Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Meeting with Workers/Employees at an Area along National Road 3 [Unofficial Translation]

Sharing Grief with the Philippines over Natural Disaster

… Compared to natural disaster happened in the Philippines, what Cambodia has endured is not serious. I wish to take this opportune moment to express to the Government of the Philippines as well as to her people who had just encountered a fierce storm that took hundreds of lives. The country is indeed in its recovery stage. We are expressing condolences over their deaths and sorrow over destruction caused by the natural disaster. Of course the weather condition had caused destructions in many countries in the region ranging from South Asia through to Vietnam, China, etc. […]

2018 – Salary Increases for Civil Servants, Armed Forces; Advantages for Workers

Take this opportune moment I wish to express my congratulation to workers who in just days ahead will receive their basic monthly salary increase from 153 USD to 170 USD, along with various other social protection policies in place, including free-of-charge health checking and treatments in state hospitals for workers both registered and non-registered systematically. We also implement this policy on female workers who will deliver their babies, along with cash support program. You will receive these benefits while I am still the Prime Minister. I will take care of this policies directly and will follow them up to address your difficulties […]

In days the year 2017 will be over and the year 2018 will come with many advantages for workers/employees ready for our workers, civil servants, armed forces, and people in the whole country, especially a new increased salary. We will implement salary increase policy right away on 1 January 2018. The civil servants will benefit from the same policy in two stages – firstly, in January, basic salary increase, and secondly, in April, 2018, before the Khmer New Year, bonus in connection to functions, all of them combined will ensure basic salary of civil servants and armed forces no less than one million Riel or 250 USD per month.

For Socio-economic Development and Poverty Alleviation

As the New Year is approaching, we have new situations to endeavor. The fifth legislature of the National Assembly will end in 2018 as the Royal Government has set up in 2013. It will be the last effort to fulfill our ambition listed out from the beginning of the legislative term on reforms. If we are to look on conditions relating to workers, we will see that in 2013, when their basic salary was only 80 USD, in 2018, it will be 170 US.  This increase is even more than 100%. It is a crucial part of the Royal Government’s efforts to implement policies relating to socio-economic development and poverty alleviation […] we will enter a new year in days. However, that does not means there will be no risks for us to face. Look, we have rice – both rainy and dry season species – to harvest. Our farmers have so many crops to harvest, while their prices in the world market seem to have risen better. Though prices seem to rise slowly, compared to previous years, still it is now a good time for our farmers to reap from their harvests, while our workers are also benefitting from higher incomes and advantages.

It is quite an opportunity for Cambodia to promote its socio-economic development and poverty alleviation efforts through issuances of new policies relating to promotion and implementation in support of small and medium industry enterprises. In the very recent Cabinet meeting, I have called upon concerned institutions to pay attention to establishing a specialized bank to provide financial support for small and medium enterprises. These would not only provide and secure jobs for our workers but every field will benefit from such progress, and thus jobs creation and diversification will provide higher incomes for our people.

Poverty Rate Continues to Shrink

Poverty rate continues to fall. Number of people who have resources and incomes passing the poverty line has increased. Though we have yet to run a survey on that subject, we could envisage that the present poverty rate of Cambodia remains less than 10%. We could suggest of figure of 9%, while in 2014, the survey figured it at 13%. We have estimated a 1% fall of poverty rate per year. We started with a 100% poverty rate after the liberation of Cambodia from the genocidal regime of Pol Pot. It was quite a speedy recovery compared to other countries that spent more times than us and still are stuck at their poverty rates of 20% and/or 30%. According to the UN poverty survey for millennium development as well as sustainable development goals, their poverty line was 1.25 USD a day. However, our workers have now made their incomes of no less than 5 USD per day. We are not yet satisfied with this much income, though. We have moved our countries from low-income country to one in the lower-middle income nations. We have an ambition to advance further to become one of a higher-middle income countries by 2030 and high-income countries by 2050.

CPP Has a Good Roadmap

Some of us who are sitting on this stage here will not survive till 2050 or live to 2030. However, the Cambodian People’s Party has issued a roadmap for Cambodia for short-term, medium-term, and term-term developments. They are not short-lived policies issued only to attract voters. It is in this readiness that in every situation, the Cambodian People’s Party has never lost its radar, ranging from taking up challenges of various risks to dealing with natural disasters […] Though some of us sitting up here will not live to 2050 or even 2030, we are sure that Cambodia has its roadmap in place, which only with some minor adjustments will be able to lead the way forward. We also have in place infrastructures will support the map, for instances we have built already roads, bridges, etc.

Those who will take over, except if they have a Pol Pot’s ideology and style of leadership, will never destroy them. I wish to take this chance to express my sincere appreciation for workers, your parents and grandparents, for always supporting the Cambodian People’s Party resolve problems and challenges, while making contributions for the country’s development. Without their supports, and now your supports, the Cambodian People’s Party political platform would not have achieved such successes. It is quite a turning point resulted from what we have foreseen and laid out.

