Friday, April 2, 2010

Keynote Address at the Closing of 2008-2009 Stocktaking Conference of Education, Youth and Sport Achievements and Direction Setting for 2009 – 2010

National Institute of Education, 19th March 2010

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen distinguished national and international guests,

Municipal/Provincial Education Delegate, and all the participants!

It is my honor and privilege to be here in the closing of the “2008-2009 Education, Youth and Sport Achievements and Direction Setting for 2009 – 2010” which is hosted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MEYS). This event indeed allows all of us, in particular, officials from local levels to exchange dialogue and experiences to explore development options for the education, youth and sport sector. Through this, we can reassess our past achievements, drawbacks, opportunities, and challenges to implement the new plans consistently with development partners and stakeholders to ensure equity in enrolment, quality improvement, efficiency and social development. In particular, some good lessons and experiences learned in the 2008 – 2009 academic year will enable us to achieve better results in the new year by addressing all shortcomings and deepening the strong points.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to thank Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen all level of MEYS officials, lecturers, students’ parents, students, local authorities for your commitment and contribution in the previous year to promote the education and human development sector, in spite of some challenges and shortcomings. The effort of the Ministry’s management and all levels officials and related ministries/institutions is not only a major catalyst for education development but also an assurance of capable human resources for fair competition in the era of globalization. Along with this, I would like to commend all development partners, development agencies, national and international organizations, and all stakeholders for the cooperation and support given to the both the formulation and implementation of plans to improve efficiency, quality and development. These efforts are a big contribution to the implementation of “the Rectangular Strategy” for growth, employment, equity and efficiency as well as socio-economic development and poverty reduction. In this sense, I would like to request the management and all levels of officials of the MEYS, related organizations, development partners, development agencies and the private sector to continue to cooperate closely in terms of materials, finance and techniques and work harder to realize Cambodia’s vision of education development especially in terms of rehabilitation and expansion of physical infrastructure and development of institutional and human capacity to respond timely to the requirements for socio-economic development.

The cooperation and support from all sources indicate we are moving in the right direction in implementing the principle of “Education for All, All for Education”, which is consistent with the Constitution and targets set out in the 2000 – 2015 World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal. In this spirit, the Royal Government will work harder to mobilize support and resources from development partners, development agencies, and other sources to accelerate the education sector and create employment for Cambodian people. Success in this sector, apart from a key resolution for all socio-economic issues, will make our society a place with harmony and respects but free from violence and discrimination.

The conclusion of the conference highlights that the education sector for the last 30 years, starting from the 24th September, 1979 to the 24th September, 2009 had made prideful progress. Although this sector has been experiencing some obstacles, however the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has been able to make remarkable numerous achievements that could answer demand from new socio-economic development. At the same time, the conference clearly highlights the remaining issues that are shortfalls which require us to double our efforts to improve and solve all those problems in the forthcoming years.

Obviously, according to proceeding report that is cited by Excellency Im Sithy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, in overall I can understand the situation and the evolution of Cambodian education sector that we rehabilitated and developed from the scratch after the 7th January, 1979, the day when the nation was rescued from the genocidal regime. Apparently, for the last 30 years we had gained lessons and experiences in the education sector, and those still remain valuable until today, for which we started from “Those who know little teach those who know nothing”, “Those who know more teach those who know less”, “All must learn again and again, and learn regularly”, “state and people jointly develop”...etc... All achievements at the moment are definitely prideful to all of us.

To strengthen and extend the quality and efficiency in the education sector and as the foundation for direct setting for the next 2009-2010 school year I would like to provide a number of additional recommendations to be carried out in this sector as follows:

First. Continue implementing policies that ensure equitable enrollment at all levels of education among which, we must find the strategy to mobilize those children that reached school age and get all of them enrolled, at least make them complete 9-yeear basic education in conformity to the Constitution and toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In parallel, we must strengthen the profession-oriented programs which provide youths with technical and vocational training opportunities to answer the demand of the labor market and to promote development of creative ideas as well as to increase new opportunities for poor students, especially for female students to study at all levels of education by increasing scholarships and building dormitory and school and dispatching teachers to the right target nationwide. Through this, increasing chance for private sector engagement and cooperation with development partners is necessary task to be kept implemented in order to promote education at all levels by making environment better and open for investment and implementation of the projects in this sector.

Second. Continue implementing policy that improve and raise the quality and efficiency of education of all levels through deepening reforms of institutions, curriculum and materials, documents and research activities by regularly carrying out perfection and training programs. Moreover, we must provoke and encourage commune/sangkat councils and municipal/provincial councils to engage with education movement aiming at linking education at schools with education in family, community and the whole society in order to build up a new generation of children and youth who are “good child, good student, good friends and good citizen” with high education, skill, and good moral to eradicate any vices in the society such as drug consumption, violence, gangster and sexual exploitation. Regarding these issues, I had already announced during the 99th Anniversary of International Woman Day 8th March 2010 under the theme that goes “Together we promote the potential of women and youth for development” by taking 2010 as the campaign year to uproot all vices barbarian acts which affect the dignity and honor of women and youth who are indispensible elements for national development and affect the tradition, culture and the profound civilization that are our national soul. Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that all ministry-institutions, all kinds of armed force and all levels of local authority must keep implementing effectively this campaign by getting rid-off all culture of intervention and following legal procedures.

Third. Continue implementing policy for capacity building and institutional management through making improvement and strengthening good governance according to the principle of decentralization and de-concentration. We must continue to increase the possibilities and means of human, physical and budgetary resources to support the work and continue implementing policy for building the capacity of civil servants to strengthen the monitoring and inspection system aiming at upgrading the quality and efficiency of education of all levels. Strictly implement the duty, role and the professional codes of ethic of education officers, teachers, and professors toward eradicating any individual who uses the education sector for his/her own interests and disgracing the national education sector. In this regard, the continuation of careful and firm implementation will truly contribute to the enhancement of honor, dignity and national prestige at the national, regional and global level.

Fourth. Continue implementing policy of partnership with the private sector and the national and international organizations, development partners and various donors in mobilizing to rebuild and develop education sector in all levels based on the principle: “State and People Work Together for Development”, in which this work is the lesson and experience since the last 30 years and will be further pursued.

