Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Graduation and Diploma Presenting Ceremony of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)

[Unofficial translation]


The Twenty-First Presence in RUPP

Today I am so happy to return once again to the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) to present 3,302 graduates with their diplomas. It is my 21stpresence too […] I would like to take this opportune moment to express my pleasure for the progress achieved by RUPP. Frankly speaking, you all are my juniors and I say that not because I built here a library. Everyone knows that RUPP was in ruin under Pol Pot regime, and (after we liberated the country) we put it back into operation with three different departments – a school of pedagogy, foreign language training institute, and a school of political science. In a later stage, we combined the three altogether.

In 1998, I registered as a student in RUPP to work on a bachelor degree, and concerned level in order to proceed to my thesis for Ph D degree. I could be the first student of RUPP who had written a thesis. You may want to check my book “Ten Years of Cambodia’s March.” It was my thesis to gain my bachelor degree at RUPP when HE Hang Chuon, the late father of HE Hang Chuon Naron, was Deputy Minister of Education, with HE Pen Navuth, the late father-in-law of HE Hang Chuon Naron, was Minister. I could recall that HE Academician Aun Pornmoniroth, when he prepared his thesis in the former Soviet Union, also had reference to my book “Ten Years of Cambodia’s March.”

Supplementary Allowance of 3 Million Riel/Month for Librarians

… I provided supplementary allowance of 180 USD in 2002 and then 360 USD in 2010 for librarians (working in the Hun Sen library at RUPP). It has been seven years now. They are entitled to their salary. I am providing them with such supplementary allowance so that they can work extra on Saturday and Sunday. I have decided to increase allowance for the librarians to 3 million Riels. They will work hard. This library may have the biggest book holdings in the country. They will be very resourceful person to help book users. This is part of our efforts to ensure sustainability of the library that I founded, and have contributed some books … Users will find big smiling faces when they go to library to search for whatever they need […]

Extra Lessons for Students Prior to Exams – A Good Methodology

… In days to come, it will be time when our students will take exams to end their secondary school education. The exams will take place on 21 and 22 August. I am calling on teachers and parents of our students to do whatever they can to help the students, who then will have to make their own efforts to score their achievements. So far, I have noticed that providing extra lessons for students prior to taking exams is a good methodology. Last year I took a trip to a number of provinces prior to the exams. I also conducted a more than 5,000 road trip to many provinces, where I stopped, and conducted observations in various schools.

I came across a classroom in the province of Preah Vihear, where students were taking extra lessons. Not only those who would take the exams in that year, but also those who would take the exam the year after (this year) also took extra lessons. I asked why they came for the class. They told me it would be better for them to do it (sit down for lessons) twice […]

This has illustrated also that our necessary and serious reform efforts in the secondary school exams has brought about a sense of responsibility and endeavors throughout the country among students. Parents also have paid more attentions to their children study efforts. It has been a visionary policy and it is the best option from which we have created a situation that everyone must study to be able to pass exams […]

Vocational/Technical Training Options

It has been a good point that we issue a policy to allow those students who failed to pass their secondary school final exams to take up vocational and/or technical training. We left no one unattended, even those failing their secondary school final exams. In my visit to Japan, I learnt that they paid serious attention on human resource training orienting them for enterprises. I am glad to see that Japan’s Denso Co., Ltd is now in Cambodia to cooperate with various technical training schools. I would urge them to think about cooperating with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.

The Child Prodigy Kim Hong

… I am glad that HE Ly Chheng is here with us today. We have resolved this issue relating to the divine child Kim Hong. What remains is working out time for his enrollment. Who is the child prodigy? He is one kid that I posted on Facebook. In his seven years of age, he could solve the 12th graders mathematics. I am paying attention on his education and I would urge the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to follow up his education. He is still a small child. His parents told me he still have his milk. What to do here is that we could not bring only Kim Hong to town. We have purchased a flat not far from the BELTEI School at Stoeng Meanjei and it will be available in nine days. Kim Hong’s father who works at ACLEDA Bank has already transferred his work to Phnom Penh. His mother, who is working as a teacher in the School of Pedagogy in Takeo province will also come to Phnom Penh and BELTEI could perhaps offer her a teaching job.

