of disaster and must cooperate with the CRC in order to be well aware of the actual needs of the local people and look for timely and effective solutions for the vulnerable, as the slogan says: “Wherever there is hardship the Red Cross is there”.

5. The Ministry of Interior and all related ministries-institutions must continue the good tradition of cooperating closely with the CRC in order to enhance and boost for the effective implementation of the traffic law in order to reduce the losses of property and accidents that may happen due to the lack of respect for the existing laws.

Before ending, I would like to express my sincere and deep sentiment toward His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia for having inherited the great mission from His Majesty the King father and for providing all kinds of support to the Royal Government for the cause of acquiring peace, stability, unity, and progress for the nation, as well as for having kindly participating in promoting the living standard, wellbeing, and prosperity for the people. At the same time, I would like to whish Preah Korona Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the King Father of National Unity and Solidarity, Her Majesty Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Queen Mother of Peace, Dignity and Happiness, and His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, with good health and longevity in order to remain as a great shelter for all Cambodian people.

In this great occasion, I would like to express my deep appreciation to Your Venerable Monks, Compatriots, Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, Lok Chumteav, Lok Ouknha, national and international donors, and all development partners for contributing financial, material, and technical supports for the Cambodian red Cross’ humanitarian operation at all time.

Once again, I would like to express my appreciation and highly value the leadership, officials and staffs in all levels of the CRC and all relevant institutions, who have put greatest efforts in organizing such important meeting today and I would like to deeply thank Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, National and International Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, who have spent their valuable time to participate in today’s meeting.

At the end, I would like to wish Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, Lok Okhna, National and International Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen and Civil Servants, especially the leadership and staffs of the CRC the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.


Selected Comments at the Gathering of Port Workers at the Sihanoukville

Unofficial Translation
30 April 2009

It is indeed my pleasure and honor to come back to meet you all once again in the Autonomous Port of Sihanoukville after we met last year on May 1, which was at the end of the third legislature of the National Assembly … Today our meeting is taking place at the time that I am the Prime Minister of Cambodia in the fourth legislature of the National Assembly after the general elections in July 2008.

… On behalf of Samdech Chea Sim and Samdech Heng Sarin and leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), I would like to convey our sincere thanks to workers as well as their families for voting for CPP, which once again brings me here on the 123rd anniversary of the International Labor Day …

How come I did not choose to come here on May 1, which is tomorrow? Tomorrow will be the first day of sub-national council electoral campaigns - that is why I have to come here one day before. I would first of all like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the governing council of the Port as well as General Directors and workers for the efforts they made in the past aimed at making the Port an important entrance and exit point of trades in and out …

Achievements have been illustrated in the report by HE Tram Iv Toek, Minister of Transports and Public Works by which there is a clear contrast of increased volume of trades in and out through this Port … I have been here to put into use many facilities from stage 1 and stage 2 and I also came last year to put into official use the building through which we operate one window service and this year I am here for the last part of development plan with the loans we asked from the Government of Japan …

Today we use the loan of about US$ 24 million to equip the Port with lifting machines that will improve its loading and discharging capabilities and eight container carrier trucks … and I would say as I see they could use in transporting artilleries as well …

As it is now difficult to find ZIL 131, maybe to my mind, if there is a need, we can use these container carriers to load and transport our 130 and 152 mm artilleries. It can be used for as platform trucks in transporting tanks also …

That is if we have to go to war, but now they are being used for civilian purposes. We do not have a war to fight anymore and we do not go to war with anyone but our military officials have raised this issue as their concerns. One official raised this idea of using container carrier trucks to do the job and it is a good idea …

Now let’s get back to automation of a computerized control system which is known to be risk management area as well as the whole Port operation … We have spent 24 million dollars and the money is the loan from Japan …

Let me now say a few things in relations to the project of developing the Port … In between 1994 and 1995, if we were a bit slow the Port would have changed hands because of what is termed “investment” … But I have been firm on this that I do not let it out and I hinted that if you want to find financial help from Japan for developing the Port, it has to be kept free of private hands …

There had indeed been requests from everywhere for the Port development and everyone seems to have promised a budget of billions of US dollars and I just thought to myself if they have that much why do they want an old Port and not to build a new one. The Japanese money actually came to Phnom Penh already, but because there was private hands in the Port, the money had actually been transferred to the Vientiane airport development project …

After 20 years, Japan has come back and offered as loan again … We may ask why Japan did not give us loan earlier than that so that we can have this port developed … The story has been that Cambodian previous regimes owed Japan money and I can’t tell which regimes were there, … In 1992, Cambodian assistance has been recorded to be high but the country benefits nothing because those money pledges were for paying back Cambodian debts to IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc.

