Selected a Message and Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, on Measures Taken to Manage Impacts from Covid-19 Related Pneumonia and Suspension of Tax Favor on a Number of Goods under (Everything But Arms) Program [Unofficial Translation]

68

CNV:

In addition to the message on “Measures Taken to Manage Impacts from Covid-19 Related Pneumonia and Suspension of Tax Favor on a Number of Goods under (Everything But Arms) Program,” Samdech Techo made the following off-the-cuff elaborations and comments:

Today we are conducting the meeting of the Supreme Council for Consultations and Recommendations (SCCR). Before we are going into the meeting, I have a massage to deliver to our compatriots relating to recent developments […] I hope that members of the SCCR will benefit from macroeconomic inputs over what we normally discussed about land conflict issues […]

  • Supporting Measures for Tourism

(From text: to exercise tax exemptions (i.e. the state will pay for them) that hotels/guesthouses registered for businesses in Siem Reap province for a period of four months from February through to May 2020 […])

[…] by tax exemption here, we meant state would pay tax on their behalves. They already paid tax before. We cannot use the term tax exemption here. We talked about “tax exemption” here for the sake of easiness to understand, while in fact the state is paying those taxes exempted on them. We do not exercise it as in general […] we do it only in Siem Reap province where we normally have foreign tourists coming […] now tourists’ arrivals declined sharply […]

[…] let me affirm that Cambodian officials in related institutions must scale down their participations to meetings abroad. Where it is possible, we should send our Ambassador to the meetings instead. Where there has invitation for ten to participate, we may send only three or four officials instead. As for the meetings inside the country, there should be more in provinces, especially in Siem Reap than in Phnom Penh. I think of having the Cabinet meeting in Siem Reap so that the province can host local tourists […]. The Supreme Council of Consultations and Recommendations may convene meetings in Siem Reap province to offer chance for hotels and restaurants to do businesses […]

[…] As a number of flights have canceled […] there is still uncertainty about disease that we are in the state of taking precaution. In this regard, over one million of Cambodians who normally traveled abroad every year should think of touring the country instead, giving priority especially to Siem Reap province […] to help sustain tourism that is facing decline of tourists’ arrivals […] I am calling on owners/managers of hotels to consider lowering their room rates […] rather than keeping their hotels empty […]

[…] We organized national-level Sangkranta before. Since last year, we no longer hold it at national level anymore. Provinces can continue to do it […] Siem Reap can have Siem Reap Sangkranta. I urge music bands to organize concerts in Siem Reap to attract tourists along with religious or sports programs […] let me affirm to you as to why we do not cancel selling (of tickets to visit the temples) to attract tourists? As you can see, buying a one-day temple tour ticket now, foreign tourists can see our temples for two days. It is already a way of doing so […]

I may add some comments here before we are talking about garments sector. Our tourism suffered impacts from fear and discrimination. However, as of this moment, no Cambodian has infected with Covid-19. I am sure tourists will regain confidence and return. The fact that Malaysia declared that American woman clear of Covid-19 and confirmation from the US have restored confidence for more tourists’ arrivals to the country […]

On this occasion, I would have to make a clarification on comment on Facebook of someone going to the airport to fetch his daughter coming from China. He claimed on his account that he and his daughter were not being inspected while they were at the airport and he wrote “oh, my Cambodia.” Let me tell the younger brother and the young niece to go back to the airport to see how we monitor and look for people with possible symptoms. We have wall cameras through which operators sitting behind those walls monitored and scanned passengers […]

I hope our people can learn about this. We do not monitor temperature with hand-held tool but with face scanning machines. We have scanning machines at every entries and we do not have to hold the tools to point at everyone’s heads. Once they spot someone with symptoms, they would invite the person in for further inspection. I suggest the man and his daughter go back to see it with their own eyes to clear their minds if they should think I or the Ministry of Health are lying. The Ministry of Health has had this experience since 2003 and we placed those machines even before the World Health Organization declare the virus outbreak, even. I just urge our people to have more trust in responsibility of the Royal Government and the Ministry of Health […]

I thank the Minister of Health and other health officials for their efforts to fight with the disease. We also have our quarantine officials at every entry – air, land and water, with temperature scanning machines […] the scanning machines even take picture of anyone suspected of having high temperature and may have escaped. We have his/her picture to look for him/her […]

  • Supporting Measures for Garments, Shoes and Bags

(From text: for factories-enterprises that suspend production for a short time because of lack of raw materials, factories-enterprises would pay 40% of workers’ and employees’ salaries (calculated based on the minimum monthly salary of 190 USD for 2020), while the Royal Government covers another 20% of the minimum salary (together will make a coverage of 60% of their salary).

