Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Groundbreaking Ceremony to Launch 38 Roads Construction and River Improvement Projects in Siem Reap [Unofficial Translation]

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Today, we hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 38 roads and the improvement of the Siem Reap River, which we had previously planned to do on November 16, but coincidentally the “November 3 event” took place, we postponed it. For today, according to the original plan, we were to invite about 1,500 of our people to participate, but due to the situation that arisen, below I will talk about COVID-19, we reduce the number of participants to only 150, to avoid crowds that could lead to community outbreaks when we have not had clear knowledge of it.

Covid-19 may hinder our progress, but will not stop our efforts to build these roads. As Senior Minister Sun Chanthol mentioned in the report just now, on September 4, 2020, during the plenary session of the Council of Ministers, I announced deliverance of a budget between 100 and 150 million dollars to build 38 roads for the city of Siem Reap. In addition, with the specific study by Deputy Prime Minister HE Chea Sophara, today we also launch the improvement project of the Siem Reap river, which is 8,440 meters (nearly 9 km) on each side. At its completion, it will become a place for people as well as tourists who come to Siem Reap to spend their times.

The Cambodian Economy Third Pole

After the completion of the construction site in Sihanoukville, which we invested nearly 300 million US dollars there, we also have to invest more for the infrastructural development here, a place that we used to call the third pole of the Cambodian economy. The first pole is Phnom Penh, the second pole is Sihanoukville and the third pole is Siem Reap. The province of Siem Reap is an attractive tourist area with guesthouses and other beautiful buildings, but the roads are not good enough to respond to this beautiful city’s busy activities. Therefore, (as we have no tourists) because of COVID-19 and while we have been saving some money over the years, we have been able to now allocate the budget to build all 38 roads in Siem Reap.

Remaining Funds from Preah Sihanoukville Used to Improve Siem Reap River

In addition, as we have left five million US dollars from the construction budget in Sihanoukville, (which) I previously ordered to return to the national budget, when HE Chea Sophara reported to me, now I am directing the budget straight from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap for the Siem Reap River improvement project. At this time, we will improve the Siem Reap River as a package, as mentioned in the report of HE Sun Chanthol, and there are already sewers, canals for sewage and rainwater, as well as plumbing, security cameras, which will make it a really tourist city – making it fit as the former capital of the former Khmer empire […]

2022 – Angkor Sankranta Event May Happen Again

We really hope that Siem Reap will remain a potential province of tourism after COVID-19 has passed. We hope that the Siem Reap people will benefit and people who have visited Siem Reap in the past and seen bad roads will see better roads in the future. If COVID-19 declines in 2022, there may be reconsideration of the Angkor Sankranta event in 2022, when Siem Reap will be a city of good clean roads after we have clean ones in Phnom Penh and in Sihanoukville […]. It is our hope that the people in Siem Reap province, in particular, and the people all over the country will benefit from the construction here. Of course, we have to build them in every province, but we have to prioritize provinces to receive them first and those to receive them later. Investment in Phnom Penh must be on a regular investment, investment in Sihanoukville has already been done, while the remaining $ 5 million will be sent here, in addition to the national budget of about $ 150 million, which we have already advanced 20% to this site […]

November-28 Community Event

As we have had a new related event, I would like to take this opportunity to speak to our compatriots about what I said the night before last and last night that I call “November-28 community event.” This is the first time we have infection started in the community, an event that we have not yet identified where the head and/or tail is and where they are hiding. At this point, we have the great concern. I would also like to emphasize that such an event requires us to operate quickly, as we can see that our operation has been swift and on a large scale, but in some places it is not yet as fast as we would like it to be.