Fifth. Continue promoting the competition on research and composition in all subjects. At the same time, the research articles, newspapers, magazines, homepages and other postures in public areas must be strictly controlled to make sure that they maintain the original form and literature standard and national linguistics as mentioned in the Khmer Dictionary written by Samdech Chuon Nath. Taking this opportunity, I would like the National Committee for Khmer Language to pay attention to defining the agreed framework in the reading, word creation, definition as well as the writing of words that has not been in agreement yet.

Sixth. Promote and boost intensively the development of body language (gesture) for the mute and deaf people, sign letters for the blind people to be in a clear cut form and standard and must be extensively disseminated to those people to be used for the interest of the daily living because those people legally have equal rights in receiving full education.

Seventh. Continue implementing the development policy of youth and sport through the promotion of Good 4 Movements: “good children, good students, good friends, and good citizen”, that must be ensured by the national policy for Cambodian youth and further promotion of the physical education and sport that is the component of education among the 5 education components: Intelligence Education, Moral Education, Physical Education, Labor Education and Beauty Education.

The promotion of all kinds of sports is to achieve the objective of maintaining health, intelligence and solidarity and through this work we have to continue promoting and actively implementing the issue of sport for all in the framework of popular sports, student sports and professional sports. Moreover, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports must continue to support and encourage students to participate in the Cambodian Red Cross Youth Movement (KAYARITH KAMPUCHEA) among students more intensively with the objective to inspire and enhance the youth to become humanitarian-hearted and be engaged in the art of sharing in order to eliminate the negative effects in the society.

In fact, these tasks will contribute ideally and spiritually to the conference as well as academic staff, teachers, lecturers and management in all levels in education sector to put into the objective, obligation and action plan to continue implementing the tasks more effectively, efficiently and productively to double the fruitful result and progress for our society.

Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the management of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and officials in all levels of the municipality and provinces including teachers, professors and academic staffs to put further effort in implementing their roles and functions with high attention and with the spirit of high responsibility by having to be well aware that the destiny of our socio-economic issue in the future will rest upon the process of the national education and measures taken by Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are the management of the academic staff, teachers, lecturers, working in this education sector. We must all bear in mind that the people who have not been fully educated can also be our partial fault and the weakness of the institutional capacity and human resources in education sector also partly results from the weakness of our measures. In this spirit, we have to always bear in mind that the people all over the country have provided strong hope to our pubic service delivery that will be able to upgrade the knowledge capacity and experiences to promote their livelihood, community development and socio-economy in the future. In this connection, our education system must be strong, active and responsive to all aspects in the present and future. At the same time, I would also like to appeal to the parents, families, local authorities, national and international organizations, development partners and agencies and all donors to continue the good cooperation and support the national education sector in order to rebuild and develop this sector to be more successful, progressive and prosperous.

Before ending, I would like to appeal once again to the Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and the whole conference to participate actively and lively based on the plan we have put forward as well as trying your best to share information, knowledge and various experiences received from this conference for improving the implementation to accomplish new achievements in conformity with the education sector development strategy.

At this end, together with the Closing of 2008-2009 Stocktaking Conference of Education, Youth and Sport Achievements and Direction Setting for 2009 – 2010 today, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Academic Staff, Teachers, Lecturers and the whole Conference the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Address at the Official Inauguration of the 70 Km

Address at the Official Inauguration of the 70 Km Segment of the National Road No. 78 from Banlung (Rattanakiri Province) to Oyadav (Cambodia-Vietnam Border) under the Concessional Loan from the People’s Republic of Vietnam

Rattanakiri, March 18, 2010

- Your Venerable Monks,

- H.E. Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Vietnam,

- Excellencies, Members of the Senate, Members of the Parliament, and Members of the Royal Government,

- Your Excellency Ambassador and High Level Delegates of the People’s Republic of Vietnam,

- Distinguished National and International Guests,

- H.E Chairman, Provincial Governor, and Members of the Triangle Zone Coordinating Committee (Cambodia-Lao-Vietnam)

- Dear Compatriots, Teachers and Students!

Today it is my great pleasure and honor to participate with H.E. Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Vietnam to officially inaugurate the segment of the National Road No.78 from Banlung of Rattanakiri provincial town to Oyadav of Cambodia-Vietnam border under the concessional loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of Vietnam (PRV) and Counterpart fund of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC). Taking this solemn opportunity, I would like to request Excellency Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Vietnam to convey the deepest thanks and gratitude from the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of Vietnam, who are close friends, sharing happiness and sorrow together long time ago, especially during the time of hardship faced by Cambodia. Moreover, Vietnamese friends constantly support Cambodia’s development in all sector, especially the renovation and improvement of Cambodian transport infrastructure, and now Vietnam provides concessional loan for the construction of the segment of the National Road No.78 from Rattanakiri provincial town to Cambodia-Vietnam border (Oyadav International Border Pass) in order to contribute to economic growth and job creations for Cambodian people, which is the key to enhance the living standard of the people as well as quickly liberating the people from poverty. On behalf of the people and Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to highly appreciate and record the perfect gesture and mindset of the Government and people of the People’s Republic of Vietnam in the history and heart of all Cambodian people.

The National Road No.78 is the intersection that is divided into the National Road No.7 in O Pong Moan village of Steung Treng province, which is a 123.1 km segment from O Pong Maon to Banlung of Rattanakiri province, being constructed under the concessional loan from the People’s Republic of China. This construction was recently started on 12 November 2009 and has, so far, achieved about 12.48%.

As I have already mentioned that the construction of segment of the National Road from Banlung to Oyadav is aiming to pose favorable condition for the transport of materials and facilities for the construction of segment of the National Road from Banlung to O Pong Maon and I have also compared it with the left back foot of the Dragon; and the segment from Banlung to O Pong Maon is the back foot finger having tail at the Emeral Triangle Area in Steung Treng, called Triangle Dragon Tail by the Sub-regional Community; and this Dragon body is from the National Road No.7 to National Road No.6A and National Road No.4, which is the segment linked to the head located in Sihanoukville port. During the 3 Legislatures of the National Assembly, we have actively cooperated to almost complete the construction of this powerful Dragon with the objective to promote national economic growth and Cambodian family economy, except the connection of leg fingers to increase the Dragon’s potential. Frankly speaking, the promotion of construction of the inter-connected road network in the northern and northeastern part of Cambodia is the increase of regional potential, that is favorable in planting the agro-business products, and is the natural tourism resort with cold climate and waterfall, hundred years of historical lake, that can attract investors and international tourist arrivals, to help promote national economic growth as well as family economy through the flow in and out of the transportation in order to exchange products inside the country and with neighboring country, having the National Road No.7 as a master network, playing role as the most significant economic vein for Cambodia and other countries in the region, and have created favorable conditions for good cooperation among the three countries: Cambodia-Lao-Vietnam.

