Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the 7th River Festival in Kampong Thom Province [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Where there is no peace, there is no talk about democracy or human rights

[…] I wanted to emphasize here that we continue to prioritize peacekeeping efforts in our country. We do not care what (might) happen. Whoever intends or acts to destroy the peace in our country, (we) will not be afraid to use all means to take action at any cost to maintain peace and ensure the development of the country. Peace must come first. Without peace, there can be no talk about democracy or human rights. We have to think about the right to life first. I hope that the Cambodian people who have gone through the hardships of war as well as the genocidal regime can understand the measures that the Royal Government had taken in the past to maintain peace […]

(2) Weaponizing at the request of Kompong Thom’s then governor Do Sohan to thwart the Khmer Rouge

Some (of the leaders from those days) are old and some are dead, such as Do Sohan and Keo Horn, then party secretary and provincial governor. I came here. I brought along four of my five children here. Maybe my eldest daughter can still remember. At that time, Manet did not come. My wife went to Laos. I stayed here for a few nights. Perhaps Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh remembers […] when HE Do Sohan, who came to welcome me at the border between Kompong Thom and Kampong Cham, insisted on requesting weapons to equip the forces being attacked by the Khmer Rouge at that time. From National Road 7 in Baray district, I called to Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, who was in Phnom Penh, to transport 700 pieces of weapons to Kampong Thom province immediately. At that stage, even in this city, there was no electricity. It was very difficult […]

(3) At all cost, no hesitation to destroy forces that seek to destroy peace

Later, HE Sin Song came to rest at that same house (that I did with my children). The house where I brought my children to rest was later shelled (by the Khmer Rouge forces). Accompanied my tour then, His Excellency Cheam Yeap, who is currently the First Vice President of the National Assembly, is still alive. Others, such as HE Em Sam An and HE Chhim Seng, passed away already. War it like this. Separation occurred. Now, we no longer have fear (because of the war). In the war time, we did not have the opportunity to meet like this. If there were such a rally, the Khmer Rouge forces would have shelled into the city of Kampong Thom. In this regard, I repeatedly emphasize that, at all costs, we are not hesitant to take actions to destroy forces that seek to destroy the peace […]

(4) Villages, communes and localities organize and maintain security to attract tourists

[…] I should say that no tourists want to visit places of insecurity/instability. Therefore, all villages, communes and localities must take responsibility if they want to have both national and international tourism (coming to their areas). Let us ensure that there are no thieves, robbers or any insecurity for tourists there. (Having done this, we will be able to develop) not only for the tourism sector (but also for) the production exhibited in the booths of the provinces and communities this evening. I am satisfied (with those achievements) and reminisce about the past (and) compared to the present […]

(5) Imagine that Cambodia will produce the most cashews in the world

Each booth (in the water festival exhibition here in Kompong Thom) has a responsible and quality production that can supply the local market and export. I am imagining that we will become the largest cashew producer in the world. To date, our (cashew products) have surpassed that of Cote d’Ivoire – who produced 1.1 million tons. Cambodia now has 1.18 million tons. I hope that in the future, with peace, combined with the policy of safe villages and communes, Cambodia will attract tourists, but more importantly, the production that serves the needs of the people as well as the supply of tourism […]

(6) Less land management problems in the Tonle Sap region

At this point, I should emphasize and thank His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Chea Sophara, as well as the leaders of relevant institutions, provincial authorities, who have done a good job (in resolving land management issue in the Tonle Sap region). So far, not much problem is left. I would like to remind you to finish it completely. We have divided Tonle Sap into three zones – Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3. In the first area we allow ownership of property to the people. The second area is where people can depend on in cultivation and fishing, etc. The third area is a no-touch area. However, we also allow some villages, communes, to stay there since people have been living for 200 or 300 years already. We cannot get them out. We have to border their location and let them stay as a special case […]

(7) Infrastructural connectivity between Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang provinces, and Kampong Thom and Kratie provinces

[…] As His Excellency Sun Chanthol, Minister of Transports and Public Works, traveled and confirmed, and I also confirmed it in Kampong Chhnang, we now need to build a bridge and a road from Kampong Chhnang to Kampong Thom. We have decided to apply for a loan from the People’s Republic of China to implement this project […] on the other hand, we would like to inform the people of Kampong Thom that Kampong Thom also connects by another river, the Mekong River, so that traveling to Kratie will be easy and closer. In Kratie town, we have already launched the construction of the bridge across the Mekong River. The Tonle Sap and the Mekong, which were previously far apart, are being brought closer by connecting transport infrastructures […]

(8) For the 58 km road, many bridges needed to facilitate water flow and traffics

To build this road-bridge connectivity (between Kompong Chhnang and Kompong Thom), we have to have open gates for waterway traffics. In the course of HE Sun Chanthol’s works with the (construction) company, the project has had to withn the span of only 58 kilometers so many bridges to facilitate the flow of water and traffic of people in the rainy season. I mention this point so that people understand before making any comments. Though I consider the people of Kampong Thom to be the lucky ones, there is one unfortune thing for them. It is fortunate that Kampong Thom sits on the way to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Preah Vihear, and Kratie, and soon Kampong Chhnang too – but travelers do not stop and stay […]

(9) Kampong Thom should have special local products for sale to tourists/passers-by

Kampong Thom may be in a difficult situation (in attracting tourists to stay.) Tourists go back and forth. They do not stop and stay. Building a hotel in the provincial town of Kampong Thom is difficult (for business), but if you build a restaurant, the business may be good because people will stop for food. Food could be attractive in Kampong Thom. Traveling to Siem Reap, people/tourists stop and enjoy food/lunch in Kampong Thom. Kompong Thom authority needs to find something to compensate so that the people of Kampong Thom can get benefits. One thing is they can sell things that are local and special products in the province. Tourists/passers-by can buy, and take with them as souvenirs […]

(10) Kampong Thom’s potential is agronomy/agriculture, cashew nuts in abundance

Although less favorable in the tourism sector, only the hotel sector is affected. Do not forget that tourists will come to visit Sambor Prei Kuk and other places […] and the strength of Kampong Thom is agriculture, crop cultivation. We saw it in the booths (at the exhibition). Cashews in this province are abundant. I expect that when we have enough processing industry, Kampong Thom will have more cultivated land (for cashew nuts). Nationwide, if I am not mistaken, there are now up to 700,000 hectares. When processing is in place, we can expect a million hectares (under cashew nuts) […]

(11) Supply for tourists’ consumption or export on the spot – a priority destination

It can be said that Cambodia will become a leading country in exporting and supplying the world market for cashew nuts. Our production above does not only refer to cross-border exports. Supplying to tourists have been the goal and priority of our policy from the beginning until now, and there has been no change. It is the export on the spot. We produced and brought to tourists for consumption – both good rice, meat and other products […]./.