Post-National-Assembly Session Press Conference by Samdech Techo Hun Sen [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

Firstly, Cabinet Reshuffle – a Normal Procedure of the Royal Government

Today I have a necessity to talk to the Cambodian people as well as to national and subnational level authorities and you the media have already followed what has been happening. You all have learnt about required reshuffle of members of the Royal Government. The National Assembly already voted to approve the list. It is a normal procedure of the Royal Government. I do not think I need to talk more about it. I am sure some people are not satisfied with it unless they have become ministers themselves. They may have to wait until they have Prime Minister post in order to do whatever they see fit […]

Secondly, a Law to Place Cambodia in Emergency Required

What I wish to bring to the Cambodian people today is about preparation for a law to place the country in the state of emergency, whenever is necessary. Last week, I talked to medical volunteers about whether we needed to have a law about emergency and I also studied possibility to implement Article 22 of the Constitution. We now have our draft law. I will lead a permanent Cabinet leadership meeting tomorrow – March 31, to review the law once more before we are going to have it before the Cabinet full session on Friday. Why do we need to have this law? Let me assure our people that they should not worry about (this law is going to) close Cambodia, to put into force martial law, and so and so. We just needed to have law ready and in our hand […]

We do not have yet a law that will enable us control situation when the country is in emergency. We needed to have a law. It may or may not be a question of wanting it or needing it, we must have a law as tool at hand for smooth state procedure. Article 22 mentioned briefly that should the country face with disasters, HM the King, with consent of the Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly and the Senate, declares state of emergency. However, what would be the coverage, degree and measures of this provision? The Royal Decree cannot enforce punishment. For instance, we prohibit any concentration of more than ten people. If people do not abide by the prohibition, what law would be for us to punish them? […]

Emergency – When Police and Military Police Could Keep Things under Control

Since 1993, as a ruler who has been in power without interruption, I never ever thought of writing such law. Now, situation has required us to review what has been happening in the world. No countries, except China, has achieved detent in the fight against this (Covid-19) infection […]. Countries are taking own measures, and some have even used police and military forces […]. Let me affirm with our people, business people and investors inside and from abroad, and tourists expecting to visit Cambodia after Covid-19 that it is very unlikely, though we are going to have the law, that we will exercise it.

Rather, we would have it in hands for a time when things go uncontrollable by state power. When police and military police could not keep things under control, it would be an emergency. There would need to allow the military to come in or we call it martial law. However, I wanted our people to have peace of mind because the Royal Government has not yet prohibited our people from gathering of three or five like in other countries. As I wanted our people to continue socio-economic life, we are asking not to have big gathering. […]

6 April – Emergency Law Goes to National Assembly

As I proclaimed on 24 March about there should be a law about placing the country under emergency, lawyers have had it prepared. Usually, the draft law would go into inter-ministry meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister/Ministers and with representatives coming from concerned ministries before going to the Cabinet meeting. Owing to its special requirement, the draft law will go to a pre-Cabinet review meeting led by Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, plus some lawyers. On coming Friday, we will seek approval of the Cabinet in its full session. I hope that the National Assembly will, after receiving the draft law, quickly work on it and pass it on to the Senate and the Constitutional Council, and finally to HM the King […]

Some have said that there is no need to place the country under emergency but we should consider practicing curfew. Let me tell them that a curfew is only a small part in the emergency law. I thank them for their ideas but I find this suggestion lack of knowledge about the Constitution and law in general. Prime Minister cannot order for a curfew. There has to have a law, which is one among many other tools […] we will not overlook Constitutionality in writing this law […]. Analysts should also comment the Royal Government would use the law to shut the mouths of those in the opposition, who have their opinion expressed but never have people’s life in their minds […]

Thirdly, Export No More Paddy and White Rice from 5 April 2020

The third point I wanted to talk about is my order to stop exporting paddy and white rice temporarily, except aromatic rice, for local consumption until further notice. The practice will go into action on 5 April 2020. Most of our paddy/white rice sell to Vietnam and Thailand. We continue to allow exporting aromatic rice since there is not high demand for it inside the country. Most of our people are using lower quality rice in their daily consumption. The high quality rice we exported to markets in Europe, China, and other countries […]. Why 5 April? We keep a period of one week for our people and traders to complete their selling/buying deals to either Vietnam or Thailand. They must export what they have sold/purchased.