[…] this meant that workers would receive from factories-enterprises based on their minimum monthly salary 190 USD, 40% coverage while the Royal Government would share another 20%. For their minimum salary of 190 USD, Cambodian workers would continue to receive around 120 USD […]

Let me also add that once you lose your jobs (at factories/enterprises) you must take training courses, where you will receive skill training and 120 USD per month for a period of six months. For the six-months period, you will receive training for four months with 120 USD per month pay and 240 USD for another two months for you to take care of your expenses while looking for jobs.

Having come to this point, people may take note that Cambodia has prepared itself for no return of EBA suspended by the European Union. Let me affirm to the Cambodian people and politicians that Cambodia would not ask for a return of the 20% EBA. There may not be any lobby on this. Politicians in Cambodia also do not nurture hope that “the ghost would live again.” Cambodia has prepared its mind for the 20% loss. We will continue to export the remaining 80%, whereas we export and pay tax on the 20% they suspended […]

Cambodia will not trade its law and sovereignty for the 20% favor. They may decide whatever they wish. Hun Sen will not ask for favor, or to veto, and/or to oppose. Let them implement their decisions. However, I am sure they understand, Cambodia is resolute on the path it has selected. Analysts may need to remember that we cannot act according to your intention to trade Cambodian sovereignty for it. This is a country with independence and sovereignty. If we cannot protect and implement our own laws, how could we be a country? […]

As for workers, I think you should not be concerned. The Royal Government is capable of taking such responsibility. We will keep up exporting of 80% of the goods to the markets and for the 20% goods they suspended we continue to export but pay tax. Excluding UK, tax calculation on goods exported to Europe would tax us around 100 million USD […] there is no deal to trade sovereignty for 100 million USD. We will not let those who destroyed the nation to go free. Legal procedures will continue […]

They may implement their laws. We are implementing our laws. In Thailand, they just dissolve a political party with seats in the National Assembly and politicians banned for ten years […] while they decided to play this game, we must deal with it to defend national independence and sovereignty. If you wanted us to do what the European Commission wanted, we would not be able to respond to your wish […] if for that dissatisfaction, you wanted to leave Cambodia, you may do so. We do not have right to chase you out but if you feel this country is inappropriate for your way of life, you may leave […]

We have export a size of roughly 14 billion USD, among which about four billion USD to the member countries of the European Union. Over ten billion USD we export to other countries beside this group. Out of four billion USD, we are obliged to pay tax on just over one billion USD goods, since UK already left EU. We export over one billion USD to the UK.

Today, I am delivering a clear message that Cambodia is not backtracking on its commitment for traitors to go on trial. They may have to see this clearly. What they have done they have to memorize it. They had made 29 December 2013 their final assault to overthrow. After their decisions, mayhem happened along the Veng Sreng road in late 2013 and early 2014. How many people died? Vandalism caused, who would pay for them? There is no forgiveness. We are a country ruled by law and in a democratic framework, we must be responsible before our nation […]

I hope that political parties here present share this thought with me […] we have 40 registered political parties at the Ministry of Interior […] and in 2018, 20 of them took parts in the elections. As of now, 16 political parties are sitting in here working directly with the Prime Minister and the Royal Government. This is a much bigger power than the one exercised by opposition parties in the National Assembly. They would not have chance to sit and talk with Prime Minister and/or have Minister reported to them as they would do to the CSSR […]

Even if they decided to take not 20% but all of it, it would be entirely up to them. We cannot trade our law and sovereignty with favor. I have retained my position. We do not beg them to reconsider their decision on 12 August, when they will start their suspension decision. I will not beg. Cambodian sovereignty is not a subject for negotiation. They should not seek to negotiate with Cambodia for a dismissal of allegation or for court to do this or that, or to beg the Prime Minister to seek for royal pardon, I would say no. It will be the Prime Minister’s discretion what he wants or does not want to do. As you have already embarked on that road, I also have to determine to work in defense of national independence and sovereignty of Cambodia. It is not the matter for Hun Sen alone […]

  • Supporting Measures for Growth

Firstly, about small and medium enterprises. In our country, small and medium enterprises still have abundance of potential. Let us look at the exhibition of domestic products. We have a lot. They have potential to expand. Those products eventually replace some imports but some are also for export. We cannot depend on garments alone […] Cambodian economy must diversify. What we needed to do was to encourage small and medium enterprises to act as backbones of the economy of the country. We have plenty of raw materials in the country and we can process them to supply local demands and export […]

Secondly, anyone with money can now buy houses at 70,000 USD and lower free of stamp duty. They have built homes to sell to civil servants and they still have a lot. They now have open sale for people at large. They have houses at 100, 200, and 300 thousand USD, but also houses at 50 or 60 thousands USD as well, prices that are not paying stamp tax. We are working on this to help property developers and to allow people to purchase houses at more affordable prices […]

In this regard, I suggest that the (Government-Private Sector) Forum invite members of SCCR to participate to have more understanding of the forum […] it will be the 19th forum of its kind and we will set out new packages of measures to manage and resolve impacts from recent situations – most importantly, the Covid-19 and the 20% EBA suspension […]./.