Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Celebration of the Ramadan Ifta Dinner

[Unofficial Translation]

CNV: 15/06/2017

Okhna Sok Kimli, Director of the Supreme Committee of Islamism in Cambodia,
Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen, national and international guests,
Mr. Ith Mantuon, and dear students,

Racial and Religious Harmony Cannot Be Overlooked

On behalf of the Royal Government of the Cambodia, I warmly welcome Excellency and Ladies for joining us to celebrate the Ramadan dinner organized by the Royal Government. In our first gathering (in 2014), we hosted only 1,300 people, and 4,000 people in the following gathering. We then hosted this Ramadan dinner for 4,500 people and this year again 4,700 people. If we were to have bigger place, I hope, we will be able to host dinner for more Muslims to attend in this very special occasion.

I am taking this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation and thanks for HE Osman Hassan, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, for making a speech reflecting supports of our Muslim communities to the Royal Government. I also take this moment to thank HE Ambassador of Pakistan for the speech he delivered mentioning about Cambodian progress, and making a point that it was a fortunate chance for the Cambodian Muslims to live on this land.

As I have raised this issue in previous occasions, the most important point here is we must never overlook the issue of racial and religious harmony. In some countries, divisions and conflicts stemmed primarily from indifferences, discrimination, and lack of attention on harmonization of races and religions. This point deserves further studies, especially the one on violence that occurred from racial and religious issues.

Muslims for Socio-economic Development, Peace, Political Stability, Social Order

I would take this moment to express my sincere thanks to our Muslim communities in the whole countries who are present here today. In the past one year, after our gathering here last year, they have contributed majorly in socio-economic development, defense of peace, political stability and social order in Cambodia. I remember that last year, while celebrating this Ramadan dinner here, we were in a campaign to resolve the people’s need for water. We have noticed in that moment a collective movement joined by our compatriots, and we cannot overlook its important role, in which our Cambodian Muslims also took part actively. One year has passed and our country has come across a juncture in which we have transferred our country from its least developed status to one in the lower middle-income countries. All these happened and we can say with pride that our country is one that is securing solidarity, and enjoying racial and religious harmony.

RGC/CPP Thank Muslims for Their Votes/Supports

Days ago, our Muslims took parts in the process of keeping peace, political stability, security and social order, through the communal elections campaigns. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I wish to express my sincere thanks for your participations that contribute to the safeguarding of security and social order on the one hand and on behalf of the Cambodian People’s Party, allow me to express my deep thanks to our Muslims for voting to support overwhelmingly the Cambodian People’s Party. I hope that you will continue to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party. Doing so is like voting for Allah and you Muslims yourselves.

Ramadan Dinner Will Go On As Long As CPP Is In Power

I have said it once last year that this Ramadan dinner organized by the Royal Government of Cambodia and hosted by Prime Minister Hun Sen can be sure to happen only in the period that the Cambodian People’s Party is in power. However, I believe and trust in your steadfastness and faithfulness, which have shown again, and again from the time of national liberation from the regime of genocide to the present elections, through which you have given overwhelming support for the Cambodian People’s Party.

It is not a campaign for the Cambodian People’s Party to have said that. It is a concrete policy putting out for the Cambodian nation, for the Muslim communities, and for Muslim countries to see for the last 38 years. HE Osman Hassan mentioned to you about the pasts that you Muslims had gone through in Cambodia. As of this moment, people can see that more and more Muslims have finished their higher and post-graduate educations, inside the country as well as abroad.

Enrolling Muslim Teachers

In addition to that, the Royal Government pays attention to training of human resources of the Muslim communities through its efforts to enroll their teachers. This has also contributed to reducing expenses so far paid by Cambodian Muslims who raised fund to pay for them. I wish to inform you that we may enroll more, not just the 1,500, if there is a real need for us to do that. It is a requirement, without any discriminations, in our effort to meet the need for social development. I would just share with all of you that this is what we have achieved from over 40-year experience in leadership of the Royal Government. We have come to understanding well enough the need for racial and religious harmony. We have seen now that there are more mosques and schools. I am asking the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to continue to discuss with the board of directors as well as the Ministry of Cult and Religious Affairs about the fact that if there is a real need to enroll more teachers so that they will benefit from state salary as others do.