As a member of the Supreme National Council (SNC) of Cambodia and Prime Minister of the State of Cambodia, I could see it most of the debt were recorded in the regime of Lon Nol … Officials suggested selling a plot of land to me so as to pay back the Cambodian debt to ADB, but I refused … Now the land has gone up sky high by an 18 floor building …

ADB allowed us to get loan because we had been forced to borrow money from a private bank to pay back its debt in advance – both in principal and in interest …

As in the case of Japan, why we could not get loan from 1994 and 1995? It was because Japan demands that we have to pay Japan back the money we owed in both principal and interest including fine. Japan provided Cambodia with goods and Cambodia had to market the goods to get the money pay for Japanese debt but the money has been used to help Cambodia … I would say an arrow that kills three birds …

It was 20 years after the liberation and six years after the Paris Peace Agreement that Cambodia was allowed the Japanese loan access …

Japan has loaned us Yen 4,142 millions or about 38 million US dollars for the first stage of Port development – the container port, to be specific, which cost about Yen 3,916 million …

For the second stage, we had a second batch of loan of about Yen 4,313 million or about 39 million US dollars from Japan which was signed on December 26, 2004 to extend further the container port and also to equip the Port with necessary machines for loading and discharging services … which we put into use officially today …

At the time that we meet here today to put into use this sophisticated equipments I would like to express on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, through the Ambassador of Japan, our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government and people of Japan. More financial commitment on March 20, 2006, a sum of Yen 318 millions or about three million US dollars has been invested in studying an engineering plan for special economic development zone …

As of this year, we have signed another agreement on March 31, 2008 on a sum of Yen 3,651 million or about 36 million US dollars at the lowest interest rate of 0.01% per annum and we would be glad if Japan could loan us more of the kind.

I would be waiting to see, and I have talked to the Japanese Ambassador already, two things – firstly, timing of commencing the construction of the Special Economic Zone, because it has been signed into agreement since 2006 but has not yet started … I am so shy of talking about SEZ as it is too special to get off ground …

If we compare it with the project 1 and 2 in Steong Hav and Prey Nub, which used no state fund, but they have them done, except this one … That is why I said I will keep my eyes and ears on the timing of commencement of the development site … The second thing I am waiting to see is which one would attract the most investment … Let me remind you that the loan has to be paid back in principal and interest and fine would be applied if we fail to pay them back …

… I would warn the Port about the situation that it may have to operate the Port just to keep the Special Economic Zone going because we now have to start paying interest already and three million US dollars is the cost for mapping up the area. My objective is for the Port to operate for own development and not for the SEZ and also for the two to operate in complement to one another …

Because we have the Port right here, SEZ would benefit from that but if it has taken so long, perhaps other companies have already tapped the benefit elsewhere …

We may have to depend on the Japanese investments more than anyone else here but because the Japanese have gone mostly to Thailand with their investments, it maybe possible that we may leave the area for football.

This is the only place that we have to borrow money to develop SEZ but it has gone nowhere. Do not take me wrong that I criticize the Government of Japan but as a loan taker I wish to be clear - why so much time has been prolonged? We all want transparency and if we are afraid we would keep this situation going. I will not leave it at that because this is the Cambodian money and Cambodia has the duty to pay them back to the Japanese people. Please move thing fast and do not pay too much time on consultancy …

Despite the above developments, I think we need to do more in consideration of need for efficiently serving water transportation and in competing with service provided by other Ports in the region ... We say the Port is the only deep sea access in the country but it is so shallow if we compare to others …

Some ships have to discharge goods to smaller ones to go to the Cambodian sea Port at Sihanoukville ... What remains to be a major concern for us is to allow big ships traveling directly to our Ports without having to waste time loading and/or discharging goods because of inaccessibility for shallow sea lane ...