There is a need to store rice at people’s household level and by rice mills. The Ministry of Economy and Finance will continue to monitor and assess this situation to provide rice mills with fund to purchase rice from our people for storing purpose. While we no longer allow export to Vietnam or Thailand, our rice mills must act in their places to purchase rice at a maintained price from our people. I have placed my order for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth to look into the matter […]. We needed to ensure food security in our country and I do not talk about corn or cassava or bean, but rice […]. Let me reaffirm that rice mills must purchase rice from our people who harvested rice at a fair price. They must not underprice it […]

Fourthly, Casino Closed on 1 April 2020

Fourthly, all casinos will close from 23:59 hours on 1 April 2020. Why do we leave it until 1 April to close them? The issue would not be about those who go there but those who work there […] we gave this task to the Ministry of Economy and Finance to work with Casinos owners to figure out how to go about it, for instance, they may have to be free of income payment obligation in the closing period. That we are closing down casinos today does not mean we are taking a posting by someone on Facebook. Let me tell him that we have planned for this press conference since yesterday and what happened now is just a coincidence […] I am asking every casinos owners to resolve things needed to with their workers at this time of suspension. It is just a temporary suspension. Once the infection subsided, operation returned […]

Fifthly, Confiscate/Destroy WHO Unrecognized Covid-19 Test Kits

Fifthly, I have issued an order to confiscate tools and medicines on sale without recognition of the Ministry of Health of Cambodia and of the World Health Organization. Yesterday we confiscated what they called Covid-19 test kits. Search must continue. Whatever is out there without recognition of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization must be confiscated and destroyed. I am calling on traders not to cause more problem while they are not sure about their products on sale […]. Those test kits are not certified. I am calling on people not to allow themselves to believe those cheaters. It would take hours to have a test result even with the Institut Pasteur […]

Please do not fool our people that this or that medicine would cure Covid-19 because no one in this world and the World Health Organization too have affirmed there is a vaccine to it […] my order is absolute and there is no more talk about it. Whoever goes online about it, we must arrest him/her and confiscate their goods. That would not be a freedom of expression. Am Sam Ath at LICADHO should be careful with his words. What you said was not a freedom of expression. Have you thought about dangers that our people face? […] If you continue with that, I am warning, you will not go free […] even if we do not have law on emergency I still can have your arrested because what you do is supporting illegal actions. Supporting freedom of expression about discrimination and intimidation, while encouraging sale of fake medicines and test kits would be a collusion to commit illegal action in Cambodia […]

Sixthly, Thank Media and Artists for (Covid-19) Awareness Campaign

I am calling on our people to transform their fear and concerns into measures to protect themselves as instructed by the Ministry of Health. I thank the Ministry of Health, the media, and artists for their campaigns to raise awareness about how to protect our health and to keep practicing sanitation and hygiene. I thank artists for their lyrics and music to help with this education effort […] while we are practicing social distancing and reducing large crowd gathering […]. We have a figure now that there are over 50,000 people coming back from Thailand. Please keep yourselves in isolation and I am grateful to our people for writing and hanging a notice at their homestead warning they have family members coming from Thailand. I encourage people to do like this […]

Frankly speaking, most of the infection cases are imported. It is in this knowledge that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a number of strict measures beside what we already implemented for the six countries – to grant no more visas on arrival and through e-visa, to deposit 50,000 USD before entering Cambodia, etc. We have just found a family of four infected after they returned from France. We therefore must take attention while we have so many of our people returning from Thailand. We all must be careful. Let us not risk ourselves to be sick and spread it to families and communities […] village, commune, district, province with new people coming in from foreign countries must be targets of inspection […]

Seventhly, Private Sectors Cooperate

I am calling on people in private sectors to understand each other in their businesses […] as one private business owner for example hires a location from another […] at this downturn time the rentee could not afford to pay the rent. I would say they understand the situation and readjust the price or reschedule payments. I am just issuing this appeal because I have no right to decide on their behalves. I am calling you exercise mutual understanding […]

They should not take extreme measures – for instance to seize houses, etc. The state has done its part as the National Bank of Cambodia has already taken numerous measures already for micro-finance and private banks. For instance, while they are required to have reserve requirement fund of 12%, they now can keep it at 7%, allowing banks and micro-finance institutions to work out with those on loans from them […]. We are considering a scheme to offer a loan of low interest between 500 or 600 million USD to specialized banks so that they could offer loans at low interests to those who needed them […]

Eighthly, Fund from Donation to Purchase More Medical Tools/Equipment

Lastly but not least, I thank HM the King, HM the Queen Mother, as well as many other generous beings for pooling so far over ten million USD (as donations for our efforts to combat Covid-19). In addition to what the Ministry of Health has in hands, I have ordered three million facemask, and 5,000 sets of medical gears and dresses for our medical staff. As a commander in chief on this front, I must have what we needed in hand. We must make sure our medical staff have everything needed for protection while working at the frontline […] we do not hesitate to spend and/or to create spending to purchase tools and protective gears for safety of our medical staff […]

Well I have now finished my statement. I am giving you now the floor to ask questions […]./.