In Siem Reap, yesterday, I thought there were only 40 testing cases, but as night fell, the number rose to more than 190 cases tested. Nationwide, 3,332 samples taken for tests by the Institut Pasteur and the National Institutes of Public Health. Out of 1,247 samples, 14 found to be (Covid-19) positive. One case found in Siem Reap but the Institut Pasteur has not yet confirmed. If the case sent from Siem Reap confirmed as positive, the number of infections in the community increased to 15 cases in just two days. What is interesting is that (the infection only occurred) in the cluster of those who work in the Ministry of Interior and the family of HE Chhem Savuth only […]

Prevent Imported Cases, Community Infections and Treat Infected People

We have to find them all. We need to do it at a swift pace and on a larger scale. Now is more time than ever, and it is not the time to blame each other, nor is it the time to blame this or that person. It is time for us to unite to fight COVID-19. This is a sad situation. It is not unique to Cambodia. In the past 11 months, Cambodia has avoided community outbreaks. We fought hard on three battles – to prevent the imported cases, to prevent the spread of the disease into the community, and to provide effective treatments to those infected […]

Firstly, Swift and Large Scale Campaign

This is a serious issue for Cambodia, which I would like to take this opportunity to call for, and it has already issued regulations, but I would like to emphasize that firstly we need to act at a fast pace and on a large scale, which we have done already and will continue to do today and days onwards. Apply the theory that it is better for one to think that one might have it (Covid-19) than to think that one is uninfected. It is better for us to take a sample, to have a test and to stay in quarantine for 14 days than to think that I might not be infected. This ensures personal safety and security for family and others who come into contacts with them […]

Secondly, Establish Quarantine Centers in Provinces

Secondly, I would like to appeal and issue an order to set up the Quarantine Center (QC), which I have organized since the beginning of the year in all provinces for those who cannot afford to have a place of quarantine at homes […]. We have test sites – one in Siem Reap, two in Phnom Penh, one is under preparation in Sihanoukville, and one in Battambang province. We cannot issue regulations to establish a QC that requires testing and treatment (in one place) due to our limited possibilities. Even now, there is only one in Siem Reap, and sample found positive by that land has to have reaffirmation from the Institut Pasteur […]

Thirdly, End of School Year 2019-2020 on November 30

Thirdly, yesterday, I agreed to the request of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to close the school year 2019-2020 by today. Therefore, today – 30 November – is the closing day of the 2019-2020 school year, and is the day of the lower secondary school exams in their respective schools. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has already issued its announcement […] therefore, the remaining 12th grade students can study preparing for high school exams. We will open the school year 2020-2021 on January 11, 2021, but we will check whether the situation will be favorable for us to do so […]

Fourthly, People Take Samples to Tests and Quarantine Themselves

Fourthly, I would like to call on the people to participate voluntarily, take samples, test and do self-isolation. Wear a mask and wash your hands. Do not go out when not needed. Those who have been in quarantines at home must do it for 14 days and the local authorities may need to help monitor and supply food to poor families (in quarantines). If there are any doubts, our citizens should go to the hospital for examination by doctors and have samples taken and sent for testing. Homeless people who do not have place appropriate for quarantines should come to QC organized by the local authority with the supervision of the health sector […]

All Levels Authorities Supply Food, Cash to Poor in QC

Some families are poor. That is why I ask the authorities at all levels to help supply food and money to them when they are in quarantines. Sometimes the one who has to be in quarantine is the one who earns money to feed the family. As s/he her/himself has to stay in quarantine, we have to take care of them and provide them with food […]. We have to work hard. No one would want to go to QC. When in doubt, however, take a sample and be there. Maybe this is the only case where in Cambodia people in quarantines have living supplies delivered to their homes […]. I set a principle that each family receives 20,000 riel per day. We have to count only the poor, who have Identified Poverty Cards […]

Ministers/Provincial Governors Authorized Power to Close down Activities

This is a battle for which ammunition and weapons given to fight […] food and authority, which last night I announced the authority for ministers and governors to decide on closing down locations within the framework under its control […]. For example, the Minister of Defense may close any General Department or may order the Commander-in-Chief of the army to close any army barracks […] to avoid the export of such diseases […]. I request His Excellency Sun Chanthol to cancel the program of connecting Steung Trang and Krouch Chhmar bridge of Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum on (November) 7 because I have to travel by helicopter (but pilots are going to be in quarantines still) […]. Let them finish it first, and sometimes we can connect it just five days before the inauguration […] we all have to remember that whether we can control it or not is in the next 15 days will depends entirely on our efforts, both the state and the people […]

Afraid of but Not Panicked and Losing Control – to Defeat Covid-19.