We need capital to exhume sand from the sea bed to deepen the shipping lane and there are more than one way to skin the cat for example we have own capital, or from development partners and/or private investment partners … They may get permission to dredge sand to make the lane deeper and for doing that they may get something in return, etc. What I want to say is how to strengthen Cambodian economic development within the country not just our wish to compete with regional countries …

HE Tram Iv Toek has mentioned in his report already that all stakeholders in the Port need to be working together in unity – custom officers, police, military police, and the two armed forces will have to join forces in combating tax evasion while getting them to pay and making sound evaluation of real tax value …

I would warn the fact that there was this case of fixing a value 70% out of 100 so that they can share among themselves the rest. We must guarantee a smooth operation of the Port …

HE Cham Prasidh should also look into the fact that many requests for developing golf courses but it seems that not many have actually implemented them ...

I would like you to check which company does not implement the project, we should take back what has been offered, and we keep the deposit fund too … because we have provided them with like a one or two-year validity already …

The ANCO clean water has come now in the city and it could provide up to 12,000 cubic meters of clean water per day and only 6000 cubic meters are consumed currently per day … The left-over half should be running down to other areas like the Port so a running water system should be laid down to cater water to every sectors … the Koh Puoh is also in need of clean water because no permission is granted for the Koh Puoh investors to drill for water …

Because today is the 123rd anniversary of the International Labor Day, in Phnom Penh there are 112 factories and enterprises that organize banquets for workers. I wish our workers make further efforts to overcome difficulties in time of world economic crisis and continue to collaborate within the labor law where understanding between workers/employers and employers/factories owners is needed because the two sides are partners that need each other in order to make progress …

The same is true for the Autonomous Sea Port of Sihanoukville where if the Port makes more money, workers will enjoy the benefit as well ...

Workers and factories owners are partners in their developments … In Lenin’s New Economic Policy he said workers will have difficulties if the capitalists are not making any progress. I would analyze his statement that if the capitalists do not invest in factories, workers would not be able to find jobs or careers …

In the cause of coming electoral campaign which starts tomorrow, I would urge our armed forces to do a good job serving the National Election Committee at all levels while guaranteeing a free, fair and just environment for the sub-national election to take place free from violence. Before and after the election date, we have to provide safety in the whole country especially all CPP committees’ members must exercise patience and whatever is beyond authority’s jurisdiction, please leave it for the judicial system and refrain from going into conflict. This is my appeal after which I will be silent …

I also would like to appeal to all who use vehicles of all types to increase watchfulness in operating their means of transports because accidents caused by traffic are grisly and higher death rate everyday …

We all have to respect traffic rules and no matter who you are you have to abide by law … It is now also time that we have to take actions against those vehicles with military or police number licenses … they should replace them or they will get fined and their vehicles would be confiscated for state property …

I also urge those driving important persons’ vehicles to drive within permitted speed … and siren car should have certain rule to follow because the sound at a certain level would be disturbing patients in hospital or elderly who has insomnia …/.


Address at the Official Inauguration Ceremony of Container Lifting Facilities and Meeting with Official, Laborers, Employees during the International

30 April 2009

Venerable Monks,

H.E. Katsuhiro Shinohara, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished National and International Guests,

Dear Officials, Laborers, Employees and Staffs at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Seaport!

Today I am greatly delighted to participate in the official inauguration ceremony of container lifting facilities under Japanese concession loan through JICA and meeting with officials, laborers employees at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Seaport and other civil servants of the competent authorities working in the port campus during the International Labor Day 1st May 2009.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to request H.E. Katsuhiro Shinohara to convey my profound thanks to the Government and people of Japan, who have always contributed since 1993 to build and maintain peace, political stability, socio-economic development by improving infrastructure system in all sectors, particularly, in the area of public work, transportation and port by continuously providing substantial cooperative grants for human resource development, school building, hospitals, transportation infrastructure, and maintenance of roads and bridges throughout Cambodia.

In addition, Japan has provided concession financing since 2002 for repairing and developing seaport infrastructure with the amount of USD77 millions and cooperative grants for improving infrastructure and safety utilities in Cambodia’s international seaport aiming to protect and maintain human lives, ships and import/export goods at the autonomous seaport of Sihanouk province and Phnom Penh where I participated in the opening ceremony of construction in the occasion coincided with International Labor Day 1st May every year, including:


1st May 2005 : I joined in the opening ceremony of using 240m-container port constructed in 2002.

1st May 2006 : I took part in the opening ceremony of constructing 160m container port and administrative building of “One Stop Service”, equipping container lifting tools and electronic controlling system for all relevant agencies in compliance with Electronic Data Interchange-EDI, which reduced import/export time at Sihanoukville seaport from 3 hours to 5 or 10 minutes.

