Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Gathering of the Christian Leaders and Followers for the Sake of Religious Harmonization in Cambodia​

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[Unofficial Translation]

The Second Meeting in Communal Elections Campaigns

I thank Christian leaders and followers for taking part on this occasion. This is our second meeting after our first meeting last year. We have agreed to meet once a year. Next year we will meet again. This year, the Ministry of Cults and Religion proposed to me three date choices – 18, 19 and 25 May. As you knew that on the 17 May I was in China, and on 18 May, I was in Kompong Speu province. As it happens, 25 May is within the period of election campaign for the communal council elections. Therefore, should there be any requests for anything I would not be able to offer help because we all have to abide by the election law. No matter how powerful anyone could be, s/he would have to abide by the law. I understand though that you are gathering here not for assistance. However, if we could do something together, it would also be great […]

There is this request for a meeting on the coming 15 June with the Muslims. I also have agreed to meet them once a year. The Chinese association also has a meeting schedule. I do that also with our sportsmen and sportswomen. We also have the March-3 national culture day when I meet with our artists and art specialists. I have other meetings scheduled also with investors, etc. As Prime Minister of the country, I have to take up these as obligations. I have a great pleasure indeed to be able to join in this meeting with Christians in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I would like to take this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation and respect to the efforts made by the Christians since when we last met […]

Religious Harmonization

In relation to racial and religious harmonization, Cambodia has defined its actions at two levels – firstly, national level, where we are harmonizing races and religions present in the country. In Cambodia, we have Buddhism, Islamism, Christianity, other faiths, and/or unbelievers. This is our actions conducted at a macro level. However, we also have the need to ensure that each religion is in harmony. We have seen that in each religion there could be many sects – in Islamism, Christianity, or Buddhism. In Buddhism, there are Mahanikaya and Dhammayutikanikaya. It is so important in such instance that in each religion, there is a harmony.

Let me convey my appreciation to every Christians – leaders and practitioners, for their contributions in the development of this country. I have also noticed that each religious sect of the Christianity has contributed in human resource development. I had been to some of your places and noticed that along with religious practice, the community also made efforts to building schools for the sake of the children in respected areas to have access to learning. Simultaneously, I am giving as much appreciation to efforts of other religions in the Kingdom of Cambodia for their partaking with the Royal Government and the Cambodian People’s Party, which is currently in power, to build up harmony, unity, and reconciliation, while striving for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation of the people […]

Words That Make War

… War is very likely. I have talked so much about war and peace. Some people made a point that they have no guns so there would not be any war. I must remind you that there would need no gun to inflame a war. Words that you insulted and blamed everyone as traitors – you may want to see them in Facebook and I have no way of knowing yet as to how the National Elections Committee would deal with them – would be a real cause. They have insulted the Cambodian People’s Party seriously. They went this far to say that CPP has no more supporters but to ask “Yuon” (Vietnamese) to join their processions. This is why I say they use their words to bring about war. What if supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party could not hold their patience […] War could happen from your words.

It is in this note that I should remind about the fact that the country has an ethical code. They should try to avoid clashes. They should just advertise their products and refrain from criticizing products of others. They should follow the commercial rule. In trade, people just tell you how good their products are. They would not bother discrediting others. I think the same is true in religions. People who follow Christianity should not blame those who follow Islamism or vice versa. As you can see what had happened in some countries in Europe. What had drawing of cartoons of Muhammad in some magazines brought about in Europe? They had terrorist attacks, vengeances. Some say it is their freedom of expressions. Buddhist followers also must not denigrate either Christians or Muslims. Even in each religion, from one sect to another, there should not be issues of denigration.

Cambodia has the most political stability. However, the oppositions have yet withdrawn from their natures of agitating and insulting. The situation has so become fragile. It has been goods some early days but as I read the Cambodia Daily this morning, Mr. Kem Sokha said that whatever the Royal Government is doing – from increasing salary to reducing prices of electricity and running water – was in fact because they had demanded them. He may take my words now that the ruling party has in fact a decision making power and what to do is in fact the authority of the Prime Minister. You had promised elderly people of 65 years old and above a monthly per diem of 40,000 Riel. Did you make it real? How could he say that that the salary has now increased to one million at the lowest is because he has demanded it? You promised to make it so in 2013. Now is 2017 … have you got it right? He should not try to earn from achievements of the Royal Government.

Without CPP Leadership, War Is Imminent

As for electricity, whatever they wish to do, they should wait until they win the elections. I wonder if he is not ashamed of himself that because he wanted to be President of the National Assembly, and the demonstrations had to go on for months … I asked him in the National Assembly when we shook hand “what did your Excellency say? If no step down, you shake for a step down.” I warned him bluntly that if you were to do that on that day, it could have been your funeral. I would not hesitate to act on any move to force a legal Royal Government into dissolving … I wish they do not underestimate the gravity of troublesome. That they have not yet won the elections, they have already gone this far. What else would they not do if they won the elections? That is why I made it simple in my speech that war is imminent should the Cambodian People’s Party lose its control.

