Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Meeting with Tricycles (Cyclo) Rickshaw Riders [Unofficial Translation]



Please allow me to warmly welcome everyone present here today, especially tricycles taxi riders, as well as those of you from institutions, Oknhas, who support the tricycles taxi fund. I also extend my welcome to artists who have shared their times and performance for our event. Today, it is not just to announce the foundation but also to put into operation the tricycles taxi riders fund (TRRF). About three weeks ago, I proclaimed an initiative relating to the establishment of TRRF, which we cannot name it Cyclo Association for there is already this association registered in the Ministry of Interior. It has also a statute of its own. TRRF also has its statute, which we may call in short – the Cyclo Fund.

Four Reasons to Start Cyclo/TRR Fund

You may wonder why I have chosen this day in January to launch this Fund. Many events occur in January, First, we have this historic day on 7 January, when we liberated the country from the regime of Pol Pot. We are now celebrating its 39th anniversary – 7 January 1979/2018.

Secondly, on 5 January, it is the 42nd anniversary of the Khmer-Rouge style group wedding, in which my wife and I were the last couple among all thirteen couples. We have now become one very big family, in which parents, sons and daughters, plus in laws have made 32 of us.

Thirdly, started on 8 January 1979, or 39 years now, I started to hold state power as I was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the age of not even fully 27 years old. Tomorrow, will be the 33th anniversary of my tenure as Prime Minister. I was one of the youngest Prime Minister in the world and I have now become one of the long-serving Prime Ministers in the world. There are many more events relating to my family and people of Cambodia. Most of my children’s wedding also occurred in January.

It is in this note that I decided to take action to respond in a timely manner to our tricycles rickshaw riders’ anticipation. I know what it is like to be waiting. In just three weeks, we have put together a statute and deposit it in the Ministry of Interior. The Fund is functioning in accordance with criteria required by the Ministry of Interior and by laws of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

TRRF Memberships

As honorary president of TRRF, I should clarify issue relating to memberships to avoid misinterpretation by commentators and/or anyone who would always like to criticize others. There are four types of memberships in the TRRF statute – founding members, honorary members, supporting members, and active members. Let me clarify these memberships’ roles. Founding members would be the ones who initiate the foundation of TRRF, and they may include me and some other people. Honorary members are ones that contribute ideas and financial, material supports to TRRF irrespective of their own interests. Thirdly, supporting members are ones that contribute actions to the functioning of TRRF, and fourthly, active members are those who perform the trade.

Active Memberships’ Advantages from TRRF

Members of other associations relating to tricycle rickshaw riding trade can also request memberships to TRRF. Let me stress that only the people who ride tricycles rickshaws will benefit from various TRRF’s advantages. Memberships of type 1, 2 and 3 will take no benefits. They are the ones who give. There could be a misunderstanding that Mr. Hun Sen forced tricycle rickshaws riders to become members of TRRF to enjoy those benefits. There must be a question as to who should I give my money? I cannot give my money to just anyone. They have to have some kind of identification to receive advantages from TRRF. I would not want the fund to benefit only the leadership of association and/or Fund.

As is reported by HE Khuong Sreng, (Mayor of Phnom Penh and President of TRRF Board) there are two tricycle rickshaws associations in our country. There are those who belong to no one association too. It is in this situation that I cannot provide money to associations. I have come across these issues before. I saw how they mismanaged the fund that I had provided, and only those who controlled associations enjoyed the benefits. Some proposed to set up a non-governmental organization and started by requesting for two cars and a few motorcycles, and even their headquarters, plus rent. They also asked for salary of their staffs […]

First Advantage – Free-of-Charge Medical Checkup in State Hospitals

I wanted to meet directly with real tricycle rickshaws riders. I hope other associations would understand this. I do not wish to dissolve them and tricycle rickshaws riders would wish to stay as its members too. However, to secure real advantages for true tricycle rickshaws riders, TRRF is open to everyone in that business. Firstly, they will have access to equitable fund which is to cover free-of-charge medical checkup and treatment in state hospitals. Their membership cards will be registered at the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training’s National Social Security Fund, who will then pay for costs of checkup and treatment from equitable fund […]