1st May 2007 : I participated in the opening ceremony of improving infrastructure and safety system at Cambodia’s international seaport.

1st May 2008 : I joined in the official opening ceremony for “One Stop Service” administrative building and safety utilities.

In any circumstances, the autonomous seaport of Sihanouk province still plays a role as an economic zone which is potentially strategic in sustaining national and international trade activities of Cambodia and is a core of industrial area because Sihanouk province is a west corridor and one of the 7 significant economic poles of Cambodia. The port has been facilitating to transfer, store and deliver various goods in all corners of the country, the region and the world, contributing to the collection of large amount of national revenues as well helping to create and maintain the professions and jobs for the people in the province and particularly directly employing 1068 people. These are the partial contribution to the poverty reduction.

The Sihanouk Autonomous Port can succeed through the concerted efforts of its management and employees who always take into account the development and capacity improvement to ensure efficiency and high standard services. Japan’s cooperative grants and loans have been used to finance the construction of port’s infrastructure and to equip security utilities and handling system, being inaugurated. This achievement will help transform the Sihanouk Autonomous Port into an international port with world-class standard among many other ports in the region and the globe, which, indeed, will contribute enormously in accelerating growth and social development. Continuous restoration and development of various physical infrastructure, including the Sihanouk Autonomous Port, is fully accommodating the Royal Government’s vision and efforts in bringing about concrete political stability and guaranteed security, and pushing for reform in all sectors in order to strengthen governance, speed up growth and social development through employment creation and equity, cooperation with various development partners, especially with the Japan’s government, participation from all levels of authorities, related ministries, and workers across the country in order to alleviate poverty. The Royal Government fully supports and gives priority to the restoration and development of transport network, which is a component of the Rectangular Strategy, to interlink transport across the country, especially from the isolated northeastern and southeastern parts to the port to speed up Cambodia’s regional and global integration. This vision can be realized through the utilization of all available means and resources such as government’s budget, private sector capital, grants and loans from development partners, to maintain all roads and bridges in the country, especially those connecting to the port, including the maintenance of the national road No.4 and the improvement of National Road No. 3 from Veal Renh to Trapeang Ropov and from Trapeang Ropov to Kampot Province and is linked to Phnom Penh, which started with the National Road No. 48 connecting Koh Kong to the National Road No. 4 with 4 bridges along the road and the restoration of the National Road No. 1 and No. 2 that are financed by Japan’s grants have been completed. Moreover, I fully support and urge the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to speed up its efforts to build Keng Kang Airport and to especially restore both railways from Phnom Penh to Sihanouk and the port.

Moreover, on behalf of the Royal Government and on my own behalf, I am pleased to continue to support all initiatives designed to improve Sihanouk Port, including the expansion of container fields, launching of modern handling systems, utilization of computers in “One Stop Service” building, the utilization of electronic data interchange, the use of security utilities in order to increase service delivery in this port.

I would like to thank the Government of Japan for approving various concession financings from the JBIC timely and for financing the feasibility study of Phnom Penh-Sihanouk Corridor Development, and detailed study of the establishment of the operating Special Economic Zone. I would like to express my appreciation and support to the management of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the port’s Board of Director, management, and laborers who have been fully committed to fulfilling the job and ensuring the highly productive profits every year. I would like to appreciate the Ministry of Economy and Finance, related ministries/institutions, as well as all level of local authorities for their cooperation in developing the Sihanouk Autonomous Port.

With respect to commemoration of 126th International Labor Day, it is already 10th year that I celebrate this meaningful day right here in the form of visiting and encouraging officials, laborers and employees of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) and officials of all relevant institutions who are working in the port premise. Obviously, the port of Shihanouk province remains leading agency in fulfilling duties as successful public enterprise in terms of management, leadership, keeping solidarity, discipline and order, along with labor condition which is compliant with International Labor Convention 1st May by keeping implementing policy of paying high social benefit to workers and employees at all level, which make our employees feel warm, stable, healthy and have good livelihood in conformity with main objectives of policies of the Royal Government of Cambodia to develop and rapidly reduce poverty of Cambodian people.