CPP Policies on Ethnics, Religions, by Sectors Will Be Eternal

I would propose that we must keep up with what we have done even after I am no longer here. Whoever in the Cambodian People’s Party that is taking over, they must not forget the policy that we have adhered for over 38 years. They are not policies formulated in haste. They are eternal policies that the Cambodian People’s Party will see them through. We have policies for ethnics, religions, by sectors and sub-sectors. Well, at least, I advise the next generation (leaders) to pay attention to the issue of racial and religious harmony. I urge them to keep in mind that as a country we must avoid racial and/or religious conflict and turmoil. Racial discrimination is not a policy adhered by the Cambodian People’s Party and even more so by Hun Sen’s leadership.

This gathering here today shows clearly our solidarity. Today, we have Christian followers, and probably Hindu and Buddhist followers, altogether. Difference of faiths should not be a hindrance to national development and there is not religion that teaches any human being to do bad things. State management benefits from religions as they all advise people to do only good actions. People’s good deeds help improve security and social order […]

Allowing Muslim Dressing Codes for Female Students

I wish to affirm that some countries have not yet implemented policies in relations to dressing codes of students at primary, secondary and post-graduate levels. Certain number of countries have not yet allowed Muslim females to put on their traditional dressing codes in school. On this issue, in Cambodia, I have given my permission for our Muslim female students to choose whatever dressing codes they wish […] after discussing with the Ministry of Interior, we came a decision to allow our Muslim females to have their passport photos taken without having to have their ears shown. Well, you see that this was not a promise but already a real action.

No Bullying, No Discrimination, Unification – Brings Peace

I thank you for your being here and I am proud that every time I went for the inauguration of a Mosque, I have seen presences of our Buddhist and Christian followers. When I preside over the inauguration of the Buddhist temples, I also noticed presences of Muslim and Christian followers as well. This has clearly shown that there has not been any act of bullying and/or discrimination from one religion to another, only unification, and that in itself has brought our country peace. I am taking this moment to express my sincere thanks to organizations, especially Muslim countries, for their generous actions to offer assistance for Cambodian Muslim communities such as schools, mosques, housing, and even scholarships for Muslim students to study in foreign countries […]

HE Ambassador of Pakistan said that it has been fortunate for the Cambodian Muslims to have lived on this land. I should add on to what he said that this fortune happens only in the period that the Cambodian People’s Party leads the country. Under the times of Lon Nol and Pol Pot, our Cambodian Muslims had not had such a chance. HE Osman Hassan mentioned about such rights and fortune that the Cambodian Muslims had received in the time of Samdech Preah Borom Ratanakaod. In that time, Cambodia, liberated from the French protectorate, had realized progress to a certain extent. Unfortunately, the country later plunged into war.

Cambodian Muslims Fortunate Living in Cambodia

I have no way of knowing about policies relating to Muslim enrolled as civil servants and into the armed forces. However, in over 38-year leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party, we have Cambodian Muslims in leadership positions in armed forces, civil administration – legislative, executive, and court. It is therefore fortunate for our Cambodian Muslims indeed to have lived on this land. I dare to make a statement only the Cambodian People’s Party has implemented this policy and will keep doing that.

I know that the dinner will commence at 6:27 pm. I should not talk more. Although I have the privilege to start eating, but I should not. We have a photo session. I know that beside this Ramadan dinner organized by the Royal Government, presided by the Prime Minister, you Muslims also organize your Ramadan dinner at your mosques. I urge leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party – Deputy Prime Ministers, Senior Ministers, Ministers, Mayors, Provincial Governors, members of the National Assembly, Senators, to join with them if you can […] please do not forget to invite me to anyone of your mosques. This kind of religious rite exists in every religion. Our Buddhist monks also have to fast for a period in the rainy season […]

A Reciprocation in Kind

I do not know if a Tuan in Kompong Trobek also comes. He asked me for a three-classroom school building and I built a six-classroom school building. The Cambodian People’s Party received roughly 99 per cent of votes there. It was not act of buying votes. People see our good deeds and they wish to reciprocate in kind. The result has indeed encouraged me to continue to work with our people for more progresses. Finally, I am asking Allah to safeguard our Muslims in Cambodia as well as those in the world. I hope Allah will also take good care of our people, me and my wife and other leaders here. I thanks you all and promise to meet again next year for the Ramadan./.