Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Fourth Press Dinner [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

Eight National and Personal Major Events in January

[…] Please allow me to take this opportune moment to wish you a happy new year and the five Buddhist blessings. Today is the fourth meeting between Prime Minister and the press in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and some coming from abroad. The meeting signifies works of the press in relation to our country’s development […] since it falls on the day I became Prime Minister 35 years ago, let me clarify it was not me who chose this date for the celebration. It was just a coincidence […] in the month of January, there are many events relating to my life, my works and national developments. They are relating to what happened in the country that I listed them for you before we go into the topic relating to media/press.

  • It is the 41st anniversary of 7 January 1979 liberation. It is an important event and it happened 41 years ago.
  • I have become the youngest Foreign Minister, at the age of not even 27 years old, on 8 January 1979 – a few hours after Phnom Penh liberated […]
  • On 14 January 1985, at the age of 32, I became Prime Minister. It was 35 years ago. HE Khieu Kanharith and some other would have remembered then that I had the 100% support for my candidacy for the post of Prime Minister […]
  • It is also the 32 years anniversary of the second peace negotiation carried out between Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and me at Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 20-21 January 1988. The first negotiation conducted on 2 December 1987 at Fere-en-Tardenois […]
  • It is the 24th anniversary of the commencement of the win-win policy starting from the secession of Division 18 in Oral led by (General) Keo Pong from the Khmer Rouge (Democratic Kampuchea) in January 1996 […] that we have ended war on 29 December 1998, but the background work started in 1995 […]
  • It is more personal. It is my 44th anniversary to change from a single man to become a married man. I got married with my wife on 5 January 1976 […]
  • Also in this month, 20 years ago, I became a grandfather for the first time on 28 January 2000 […] and,
  • All my sons and daughters are married in January […]

Power Transfer, Insults Unforgivable, Ten More Years

I listed to a group discussion online […] there has been debate about this news on the Cambodia Daily that Hun Sen was seeking to transfer power to his eldest son – Hun Manet, in what they had predicted to be by 2020-2021. Let me make it clear on this matter that I need ten more years to hold the office of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Though qualified, Hun Manet had to wait until after 2028 or even after 2029 or 2030 […] Cambodia is a democratic country and there is no such thing as transfer of power from father to son like what happened in some countries. It has to go through elections […] more so, when I am leaving, it may not be time for my son to take the post as I have here colleagues and we have to sort out things among us […]

I wish commentators and analysts spare us some judgments and refrain from making illogical conclusions. Some with destructive intention […] had gone this far to accuse Hun Manet of being a son of a foreigner […] let me make it clear on this point too that I would not forgive whoever insulted my wife and my son […] those in foreign circles who preached respects of rights should understand. How do you feel when someone accused your wife to have an affair with someone else? I will not tolerate such attack. It will not end at making comments. I will not tolerate them […] let me reaffirm that Hun Manet has to go through elections even if he is qualified. In fact, I would not allow him to join the Royal Government. According to his capacity, he could be a Minister of Secretary of State, but I would rather leave him outside […]

I know that there have been questions mounting on who would be taking over after Hun Sen. That is not a small matter. There would need to be a certain answer to it. However, it is not at this time. As of this moment, after Hun Sen, it will be Hun Sen. In saying so, there is no need for those commentators/analysts to talk about Hun Sen transferring power to son. It will not be happening for at least another ten years […]

“To Abuse No Rights of Others, To Falsify No Truth”

Political and macroeconomic stability is two ends of one knot. Not only that we must ensure political and macroeconomic stability, we also must perform our duty in a timely manner. The press/media – both state and private – have actively contributed to safeguarding peace, political stability, security, and social order […] they are indispensable partners of the Royal Government and public institutions […] I have noticed though some online news outlets who performed themselves the duties of director, owners, and reporters themselves insulting and abusing other people’s rights […]

To keep your value and dignity intact, and confidence, I may give you a slogan “to abuse no rights of others, to falsify no truth.” I have no worries about those major, credible and professional press/media organizations […] as the press/media wish to be respectable, those employed in the business/jobs must respect other people’s rights. We must be equal before the law. They should not consider themselves a judge, an investigator and argue laws on their own. They should know that even Prime Minister, speakers of the Senate and the National Assembly are not in positions to interpret laws besides the Constitutional Council […]

Seven Tasks to Carry Forwards

Let me now talk about things that we needed to continue to fulfil together. Firstly, we must continue to keep peace. Peacekeeping is not a job of only the Prime Minister or a few people in the Royal Government to carry through. Journalists/press/media people must also do their jobs to keep peace. Without peace, where would you all go? […] you also have to contribute to keeping political stability, security, social order, and to implement safe village/commune […] to keep our villages/communes safe from drugs, thefts and robberies […]

Secondly, I am asking national and sub-national institutions to set up information delivering mechanisms such as spokespersons and social media, etc. […] I would instruct heads of institutions such as Ministers and governors/mayors of provinces/cities to take the highest responsibilities in delivering/breaking news by themselves. Some have already done well like HE Sun Chanthol, Samdech Pichey Sena Tia Banh, Samdech Krola Haom Sar Kheng, etc. […] they conduct press briefings and conferences directly with the press/media people. However, they may not have all the times to do so […] some have got my phone number and tried to get me talked. I did not respond. I have made my speeches one or two hours each time. Why do they not listen to them? […] I do not respond because while I am talking 50 words, they only quoted a few words […]

Thirdly, to serve as bridge from state to people and vice versa on both policies and actual implementations [] not every policies issued are correct or reflecting what are happening in real. Sometimes it is responsive and sometimes not responsive to the reality. Even for instance the meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party yesterday to prepare reports and set directives for the central committee plenum in February, we decided to review leading to possible amendments of outdated or irrelevant points in its statute […]

Fourthly, take part actively in fighting social inactiveness, corruption, irregularity and injustices. We are after a clean and transparent society. We all accept that injustices is a causing factor for social instability. This calls on wider and fundamental works and contributions from the press/media to exercise their professions in setting light on the truth and not faking them […]

Fifthly, to provide true news to combat fake ones. The world has had concerns about fake news. In the region, Singapore has become the first country to work out law on fake news. We have not gone that far yet. We are in the process of digesting this decision whether to go for it or not. It is very likely though that we may go for it […]

Sixthly, to get ready to move from analog to digital by 2023 and to finish preparing laws and legal papers concerning information in the sixth legislative term […] I must declare today that law on access to information must be ready in 2020 […]

Seventhly, we must devote efforts on human resource development – both general, ethical and professional knowledge. Training of human resource for information institutions must take one-step ahead as we are now in a time of tough competitions […]

To Charge No Fees on Frequency Use; Provide Legal Help to Press/Media

Let me now touch requests brought to me by HE Khieu Kanharith (Minister of Information) […] (concerning this request to the Royal Government to charge no fee on use of frequency) I am giving my support and agree to withdraw the charge. That will of course alleviate your expense burden. However, you may not need to ask more financial backing from the national budget. Incomes from commercial ads never go into national budget anyway […] while the private media did and continue to do it […] I am asking the private media company to understand that this move was for helping the state media to make a step forward […]

As for the second request to provide legal help/lawyers of the Royal Government in defense of press/media persons […] well, my answer is I agree to allow lawyers of Samdech Techo to defend press/media people where there are appropriate facts and legal matters. I am asking the President of the Lawyers of Samdech Techo team to look into this request of legal defense for press/media people. They do not have to pay for their services […]./.