To promote poverty reduction policy of the people through the promotion “economic growth”, generating “employment for Cambodian laborers”, raising “social equity” as well as strengthening “efficiency of public sector”, which we are jointly adopting for bright future of Cambodia, I would like to advise all competent authorities and institutions concerned to further fulfill duties and cooperate more closely in transparent and efficient manner by revamping service delivery and port management system aiming at gaining credibility from customers, international and national investors and development partners for our commitment to restore and develop the nation. In particular, I would like to suggest all Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, officials, laborers and employees to pay attention and make utmost efforts to successfully compete in the framework of market competition in the capacity of Cambodia as a member of international communities and organizations in the world and the region. At the same time, I would like to request all private ports to carry out state principles and duties in order to ensure that competition in port sector is fair, transparent and equitable and to jointly cope with the impact from financial crisis and world economic downturn in a common goal to bring about national development, prosperity and rapid poverty reduction.

I would like to take today celebration of International Labor Day 1st May to express my nostalgia, sincere love, high appreciation and full support for promotion of legal rights of all workers and employees nation-wide and to consecrate the spirit of this meaningful day into solidarity, unity, equity, brotherhood and development for all Cambodian people, our bright future and our children of next generations to come.

At the end, I would like to wish all Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Officials and Employees 4 gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

May I inaugurate the Container Lifting Facilities and Installation of Automation System of Shihanouk Autonomous Port hereinafter!


Selected Comments on Tertiary and French Language Teachers Graduation

Unofficial Translation

28 April 2009

I have great pleasure to be present once again at the National Institute for Education (NIE) for this solemn occasion of graduations but I also would like to ask for your understanding that my wife could not make it to this ceremony for a minor health problem. It is a great pleasure to be here once more. For some graduates, graduates as teacher trainees and on-going pedagogical students, we might have met more than one time in the course of your studies.

Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the National Institute for Education (NIE) for the effort in sustaining its works from the time it was a University of Pedagogy to presently the National Institute for Education. For thirty years NIE has been serving as a center for teacher training. I have mentioned already that I used to be here in the initial stage to give lectures. We did not have electricity and lecturing at night depended on a small electric generator.

As you know we are now in a different state. Though a few old buildings are still here but many new ones have sprung up. This is also because we have to preserve and conserve some of the buildings too. NIE staff’s efforts in sharing and transferring knowledge to new generations of teachers have been well taken and highly noted.

These efforts have been very useful as it has trained and retrained teaching staff before they are being sent back for teaching jobs. Today we have the graduation of teaching staff who attain bachelor degree plus one year of pedagogy and French language training. We have the 13th and 14th batch of teaching staff in training.

This has indeed reminded us of those who know more teach those who know less, and those who know little teach those who do not know. It was after the Pol Pot’s regime which was the most difficult time for us. Upon being liberated from the Pol Pot’s regime, our people had to keep one hands fighting the return of the genocide, while another to restore every fields that were in complete destruction and to cope with sanction that was imposed upon by the United Nations. The embargo meant development assistance was forbidden making our youngsters at that time studying under trees, in Buddhist monks’ residences, and charcoal was used as chalk.

We have now come to a new and different stage of development as we started to globalize ourselves by integrating with the world without anymore sanction from anyone. We are also a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, World Customs, etc. We have even fulfilled some international obligations like sending de-mining teams to Sudan and are in the process of sending more to Chad and Central African Republic.

These steps of developments have allowed us more time to improve our country’s education service in quality and quantity, in which number of students throughout the country has reached 3,4 millions together with increasing number of teachers to 106,300 … This is starkly different to when we first started with only few teachers in 1979-1980, in addition to even less number of teachers of pedagogy left from the genocide. We have suffered multiple consequences in the field of education. Some efforts to make our people literate had failed because of what is called “literacy disremember” because after literacy campaign they do not have books to read or TV to watch as we do now, so they tended to disremember. This is our sad memory of what it was like.

HE Im Sothi, Minister for Education, has just reported that in 2007-2008, we have a graduation of 4,861 teachers for all levels of education. Among them, 488 graduates are to be distribute among universities. We also have pedagogical teachers who have been transferred from Phnom Penh’s Pedagogical School to NIE to further train Bachelor + 1 professors and 12 + 1 for those who come from regional pedagogical schools … And these efforts are made for all — male and female.

I have been accused and sued to have abused women when I made a remark which did not even specifically name any names. S/he felt my remark meant on her/him and sued me for that in her/his generalization that I meant all women in the remark. I have now gathered sufficient proofs and evidences to sue the person of what was being said of me. It is not that I counterclaim but I bring a claim upon the person for her/his remark that discredits my honor …

After making noises about what is to be “my wrong actions,” and as soon as I decided to sue the person, those voices that initially support the person’s claim have raised concerns and opted for no legal actions taken.