Many Events in December

December – is a month with rather many events in Cambodia. In the past, Cambodia became in 1955 a member of the United Nations. We also have the Angkor Wat temple registered as one of the world heritages in December, 1992. What is even more important to remember is that on 2 December we established the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea. It was a time when the Cambodian people in certain areas almost died from the Pol Pot’s massacre. The Front saved them and liberated Phnom Penh on 7 January 1979. Prior to that date, a number of areas were already falling apart and liberated. Our people were full of joy to have been liberated. It has been 39 years already at this moment.

Also, on 2 December 1989, at Fere-en-Tardenois, France, the late Samdech Preah Sihanouk and I, Hun Sen – the father of a nation and a farmer’s child, conducted our first peace negotiation, leading to seeking a political settlement that ended the war. I was then 35 years of age. I went everywhere for the meetings with an aim to put an end to this policy of “water rises, fishes eat ants; and water recedes, ants eat fishes.” Prolonged armed conflicts was always in my memory and those of your parents and grandparents too.

We then have this 2 December 1998, when we issued for the first time in the first Cabinet meeting of the second legislative National Assembly Royal Government the “Triangular Strategy” to reap chance for stepping up. The three angles we embodied was firstly to ensure national pacification, secondly to achieve speedy integration of Cambodia in various international bodies and institutions, and thirdly, to take advantages of the first two angles to mobilize and concentrate efforts for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation […]

29 December 1998 – War Ending Day

We have finished about 60% of our construction of the Win-Win Memory Palace. We have taken 29 December 1998 as the day that Cambodia ended completely internal war through conduct of the win-win policy. Why have we set that war ending date in December, when the last falling out of the Khmer Rouge stronghold in Anlong Veng was since March or April 1998? The problem was the political and military organization of the regime remained. We set 29 December 1998 as the day because Khieu Samphan, the former Head of State and Prime Minister, Nuon Chea, former President of the National Assembly, and the Khmer Rouge Cabinet surrendered and came to see me at my house in Ta Khmao.

There has never been a country in this world to end a war without losing a bullet, and President, Prime Minister, etc. of one party in conflict came surrendering to the house of the Prime Minister in opposition in a war […] I am taking this up just to remind you all the important roles played by the Cambodian People’s Party, by me, and by your parents and grandparents in time of war, negotiation, and peace. It was thank to the peace that we have won hardly through win-win policy that we have this scarcely gold and diamond opportunity to score Cambodia’s socio-economic development. Particularly, works that you are doing and benefits that you are receiving are not here because of anyone but the Royal Government led by the Cambodian People’s Party […]

Cambodian Economy Does Not Depend Solely on Agriculture

… We have now stepped into a new phase of national development. According to figures and data of economic growth, our GDP, one can note that previously, our economy had a bigger share from agriculture. As I said in Kep province, as of this time, agriculture shared only 25% in our GDP, while industry made it up to 30%, and service sector, including tourism, made up to 45% share.  In saying so, that agricultural share shrank from 80% to only 25% share does not mean that Cambodia has not had enough rice to feed its people. On the contrary, while agriculture shared up to 80% to GDP, Cambodia had difficulty feeding its population. As for the present, that Cambodia shared only 25%, we have a surplus of over five million metric tons of rice for export, and many more crops – ranging from rubber, sugar to other produces […]

Let Us Keep Peace

Were there no participations and supports, nothing can be achieved. You may need to remember that what you have in hands these days, after the liberation from Pol Pot’s genocidal regime, are provided and facilitated by the Cambodian People’s Party. We are taking measures to prevent the return of the Pol Pot’s regime. We made every efforts to conduct negotiations to resolve problems and implement the win-win policy to bring and secure peace for lasting development. You may need to remember that to keep your jobs and incomes, you will need to contribute to keeping peace, and allow no one – Cambodia or foreign – to destroy it as they did in the past. At whatever price, we must dare to stand up in defense of independence, national sovereignty, and peace to guarantee continued development […] it is our rice pot.

The past experiences taught us enough. Your parents and grandparents had lost so much chances compared to you in younger generations. The previous generation, people were hostages of war, and lost their chances, lives, and some, including me, maimed. Current generation, youth have so many chances if they would not lose them in traffic accidents. They have more schools to go to and now they have more factories set up not far from their homes. They have jobs and incomes. Soon we will promote small and medium enterprises and handicrafts in local levels. This should provide more jobs for the people too […]

Eight Tasks to Focus

[…] I would have to remind us and concerned institutions of our resolutions and give more recommendations for institutions and people, workers of eight important tasks that we should continue to focus on:

Strict Measures to Implement Provision of 170 USD Basic Salary

First, to strictly implement a basic minimum salary increase at 170 USD. Any factories that provide below 170 USD will be against the law, and those who provide more will be fine […] there is a need for follow-up and inspection. Our workers have known of this policy very well, and in just days ahead the policy will go into force.