According to the report from the Excellency Minister of Public Works and Transport and based on the Construction Plan, we have found that this National Road 78 will highly effective to serve transportation traffic of Northern sub-corridor (or second sub-corridor) of economic corridors of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), which links all road networks in this greater sub-region from the East to the West and connect Kingnhing Seaport of Vietnam to Steung Treng, Preah Vihear and world heritage regions in Siem Reap and Utdor Meanchey, which clearly confirms that Cambodia dragon is lively and fully energetic to accelerate economic growth and raise livelihood of Cambodians from poverty and enable them with spiritual welfare and strong physical condition because we are easier to construct schools, hospitals and pagoda at the region where it seemed to be very far from other regions due to lack of road infrastructure unlike today.

Furthermore, this National Road No.78 serves as bridge of great potential for road freighting of products made by the people of the 3 countries Cambodia-Vietnam-Lao, leading to development and good cooperation in accordance with the development plan of dragon tail triangle of North-Eastern Cambodia with Vietnam and Lao by taking Emerald Triangle of Cambodia-Lao-Thailand as a core. Being ASEAN Road No.11, the National Road No.78 will link Vientiane city of Lao PDR and Phnom Penh city to international sea road through Preah Sihanouk Port by the National Road No.4 or by Cambodian rail road or head to Thailand through Poi Pet gate.

The Royal Government is still firm that rehabilitation and development of transport infrastructure of road, water, rail and air and port is policy priorities, which is to be paid great attention and be promoted most actively because roads and bridges are indispensible means and locomotive to promote socio-economic growth, enhance livelihood and welfare as the slogan puts “Having Road is Having Hope”, with good road, our people can transport and trade goods and products to market timely with big quantity, freshly with cheap cost. Good roads can also attract investors to invest in all sectors including industrial, agriculture and tourism sectors which can create more employments for the people and ease their traveling and transportation to schools, hospitals, and other public places, especially for sending qualified teachers and doctors to far flung areas.

At the same time, on behalf of the RGC and the people of Cambodia I would like to express my appreciation for the government and people of various ally countries and development partners for having always provided us with continuous spiritual, physical, and financial supports for the development and rehabilitation of Cambodia’s socio-economy through the improvement and construction of transportation infrastructure. I would also like to thank and continue to support and encourage all leaders, civil servants, workers, employees, of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, authority at all levels as well as related institutions for having tried their outmost to cooperate and facilitate the RGC in successfully achieving its strategic goals as adopted so far, especially, the construction of this section of National Road No.78.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate and highly encourage the CIENCO 1 Company, the constructor of this segment of the National Road No.78, with cooperation from the local company and the TSC Company and a Cambodian commercial enterprise as the technical advising firm for having jointly been responsible for the successful completion of the project according to the international technical standard.

While we are enjoying the traveling on these roads days and nights and all in seasons, there are still concerns about the traffic accidents occurring every year, especially we have observed that in only one month during the Khmer New Year in 2008, the death toll was 178 and jumped to 201 in 2009. This was caused by the lack of care and ignorance while driving. Therefore, I would like to remind you all again and again to refrain from driving over 90km/hr at rural areas and less than 40km/hr at urban areas. As for motorcycle drivers, please wear your helmets at all time.

Before ending my remark, along with the official inauguration of the segment of the National Road No.78 from Banlung to Oyadav, I would like to whish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Civil Servants, Students and all Teachers, the four Gems of Buddhist Blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength, during this upcoming Khmer New Year.

Opening Address at the 2010 Cambodia Outlook Conference

Opening Address at the 2010 Cambodia Outlook Conference: A Partnership of CDRI and ANZ Royal Bank: “Returning to a High Growth Economy – Policy Priorities and Action for Growth and Sustainable Development”

17 March 2010, Phnom Penh Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure today to participate in the opening of the 2010 Cambodia Outlook Conference on “Returning to a High Growth Economy – Policy Priorities and Action for Growth and Sustainable Development”. This is the fourth occasion on which I have had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote address, and I would like to again congratulate CDRI and ANZ Royal Bank on their initiative in hosting this important annual conference, which each year brings together officials from the Royal Government, the private sector, the research community, civil society and international development partners to consider Cambodia’s achievements and the challenges we face, and to seek good approaches we can work on together for the benefit of our nation.

This year’s conference is of particular importance because it is the 20th anniversary of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, CDRI, your co-hosts today, and now Cambodia’s leading independent development policy research institute, playing a critical role in providing evidence based development research and policy recommendations to government and other stakeholders in Cambodia’s development. I am very proud to have been involved in the establishment of CDRI all those years ago, and this morning as I look around I am pleased to see also present Madam Eva Mysliewic, CDRI’s visionary and indefatigable founding director, and the presence of other distinguished people, who played such important roles in CDRI’s genesis.

As Cambodia has grown, developed, and changed over those 20years, so has CDRI grown, developed and changed, but never losing sight of its mandate - to do independent high quality policy relevant research, but also to train and build the professional and other capacity to make a great intellectual contribution to our nation. On the occasion of CDRI’s 20th anniversary I would like to extend my warmest congratulations and appreciation to all CDRI Board members, management and staff, past and present, who have each contributed to the success of this unique national institution.

Today’s conference and its theme, Returning to a High Growth Economy – Policy Priorities and Action for Growth and Sustainable Development, are very relevant in the current context. I remember that, last year in this forum, we considered the impact of the severe global financial crisis and global and regional economic downturn that, while not of Cambodia’s own making, had such serious negative impacts on our economy and its growth, on our development, and on the wellbeing of our people, especially the poor and vulnerable. This year, while learning from the many lessons of the crisis, and assessing the effectiveness of our responses, we look forward, to what must now be done to return Cambodia to its former high levels of growth, and to strengthen our achievements in sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Though the world’s economy is recovering, we have faced daunting challenges to find new markets beyond the US and European ones and compete for funding in terms of ODA, FDI and other sources to finance our growth and development. The economic structure has changed from an economy that mostly relied on garment and tourism into a more diversifying broad-based economy with improved domestic and regional linkages. Thus the key issue for us now is how to improve our “competiveness”.