The person even threatened and challenged me for parliamentary immunity removal together with her/his. I am ready for that. However, the person should think of the two-third majority I have in the National Assembly. It is up to the Court to decide, if they see me committing any wrongdoings, they should request to the National Assembly for such immunity removal. As for me, I have no doubt that the two-third majority of the CPP in the parliament will not go her/his way. As for the person, I am sure it will be a piece of cake … The person always back up her/his position by resorting to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) but I am also a member of parliament and I also have my honor to protect.

I was sued for 500 Riels in compensation for whatever cause the person may claim but I am suing the person for Riel 10 million and the money will go to orphanage centre. Now when I say those “ill-will politicians who reckoned no truth” … they may think I discredit them and they may think that they are the ones who do not reckon the truth for real. So, they may sue me on that too … How dare the person link her/himself with women in the whole country, I also have my wife and my daughters and female members of the CPP too …

All this have proven what a former parliamentarian Khem Viesna said “keeping scolding Hun Sen will make a person famous” … Now you have it but I will get Riel 10 million for the orphans. The legal action will have to cover both persons in the press conference they conducted. In what count that the lawyer is in the press conference with the person?

I have to take this opportune moment to share with all of you and your loved ones my joy for the successes you have achieved in the course of your study and soon you will be going out teaching in various educational institutions. I think as the country’s development has come to a better stage perhaps distribution of teachers to various provinces in the country will be easier in comparison to some ten years ago.

In 1986, I requested Takeo province to send some 100 teachers to Ratanakiri province (in the northeast) and about five or six stay there up to now. It was a hard decision to make in presence of malaria, Khmer Rouge’s guerilla activities and in absence of road connections to Phnom Penh …

As of the present, the province is well connected and traveling to Phnom Penh would not take four or five days or via Vietnam as before but in few hours. We still have the section of national road 78 under construction from O Pong Moan to Baan Lung and soon we will have an agreement signed with the People’s Republic of China on other national road 76 construction which soon we will have this area well connected by asphalted roads. Teachers who have to fulfill mission in Koh Kong province will also be there and from within four hours.

What is now the most important achievement of Cambodia is the fact that the whole country is under one control and the presence of no war has allowed our people to travel freely wherever they wish to. There have no longer been internal boundaries, beside which former warring factions filled them with mines … So when we achieve peace in the whole country well connected infrastructure will add on to educational and healthcare facilities in place in local areas or communities … these have made us different from before indeed.

However, my ambition has been far greater as I wish to focus on building more functional residences for teaching staff and this ambition has been fulfilled in some places like in Romeas Hek of Svay Rieng province by HE Pol Saroen, Chief of General Staff and also by Bun Rany Hun Sen in Memot of Kompong Cham province where functional residences for teaching staff are provided …

I usually say that an important criteria among all in order to have good teachers is to provide basic facility for living condition, residence included. Teachers will choose your provinces if they see that you take care of basic facility for them …

We have now stratified our development in a more even manner as in the forthcoming time the northeast region will become one of the strong economic poles and as you know Mondulkiri, Kratie, Stoeng Treng, with better road accesses will attract more teachers … the local authorities should be wise as to look for land for cultivation for them as well. Giving priority to education, we have augmented more budget regularly whereas human resources development enjoys our special attention …

Knowledge economy must be provided for all Cambodian citizens and that is why we have done everything we can to establish secondary school in all communes with the hope that we will be able to fulfill the mission by 2011 …

Before and after 1979, in the whole province we have only one senior secondary school … In Kompong Cham for instance before 1970, students who wished to pursue their education to senior secondary school level will have to come to the town of Kompong Cham and by after 1979, we still had one senior secondary school in the town. As of now we have more in all districts, with at least two each in Dambe and Memot districts, while others have more than two …

As far as junior secondary school is concerned, by late 2011 we will achieve the target and more will help students from having to travel across rivers to study… We should apply the Hun Sen theory in this matter by upgrading junior to senior secondary school by adding more buildings and providing more teachers …

Having said so I would urge all to maintain school land property – at kindergarten, primary, secondary school and university levels – for future demand for more buildings to be built for educational purposes and I would deny categorically any assumption that so and so school has got so and so much of unused land … Remember that in 30 years the Cambodian population have grown from about four millions to about 14 millions …

So we need to have more good teachers … Indeed we have started after the liberation with our bare hands and teaching was an activity in exchange for about ten different food and utensil items – ranging from rice, salt … to soap, etc.