Second Advantage – A 7,000-Riel Per Diem

Secondly, those with membership cards will receive a per diem of 7,000 Riel, of which 2,000 Riel is for cost of renting a tricycle rickshaw, and 5,000 Riel is for the day’s meal. These type-4 members are not obliged to make contributions to become members. They only have to write a membership request. They also can leave TRRF the same way. Membership will be voluntary. People cannot claim to be a tricycle rickshaw rider and request for those advantages. We must make sure he truly performs the trade […]

Tricycle rickshaw riders who are members of TRRF may claim their per diem every ten days – on tenth, twentieth, and thirtieth day of each month. Money will be transferred to them by Wing (money transfer service agent) anywhere they may be. They do not have sit waiting to collect the money from the central office of TRRF […]

Uniforms and Other Allowances

In the initial stage, our tricycle rickshaws riders will receive only per diems. However, in the long run, the governing board must look further into other benefits on a yearly basis. Take for instance, should they have an identical uniform for tricycle rickshaws riders, which will have partial benefits on our tourism and among our people too. They could also figure out at times of national traditional event and ceremony, for instance Phjum Ben Day and the Khmer New Year, whether there would be allowances for them as those provided to the civil servants and armed forces. In case we have bigger pocket, perhaps we can also take this policy into consideration so that tricycle rickshaws riders and their families will have more money to enjoy the festivities. It is all up to the governing board to decide […]

Death and Retirement Benefits

We also have to look further into other issues such as when anyone tricycle rickshaw rider dies and/or cannot perform his trade anymore. It is not only a daily benefit process here but a life-long one that would cover later also death and retirement benefits […] for example, in anyone of the cases, each tricycle rickshaw rider could claim their daily per diem for 100 or 200 days, so that his family could reap a secure amount of money to start a new trade. These are some recommendations on my behalf as honorary president of TRRF […]

Jackets and Raincoats

We also have to take care of their needs for outer jacket in cool weather season, and raincoats in rainy season. We would provide them what we do for our armed forces […] I hope that tricycle rickshaws riders will respect TRRF statute that are made handy to you in small booklet. I would request for TRRF to issue a recognition bill, with my signature on them, in contributions made to TRRF in ideas, resources, and services by everyone here […]

Let Us Conserve Tricycle Rickshaw

… We have an annual contribution of about 200,000 USD in addition to my depositing sum of 40 million Riel per year. We have fund to start TRRF from today. However, we must think of other means to make sure that tricycle rickshaws are maintained properly and conserved […] in older day, Preah Borom Ratanakaod Norodom Sihanouk also considered tricycle rickshaw an identity of Cambodia. HM also called for preserving them. We have only about 300 of them left, while many more new modes of transportation are available out there.

I hope that every tricycle rickshaw riders, with funding we have made available, will have improved living condition because they do not have to worry about food and rickshaw renting cost anymore. Now they have every day in their hands a sum of 7,000 Riel, nearly 2 USD, which is roughly above the required UN rate of 1.25 USD to be above poverty line […] I am also asking our tricycle rickshaw riders to respect traffic rules. I am calling on those working in tourism sector to attract tourists to take tricycle rickshaws’ ride. Our people should not forget them too. Taking a ride in tricycle rickshaw will also cut down environmental pollution, and help improve living condition and income of tricycle rickshaws riders.

… I am calling tricycle rickshaws riders not to ride in drunkenness. Members of TRRF must not perform their trades while they are drunk. You may take it after you end your day of business […] well, that is about all that I wish to clarify for those who may not understand reasons why we have this fund set up. Tricycle rickshaw riders with membership cards will enjoy those advantages I had listed. They are free to make decisions to join or not to join TRRF. I picked this up because there would be some who criticize me of forcing tricycle rickshaw riders to join TRRF […] more so, if anyone can set up a bigger fund to provide to tricycle rickshaw riders, for instance, 10,000 Riel/day, I will welcome […]

I will praise him/her if anyone could do so. I will thank him/her and withdraw my fund for use in other purposes and/or for other target groups of people. There are many more who wish to have my support […] some people, though they have no resource ability to do things, they always make noise from their mouths […] I thank you all for taking parts and I wish you all more advantages […] I thank every generous people for establishing a new situation unprecedented before. You may review whoever had offered so many advantages for tricycle rickshaw riders? […] we have a fund that will secure our operation for at least two years, however, we are not aiming our action for two years but for as long and sustainable as it could be to serve those of you now, to take care of you when you leave, and to continue to serve those newcomers […]./.