Indeed, at the current stage of development, all the assistances from our official development partners either in “preferential trade treatments” or “development cooperation financing” remain very crucial to the development of Cambodian economy, and we are making our best efforts to use those resources effectively and efficiently to create a strong foundation for growth and poverty reduction among our people. We are also aware that, if we are going to be thoughtless, hasty and lacking of ownership, we cannot rely on the “preferential treatments” and such assistances to get rid of the poverty. In other words, we can say: “nobody gives us money to become rich, if we have no ideas on how to live on our own”. We must be ambitious and aim high to graduate from a poor country and to become a middle-income and then developed country in a realistic timeframe, with effective and efficient use of all the opportunities and available potentials while participating in the cooperation and competition with partners in this globalized world.

Let me now start my deliberation with a brief recap on the impact of the downturn on Cambodia and our Royal Government’s responses.

After a decade of strong growth with significant poverty reduction, the economy has been impacted by the global financial crisis, affecting real key economic sectors. However, the overall economic performance is not too bad, as recent preliminary estimates suggested GDP growth in 2009 would remain positive but not significant at 0.1%, supported by good performance in agriculture and service sectors at 5.4% and 2.3% respectively, offsetting the decline in other sectors such as industry at -9.4% especially the garment sector which dropped by -9%. It should be noted that all the sub sectors of services have shown growth, except the real estate business which declined by -2.5%. The tourism industry was hit by the crisis, with growth slowed down to 1.8% for the hotel and restaurant sub-sector. Investments (FDI) suffered some decline to around USD 500 million in 2009, but it is still significant to support the Cambodian economy. Thus the economy has been impacted not so much through the financial sector (which remains underdeveloped) but through trades and investments.

I wish to reiterate that those key macroeconomic indicators are preliminary and not yet official. Normally, official economic performance figures will be finalized and released for dissemination after June each year. Thus those numbers would be further changed.

Indeed, the impact of the crisis on Cambodians’ livelihoods varies across the population and locations. Only one-fifth of all households have a job in sectors directly affected by the crisis, particularly in garments, construction, and tourism, where the government has taken due measures to timely reduce their impacts. However, since agriculture and rural economies performed well, we expect that the majority of Cambodian people, who are making their living in rural agriculture, stand to benefit from this growth and their living conditions would be further improved.

Growth is expected to recover in 2010, at a projected 5% rate. Inflation has declined sharply, mainly due to lower food and fuel prices, while the exchange rate has been kept stable in par with the US dollars. Gross official reserves increased from US$2.1 billion to US$2.3 billion covering 4 months of imports. Based on these latest indicators, we can say with confidence that the Royal Government, like others in Asia, has already led the Cambodian economy out of the difficult period of the crisis, while in such difficult circumstances, we managed to strictly maintain financial and macroeconomic stability as well as the stability in society and livelihoods of our Cambodian people.

We are glad to see that our international development partners maintained their strong commitment to supporting us during the difficult time. The Royal Government has been working closely with them to coordinate their cooperation assistance to implement the stimulus policy package effectively and successfully. We have also been able to significantly increase the development assistance especially from China and Japan in the context of Greater Mekong Sub-­region.

Cambodia has responded to the crisis proactively with moderate fiscal intervention while maintaining monetary stability and support sustainable economic growth. Cambodia is a small and open economy, with capital account liberalization; Cambodian economy is highly dependent on a sustained international trade expansion and foreign capital inflow. More than 90% of the banking transactions are dollarized. It means that we cannot use interest rate policy to influence the economy. With free capital flow, on the other hand, foreign exchange intervention has been used to stabilize the exchange rate and to increase international reserve position. Policy response coordination, through the Committee for Economic and Financial Policies, is crucial in a dollarized economy, in which fiscal policy also plays a crucial role.

During the high oil and food price crisis in 2008, our Committee for Economic and Financial Policies set up a joint taskforce involving the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the National Bank of Cambodia and key economic ministries to enhance economic surveillance efforts and provide more coordinated policy responses. Reserve requirement was increased from 8% to 16%, while commercial bank’s exposure to high-risk sector was capped. After the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, we reduced the reserve requirement to 12%, lifted lending restrictions, and increased spending to boost domestic demand. In addition, the central bank has made further efforts to improve supervision and regulation by tightening rules and regulations and enhancing onsite supervision. Particular attention has been made to the banks’ solvency and liquidity conditions. Further regulatory and supervisory measures will be implemented to strengthen risk management and corporate governance at the banks to strengthen enabling institutions to better anticipate, manage and ultimately withstand adverse economic conditions and market trends.

We faced a daunting challenge on the fiscal front. Cambodia has acted counter-cyclically to boost domestic demand, with increased public expenditure towards improving social safety nets and providing retraining and alternative employment for vulnerable population segments, including those losing jobs in the affected export sectors. We have also established the Fund for Agricultural Development in order to increase agricultural productivity and diversify our growth base. Priorities have also been given to public investment in physical infrastructure and supporting growth in the agricultural sector. Against these backgrounds, the 2009 budget deficit was expected to widen to 6 of GDP, due to the facts that expenditure levels have risen sharply, with large increases in wage and locally financed capital spending, though revenue collection has been broadly strong. In 2010, we aim to maintain the budget deficit quite significantly though cautiously at 5% of GDP, in order to sustain the recovery from the global economic crisis and to strengthen the foundations for growth as well as to fast track our economic diversification efforts.

We have learnt important lessons in going through the crisis, which should be raised for consideration. I wish to highlight some key issues as follow:

(i) Peace, political stability, security and social order, as well as macroeconomic and financial stability are key to high economic success. Cambodia has built a strong record of macroeconomic management, especially the management of public finance and the governance in finance and banking sector. In this context, I wish to sincerely appreciate the steadfast efforts made by the Ministry of Economy and Finance during the difficult time; and also highly appreciate the major contribution by the National Bank of Cambodia.

(ii) Strong performance in agriculture and rural economies helped us survive the crisis with insignificant damages and it will remain a potential engine of growth and poverty reduction over the medium to long term;

(iii) Promoting implementation of reform agenda in all sectors especially in public financial management helped strengthen our capacity to deal and respond to the crisis. Going forward, the advancement of all the reforms especially in enhancing regulatory framework and laws enforcement is the urgent priority of our reform agenda;

(iv) Deepening Cambodia's integration and economic linkages in the region and the world has been fundamental to our economic success and should remain an important priority going forward, in particular in East Asia, ASEAN and GMS;

(v) Diversifying products and markets for exports is a MUST if we are to compete in the global markets and to build our economic foundation speedily; and

(vi) Enhancing agricultural productivity & diversifying agricultural production, including the development of irrigation and energy infrastructure, is needed to promote economic growth and diversification.

