Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Meeting with Workers at Canadia Industrial Park

[Unofficial Translation]


First in Battlefields, Peace Negotiation, Rice Field, and Now in Factories

I am so happy today to be with over ten thousand workers in the Canadia Industrial Park. I thank you all for such a warm welcome, especially from my nephew-niece workers. I am so grateful that I have this chance to come to see you at your working place […] Perhaps your grandparents or parents could have seen me traveling places. In the time of war, they would see me in tranches and at the fronts with the troops. They also saw me going many places for peace negotiation and settlement for Cambodia. Later, they could have remembered seeing me in rice fields with our farmers to resolve their concerns. We have transformed our country from food-shortage to a 5-million metric tons surplus of rice for export. Now it is time for me to meet with workers in the framework of implementing policies relating to the 2015-2025 Industrial Sector to bring our country ahead into one of the high-middle income countries by 2030 […]

Buying Veng Sreng Road Maintenance from Private Contractor – A Benefit

I have the need to proclaim some more decisions in the interests of our workers today, especially for female ones. Before coming to those, I must bring up a fact that we must be making efforts altogether stage after stage to make such changes […] as you can see that I could be your father, your brother, or even your grandfather. I am sure your grandparents, parents, and you yourselves have seen and known what Hun Sen has been doing for the country and people, for your parents, grandparents, and for you. I am not person that they and you do not know. Should I have no relation with this nation and people of Cambodia, I am sure I would not have had such welcome and participation […]

I am sharing today a policy for social protection concerning our care and attention given to pregnant female workers and in deliveries, which I brought up in my previous meetings with our nephew-niece workers. […] Take for instance, the Veng Sreng road, in 1990s when we were not resourceful, we let the road be managed and maintained by private contractor to serve the need for industry and transportation. I discussed this issue with the then Mayor of Phnom Penh Pa Socheatvong. We purchased it back and let our people use it free of charge. We facilitate our workers’ need for traveling by helping them save from toll fees. The factories getting benefits from this decision also share a part of their profit with our workers.

From Few Factories, Less Workers, Small Exports to More and Bigger

We have made efforts altogether to bring our country from one of the low income countries in 1998 when our people’s per capital income was only 262 USD, to the present per capita income of 1,400 USD. We are not satisfied with that yet. We are working together to move our country to a more developmental stage – higher-middle income country by 2030. As for this labor sector, it is a great success that we have created this industry where there are in all 11,068 enterprises, employing over 1.18 million workers. Just to round the number up. As for apparel, there are up to 1,107 factories employing 743,614 workers already. In 1997, we had only 64 factories and there were only 82,000 workers. For female workers, especially those who are pregnant, we will issue more policies in benefits to them.

[…] In 1997, the size of export was 227 million USD. At present, it has reached a size of 7,663 million USD. We talked about dozens and/or hundreds of millions USD before, now we are talking about billions of USD from export in our trade. Our export size as a whole, we have recorded roughly 12 billion USD […]

Workers/Employees Financially Improve Their Families’ Economic Conditions

In relations to salary, during a lunch with workers, a niece told me that she earned only 35 USD from the beginning. I wish they remembered that before 1997, our workers’ salary was only 30 USD or more, but less than 40 USD, while in Myanmar, workers earned only 25 USD. In 1997, workers’ salary in our country rose to 40 USD. As for now, and we are implementing it in 2017, your minimum salary is 153 USD. Workers could earn up to 170 USD or 181 USD if they include other benefits. Mostly, workers told us that they earned over 200 USD because of other works concerned they could do. Our workers send a part of their income home to assist their families in rural areas.

Yesterday I had a look at figures and reports of land tilted for the cultivation of rainy season rice. I have noticed that we have achieved a figure that is exceeding our planned ones. However, tilting by animal came to only 6% of the work, while over 93% done by machines. From where do people tilt their land by machines get money? A part of it would be the money sent by their children workers to the families. They use the money to help with their agricultural production.

Starting from January 2018, Minimum Salary Will Not Be Less Than 160 USD

I wish to take this occasion to reaffirm with nephew and niece workers that starting from January 2018 the minimum salary of our workers will not be lower than 160 USD. The Royal Government will ensure, let me affirm it, that your minimum salary will be 160 USD at the lowest. The final figure will come later depending on negotiation between factories owners and representatives of the Royal Governments and workers. Those who earn more than the minimum salary requirement, we are happy for them. Whatever profit we could find for workers and workers benefit from them is legal. Paying them less is wrong […]

Heritages of Techo

Our country still has to attract more investments. You may ask yourself and remember to tell your parents, families, whose efforts that have brought factories, enterprises, and situation as we have now? I am proud that after saving our people from tragedy, in which I myself also became a handicap and lost a child, I have been able to share a journey of hardships with our people to rebuild our country from ashes, to prevent the return of the regime of Pol Pot, and to bring our country peace.

