Keynote Address at the Official Inauguration of the Office of the Council of Ministers (Mittapheap), Prime Minister’s Office and the International Conference Hall (Santepheap)
Phnom Penh, October 19th, 2010
Your Venerable TEP VONG, Head of Buddhist Monks of the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Venerable Samdech Preah Aphiserei Sokunthea Tepdei BUO KRY, Head of Monks of the Theravada, the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Venerable Samdech Preah Moha Somethea Tepdei NGUN NGET, Head of Monks,
Your Venerable Monks,
Highly Respected His Majesty the King Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Samdech Akka Moha Thom Puthisa Chea Sim, Head of the Senate
Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Jakrey Heng Samrin, Head of the National Assembly
Excellencies, Member of the Senate, Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Royal Government, Ambassadors, National and International Distinguished Guests and All Compatriots,
At the outset, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to express my great pleasure and loyalty to warmly welcome Your Majesty the King, Preahbat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihamoni, who has decided to preside over this solemn occasion of the inauguration of the “Office of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office and the International Conference Hall” today.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to His Majesty the King, who has always provided all kinds of support to the Royal Government for the cause of national peace, stability, extensive solidarity in order to upgrade the living standard, welfare and harmonization of Cambodian people.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Queen Mother, Norodom Monineat Sihanouk and the King Father of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk for having extended their congratulation to this inauguration ceremony. We believe that this achievement is impossible without the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era which was guided and led by both the Queen-mother and King-father of Cambodia.
At the same time, I would like to express my warm welcome to Samdech Head of Monks, Directors and Deputy Directors of Monks, Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests and all Compatriots, who have participated in this auspicious event.
I would like, now, to report to His Majesty the King, Samdech, Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests about the background of the construction of these two buildings as follows:
For so many years, I have always refused not to rebuild the Office of the Council of Ministers, which is responsive to the daily increasing requirement so that the financial resources that we have collected can be kept for building physical infrastructures, especially building roads, bridges, irrigation systems to serve the rural people.
The previous Office of the Council of Ministers was constructed in 1960s during the glorious Sangkum Reastr Niyum under the wise leadership of the King Father, Preahbat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who was the Head of State at that time. This building was abandoned without any maintenance during the war and the Khmer Rouge genocidal regimes. This building was scrambled and the west wing, working offices, meeting and reception rooms, and modern system of this building, which is to serve the efficiency of the working operation almost collapsed.
The vision of complete change was initiated during the visit of H.E Vou Yi, Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in March 2004. Having seen clearly this shattered building of the Office of the Council of Ministers and the requirement of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Deputy Prime Minister of PRC pledged to propose to the Government of China to assist in constructing this new building for the Royal Government. After then, the Government of the People’s Republic of China assigned a team of delegation, including the representatives from the Ministry of Trade and the Peking Institute of Architecture and Research to work with Cambodian Plan Study Working Group and promised to draw a plan singed on 06 January 2005, presided over by H.E Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister. During the official visit on 08 April 2006, H.E Wen Jiabao and I presided over the ground breaking ceremony of the construction of the new building of the Office of the Council of Ministers, which took about 19 months to have the construction completely finished.
The new building of this Council of Ministers consists of 7th floors with the height of 40 meters and the total space of 32, 580 square meters.
In this building, there are offices of the leaders of the Royal Government, Office of the Council of Ministers that is the Secretariat Office of the Royal Government, Authorities, Councils and other Committees of the Royal Government. In addition to the working offices, there is a big Conference Hall, which can accommodate 20-200 people.
This new building of the Office of the Council of Ministers is one of the symbols and achievements among other accomplishments that have stemmed from the friendship and close cooperation between the countries and people of our two countries Cambodia-China.
I would like to take this opportunity to convey my deep gratitude, through H.E. Pan Guangxue, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, to the people and government of the People’s Republic of China for the valuable grant to build these buildings that will be used to improve efficiency and delivery of public services for Cambodian people.
Since the completion of construction in December 2008 and the handover ceremony in February 2009, this building has been the Royal Government’s busiest office which hosted cabinet meetings, reception of international guests, inter-ministerial and inter-institutional meetings, administrative coordination and reform tasks.
In spite of its high accommodation capacity, the building cannot correspond to our preparation needs for the international summits and meetings and Cambodia’s increasing role in the regional and global arena.