(vii) Building a comprehensive social safety nets system and programs are important to mitigate the adverse impacts of crisis on people as well as to improve and increase productivity and capacity of our labour force for the next stage of development, employing proactive human resource policy and participation of private sector.

These priorities, I talked earlier, are now reflected in the Royal Government’s updated National Strategic Plan 2009-13. The Royal Government will encourage the implementation of those important activities and other key measures to the success in an effective and efficient way.

In pursuing these broad strategies for a return to higher growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction, in partnership with the private sector and our development partners, we must focus on the sectors of our economy that are critical for growth, for economic diversification, for responding to the potential export markets of the dynamic economies and societies of our East Asian region, and other promising global markets. Key measures are to make further efforts in ensuring political and macroeconomic stability, social stability and orders, as well as to implement key reform programs in order to strengthen Cambodia’s competitiveness and to attract quality domestic and foreign investments.

As the programme of today’s 2010 Cambodia Outlook Conference reflects, the most promising and critical sectors for priority policy responses and action by the government and the private sector are agriculture and rural development, tourism, emerging industries such as light manufacturing, and infrastructure and energy generation.

In agriculture, as indicated earlier, we learnt a very important lesson from the economic downturn – that Cambodia’s agricultural sector, both current and potential, is one of the great strengths of our economy. It continued to grow at around 5% pr annum over the most difficult of times. With a concerted strategic effort by government, its development partners, the private sector and agricultural producers themselves, we have made notable achievements in improving agricultural productivity, especially in the quality and yield of rice production, and its milling for both domestic consumption and export; in promoting diversification of crops to respond to market needs in our Asian region; in improving rural infrastructure, irrigation, water resource management, transport and access to markets, access to credit and extension services. The Royal Government will make further efforts to strengthen agriculture as an important engine of growth, and that will make a significant contribution to rural economies, poverty reduction and wellbeing of rural communities.

In the tourism sector, we will further encourage and support the private sector to take advantage of recent government initiatives in establishing a national airline, in reopening Sihanoukville airport, and in the diversification of both cultural tourism, beyond the current Angkor sites, and to other tourism nice markets such as beach tourism and eco-tourism. We must also work with all stakeholders including the government institutions, development partners, private sector, farmers, handicraftsmen and all workers to create the ‘value chains’ that will provide quality service and attraction for domestic and foreign tourists.

In emerging industries, we will explore opportunities to further develop a light manufacturing base in the production of consumer goods such as processed food, paper and packaging, rubber products, bicycles and motor cycles, and the many small accessory items and processed agricultural products for export and domestic consumption. To realize this, we must learn from the experience of our neighbours on how to better manage and promote investors using special economic zones, especially in strategically placed border areas where the benefits of improved ‘hard and soft’ infrastructure are now flowing.

In infrastructure and energy generation we will continue, in close cooperation with our development partners, the private sector and local communities, to complete the rebuilding of critical rural infrastructure to achieve better connectivity and logistics, for the movement of both people and goods, within Cambodia and with our neighbours. The Royal Government will give priority to greatly enhancing our energy generation capacity to ensure a reliable affordable energy supply, while at the same time, considering the need to ensure environmental sustainability and manage social implication.

Going forward, especially in the post crisis context, we also realize that Cambodia needs to take full advantage of its favourable and strategic position in the regional and world geo-economic and geo-political relationships. Cambodia is geo-physically well placed to be a beneficiary of China’s economic development, the rapid recovery from the global crisis and economic downturn in Asia, the great potential for growth in the region, and the entrepreneurship of private sector of those countries in the region. The potential for an integrated Greater Mekong Sub-regional production network and market, extending from China, through the GMS countries to the rest of ASEAN, provides compelling opportunities for Cambodia and for all the GMS countries.

Through these priorities and partnerships I believe Cambodia will be able to move forward towards realizing its long term vision of building a Cambodian society with peace, political stability, security and social order, sustainable and equitable development, strict adherence to the principles of democracy and multi-party political system, respect for human right and dignity, socially connected pillars of society with well educated and culturally advanced population, appropriate standards of living and harmony in society as well as in family; as all these are clearly defined in the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equality and Efficiency.

Through the Rectangular Strategy, NSDP and other relevant documents the Royal Government has set vision, policy, strategy, and detailed plan of actions to lead the “Cambodian ship” on the path of peace and democracy toward social progress and prosperity. In the difficult period of this global economic crisis, the Royal Government has shown its maturity and firm capacity in leading the Cambodian society to weather the storm and survive its worse consequences. Indeed, we are grateful to all the concerned partners either official development partners, either private sector or civil society who have provided cooperation and assistance to the Royal Government and Cambodian people in the difficult circumstances. Indeed, the climate has improved but the sky is not clear yet. Thus we are required to take further precaution to ensure that Cambodia remains stable to move forward on track of a sustainable development and high economic growth toward progress and development.

We have learnt important lessons, in going through the storm of economic and financial crisis, which allow us to make adjustments and improve our works. With strong political commitment, in full spirit of ownership and partnership with all the stakeholders, we will make the best use of our capabilities, opportunities and potentials to overcome all the obstacles, big or small, to realize the national vision and the humble aspiration of our Cambodian people.

In the spirit of optimism and firm determination, may I conclude my opening keynote address here; and I wish the conference a success in exchanging views and dialogue on the future of Cambodia. Once again, I congratulate the organizing partners of the 2010 Cambodia Outlook Conference, ANZ Royal Bank and CDRI, and look forward to receiving good policy recommendations and ideas for action generated by the conference.

Finally, may I again congratulate CDRI on its 20th anniversary and wishing it a long and productive life as a unique and highly valued national and international Cambodian think-tank.

Thank you for your attention!

Keynote Address at the Closing of the Stocktaking Conference of the 2009 Anti-Drug Achievement and Direction Setting for 2010

Phnom Penh, March 17th, 2010

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!

It is my pleasure today to be here once again with Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in the closing of the stocktaking conference of the 2009 anti-drug achievement and direction setting for 2010 which is hosted by the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD). Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to commend the national police force, military police force, related ministries/institutions, all levels of sub-national authorities, development partners, civil organizations, and the private sector for their firm commitment and sacrifice that result in many significant achievements in 2009.