BELTEI will put Kim Hong with the 8th graders and will have the whole class controlled by camera. If Kim Hong is doing better in Khmer literature and English too, he will go to a higher grade. As far as mathematics is concerned, Kim Hong would not have a problem judging from his ability to tackle mathematics problem of the 12th graders […] He is an extraordinary kid. We must continue to assist him. We have done everything to help him now. We are waiting only for the flat to be vacant so the family can move in […] it would be better for Kim Hong to start schooling as soon as possible. I never have encountered this in reality though I learnt the other day about a four-year old Russian girl who could speak up to six languages. Kim Hong could speak and write Khmer and English since when he was two years old […]

The Trip to Japan – Political, Diplomatic and Cooperation Successes

Well, I have some more stories from the last week to share with you. They are good ones and difficult ones too. I did two trips last week. My first trip was to go to Japan. It was my official visit. It was my 21st trip to Japan. The visit conducted to commemorate the 60th anniversary of our two countries’ exchange of high delegations. Japan and Cambodia established diplomatic relation in 1953. However, the first visit by Japanese Prime Minister to Cambodia was in 1957. This year is 2017. It has made a jubilee of 60 years anniversary. It is also falling on the 25th anniversary that Japan sent its peacekeeping force to Cambodia, the first time that Japan ever did that. It was in 1992. Sending troops abroad was a prohibition by the post-World War II Constitution. The two countries also elevated their relations to one that is of strategic level.

I would conclude that my visit to Japan has been a political, diplomatic, and cooperation success. Japan will continue to provide development assistance, long-term concessional and low-interest loans for the development of infrastructure. The Japanese Prime Minister has specially guaranteed Japan’s position to work with Prime Minister Hun Sen to achieve Cambodia’s goal to become higher-middle income country in 2030. That is what we wanted. Japanese confidence in Cambodia’s economy is a source of encouragement. There are many Japanese companies looking at Cambodian market. We need more partners – Japan, and other development partners such as China, EU, etc.

Sky-train Project to Resolve Traffic Congestion in Phnom Penh

The Japanese assistance in area of water treatment has been important but we also look at how to relieve traffic congestion in Phnom Penh. We need a solution. Some countries have imposed certain rules when someone has had to purchase a car to avoid having too many cars. In Japan, people have to pay certain tax to be able to earn rights to purchase a car, etc. We cannot impose those conditions. We will offer chances for our people to have their own vehicles […]

In order to help us solve traffic problem, JICA has conducted a sky-train project for Phnom Penh. I did try in other countries. According to the study, for a span of 18 Kilometers, it would cost us 800 million USD. It would be expensive but it will help the flow of our people’s travel and relieve traffic congestion in Phnom Penh. We may have it running between the Central Market and the airport […]

Insulting National Army – Unacceptable

… I should take this time to inform commentators (on national defense matter) that their insulting words on the army is unacceptable. It is good that the person will be in jail. If the person were to be at large, he would have to face with the army. Well, it is up to the law. What to do with a man who denounced the country’s army commanders as thieves. Such denunciation is a flagrante delicto, in which case, whether a person would be president of a political party, a privilege of National Assembly, or the Senate, etc., s/he would have to face an arrest. It is a national security matter. They must not insult. He used words that were no different to those they once did on stage with the yellow-shirt group in Thailand.

I was the one who coordinate the person’s pardon. However, I would not imagine that he still carries his gross … I think by now the person has been brought to the primary court … He also insulted HM the King, and the person confessed it though. (The person wrote a) message insulting that (he) would kick to break the Royal Palace. (The person) sent the message to France to find out whether HM the King has a French nationality. It was at the time that we work a law of one nationality for anyone to lead a political party. This time he insulted the army. We cannot ignore that […]

Some commentators also said something about garnering support for the elections […] Whoever made such comments must be held responsible before the law […] Facing with aggression, and they said that (we were seeking) means for the Cambodian People’s Party to gain votes. We find that unacceptable. I am warning them and if they are in Cambodia, they will face arrests for flagrante delicto of insulting their nation. We are an independent and sovereign country. This is the national security issue. I would not see that as a matter of dictatorship. I would see it as something that a sovereign and rule of law state has to do.

What Caused Invasion in Stroeng Treng

Why did we come to such issue with Laos? Cambodia and Laos have been working together to mount about 86% border poles with one another using the 1/100,000 scale map. We continue to conduct negotiation to achieve the plan. However, let me point out where the problem had come from. Primarily, I am thanking HE Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of LPDR for making decision and withdrawing its troops before the ultimatum date of 17 August. Some people commented that why would we Cambodian have to bow to Laos when they (are thought to have) invaded Cambodia.

Let me clarify on this. My visit to Laos to negotiate for the latter troop withdrawal would not mean that we would stay idle if the Laos side does not withdraw. It was our goodwill to resolve the matter through negotiation. It was not a bow but a polite and goodwill diplomacy. The arrested party leader, after insulting our army, said I bow my head to the enemy. Laos is not yet our enemy. Now that my visit to Laos, my reasoning with them has brought about the Lao troops withdrawal, what would you say now? It would not be priceless to help or to speak. We have made our decision already. If they do not withdraw, we would have to fight. We would not allow foreign troops stationing in our territory.

