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.