Along with this, I would also like to commend His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, Head of NACD, and Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen the management and officials of NACD for working tirelessly to crack down drug trafficking in Cambodia. We take great pride in the achievements of NACD, in particular, in terms of policy implementation and international cooperation in the effort of sub-regional, regional and global integration. These activities represent the right direction of the nation’s top anti-drug institution, attested by the introduction of strategies to: 1. Reduce demand, 2. Reduce supply, 3. Provide health and rehabilitation services, and promote integration, 4. Strengthen law enforcement, 5. And strengthen international cooperation. Apart from being an appropriate and comprehensive response, these strategies also address multi-sectoral issues and require contribution from the whole society, both at national and sub-national levels, to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.

To reflect the spirit of the above strategy, I would like take note of some achievements as follows:

1. Reducing the demand for drugs: following my appeal at the appointment of the head of NACD on 19th May 2009 and at the International Anti-Drug Day on 26th June 2009, I noticed tighter and better cooperation amongst related ministries/institutions such as the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and the Committee for National and International Festivals and so forth. Along with this, we also notice better participation from the private sector, both in terms of resources and advertisement means, especially radio and TV stations. These reflect valuable contribution to disseminating the danger of drugs and reducing demand. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank and commend related ministries, development partners, private entities, and actors and actresses for playing their parts. However, some member ministries/institutions have failed to fully participate in the effort to reduce the demand of drugs. Also, some municipal/provincial anti-drug committees have not fully engaged the private sector and partners within their responsible zones to reduce the demand of drugs.

2. Combating the supply of narcotic drugs. So far we observed that national competence force including the national police, military police and relevant institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, especially the Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Environment who had taken measures to actively enforce law and made a number of successful cases related to failing many attempts to take Cambodia as the manufacturing site and trading place. At the same time, the Ministry of Environment and the Forestry Administration had also effectively cracked down the trafficking and trading of sassafras oil that is used as raw material for manufacturing of narcotic drugs. According to the finding, we can noted that trade behavior of the criminals has become more fierce, and some of them even dared to fight back with law enforcement officers and some of our officers were killed on duty. Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly value the exemplary courage of all forces and to express my regrets and pay condolences to the deceased’s families. Moreover, our crackdowns so far had been made against only big cases such as the manufacturing, trafficking and trading of narcotics; while cases of small-scale distribution at locality has still been overlooked and has not been actively and strictly combated in conciliated manner. These cases have provided youths who are not aware of the danger and the adverse impact of drugs with the chance to experiment drugs and cause anarchy, destroy public order and affect local security, and therefore our human resource will be destroyed from one generation to another.

3. Treatment, rehabilitation from drug and integration. So far we had paid great attention to and thought of ways to save drug-victims by establishing temporary centers for dilution, treatment and education in municipality-provinces including those at municipal-provincial committees for drug control, military police unit, police unit as well as at civil society organizations. At the same time, to encourage and support them to undertake dilution and treatment service, and reeducate them to be a better youth, we observed that there are great care full of compassions provided by venerable monks, Her Excellency Doctor Bun Rany Hun Sen, president of Cambodian Red Cross and other leaders, the kind-hearted people aiming at enable them to recover fast and reunion with their family in order to continue education and resume their professions. Nevertheless, all of our drug rehabilitation centers still not yet have any role model strategy for providing dilution and treatment services to drug victims in accordance with appropriate medical standard.

This problem has made some victims hesitate to receive treatment and caused some irresponsible and conscienceless human rights organizations, to take the opportunity to avoid finding solution to the problem and also attack our humanitarian efforts and spirit. Taking this opportunity, I would like to recommend the National Authority for Combating Drug, all related ministries and institutions, local authorities and relevant competent authorities in all levels to pay attention and closely cooperate in order to implement the above programs more effectively to achieve the success for our society.

The Royal Government of the 4th Legislature of the National Assembly has considered that the production, plantation, drugs trafficking are the 13th challenge among the 17 challenges in implementing its Rectangular Strategy-Phase II due to the fact that this drug issue has become the social problem affecting the Cambodian youth at the present time and in the future. In this spirit, in order to deal with the challenges as well as fully and effectively promoting the implementation of the national strategic plan of the NACD, I would like to suggest and put out a number of recommendations as follows:

1. Drug Reduction Affairs

This work is truly significant and it is therefore required to make sure that all people are well aware of danger and negative impact of the drugs in order that they can avoid the drugs because they all do not need drugs. The need of drugs is not unavoidable if we can do whatever to make all individuals know clearly about the danger of drugs. For this kind of work, I would like all related ministries, institutions, units of the state and of the private sector of physical and legal persons, to have less or more obligations to participate in the dissemination in order to make the people in public aware of the drug danger as below:

- All related institutions, national and international civil societies, and private sector must continue to support and cooperate closely and actively in implementing my recommendations raised during the transfer ceremony of Chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs on 19 May 2009 and during the International Day against Drugs on 26 June 2009.

- The ministries/institutions that have not participated in the activity must try their best in disseminating the education information about danger of drugs as much as possible. For example, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy can request the company to publish the education documents about danger of drugs on their products such on the drinking water bottles, gooks package and other facilities. At the same time, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Publics works and Transport are able to request the travel agencies and tourist transport owners to inform the passengers in the long distance travelling buses through action like sticking the drugs message on the buses or play the drugs education spots through video...etc. Other Ministries and institutions also have to tack action at the same time in order to make sure that all people under their competency understand better about danger of drugs. In this connection, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts must continue to require all productions to put the commercial spots about drugs education in all tapes before approving the license for operation.

- The Municipal/Provincial Committee for Drugs Control must control and use their utmost ability to encourage the extensive education all over their towns and provinces. In the meantime, they must promote the commune councils to participate in the drugs education in their locality and community constantly at least once a month for each village.

- The Municipal/Provincial Committee for Drugs Control must prepare to create village, communes, schools and model units (e.g. Techo Development Village is a No Drugs Village). At the same time, we must select the eldest who is more influential in the village to help educate and disseminate the information about the danger of drugs to the children in his/her village.

- All sponsors and parents must control and investigate the academic program of their children regularly by checking the student investigation books and closely cooperate with the teachers in charge.

- All media systems, state-owned and private radios and TV stations as well as the various journalisms should help disseminate and educate further as drizzling rain.