It has been a tightened-belt effort to be able to increase civil servants’ salary for 20% per annum and it is not at all easy to do unlike so and so increase would be made by some irresponsible politicians … We are not opting for collecting tax on land to just fulfill this wish … Increase of salary will have to be implemented in accordance with the level of growth that the country has achieved … Preaching irresponsibly is not my style …

In addition to this I have some messages for our people as the world is being threatened by swine flu and its rapid spread if we compare to SARS or bird flu. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health have taken precautionary measures by raising our people’s awareness and also by sending veterinaries to all country’s entrance and exit points …

However it has been noted that the disease is not being contaminated from eating pork, so I would urge our people not to refrain from eating pork completely as those who have contaminated with the disease in Mexico are 99% not pork eating …

I have HE Cham Prasidh contact with HE Surin Pitsuvan, the General Secretary of ASEAN, to discuss the possibility of getting a common ASEAN mechanism to be prepared for the disease as we had done that with SARS while Thailand was under HE Thaksin, for which ASEAN had the participation from Hong Kong and China … That is just an initiative proposed in the name of ASEAN to take up a common ASEAN approach to the matter while where to meet and who to meet will be another matter to decide. As the scale of the issue is rather big we should examine whether a meeting of such nature could make effective decision or should there be a meeting at a higher level. I support Thailand to host such a meeting …

IN many countries, travelers have been stopped while finding out at point of entrance to be contaminated, where in Cambodia, I suggest the Ministry of Health will have to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation immediately to inform them of nationals who have identified to be contaminated or carried the disease and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will have to inform respective embassies about such cases involving their nationals and what should be appropriate measures to be observed … We will wait for further information and evaluation from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health before more serious measures be taken, while in some countries, Mexicans have been strictly forbidden from entering their countries … We have been safe because of our precautionary measures. We are unsophisticated in terms of our ability to deal with the disease, but as in the case of SARS and bird flu, because we are pro-active and cautious, we are not spiritually weak …

Another message is for our people to speed up rainy season rice cultivation as rain starts quite early this year. Rice cultivation to start early will help us deal with impacts from the world financial and economic crisis … We have observed impacts on garment industry, tourism, construction, and investment flow, etc.

However, agriculture has in this state of being shown out to be opportunity that we have in stock a surplus from meeting an increasing demand for local food security and export … It is time for us to take all efforts in speeding up cultivation and high yield will help us guarantee food security for the country and economic growth to a certain extent, … We can go less oil but not without rice …/.


Address at the Graduation Ceremony for Teacher Trainees of 13th Promotion (Bachelor+1) and 10t Promotion (Lower Secondary) in French-Khmer

National Institute of Education, 29 April 2009

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Directors, Deputy Directors,

Board of Directors, Lecturers and Academic Staffs,

Dear Teachers and Students!

Today I am really pleased to participate in the “Graduation Ceremony for Teacher Trainees of 13th Promotion (Bachelor+1) and 10t Promotion (Lower Secondary) in French-Khmer” at the National Institute of Education with 543 graduates. The achievement and fruitful outcome we have achieved today further contribute to the social development in the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially in improving and expanding our education system. At the same time, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations and appreciations for your utmost efforts in attaining such fruitful success. This current result is truly another new pride and prestige for us all including you as graduates and your families.

Based on the report by Dr. Im Koch, Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE) and H.E. Im Sothy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), I am confident that this outcome is only one of the new achievements that the NIE and MoEYS have accomplished in further expanding the achievements of the Royal Government in implementing the reform in all sectors by mainly focusing on human resource development, institutional capacity building, and physical infrastructure development, particularly roads bridges, irrigation systems, utilities, education and health, which are our urgent and primary need for the development of Cambodia. Today’s achievement is indeed a key for improving higher education and overall education and training sector in general, as well as accelerating national economic development. In this sense, education and training sector will remain the Royal Government’s priority in formulating development policies as this sector is the foundation of growth and productivity. Along with this, further strengthening and expansion of attained human resource development will ensure the nation’s competitive advantage and play a crucial role in sustaining growth in all sectors.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and on my wife’s and my behalf, I would like to express my appreciation for the outcome attained by the NIE as well as the MoEYS who have transformed teacher trainees into qualified teachers with competence, professional skill and conscience. These achievements indeed cannot be separated from the effort made by the University’s management, lecturers as well as development partners who provide support to successfully manage the teacher trainings in order to take part in the development of higher education and lower-secondary education in Cambodia.