Now, people can say what they wanted to. There would need no weapons to cause war. They have said it in Facebook and worse still, they made it clear that they first deal with the Hun family. I just have their attention that the Hun family contributed so much for the construction of this country and they are not for you to kill … People should not insult Tia Banh or Pol Saroeun on their statements to go against the color revolutions. Whatever actions leading to toppling will meet strong rebuff absolutely. To guarantee lives of millions, we could stand to lose hundreds. We saw the past suffering. What I am saying is going live and I wish to add that whatever happens will not be because I was starting it … The National Elections Committee should come up with some kinds of orientation for some of the statements they made that are leading to causing anger within the period of election campaign […]

Ever Oppositions Apologize

They have made many false accusations on the Cambodian People’s Party. While voters’ registration is going on, and validation of voters lists is undergoing, they discredit us that we did not want to have elections because we were afraid of losing. Now that the campaign is in full swing, and a real election is coming near, what should they do? Should they not apologize for the wrong they said? If they were real man, they should. In my capacity as Prime Minister, I had declared the date of elections since nearly one year so that the National Elections Committee could have sufficient time to prepare for them. Why would you all discredit and insult us? In the meantime, there are just days ahead that the elections will come. Would they – local or foreigners – apologize now for their false statements? Every time, they abused us. When we resort to law to deal with them, they quickly made noise as if it was a political suppression.

… I would just urge our people to think about it thoroughly. I wish to tell everyone here and the people in the whole country that peace and unity that we have for the first time in hundreds years of history are real. We knew how it was when the country was in division … let alone those from the 15th and 16th century […] Once again, the Cambodian People’s Party has fulfilled another marvelous achievement that, along with benefit for the country, was also for other countries to experiment – the win-win policy. I traded my life to liberate the country from Pol Pot’s regime. Putting the win-win policy into practice, I did it once again for the sake of our country’s peace. My late mother and grandaunt came to see me in my room seeking my reconsideration of going into the Khmer Rouge strongholds … I told them “should anything bad happen, it would be bad luck for me and people who came with me. If nothing bad happens, I will bring the whole Cambodia together” […]

Toppling, Thwarting and Disorganizing Pol Pot’s Regime

In 1998, it was the first time in the Cambodian history that Cambodia became one united nation with one Constitution, a King, a Royal Government and armed forces. I could say that there were no other parties involved in the peace efforts except distracting it. That we were trying to liberate the country, they joined hands with the Khmer Rouge. As far as the political role of bringing peace and national reconciliation in concerned, I do not mention that of HM the King as HM is above anyone and anything else, the Cambodian People’s Party was the one that toppled and prevented the regime of Pol Pot from coming back to power. The Cambodian People’s Party was the one to disorganize the regime of Pol Pot politically and militarily through the implementation of the win-win policy, bringing the country to unity for the first time in history in dozens of years, if not hundreds of years, and development.

We departed from 100 per cent poverty. Who would have anything after the liberation? We have now downgraded poverty rate in the country to within 13%. We strove to stand up to rebuild the country and I thank the people of Cambodia for supporting the Cambodian People’s Party in every stage from toppling, preventing the return of the regime of Pol Pot, rebuilding the country through various stages of peace negotiation to implementation of liberal and pluralistic democracy. They have always voted to support the Cambodian People’s party to make and keep peace and develop the country … (that we scored socio-economic achievements as) fruits of economic growth because we have realized positive results of reforms of governance. We have a real roadmap to get here. It is not a victory of only the ruling party and the Royal Government, but of the whole people of Cambodia […]

The Oppositions Sought Aid Cut and Order Canceling

… I wish that our young generation should see that the one who brought in factories and jobs is not the oppositions but the Royal Government. We have established a working condition under the agreement with ILO and syndicates. Where there are shortcomings, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training will continue to address them. Whatever you have made these days, there were nothing provided and helped by the oppositions. They would do nothing but launched demonstrations and sought foreign countries to bring no investments to the country and more so to provide aid. […] The Royal Government has made efforts through the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft to provide our workers with access to running water, and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to make sure that our workers benefit from a lower price of electricity at 610 Riel/KWH. The opposition parties did nothing.

They however try to fool people that these happened because of their demands. They went to CG in Tokyo, Japan, to tell donors to give no aid and to bring no investment to the country. They told the European Union not to purchase our goods […] Let me share with you on this matter that should they wish to support the salary increase as they had said it, they could have voted in support of the budget law. They did not do it in the National Assembly and in the Senate. If they were to support the salary increase for our civil servants and the armed forces, they could have voted to support just that part of the budget law. Originally, our law set a tax ceiling for income of 500,000 Riel and above. At a later stage, we had moved the ceiling up to 800,000 Riel. They did not vote to support it. Again, for the budget law of 2017, we moved the income tax ceiling to above one million. They still did not support it […]

