Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Meeting with Workers/Employees in the Veng Sreng Road Area

 [Unofficial Translation]


Warm Welcome – A Source of Encouragement

May I extend the warmest welcome to presences of excellencies, lok chumteavs, ladies and gentlemen, workers and employees today. It is a great opportune moment for me to be able to meet with 14,400 of you who are working in factories and enterprises in the Veng Sreng area and vicinity. Some of you might have met me once at Koh Pich already. I skipped our meeting last Sunday because I had a warming party for my grandchild. I had to carry him to see the first sun light after his birth of one month.

Also on 15 October, we will reschedule our meeting again because the whole people of Cambodia will celebrate mourning over the demise of HM the former King Samdech Ov, who passed away since 2012. It is going to be five years. Please allow me to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for such warm hospitality and family-like amicability extended by nieces and nephews for me. I am feeling that your parents and grandparents must have known well of what I have been doing for Cambodia. Their amicability and trusts really are sources of encouragements for me to continue my actions […]

Basic Salary is 170 USD

HE Minister Ith Samheng already reported to us in this meeting and I have this honor, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, to share with you that starting from 1 January 2018, your basic salary will increase to 170 USD. In one of the previous meetings, I said that in 2018, we would try to increase our workers basic salary to not less than 160 USD. I was not sure how much exactly. In the negotiation process, representatives of trade unions and the Royal Government voted for a 165 USD basic salary. According to suggestion made by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, we had a discussion with Minister of Economy and Finance, and indirectly with the Ministry of Trade, to round the figure up to 170 USD because the Royal Government will add five USD to the figure. Then, our workers’ basic salary is not 165 USD but 170 USD.

What has the Royal Government done to relieve some of the burdens for factories/enterprises owners in order for you to receive such benefits?  The Royal Government has decided to extend grace period for profit tax from 2018 through to 2022. This will lose some 20 million USD to the state. The state also loses another 20 million USD income normally collected by the Ministry of Trade. In all, the Royal Government will mitigate a sum of over 40 million USD for this salary increase. On behalf of the Royal Government, I am expressing my sincere appreciation and thank to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, inter-ministerial working groups, workers representatives, and employers for working together to achieve this consensus for salary increase for our workers in garments and apparels. This is a real benefit. It is not an empty promise […]

Income Tax Applies on 1.2 Million Riel or 300 USD

Let me also declare today before our workers that we will not impose tax on incomes that is below 1.2 million Riel or 300 USD. The Royal Government will stipulate in its financial management law for 2018 on this point […] I must seek your understanding that this is tax culture that citizen of every country in the world will follow. It is from this tax that the state will make one part of it your pension when you retire […] I will continue my meeting with workers/employees in the whole country, not only in Phnom Penh. I think I am physically fit and I must respond positively to your encouragement […]

Thanks to Efforts of the Cambodian People’s Party

I need to have your attention that what we have achieved today is not coming down from the sky nor by any empty promises of any political parties. We have them thanks to the efforts made and led by the Cambodian People’s Party, who enjoyed supports from your grandparents and parents. We are not flimsy politicians who seek votes in elections times. We have made thorough projects with certain prediction since 2014 to offer a salary of no less than one million Riel for our civil servants and armed forces in 2018. The basic salary of workers and employees will also not be less than 160 USD/month. It was a scientific calculation based on our economic growth […]

Some parties in some countries made promises that they could never make them happen. As a ruling party and Prime Minister, we cannot just make empty promises. Before we have come to this stage, you know what had happened. There was war and genocide. Then we had war again. There were no chances left for the country and people. Your grandparents and parents should have remembered them. There was not even a single family, which did not encounter the past tragedy. We had war of foreign aggression in between 1970 and 1975, then the genocide, which left families in ruins and separations. We started from scratch since when some of you were not even born yet […]

We have come to this stage. We started from handicraft and now we are in the phase of industrial development. The war not only hindered us. It destroyed the country too. No country or company in this world would come to invest in countries without security and are at war. To overthrow the genocide of Pol Pot was necessary to save people’s lives. Human rights must start from right to life. Should anyone ignore this issue, s/he is leaving out gratitude for his/her parents, who gave them births. If they die already, where can right and democracy come from?

A Shame to Have Allowed Pol Pot Sit in the United Nations

We liberated the country from the genocidal regime of Pol Pot on 7 January 1979. We restarted the country in hardships and people were working with bare hands. They had to work on land collected as state property by the regime of Pol Pot. They had to go from where they were to their native places. That was a tragedy. The genocidal regime of Pol Pot with foreign supports, the United Nations included, continued to fight, and punish us. We will soon celebrate the Paris Peace Agreement on 23 October. I think that the United Nations should be ashamed for continuing to support the regime of genocide of Pol Pot and to allow them occupied the Cambodian seat from 1979 through to 1991, when the National Supreme Council of Cambodia replaced them. It was a satire for democracy and human rights. They championed for them but they failed to acknowledge the truth. They have now recognized what they did not and demanded trial of more leaders, by which could destabilize our country again.

