Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, conversation with workers in Tram Kak district, Takeo province [Unofficial Translation]

CNV: 11/06/2023

(1) Indicating deploying factories in the provinces and cities – the policy since 1999

I am happy to meet with workers in Tram Kak district of Takeo province after (I have met already workers in) Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, and Kandal […] workers meetings remain to be done are in Pursat, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng. At this point, what does it show? It presents a vision of factory deployment policy to address employment an indication since early 1999, started from the forum between the government and the private sector. Our aim was to orientate people movement not to move to the capital of Phnom Penh […] now the factories are scattered in 25 provinces/cities, almost all, just less or more. Some are functioning within the framework of craftmanship, some are small and medium enterprise frameworks that deal with jobs creation on the spot […]

(2) Takeo province attracted the fourth largest investment after Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu and Kandal

[…] We need to diversify investment. We had to establish the necessary infrastructure to attract investment. Whichever provincial governor is smart, s/he can attract […] and benefit from investments. Takeo has become the fourth province with the largest number of factories and workers. The first is Phnom Penh, the second is Kampong Speu, the third is Kandal and the fourth is Takeo […] these show the effectiveness of the government’s policy to attract and distribute investments […]

(3) No factory in the province, either outflux for jobs or working in agriculture

If there are no factories here and in (other) provinces where there are up to 58,000 workers, you may ask what are the workers doing now? In Tram Kak district, there are 20 factories with 17,000 workers. We may raise the question that if the 86 factories are not here present, what are they doing now? Clearly, the answer comes in two forms. One is that you are looking for a job in Phnom Penh or in a province with a factory. You have to move away from your family to rent a house there. The second thing is that you are working with your parents or your family as a farmer or a craftsman or a small shopkeeper […]

(4) Agriculture with means to cultivate, better rice variety, machinery, reduction of labor force (because there are capital inputs) from the industrial sector

[…] How to deal with the labor force in agriculture today is different from before. In the past, we used cows and buffaloes to plough in agriculture. As the families receive incomes from (their descendants) who work in factories, enterprises and companies, there is this trend of using machinery in agriculture. They are so related […] Cambodia’s economy is changing. Previously, most of the people farmed, whether there was or was no water. They grew rice depending on the sky. Now they are still cultivating rice in tradition al way, but there are better means, better rice seeds, more agricultural machinery, less labor in the agricultural sector, but higher incomes (due to capital inputs) coming from the industrial sector […]

(5) Nearly 6 billion USD per year from industrial labor

The total annual income from labor in industry and other sectors in the country is US$ 3 billion, plus, income from labor abroad US$ 2.7 billion. The total amount we get is nearly US$ 6 billion, and they go into people’s pockets. Please note that the Royal Government does not tax the minimum wage of workers or civil servants. (Theoretically) whoever has an income is required to pay a tax. Me too, […] however, paying the tax will be beneficial for us in the future […]

(6) There are 68 factories in Takeo province, but 20 factories in Tram Kak district

The necessary infrastructure is designed to attract investment and create jobs in rural areas. Just in Tram Kak district, there are 20 factories. That is not a small number. Across the province, there are 68 factories with more than 50,000 workers, nearly 60,000 […] (you may calculate to know that how much money) per month falls into (Takeo) – the income from the laborers in factories/enterprises is about 182 million US dollars. If we add incomes of workers from Takeo who work in foreign countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea or other countries, the income will be almost 200 million US dollars. That is a result that specifically comes from the policy to attract investment and promote development […]

(7) Garment exports increased from US$ 200 million in 1997 to US$ 13 billion

In the beginning, we had more than 60 factories (across the country), about 80,000 workers were paid US$ 40/month in 1997 […] as of present, the number of factories increased by nearly 1,400 with about 800,000 workers. This number only applies to the garment and footwear sector, not to other sectors other than the garment industry […] the export size in 1997 was just over US$ 200 million […] garment exports now reach US$ 13 billion. In total, our trade volume in 2022 was US$ 52 billion, of which exports was US$ 29 billion […]

(8) Eliminate extremist politics from Cambodia, ensure peace, political stability and development

Obviously (where are the results of) the works that you are benefiting coming from? It does not come from any opposition group, but from the leadership of the Royal government led by the Cambodian People’s Party. All the opponents did was simply telling foreigners not to invest in Cambodia, not to buy goods from Cambodia and to call for sanctions on Cambodia. We are in the process of taking measures in response to the extremists. We must get rid of extremism that destroys their own nation […] even some of our opponents who have children working in factories have resorted to supporting those who destroy workers’ rice pots. We are looking for ways to get rid of this group. Eliminate extremist politics from Cambodia to ensure that Cambodia will have peace, political stability and development day after day […]

(9) Cambodia’s economic growth of 5.2% (2022) and 5.6% (predicted for 2023)

Cambodia’s economy in 2022 grew only 5.2% and this year’s forecast is 5.6% […] I apologize to those who know my phone number and come to comment/advise on this or that issue. I have no chance read all of the comments. Just saw them. I do not even hav time to look at the content. Maybe I will have to clear it out again. One of them has reminded me of him as one of my god-brother who used to meet me somewhere, and even how we fought together. I just answered a few lines. I would never forget anyone, but your story was not right […]

(10) For improvements of factory-workers relationship and convenience of workers

We meet to find solutions and improvement for both the factory and the convenience for workers. In the past, some factories did not meet the standard, like they lacked exits, doors, ventilation, all of which caused fainting. In some places, we checked to see that they lacked oxygen […]

Pregnant women should be discharged from work at least 15 minutes early. It is not a small matter that the Prime Minister should not involve in. Whoever thinks of doing otherwise, s/he may wait to do her/his ways when s/he becomes the Prime Minister […] anything related to the interests of the people is not a trivial matter to me […] That the female workers with pregnancy are allowed to ride in the front cabin with the drivers is a good thing […] do not say that this is a small issue that the Prime Minister should not concern about. Having probed into this story helps us know the sincerity of the factory owners and factory managers and the sincerity of drivers who showed us that the spirit of helping each other […]

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