The Opposition Campaign Fans up War, CPP Members Exercise High Patience

… Some has said something about 500,000 USD for development of the commune/Sangkat. So far, our investment in infrastructure has reached between US$ 700 million and US$ one billion. So to speak, one bridge costs us more than a promise of 500,000 USD for a commune. They just said it blankly. Even I am the one to make a final say on things, I would consult with other leaders. The oppositions, on the contrary, do not care about that. They just declare that they would remove the Ministry of Rural Development. If this is to go on, I am sure that war is imminent … The Cambodian People’s Party has been patient to keep peace for the country because it is the ruling party. Our country has transformed from an isolated to an integrated one at a regional and world level – in ASEAN, East Asia, ASEM, WTO, etc. in which we have become a country to coordinate least developed countries in the framework of World Trade Organization … We also have joined the operations under the flagship of the United Nations […]

I insist that members of the Cambodian People’s Party exercise high patience. Please do not engage in exchange of insults. We must continue to be polite and disciplinary … (Any attempts to try armed rebel) would not yield a good result. Please do not engage the color revolution game. It had been every time in the past that the oppositions did not recognize the elections results and resorted to demonstrations. Now, according to law, they will not stand that chance any more … If they do not respond positively to invitation of HM the King, do not swear in, and/or do not attend the first National Assembly meeting, their seats will be divided among other parties … They may not wish to repeat the incident (of burning police vehicle) in Stoeng Meanjei. We will not allow that. I already have the armed forces ready for that […]

CPP’s Continuance of Power Keeps Peace and Development

… They say we are stuck to power. What are they doing these days? I am staying in power and they are trying to take power. Should the Cambodian People’s Party win, it will continue to hold power. CPP continuance of power is to keep peace and to continue development. That is what it means … Some commented in my Facebook – “Samdech is old now. It is about time to transfer power to others.” I replied, yes. I will transfer but not to you but to officials of the Cambodian People’s Party. Some even commented that even deity they take turn every year. I replied – yes, they do and they only give their turns to other deity … Well, since this year we are meeting at a time that our country is edging closer to the elections, I have some points that I should have said it now.

… If we compare to 2012, we have done so many things now, though we still have more shortcomings to fix. The Cambodian People’s Party does not require its candidates for the communal councils to pay any money for their candidature postings. It is because of distortion that members of other parties are taking parts with the Cambodian People’s Party … I would advise that respect of one another is the only best way. I would remind that it was because of shaking hands and stepping on foot that we could not work together. Dialogue culture came for a short live. It dies because of lack of faithfulness. I would hold dialogue with whoever who really need to dialogue with me faithfully. I would not have dialogue with convict. I would dialogue with anyone who will keep his/her end of promise. I wish also to send message to some diplomats that if they wish to see me to discuss bilateral issues, I would be happy to sit down with them. If they wanted to discuss with me on Cambodian internal affairs, I would not do so. I would have my minister to see you or even department heads […]

Religions in Solidarity Contributes to National Harmony

… I am calling on all Christians no matter what religious sect they belong to have solidarity among themselves and from one religion to another. This will contributes to harmonization in our society and country. There will be no religious conflicts. This meeting will continue next year. You may be tired and dislike the fact that I have spoken too much. I wish to wrap up results of the works that we have done to bring out the role of the Cambodian People’s Party in bringing and keeping peace, endeavoring for socio-economic development, exercising poverty alleviation, and continuing the march to a more effective and efficient governance …

You may still have difficulties but they would be as hard as when the country was partly in war and partly in peace. You may have low salary but it is still better than when we only had some rice and a few items that our civil servants got for their works in the past. We may lack roads but our traveling does not encounter jeopardy from ambushes or mines as in the war. We may not have the best schools buildings, but we are no longer leaving our kids learning under the trees or tilted houses. The time of those who know more teach those who know little, and those who know little teach those who do not know has passed. Though you may not have nice churches, or Buddhists – nice temple, or Muslims – nice mosques, we are better than when Pol Pot allowed us no freedom of belief. We must work harder to improve our churches, exercise disciplines firmly, and the Christian teachers should follow strictly their rules since they are part of human resource in religious field […]

… I thank Jesus for allowing me this chance to meet with his followers and to explain to them the works that we have done and will do. That I am not a Christian is not an obstacle for us to meet once every year. In the Ramadan, I also joined with the Muslims to fast with them. If our Christians have a dinner, and would want me to join them, I would say no. We all human beings have same needs, no matter what religion you believe or party you belong, and not even races. I am so happy to see that we are one united family and I wish to see no disunity because of agitation from those who want power. However, they do not have force strong enough to topple the Cambodian People’s Party yet. Their human resource is not yet up to what it needs … Well, I seem to go on without end […]

Let’s Meet Again in May Next Year

Next year we will meet again in May because June will be the campaign period for the general elections. We will try to squeeze our meeting in. I would try to fulfill what I promised to do. However, once again, for today, I have not had anything for our participants because we are meeting in the campaign period. I know that you are here not because you expect anything from me, what you want to witness is that there is a recognition for the role of Christians in our nation. As long as the Cambodian People’s Party is in power, our Christians – locals or foreigners – can continue their presences. May Jesus Christ bless you all peace and progress. I hope that Jesus also blesses me as well as the Cambodian People’s Party because the Cambodian People’s Party has created a chance for Jesus to be sacrificial object of the Cambodian people. I wish our people from provinces go back in safety and hope that you and your families will vote for the Cambodian People’s Party./.