Heritages that I have left for the country would be Cambodian people’s revival from the regime of Pol Pot, my contribution and leadership to make peace a true happening. We have peace through contributions made by various factions according to the Paris Peace Agreement. However, I also achieved an exclusive peace through formulating and leading the implementation of the win-win policy, which ended war, division and brings reunification of Cambodia. I have contributed, with other leaders, to the economic development of Cambodia to bring the rate of poverty from 100% down to 13% in 2014. We are preparing for another survey to figure out how far down the rate of poverty has gone.

According to norm set out by the United Nations, people who earn one USD per day have moved above the poverty line. Based on a newly defined poverty line, earning 1.25 USD would place them above the line. As for you working in factories, you earn about five USD per day. Construction workers also earn not less than five USD. With other policies that we set out in agriculture, industry, and services, we will make it better. We have moved our country from a few ragtag hotels in Phnom Penh and in Siem Reap to have hundreds of them. These are Techo’s heritages.

People to Protect Inherited Peace and Development

I hope you all and the people of Cambodia as a whole will keep invaluably inherited peace and development. We must keep them safe from destructions to be inflicting by anyone – bother local or foreign. You may not want to place hope in anyone who have not done anything but making protests. As for what happened in this place, we have now discovered and arrested the chieftain. Why would workers protest at 2am? They broke open the factories to ask people out to join their protests. If they were really doing protests to improve working conditions and pay, they would not have protested at 2am or 3am. Some who went out giving bread to protestors in those hours, we have also identified […]

It was a conspiracy with foreigners to launch what they did. They have not been successful. They would do their best to try. It has been fortunate that the Kingdom of Cambodia did not allow what happened in 1970, when a group of people acted in conspiracy with foreign countries to overthrow Samdech Preah Borom Ratanakaod Norodom Sihanouk, to happen again. They said they wished to use a Yugoslavian model in Cambodia. What does that mean? It is violence. You will not get away from responsibilities.

They bombed Belgrade and the Chinese Embassy was there to suffer the attack as well. Slobodan Milosevic was gone. Yugoslavia lost Kosovo. Wishing to become a country, Kosovo seeks our recognition. We cannot recognize Kosovo because they use force to break it from Yugoslavia. We will not allow anyone to destroy what our people have made efforts to achieve altogether. I am just one of millions who have made all these positive things happen for the benefits of our country […]

CPP and Hun Sen Help You to Get What You Have Now

We have come to three words that are contradicting each other. They asked investors not to come to Cambodia, foreign countries not to give assistance to Cambodia and not to purchase goods from Cambodia. We have made efforts all along to ask for assistance, for investment and for foreign countries to purchase Cambodian goods. It is not a policy set out by a political parties but true actions […] You may want to share with your parents and relatives that what you guys have is because of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister Hun Sen. […]

We must keep everything we have in hands. We must not allow those who oppose their own nation to collude with foreign circles to destroy the country and people’s peace. I hope our foreign friends carefully read their words and do not overlook them. No one country would have accepted things that the person had said if you were we. “They ordered, they told me to do this, they told me to do that, they asked me to take up the Yugoslavian model, I did not do it at my own will, I had professors from the US, Washington, Canada, Montreal.”

… How could they claim themselves patriotic? They took oath before the throne and HM the King, Samdech Sangharaja that they would not act under the order of any foreign power in their policies – domestic or foreign. Why did they do it otherwise? They did not care what could have happened to other people’s lives … They claimed losing so and so at the Veng Sreng road. Well, now that we have him, we can ask him […] how many more were involved in this matter. We must ask them to set the matter straight […] I have instructed that to seek for those people, one must have to arrest leaders of protest and ask them […] Competent authority will take the responsibility […]

Task 1 – Together We Protect Peace, Political Stability, Security, Social order

There are five tasks to fulfill aside from peace, political stability. Task 1 – together we protect peace, political stability, security, social order for work security, and stability. We will achieve this task only by working together. This place is our rice pot. We must stand united. We must not allow anyone to incite and create trouble. I also ask some not to act as thugs in strikes and protests. While some claim their rights to protest and/or strike, they should also know the boundary of their actions. They have no rights to prevent other people from going to work […] they should not force others to join them […] we will see how the court will see about those […]

Task 2 – Together We Keep Existing Jobs and Create More

Our second task is to work together to maintain what jobs we have now and create new ones. I wish to stress that we must keep what we have. We must also create more jobs. We are working on a scheme of keeping what jobs we have and creating more. To keep jobs we have does not mean we are stagnant but we must try to keep and do them in a more productive way to make factories profitable. A part of such profits will come back to you in form of increase of your salary and entitlements. As for creating more jobs, more people are waiting for their ones. We have people working legally and illegally in foreign countries – Thailand, Malaysia. We have legal workers in South Korea and we are seeking more for our people […]

On the part of state, we will continue to attract more investments and expand our markets. If we were to lack markets, what we have produced and even make more through expansion of factories, we do not sell them too.  We therefore continue to make efforts to facilitate investment environment by improving infrastructures from water to land, to rail, to air, and to provide efficient and better price electricity. Aside from apparels, we also have other products such as agricultural produce to seek other countries’ help in purchasing from Cambodia.