To respond to this need and the improved national economic welfare, I then decided to build another building alongside to act as the Prime Minister’s office and host international conferences.
This building covers an area of 50,790 square meters, almost two times larger than the building of the council of ministers and is 51.91 meters high. It is a five-storey building with three mezzanine floors measuring at 5.5 meter high. Each floor is reserved for different purposes. The structure of this building is derived from both modern architecture and Angkor Wat era style.
The building will be used as the personal office of the Prime Minister, cabinet of the Prime Minister, ministerial meeting halls, international meeting halls such as ASEAN summit, ASEAN plus 3, East Asia Summit, multi-purpose halls that can accommodate more than 700 guests, medium-size meeting halls, bilateral meeting halls, more than 50 office compartments and technical, administrative and security offices.
This building is equipped with hi-tech security equipments, gate monitoring system, CCTV, electricity supply, data network, and other necessary systems for the organization of large conferences.
The special characteristic of this building is that it is fully developed by Khmer people and the construction is financed by the national budget. Engineers, architects, construction workers, decorators who take part in the construction of this building are all Khmers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace Samdech Choa Vea Veang Kong Som Ol for leading the study committee and overseeing the construction of this building. Moreover, he personally instigated and managed the decoration of this building by skillfully combining the modern architecture with Angkor Wat era style. The construction of this building has been contracted to two Cambodian companies, including Ly Chuong Construction led by Mr. Ly Chuong and Vispan Company led by Mr. Unpheng Puthvisal and Mrs. Kung Panha.
Peace, political stability, national integrity and territorial unification achieved through the implementation of the “Win-Win” policy and socio-economic development over the past 10 years have allowed us to mobilized resources for the construction of this building, following the construction of the Parliament Building.
Another special characteristic is the overcoming of time constraint. Both the study and construction phases took only 18 months. Engineers, architects and construction workers worked around the clock and expertly dealt with various issues arising from this time constraint.
Along with this, although the construction of this building is completed with a short period of time, the standard of this building perfectly responds to present and long-term needs as the design is based on future needs and the study team has been dispatched foreign countries such as Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam and bring back information to build and decorate this building. I would like to praise the study and construction committee and the study team for hard work and close collaboration with both companies to complete the construction of this building within a short timeframe. Cambodia is proud of this building as the construction is purely done by Khmer people and purely financed by the Royal Government. It will be an inheritance for the future governments.
In general, both buildings perfectly complement each other. The combination of the Council of Ministers building, Prime Minister’s Office building and the international conference center will be jointly called the New Government House. This attests to the Royal Government’s firm commitment to improving the efficiency and quality of public service delivery to serve the people better.
Parallel to this, the Royal Government has also recognized that even so far Cambodia has made many achievements in all sectors; Cambodia still has to continue her efforts in solving many important issues including improving human resources, developing capacity of institutions, expanding and strengthening physical infrastructure socio-economics. In this regard, Royal Government is committed to encouraging the implementation of key measures in order to achieve the priority goals mentioned in “The Rectangular Strategy Phase 2”. Those goals include ensuring peace, political stability, national security, social order and ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Before ending, I would like to highly value and deeply thank Samdech Chaveavang Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Royal Palace Kong Som Ol for always diligently providing active support to this work till it is done. In addition, I would like highly value and praise Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Urban Planning and Construction, Phnom Penh Municipality, and relevant ministries and institutions for always giving importance to and facilitating all the tasks to build this great building and finished in a determined time.
Again I would like to thank the Chinese government and her people, the management of Ministry of Commerce, the management of Yunnan Province and Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Corporation of China for always supporting the efforts of Cambodia in rehabilitating and developing the nation.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to dedicate “The Inauguration of Council of Ministers’ Building, Cabinet of Prime Minister’s Building and the International Conference Hall” as a symbol of opening a page of the new century for the prosperity of Kingdom of Cambodia and all her people.
I would like to name the council of ministers’ building as “Friendship Building”, the Cabinet of Prime Minister’s Building and the International Conference Building as “Peace Building” from now on; as these two building are established due to the friendship tie between Cambodia-China and during the time that Cambodia is fully at peace.
Finally, I would like to wish His Majesty the king Norodom Sihamoni healthiness, vigor, and wisdom. In addition, may all the charms and holy spirits bless the Queen-mother and King-father of Cambodia.
I would like to wish the Honorable Chief of Monk, Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National, International Distinguished Guests and all Compatriots the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.