- All mobile phone companies should reconsider about the possibility of texting the educational messages about the danger of drugs to their customers during the traditional festivals and other special days such as Khmer New Year, International New Year, Weekend and other International Holidays (by just saying: Please tell your loved ones about the danger of drugs or the drugs destroy your future, families and society).

2. Drug Reduction Affairs

I have always received the information about small scale drugs trafficking acts for daily use that happen almost constantly in the down town, district/khan of a number of cities/provinces, yet these case have not been tremendously cracked down yet. In this situation, although the case of selling and buying of drugs is small scale, it truly caused the anarchy and insecurity in the locality and affects the social order. This problem has made the people in the community unhappy with the RGC and it is also one of the obstacles to implement the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II of the RGC. Therefore, I would like to recommend as follows:

- All levels of competent authorities must suppress the drugs criminal acts intensively and more actively in both small and large scale

- The Ministry of Justice and the Court must punish the Drugs Criminals seriously and according to the level of law without toleration

- All law enforcement forces must cooperate with the National police force, Military Police Forces and the Ministry of Justice and the Court in order to arrest the criminals and the people behinds to go for trial and prosecution conforming to their criminal acts by not having understanding and must not tolerate, in any means, the intervention made by whoever.

- The Chairman of the Municipal/Provincial Council and the Chairman of the Committee to Control the Drugs in the municipalities and provinces, on behalf of the Unit Forces Commander, must use forces to implement the law in all institution within their competencies in order to crackdown and eliminate the plantation, production, trafficking and use of drugs in their territories. They must do this kind of work constantly like drizzling rain in their town, district/khan, commune/sangkat and village.

- For the sake of sustainability and efficiency, the chairman of the Committee to control the Drugs in the municipalities and provinces must strengthen again the secretariat and the permanent officials as soon as possible.

- The law enforcement officials and all levels of local authorities must abide by the professional ethics and the state law strictly. They must not get involved in any criminal acts and must not tolerate or understand any individual who takes the opportunity to use their roles to commit crimes or back up the other criminals, but implement the law strictly.

3. Treatment, rehabilitation and integration of drug addicts

For the effectiveness and sustainability of destroying drugs, treatment and rehabilitation of victims of drug usage, I would like to make recommendations as follow:

- The National Anti-Drug Authority must establish National Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation for Drug Addiction which I had already approved during the Handover Ceremony of the New Chairman of the NACD as soon as possible to reduce the number of centers we already have today. At the same time, the NACD must also cooperate with other relevant ministries, institutions to prepare related documents such as the National Policy on Treatment and Rehabilitation, minimum requirements in treatment and rehabilitation, medical treatment and rehabilitation for drug addicts.

- The Ministry of Health must have dilution, treatment and consultancy services for drug addicts on voluntary basis at general, specialized, provincial, district hospitals and health centers so that the drug victims could access to services conveniently. At the same time, the Ministry of Health must help to strengthen and provide any necessary health services to the temporary Dilution, Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers we have today, to improve health services and to ensure the effectiveness of dilution and treatment at those centers by working closely with nearby health centers, operational hospitals and referral hospitals.

- The NACD must try to establish Consultative Working Group on Dilution, Treatment for Drug Addicts at target areas in communes –Sangkat to reduce the number of interim centers we have today. In addition, I would like to appeal to all parents, guardians of drug victims to take them for dilution and treatment, to help them on time. Please do not let your children under severe drug addictions.

I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to all development partners to continue support projects of the NACD, not only to manage and control the drug uses in Cambodia, but to help in law implementation, to reduce other risks, especially the HIV/AIDS transmission that caused by drug usage.

My advice and recommendations mentioned above is to contribute to direction and action plan of the NACD which you all discussed and agreed at this important conference.

Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I strongly believe on the will and commitment of Excellencies, and colleagues and all partners of the NACD to implement the advice and action plan for 2010 successfully for the development, prosperity and happiness for our people.

Being convinced and during the closing of this 2009 Stocktaking Conference and Direction-Setting for 2010 of the NACD, May I wish Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen on the upcoming Khmer New Year Days with Four Gems of Buddhist Blessings.

Keynote Address at the Opening of the National Workshop on the Dissemination of Criminal Code

Intercontinental Hotel, 10 March, 2010

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen distinguished national and international guests!

I am pleased to be here in the opening of the dissemination workshop on “Criminal Code”, jointly hosted by the Ministry of Justice and the Embassy of France with support from the Government of the French Republic. Taking this opportunity, I would like to commend the Ministry of Justice and all related institutions as well as development partners for the mental, material and technical contribution to realize the Criminal Code for dissemination in this workshop. More importantly, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the both legislative bodies of Cambodia, led by Samdech Akkar Moha Thormak Porthisal Chea Sim, President of the Senate and Samdech Akkar Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly.

This workshop is designed to disseminate the Criminal Code to legal professionals and courts, including judges, prosecutors, clerks, lawyers, related institutions and the public to ensure the effectiveness of law enforcement. This workshop attests to the Royal Government’s firm commitment in legal and judicial reform. The Criminal Code, which acts as the fundamental law in conjunction with the Criminal Procedure Code, a procedural law adopted in 2007 will become core tools for the execution of criminal judgment and ensure fairness and justice for Cambodian citizens. Prior to the adoption of this new Criminal Code, we used the Interim Criminal Law, adopted by the Supreme National Council of Cambodia in 1992 and other scattered legal documents which make it difficult to understand and enforce, and inadequate to deal with new forms of crime at present time.

I think the new law is more comprehensive than the law being enforced presently, and will become a part of modernization of Cambodia’s regulatory system and pave the way for the enforcement of the Anti-Corruption Law. Along with this, the new Criminal Code is designed to be used by both the public and legal professionals as it is easy to understand and provides full coverage of a case, for example Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code.

Lengthy civil war, especially the Khmer Rouge Regime, destroyed most of the social, economic, cultural and religious infrastructure and ruins were left everywhere. Amongst these, the legal and judicial system was almost destroyed too. After the 7th January 1979, government’s ministries and institutions were re-established. All civil servants employed by government’s ministries/institutions at that time were former students, intellectuals, and civil servants who survived the Pol Pot Regime. With firm determination and affection for the country, all the civil servants took part in rehabilitation and development effort by starting from scratch and an incredible progress has been made in just a short period of time, especially those who do not witness the situation might not believe this. Regional and global integration, along with concerted reform efforts have allowed for a proud achievement in human and institutional capacity building. At that time, as the restoration of peace, political stability, security and social order took place, the legal and judicial reform play an important role in the Royal Government’s all sectoral reforms. The objective of the legal and judicial reform since the first legislature of the National Assembly focuses on the improvement and establishment of legal documents that are the foundation of development, assurance of rights, individual dignity, private ownership, free market mechanisms and so forth.