The Royal Government has set human resource development as a strategic angle in the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, which has been designed to alleviate poverty and accelerate national development. In fact, in the situation that global peace culture is facing the international terrorism, I realize that education is significant to address all economic and social issues to become a society where people can live together with mutual respects, love and support, no violence and no discrimination on the basis of gender, race and status.

Over recent years, the Royal Government has made substantial progress in education sector through quality improvement both in public and private institutions, better education infrastructure, and more efficient and improved teaching methodologies, which are gradually responding to the demand of local and regional workforce. In the face of fierce competition coupled with the global crisis, I think the education and training programs must be oriented on vocational skills to enable students to fully utilize these skills in their future careers by starting with simple techniques in agricultural and craft production, which will gradually switch Cambodian economy to be knowledge-based and move from an economy of comparative advantage to competitive advantage. In this regard, we must produce intelligent, highly skilled and competent workforce.

In deed, capacity building is time-consuming and requires firm efforts from various players including policy makers, executing agencies, development partners, local people, and other stakeholders by focusing on both knowledge and know-how. Also, technology transfer and management approach are important determinants, which have to be paid attention by the education sector and to be linked with education experience around us. I think that technology transfer does not only refer to the transfer of tools or equipments through purchases or donations, but also improves the awareness of domestic users on new products and use of those technologies. Along with this, we must promote production and business ability, technology licensing, joint research, cooperation and exchange program among higher education institutions, infrastructural services etc. Moreover, technology transfer is everything about facilitating adaptation and dissemination of new technologies in a country.

In this spirit, I request the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to pay more attention to science and technology education in order to transform students into quality and productive producers due to the fact that if science and technology education is limited the quality products cannot be produced.

Along with this, I would like to appeal to all public and private education institutions to give priority to the teaching and quality improvement of basic science for effective teaching of other majors.

I strongly believe that “the value of education is always a mean for personal and national development”. On the road toward globalized economy, globalized higher education plays critical function to develop education and training sector with quality, efficiency and to further expand international cooperation, which in turn results in mutual understanding on the basis of mutual interest and equality.

At the same time, our education sector shall focus on quality; otherwise our energy and budget spent will be useless because education that does not take quality first will hinder benefits of our students and our effort to build national capacity to confront challenges in the fiercely competitive world. In this sense, I would like to request all higher education institutions to direct to resolving social issues through researches, students’ thesis writing, especially to resource management, promotion of new way of thinking and research methodology and modern teaching methodology which are necessary for systematic thinking and for incorporating cultural, social and economic factors into rural environmental system analysis and usage of mixed group. Moreover, I would like to appeal to ministries/institutions, higher education institutions, international organizations, civil society and private sector to encourage and facilitate our researchers for this purpose.

Indeed, 543 graduates, who will receive certificates in the moment, will be proud of their own efforts by successfully completing their education. However, you must adhere to learning in any form when you enter into society and working and follow strictly teacher professional ethics aiming at promoting dignity and quality and efficiency of education. From now on, you will understand clearly that this knowledge must be complemented by experience and be coupled with innovative ideas either according to real work circumstance or situation. In this spirit, you must be always patient and industrious to absorb work experience, which is the foundation for progress in livelihood and for contribution to social development. Hence, learning which is complemented by self-study and self-research will promote capacity and intellectual enrichment.

As proved, I believe that you will surely become teachers of quality and educate our youth into intellectuals of reasoning power and good moral to develop Cambodia into society of good morality, dignity and high skill for national development. Along with, I would like to appeal to parents and guardians to keep teaching children to follow the way of the Dharma and to self-learn by cooperating with schools, professors, teachers and all academic staff in order to build a generation of youth full of development in all aspect, particularly to have knowledge, to know how to conduct self-study, to have know-how, to self-recognize and to live in peace and harmony aiming at training students to become “good children, good students, good friends and good citizens”, which are the four pillars of education.

Finally, my wife and I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and all teacher trainee graduates 4 gems of Buddhist blessings: longevity, nobility, health and strength.