Task 3- Together Increase Capability and Knowledge

The third task would be to increase capability and knowledge […] I am appealing to our workers to continue to increase your capacity and knowledge so that you will be able to fulfill high-skill tasks and to earn more money. I am so happy to see that employers association has created a chance through various training courses for people who are head of working teams, administrative sections, etc. so that they could improve knowledge and skills of our workers.

Task 4 – Together for Social Protection, Working Condition, and Safety

As for task 4, we are focusing on social protection, working condition, and work safety. I wish to tell our workers that that you paid 50% for your healthcare benefit in the social security regime, while another 50% paid by your employers, starting from January 2018, our workers no longer pay their parts. The employers will take the shares. That means that nephew-niece workers would be saving between 8,000 Riel and 13,000 Riel per month […]

This will apply for workers wherever and in whatever products they work will benefit from a free consultation and treatment in every state hospital. The state will pay on their behalf through the equity fund, which has been implementing for over three million workers already. We will include every worker in that equity fund … The Ministry of Health and other related ministries will have to get themselves ready to respond to perhaps an increasing number of one more million workers for consultation and treatment. We may have more because we will also include workers in unregistered trades.

Pregnant Female Workers Leave Works 15 Minutes Early, Delivery Benefits

I have something to say for women. I hope men and women who are not married yet will be unhappy with this. They should be happy instead. Firstly, female workers who have to deliver are entitled to a three-month leave with pay of 120% (of their salaries). I am calling on factories to allow pregnant female workers to leave works 15 minutes prior to end of working hour […]

After my review of a policy (that I have asked concerned officials to work on it) I am declaring today and now for female workers in both registered and non-registered trades. A female worker giving birth to a child is entitled to 400,000 Riel from the Royal Government. If they have twins, they will get 800,000 Riel. In case they have triplets, on top of their entitled benefits of 1,200,000 Riel, they will receive my package of assistance for triplets too. I think I have about 319 families already who received my assistance for their triplets. I think, perhaps we can throw a meeting. Some received my assistance at the hospital and some in their homes […] the policy will start in January 2018 at 0 hour.

As for delivery benefits, we are providing it to the mother no matter what happens – alive or dead … The state will earmark the fund and will provide to them through the social security fund. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is preparing this funding package. The state will prepare a sum of ten million USD for this purpose […]

These are new policies for workers. I am calling on workers in registered and unregistered trades to register at the Ministry of Social Affairs so that workers and female workers in particular, will receive this benefit. If their employers failed to register them, they would miss the benefits. I am calling on all workers, no matter where they operate their trades with their hands and feet to see the benefit and claim them.

Pension for Workers Starts in 2019

We also will start to implement our policy to provide retirement pension to workers from 2019. Our workers will also have retirement pension as the civil servants and armed forces do […] in order to receive such benefit, workers will have to fulfill conditions regarding certain work durations in factories. Civil servants will have to work 25 years to get their retirement pension. Someone said over there he worked for 15 years already. If your salary is 300 USD, You will earn 80% of your full salary […]

Task 5 – Emigrant Workers

The fifth task is to continue to pay attention to resolving issues relating to our workers that are working in foreign countries – legally and illegally. They may learn that in order for them to be able to work in Thailand for instance, there must be works carried out between our country and Thailand … We did the same with Korea and Japan to send our workers there. Thailand sends their workers out to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia for higher pays. The only countries that are in needs of labors are Singapore, and Malaysia. The Philippines sends out the most and over ten thousands of them work in our country […]

Continue Candidacy for Two More Terms

… I hope and have confidence in our workers for next elections. I have decided to declare that I will continue my Premiership for the next two terms. Previously, I hesitated and asked myself when would be the best time for me to leave. However, after seeing such treason by some, I have decided to continue my work no less than ten more years. I hope that nephew-niece workers will support it and vote for me. I am sending your families a message that I will continue to be present and we will work together to keep factories and what we have built. We allow no one to destroy our people’s peaceful life

… In this world I could be the longest-serving Prime Minister after I was the youngest in the world. I am sure I have the ability to continue to work before my retirement in my eighth term. Some would be 80 years old and I would be 75 years old, now only 65, why could I not do it […] Factories and enterprises are like my children because I am leading this country since when I was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, and Prime Minister. I have been in office for 33 years, and 39 years to include also my portfolio as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Cambodia’s advancement cannot separate from Hun Sen’s role […]./.