The Royal Government of the second legislature of the National Assembly has established the Council for Legal and Judicial Reform. Since then, legal and judicial reform had become more broadened and deepened and had been considered as an important factor supporting the implementation of government platform.

Indeed, legal and judicial reform program has been considered as one of the 4 programs of “Good Governance” which is the core of Rectangular Strategy for growth, employment, equity and efficiency in Cambodia. In this spirit, the government had paid great attention to legal and judicial reform by mainly developing and strengthening the legal framework, modernizing and laying out strategy and necessary measures aiming at bolstering the capacity, independency and neutrality of the court which are vital factors in the process of strengthening the state of law through promoting the respect of right and dignity of the people, strengthening the culture of peace and culture of respect for the law with the objectives to promote social justice, reduce corruption and finally eradicate the culture of impunity. At the same time, usually in the context of a democratic country, the government has clearly identified that legal and judicial reform must be in line with the appropriate and effective law enforcement because it would not only eliminate the culture of impunity, ensure justice equity for each individual and respect of personal freedom, but it also help to prevent corruption and gain credibility from the public.

Obviously, despite the fact that we still not have the law on corruption yet, the government had paid special attention to the fight against corruption through adopting chained and systematic Governance Action Plan and promote the enforcement of a number of key laws such as Forestry Law, Land Law, Law on Public Financial Management, Law on Customs and Excise, sub-degree on public procurement, government circular on management of non-tax revenue, code of conduct of customs and excise officials…etc… Furthermore, the Criminal Code that we are disseminating at the moment also inscribes 40 articles relating to anti-corruption.

A “Kram” or Code is the true symbol and representative of a state of law in an era of history. Moreover, Kram or Code also reflects the legal will and means of a state of law to achieve democratic objectives which is set to have law understood and enforced. Obviously, Kram or Code is a clear proof of legalization activities, because preparing Kram or Code is the collection of the whole legal procedures which are laws and regulations in legal sector in order to produce a structured set of legislation. The Criminal Code of Cambodia also bear the same nature, especially our Criminal Code is the law and regulation that exist in legal and judicial reform sector which is a set complimentary law to existing laws and documents which are properly structured.

Indeed, the strengthening of law enforcement and legal system must be linked to and include the enactment of new and modern laws like this Criminal Code. Our Criminal Code had been prepared to ensure the continuity of Cambodian institutions in conformity to legal tradition and culture of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia which based on the Civil Law System or Continental Law. This Criminal Code is a law that is conforming to key principles of organic and institutional structure of Cambodia and international standard. Furthermore, Criminal Code is a law that will not affect the harmonization of Cambodian legal system and can be implemented efficiently and smoothly. This Criminal Code is a set of all criminal regulations of which a part of the legislation states the basic principles and common rules for criminal law for judges to implement in providing justice for criminal cases and other parts states about crimes to be punished.

I am of the view that Criminal Code is the fundamental law that determines clearly those activities or conducts that are prohibited by the law because this Code apparently highlights all kinds of crime by emphasizing meaning of those crimes. On the other hand, this Code also identify individual who is claimed to have committed the crime, and the punishment that follows in order to respond to misconduct against society as set in the following 3 objectives:

1. Protect individual freedom in order to punish any act that is prohibited by law,

2. Ensure individual compensation for damage incurred by criminal acts,

3. Restore social order that had been disconnected and misbalanced due to crimes,

Moreover, Criminal Code is a legal text that is the collection of criminal regulations and is well structured in a consistent and harmonious way, as well as patching some loopholes. Therefore, Criminal Code is an important legal mean that does not only help the judges, prosecutors and legal officers to easily enforce and fully comprehend the law, but it also help to raise our people awareness about their rights and the limitation in exercising those rights, especially on what are to be prohibited and penalized.

In this regards, I view that the Criminal Code will contribute to (i) the state of law, democracy and the protection of rights and dignities of human being in Cambodia, (ii) the modernization of legal framework in criminal field, (iii) the strengthening of legal institution, especially improving the effectiveness of justice delivery to our people, and (iv) the accessibility of legal and court information and providing legal safety to our people.

Taking this opportunity, to realize the commitment of the Royal Government according to plan of action for implementing legal and judicial reform strategy, the Ministry of Justice, the government’s agent on legal sector, has to continue its efforts on the following key works:

First—continue to strengthen legal institutions, especially through the adoption of the other fundamental laws that have been prepared and finalized by the Ministry, such as Law on the Statute of Judges and Prosecutors, Law on the Function of Judiciary, Law on the Statute of the Magistracy etc. and the other legal laws to develop and modernize the legal framework, including the Amendment Law of Law on the organization of court and its administration, Law on statue of notary, Law on statute of court clerks etc.

Second—actively monitor and follow up the implementation of courts and prosecutors following the principles of the law to upgrade the state of law and confidence of public on justice to ensure social stability and stability of the whole state institution.

Third—continue to train legal practitioners and court officials according to the development of Cambodia’s law and new technologies such as automatic data processing system and ITC etc.

Fourth—strengthen and raise awareness about the law by all means to law enforcement institutions and the public to promote knowledge of law and the limitation of exercising of rights to ensure effective enforcement, the prevention and reduction of crime rates as well as increasing security and upgrading state of law.

Fifth—publish the criminal code and widely disseminate the code to relevant institutions and the public to promote the effectiveness of law enforcement as well as promoting the people’s rights to receive information about the law and justice system.

Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own behalf, I would like to compliment and highly appreciate the effort of the Ministry of Justice, relevant institutions and development partners for their contribution to the legal and judicial reform in Cambodia, especially for the creation and dissemination of this Criminal Code. Taking this opportunity, I am pleased to appeal to all relevant institutions, sub-national administration, national and international organizations, and the private sector to jointly educate, disseminate and invoke the spirit of respecting and enforcing this Criminal Code rightfully and effectively. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that when all regulations of the Criminal Code are being enforced, it is the ending of transitional criminal code created by UNTAC in 1992.

Finally, along with the dissemination of the Criminal Code, I would like to wish Excellency, ladies and gentlemen four gems of Buddhist blessings.