The matter that we are so sorry about is not the (Lao) Prime Minister’s mistake. It was the mistake of the (Lao) Foreign affairs minister. My letter dated and sent on 2 August did not reach the Prime Minister. In a tete-a-tete discussion, the Lao Prime Minister told me he only learnt about and read the letter the night before. I can say it was a mistake of the Lao Foreign Affairs Minister. I said that if it were for my foreign minister I would have sacked him. What could be a more severe mistake than not submitting in a timely manner a letter from a head of government to the Prime Minister? Which led to failure to reply.

On another point, HE Thongloun Sisoulith could have lost track of what happened at a junior level in accordance with our agreement on 10 May in Phnom Penh. Frankly, Cambodia has the legitimate right to build roads along its border. However, to avoid conflict, I decided to issue an order for our military engineering to pause their works […] and I asked HE Thongloun Sisoulith to withdraw Lao troops […] I have brought with me and shown to the Prime Minister photos that we captured of his troops. He was sorry for it. I gave him a set of our file recording the Lao troop presence since April.

Laos and Cambodia have been using the 1/100,000 scale map to decide the countries’ border and we have defined about 86% of the border already. On that matter, Laos has used the 1/1,000,000 scale map to locate the border. It has encroached, according to that map’s expansion, some 491.10 square Kilometers of Cambodian territory. Their troops also crossed the Sekong River and landed on our side between 200, 700, and even 1,000 meters. Should we leave the situation as it was?

I said to him whatever border calculation must depend on the 1/100,000 scale map and Laos has deposited it under République Démocratique Populaire Lao at the State Geography Group on 2 June 1992, which recognized that O Alai and O Ta Ngav are in Cambodian side […]

It was because of this understanding that we were able to come to agreement. The problem had come from misunderstanding, slowness in working process of the junior level, and losing track of troops. Once we have common understanding, we went to a meeting room and declared what we had agreed. I demanded that we had to have a common press conference. I also issued order for our troops to return to their barracks because the Lao side agreed to withdraw their troops […]

Cambodia and Laos Are Friends

I wish we all understand that Cambodia and Laos are friends and should never go to war with one another. If I failed to go to meet my counterparts in Laos, a war could be real. In fact, it was about to become one a few times already. One time in May, in Beijing, prior to my meeting with President Xi Jinping, I had to call up my Lao counterpart. I said to him that we at the top could understand each other but for those at the local level, with arms in hand, could have misunderstanding […]

Let me reaffirm that Laos is not our enemy. We just had not talked everything out. I was thrown to a complete surprise that Prime Minister of Laos did not receive my letter the day that I sent him. Were I not bring the matter up it could be that we might have this stalemate on for a few more months […] Now the difficult situation passed and we have promised with one another not to have a repetition of such incident between Laos and Cambodia […]

Commanding Armed Forces – Legitimate Right of Prime Minister

On the Cambodian side, commanding such order would not be a problem. No one would have the right to send troops. Some people said Hun Sen has had too much power to command the troop. Well, being a Prime Minister, if you cannot command the troop, you should not be in position … I have all the power in my capacity as head of the Royal Government that is to implement domestic and foreign policies. I am holding my rank as the five star general too … In Japan, I made it clear to three Japanese Ambassadors – two former and one incumbent, that the armed forces must be neutral before political party but not before the Royal Government. Countries in trouble of color revolution have their armed forces neutralized […]

… I am not prohibiting them to express their views but your expression must not infringe upon other people’s rights. When they comment about Prime Minister’s use of power over the army, their comments are not lawful or constitutional. Are they thinking of color revolution? Are they looking for neutrality of the armed forces? There had been trail of plundering power in Georgia, where the army did not defend President Eduard Shevardnadze. He had to flee. In Cambodia, that will not happen […]

Appreciation and Gratitude for Lao Prime Minister

… Please allow me to send a message to our people that they may rest assured and trust in the Royal Government in resolving the border issue. We have pursued this policy with Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. It was a bad dream indeed and we must not let it happen. Peace must prevail. During lunch, I stressed (to my Lao counterpart) that we should not have spent time to discuss this issue. We should have discussed about expanding trade volume, communication, connectivity, electricity, and other sectors […] I am sending my appreciation and gratitude from here for HE Thongloun Sisoulith, who have been working with us to resolve the matter in a short time […]

Interior to Pay Attention with Party Registration

As for the party insignia, the Ministry of Interior did not seem to have thought it carefully. The other day the Constitutional Council advised about a political party registered unconstitutionally. It was not in conformity with Constitutional monarchy. Why did the Ministry allow the political party registration under a Republic? It is against the Constitution. In Cambodia, even the National Assembly would not have the right to amend it. In the Constitution, there are two points that are not amendable – (1) the Constitutional Monarchy and (2) regime of pluralistic and liberal democracy. Why did the Ministry allow a party register under a Republic? There is party that used the flag of the former regime of Lon Nol together with the US flag. They also got registration. I am advising the Ministry of Interior on this party registration issue. The ministry must ask them to change and must figure out if these offenses are suitable for implementing the law of political party […]./.