Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen to the First​ Cabinet Meeting of the Sixth Legislative -Term National-Assembly Royal Government [Unofficial Translation]


[Start of Off-the-Cuff Speech]

Today the Cabinet is convening its first full meeting which I wish to affirm that we will have two parts. One part of the meeting, we will go live to send message to our people about the Royal Government’s political platform and an abridged version of the rectangular strategy. After the first part of this session is over, we will take a break for group photo. We will return to resume our meeting to discuss matters about job divisions among us.

46 Members Royal Government

Before starting our prepared schedule, I wish to take this opportunity to bring your attention to one matter. In previous Cabinets, as defined by the Constitution to enlist position of Secretary of State as member of the Royal Government, we had up to three or four hundred members. However, in practice, Secretary of State is a position that is not responsible before Prime Minister and the National Assembly. It is the ministers that are taking responsibilities before the Prime Minister and the National Assembly. We have amended our Constitution to no longer list Secretary of State as member of the Royal Government. In actual number, we have 28 ministries and one Secretariat. This makes 30 members of the Royal Government. However, we have Deputy Prime Ministers, three of who hold no ministerial portfolios but committees. We also have 13 Senior Ministers who will take special missions (delegated by Prime Minister). They will add up number to 46 members of the Royal Government, including the Prime Minister, who are responsible before the National Assembly.

Reform Is to Achieve Work Efficiency

I should affirm one other point. As you can see that no minister has been replaced in this term. Some people have thought that reform is about changing people (in decision making level). There have been lots of comments. I wish to assert that if reform is about just to change people (in leadership), it would not be different from killing oneself. In a national strategic framework, (reform) is not about aiming to change people (in leadership) but more importantly about ensuring work efficiency. Many have waited to see how many young people will be composed in the new Cabinet […] I do not care about that. All I am concerned about is how to achieve work efficiency.

Some have compared in their comments (on composing the new Cabinet) to placing the same old wine in new bottle. I asked Khieu Kanharith yesterday in the Royal Palace what wine is the best? Everyone says that the long-kept red wine would be the best. Why do we not have experienced officials to keep working? […] in this regard, I wish to affirm that if one is making a career in politics and/or calling reform only about change people (in leadership), that political party or its leader would be isolated […]

Keeping Old Ones, While Making More New Ones

Hun Sen’s successes starts from five men. It has now come to millions living with Hun Sen because of my method of “keeping old ones, while making more new ones.” That is Hun Sen’s way. We must be aware that people have chosen the Cambodian People’s Party from among twenty contested political parties not because of Hun Sen’s efforts alone. It is true that the majority of them voted for Hun Sen. However, Hun Sen alone could never achieve what we have now without efforts and contributions from ministers and institutions. In fact, people have choices. Firstly, they could have boycotted the elections as guided by the outlaws. Secondly, they could have invalidated the ballots; and thirdly, they could have just voted for any other parties. We must be clear as to why they have voted the Cambodian People’s Party. It is a big victory for us all who have worked together as a nation and family.

Not Everyone Satisfies With CPP

I am not surprised about figures of people who did not vote for the Cambodian People’s Party. For those people, they would never ever vote for the Cambodian People’s Party in their lives. If the Cambodian People’s Party could ensure everyone’s satisfaction, we may not need to have other political parties. Even in religions, no one particular religion wins everyone’s heart and mind […] Christianity and Islam are the religions that have the most followers in the world. Hindu has some one billion followers and Buddhism has roughly 500 million followers […] the same is true for the Cambodian People’s Party, we are aware that not everyone satisfies with us. There certainly are people who like other parties. It is their rights.

It Is About Winning a War

Another point of thought is if we were to abandon officials who have fought to bring us victory, where would Hun Sen’s respectability be? I had a word with Samdech Krola Haom yesterday about how many of our officials would have stayed on till the end of the sixth legislative term? […] (If people who have) made efforts to win, and in the end get kicked away, who else would Hun Sen be able to associate with? I do not need to win a battle. I must win every war through my way of commanding “to keep old ones, while making more new ones too.” For people who have joined Hun Sen, not many of them would back away. More are coming.

Our officials have been working five days in their offices and spent two days of their weekends in their party’s constituencies. If through this victory, they were to be kicked away, who would have done the job? They would think that no matter how hard they try, they would be kicked away in the end. Having said that does not mean that I would embrace officials who could not perform their functions/duties. Take for instance, HE Keat Chhon, we cannot force him to go on. HE Chan Sarun, despites his health has in fact been improved, is still not strong. It is reasonable to let him sit in the National Assembly […]

Work Even Better

The point here is not about changing people (in leading positions). However, we must ensure that officials are working more efficiently. It is my experience that one must try to stand up where one has fallen […] I would leave it to our officials who have done good jobs already to work even better. Those who have not done a good job must make efforts in the new term of the Royal Government to work better. We must be of thought that there could be reshuffle in the time to come. When and if we are seeing the need to make adjustment, for instance in mid-term or at a convenient time, because we must ensure that our journey will continue in an energetic manner […]

The Experienced Lead, the Novices Follow

It is necessary to have this situation of mixture between the old and experienced ones and the novices of younger generation to follow. When the old ones leave, the novices will resume. Take for instance, Aun Porn Muniroth, in 1992, he finished his Ph D in the former Soviet Union. He came to see me with Roth Sandab. They became my assistants. I gave them each one bike for travelling to/from work. Later I sent them for on-the-job training with HE Keat Chhon. Now, (Aun Porn Muniroth) has become a Deputy Prime Minister […] it is in this note that those who have joined Hun Sen would stay on. Those who could not stay on with Hun Sen would not make a good association with anyone […]

Fifty Thousand Riel Present for Phjum Ben

I have one more message for our people and the Ministry of Economy and Finance will have to take note on it to prepare for implementation. As in the previous year, the Royal Government will provide present of fifty thousand Riel for civil servants – including also village heads/staffs, armed forces, and retirees for the celebration of Phjum Ben – Buddhist festival […] this is the first point and I am asking concerned institution to prepare the sub-decree on that matter.

Secondly, normally we start payday from 23rd of every month. However, we will have this Buddhist ritual in October. Therefore, in the first week of October, we will have the October monthly payday, plus the present […] as for November, we could aim to have the November payday in the second week of November, since money would have been spent and there will be Water Festival too. While doing all this, please figure out when will be the payday for December? The date should be rolling. We could aim for the third week of December, and by the time we reach January, we will have bimonthly payday. We must be get ready for that […]./.

[End of Off-the-Cuff Speech]