Free-of-Charge Health Checkup and Treatment at State Hospitals

Second, to monitor implementation of free-of-charge health checkup and treatments at state hospitals. The Ministers of Health, Labor, and concerned authorities must take this policy seriously and ensure its actions. Starting from 1 January 2018, workers, both registered and non-registered sectors, sportsmen and sportswomen, village heads, deputy heads, and assistants, commune councilors in the whole country will benefit from this policy. They must monitor its implementation. I urge them to pay attention to providing services. I would not wish to hear that while workers are going for checkups and/or treatments, the Doctors have not got instruction to carry through the policy yet […]

Female Workers in Delivery Entitle to Three Month Convalescence and 120% Salary

Third, monitor and implement adhesively policy to allow three months recuperation and 120% salary for female workers who deliver a baby/babies. The social security fund will cover 70%, employers will cover 50% for their salary makeup. In the past you only receive 50%. Starting from 1 January, you are entitled to the new policy arrangements […] we are not here to speak nicely like other parties would propagate. We must make it happen. This is the voice of a man who holds top executive power – the Prime Minister […]

Cash Assistance for Female Workers in Delivery from Social Security Fund

Fourth, to provide cash assistance for female workers delivering a baby/babies from the Social security fund. You may have known that anyone to give birth to a child from zero hour of January 2018, the child will entitle to a 400,000 Riel cash assistance. In case of two babies, the cash allowance will double, and triple in case of triplets. I also offer cash assistance of five million Riel for those who give births to three babies but there are not many cases like that anymore … There were only 320 families. I met some of them too. I will follow this up to make sure it will take place. Please send in news on this development to my Facebook account […]

Employers Pay 100% on Healthcare Fund

Fifth, to monitor the part of 100% expense on healthcare covered by employers. In the past, workers would pay 50% and employers would cover another 50%. Starting from 1 January, you no longer have to pay. Employers, factories owners will cover 100% of the healthcare benefits for workers, from which you will save between 8,000 Riel and 13,000 Riel per month […] this is something that we need to follow up as it is not a matter of one or two days works. We must make it known in every forum and there should not be rooms for trading blames. Ministers are in charge and be responsible before the Prime Minister and National Assembly […]

House Rents, Water and Electricity Charges

Sixth, to monitor issues involved house rents, water and electricity charges. I thank owner of a blue roof renting house for his clarification that there is no jacking-up of rents. I wish to monitor the house rents in the whole 2018. You may opt to increase it, at a low rate, in 2019. Efforts also must be made to monitor charges of water and electricity […] and to bring state water and electricity connections to their places of accommodations to relieve their expenses.

Retirement Regime in 2019

Seventh, to continue to implement social security fund on retirement in 2019. I wish to share with you that starting from 2019, you are entitled to a regime of pension fund. That means you also have retirement pensions as those employed in the state sector. We will take 2018 to prepare for implementation of pension fund […] however, you must fulfill certain criteria in order to entitle to a pension fun. You cannot work for one or two years and are claiming entitlements to the fund. You need to implement criteria required by law. Government officials are required to do the same […] it is in this note that you have to keep a logbook of your works duration. When one factory is closed, you can present a book when you find jobs in another […] Cambodian migrant workers will also present their previous works durations and claimed a continuation to their works inside the country too […]

Resolve Problems Encountered by Migrant Workers

Eighth, to continue to resolve problems encountered by Cambodian migrant workers abroad. I thank HE Men Sam An and Minister Ith Sam Heng for their times to visit our workers in Thailand, and other leaders to visit our workers in South Korea, Malaysia, etc. […] we are now in era that work opportunity is available not only in cities, but also in rural areas and even outside the country. This is an era of regionalization and globalization, by which we are expanding our job markets to foreign countries, by which our workers send in about two billion USD per annum into the Cambodian economy […]

Hoping for People’s Support in Forthcoming Elections

… I have declared already that I will continue to seek the Premiership post for the next two terms, which is not less than ten more years. I hope that you, your parents, and grandparents, should they are still alive, will continue to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party on 29 July 2018. I thank you, your parents, and grandparents for the supports to ensure Cambodia’s peace and development, and more so your interests. I am in fact very tired but I have no choice but to go along with you to expand our progress and guarantee peace. Luckily, I am no longer a man with big belly […] I hope you all continue to strive with the eight tasks I just mentioned […]

I hope to go along with you to see a time when Cambodia is becoming a higher-middle income country, where the poverty rate would go to only 1% or 2%, or even nil. Cambodia has set for itself a rate of 1.5 USD or 2 USD to be above a poverty line […] in this gathering today that we are meeting here, I am sure you are not here for the 20,000 Riel present but to meet, to express your feelings and to listen to what I have to say […]./.