Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Inauguration of Preah Sri Eysan Voraman Economy and Monetary Museum (PSEV – EMM) [Unofficial Translation]


In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo made a wide range elaborations on when the Riel currency was reprinted and circulated, and re-admitted as national currency under UNTAC and to the present.

USD Peaked under UNTAC

Let me elaborate on this point for us to understand and figure out our next strategy for the future. The USD peaked its presence and circulation in Cambodia under the time when there was this peacekeeping operation in Cambodia – UNTAC (or United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia). We all know that UNTAC spent almost two billion USD in its intervention to seek peace for Cambodia. UNTAC did not pay its staff in the Khmer Riel but in USD. The UNTAC staff used USD in their transactions with locals. This has called for a consideration of what to do for country that needs peacekeeping operations […] as of now I have no idea yet in what currency the UN pay the Cambodian peacekeeping troops in Mali, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, and Lebanon […] it is true that the Riel currency is playing a strong role (in our economy) but we cannot end presence of the USD (de-dollarize) at this time […] that I have mentioned this is because I do not wish those countries to follow Cambodia’s path in the past that it had suffered influx of foreign currency (in its economy) […]

Trading Goods for Goods (Bartering)

In Cambodia, (the regime of) Pol Pot abolished everything (including money). After the liberation, we had to go with bartering […] later, some people who had saved from or picked up gold (after) the regime of Pol Pot, they started trading gold with goods […] a while later, for provinces along the western border between Cambodia and Thailand, we stared to have presence of Thai Baht […] while in the eastern part of the country we started with the Vietnamese Dong […] it was on 20 March 1980 that we reprinted our Riel currency in Moscow. It was hard. After printing the money, we had difficulties in getting them to Cambodia […] it was until 1989 or 1990 that we bought a money printing machine […] be we were able to print only small banknotes. Later, we have our money printed in Germany, in France, etc. […] now we are able to print our own banknotes with high security measures […]

Through Times and Transformations, Riel Banknotes Came from PRK

People may want to read about what I wrote on this particular subject in a book I titled “Ten Years of Cambodia’s March” printed on 9 January 1989. I have it written about the Cambodian financial issues that from the onset, the Riel banknotes (printed by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea – PRK) used only between the government officials and traders, and gradually, the Riel banknotes have been accepted in the Cambodian market. Through times and transformations, up to the present, the Riel banknote in circulation issued under the time of PRK. I could remind you that (in the process of peace negotiation) the tripartite coalition (of Democratic Kampuchea) – especially the Khmer Rouge and Son San demanded to abolish the Khmer Riel banknotes (issued by PRK) […]

Son San proposed to print passports and cash branding SNC (Supreme National Council) […] I agreed to one of the two proposals – printing special SNC passports for members of the SNC and its secretariat staffs […] it was unbelievable for them to have proposed an abolishment to the PRK printed Riel banknotes […] I rejected the proposal. Let me underline that the Riel banknotes were first reprinted on 20 March 1980. We must keep that in mind […] it was on that note that we have secured the current banknotes printed with images of Samdech Father, Samdech Mother, and HM the King. They all came from original banknotes of the Khmer Riel printed and issued under PRK […]

UN Peacekeepers Paid in Local Currencies

(Samdech Pichey Sena Tia Banh reported that the UN paid their peacekeepers in local currencies of countries they worked in …) well, it seemed that the UN has changed the USD into local currencies to pay the peacekeepers. That was not what they did in Cambodia […] it is now a good example. Those countries must not follow what the UN peacekeeping operation did in Cambodia […] I just wanted to share with you all about this happening in our country’s history that there was an attempt to abolish the Khmer banknotes […] they – Son San and Khieu Samphan branded me a puppet but in the end Khieu Samphan reported himself to the puppet’s house to end war. I shared a meal with them. 29 December 1998 has now become our day of war’s end. UNTAC did not end war in Cambodia. Now, though we still have many different foreign currencies in circulation altogether (in our market) the Riel currency/banknotes have played important role in the Cambodian economy […]./.