We continue to stop and prevent the return of the regime of Pol Pot’s genocide and we did whatever we could to seek for political settlement. We have achieved the Paris Peace Agreement on 23 October 1991. Every elements of the agreement have now become elements of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia. They may not dream of reconvening a Paris Conference because many signatory nations have not existed any more […] for instance the Khmer Rouge. Would it be necessary to recreate them to be a party in conflict? More so, the Paris Peace Agreement mentions nothing about trial of the Khmer Rouge. Would they consider then trying the Khmer Rouge regime unconstitutional to the Paris Agreement?

One Party Goes, Five Will Replace It

They seem to have talked only about multiparty issue. I must affirm here that when one political party dissolved, five new ones will replace it. In Cambodia, we have dozens of political parties and it is a heaven for them as well as for non-governmental organizations. We have made efforts to overcome difficulties. UNTAC (the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) spent two billion USD to extinguish war in Cambodia. They failed to do it. We made our own efforts to achieve national reconciliation, and through our win-win policy, we have reunified the country for the first time in the last five hundred years or so history […]

With peace in the country, we have chance to develop our nation. We first tackled issues in agriculture. In times of liberation, we had only five million population but we did not have enough to feed them. We had rice supply from outside. At present, we have some 15 million population but we have a surplus of over five million metric tons for export. According to norm set by the World Food Program (WFP), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), they have listed corn, potatoes, bananas, etc. as foodstuff too […] in Cambodia now, we have a surplus of five million metric tons of rice, other foodstuff not included. We are searching for markets for our people and trying to ensure their good prices […]

Cash Policy for Women in Pregnancy and Delivery

Dating back to 1997, we had only 64 factories and 80,000 workers. As of today, we have over one thousands factories and over 740,000 workers. We have in all, including those working in enterprises, about 1.2 million workers/employees. We also have another three million non-registered workers […] we must come up with policies to help women in delivery both those working in private sector and those who are civil servants and in the armed forces. We need to prepare cash policy for women and we are giving priority to female workers and employees.

This policy to provide cash assistance and the fact that increasing number of factories and enterprises are happening because of efforts made and led by the Cambodian People’s Party. There was no hand of the opposition. Please understand this. They asked foreign countries to cease assistance to Cambodia, to purchase no goods from Cambodia, and to send no investment to Cambodia. What they did was calling for increase of salary at an unreasonable rate. Salary increase without taking into consideration proportional economic condition would make things worse. They mobilized workers to join demonstration to demand increase. At the end of the day, the factories are closed. Who would lose first? […]

Labor for Foreign Job Markets

Some bragged that it was because their calls that the Royal Government increases salary for civil servants, the armed forces, and workers. They really try to take advantage from what has been done and happening, while in fact, through these demands they were looking for destroying what the Royal Government has realized for their own political advantages […] we are working hard to open job markets abroad – Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. They said that we have been able only to send our labor to work for other countries. Look, even the US citizens are everywhere looking for jobs. Of course, they are looking for higher-skill jobs. Take for instance, BTV, ETV Company owned by my daughter also hire US citizens to manage […]

In many countries, especially the US, they have made it public about their jobs creations. They are fast. They make their figures available every month. For instance, how many jobs have they created for their citizens, or how many have lost. They keep abreast of this. I think the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training should also work in this and make jobs figures available on a monthly, trimester, semester, or yearly basis. We need that kind of report and that will help our people understand […]

Chemical Bomb Ordnances in Nine Locations in Svay Rieng

Only with peace a country can develop. In the past, we have learnt so many lessons of sufferings where war had brought our country destructions. We have located chemical weapons ordnances in nine locations in Svay Rieng province. I am asking Minister of Health HE Mam Bun Heng to conduct a research in the area where we located one last January to find out if it caused any health problems to our people, who have been living with it over forty years, since when it was bombed. We are looking to understand and record impacts caused by the weapon of mass destruction used in Cambodia […] they were US bombs and we have seen this US chemical weapons team coming to collaborate with us on this work. We welcome them. I have said that they should not only look for remains of their MIA but also remove chemical bombs in Svay Rieng and also in Meh Mot. In 1970, they used these bombs to drop leaves to identify hideouts of the Viet Cong. They did not think of human right then.

Stand Up and Defend Our Country’s Peace

When implement the country’s law for the sake of defending peace, security of the country, they say we are abusing human rights. When they gunned us down, bombed our country, they did not think of human rights […] we have no weapons of mass destruction and we do not have the ability to send troops abroad, except under the UN umbrella to help friends – Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Lebanon, and previously Chad, and Cyprus as well. We wish and I wish that foreign friends understand our situation. However, from what had happened in the past, we knew some did not respect us […]

I am calling our people to stand up and defend our country’s peace. With peace we secure, we will guarantee development for our future. Look at countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc., where wars are in flame, have they received any investments or tourists, jobs? Europe, if I may remind you, boggled up in consequences of their own actions to support color revolutions in Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc., and the military invasion in Iraq. People from those countries are becoming refugees and swamping Europe. They cannot refuse them. They cannot send them back. As for Cambodia, we need to continue together to secure our stability and works […]./.