Fighting Covid-19, one must be afraid of it […] because we are scared we have to wear masks, to wash our hands with alcohol, etc. Right now, I am not just wearing a mask but wearing gloves. It does not mean I hate our people. I am putting them on to protect myself, on the one hand, and I am protecting the people on the other because I am not sure whether I am positive or negative (of Covid-19). It is an invisible disease. I reiterate that the way to defeat Covid-19 is to pretend to be a loser, but not a panic and a losing control one […]

This is not the time to blame each other. The day before, it was outrageous when Cambodia ranked No. 3 in the world and No. 1 in Asia in the management of Covid-19, but a foreign press listed all its merits and ignored efforts of the Cambodian people, the Royal Government of Cambodia as well as relevant partners […]. If that financial institution does not consider the role of the Cambodian people and the Royal Government of Cambodia as important, it should at least consider ones of other development partners, financial institutions and especially partners in healthcare such as the World Health Organization, the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, who have been long-term partners with us […]

I hope that those who are infected may not reach the stage of death. I have received (reports) that the treatment is very strong, expecting the treatment to be the most effective. We have in stock. It is a (strong) drug, because infections in the family of HE Chhem Savuth found to be in severe stage. The Minister of Health announced there will be three tests, while usually we only test twice. So please do this and I hope our people will join in to end the “November-28 community event” […]

Successive Statements on “November 28 Community Event”

I have to take direct command and maybe this time I will not come out to the Peace Palace. I have to watch from home and can broadcast live from my home on national television. Maybe I need to have a national television team on duty (at my house ready at all time) when I need to make a statement, I have to use (and broadcast) on national television […]. As there are new developments concerning November-28 community event, I will broadcast live from my home. I do not go out to avoid more problems for reporters. Those who go to my house have to have samples tested and they may have to stay over there. This is bigger than a border war. The war against COVID-19 has no time. I have to keep in touch, and since I am the Chairman of the Commission against COVID-19 and as the Prime Minister, I have to do this work with the Minister and the Ministry of Health are taking the leads with other stakeholders […]

Tests, Treatments, Quarantines – Covered by the State

Statement by the Prime Minister is an order. Today, the budget released to the provinces, and the provinces must set a regime for the poor doing quarantines at home or come to QC. Those considered poor will receive 20,000 Riels/family […]. We dare to spend this kind of money to prevent them from infecting others and help her/him in quarantines from suffering because being unable to conduct routine business leading to family members starving. No one should run out of food, even if there is no reserve money in the bank that the Minister of Health has to release according to my order, we can release the national budget. We can afford to do this much, since by comparison, we are helping three million people from 760,000 families (suffered from Covid-19 impacts) […]

(Let us make efforts to) solve this problem. It does not collapse the Cambodian economy, and we do it without discrimination at all. Whoever has COVID-19 will get what the RGC are supplying, and we provide free medical treatment. There is no charge for the test. Our citizens do not pay for those assistances. Anyone demands payment is a mistake. Doctors who have to do this work receive $30 in addition to their salary. Once samples brought to laboratory, the state will pay the Institut Pasteur and the National Institute of Public Health. When it comes to medical treatment, the state pays for the treatment. The Hungarian Ambassador asked how much the treatment cost him because he needed to charge money from Hungary. I instructed a reply that it was a free treatment […]

Those who take quarantines at the government QC facilities – like the 128 students returning from Israel in quarantines at two peacekeeping centers, the state provides them food too. For foreigners or Cambodians who come from abroad, need to stay and pay for hotel and food from their pockets. But for the case of November-3 event and the case of November-28 community event, the state will cover the costs for quarantines at the 500-rooms five-stars Sokha Hotel. If someone to quarantine is poor as s/he is a (small) business, such as a motor taxi driver, a tricycle driver, etc. we will give her/him some money so that s/he can send it to her/his family […]./.