Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Conversation with workers in Khan Por Senchey, Phnom Penh (Day 1) [Unofficial Translation]


Samdech Men Sam An might have seen this slogan (at the inauguration of achievements of the brigade 70 yesterday) – “Sweet Cheeks of Peace”. They hang up a picture of me receiving a kiss from workers […] and the son whom just now (everyone) shouting in support for him to be candidate of the next Prime Minister for the future, with a kiss from many senior ladies […] the pictures indeed show the relationship between the Prime Minister and the workers. You guys consider me as your grandfather, grand uncle, uncle. This is a great encouragement for the leadership of a country that used to be divided to become a peaceful, harmonious country and all benefit […]

(1) Wanted to continue meeting workers before forming a new government

In the stage of Covid-19, you all knew that we could not get together. When the Covid-19 is under control, I wanted to continue meeting with workers. This time we will only meet for 18 times […] but I am thinking that after the election, before the formation of the new government, whether we continue to meet with workers or not? We have made one round of meetings now in the second round. After the election, we can continue to meet, but that time the rainy season may start. We may have to set up sheds so that we can travel to meet some of the workers whom we had not met. We have at least a month left for the meeting before the new government is formed. This is something to plan for […]

(2) Phnom Penh has 727 garment factories, more than 330,000 workers, cash flow of 1,100 million dollars/year

Without factories, you are unemployed. You may raise the question, if there is no factory in Phnom Penh, which has 727 garment enterprises/factories with up to 338,000 workers, what are you doing now? […] obviously, you may have to take other jobs, such as working with parents in the field of agriculture, in the field of handicrafts, or in the field of animal husbandry, or in other frameworks, such as small-scale sales, with irregular and possibly low income […] The monthly cashflow among our people, especially in Phnom Penh is the highest, following by those in Kampong Speu, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, and Takeo. Yesterday in Takeo, we noted that there were US$ 182 million cashflow among workers and their families a year. In Phnom Penh, it is clear that there are more than USD 1,100 million […]

(3) Nationwide, there are 1,326 garment factories, 727 of which are in Phnom Penh, with more than 330,000 workers

In both urban and rural areas, we have 1,326 factories […] more than half of them are in Phnom Penh, followed by Kampong Speu, Kandal and other provinces […] this is to count in only garment sector. Considering all the factories in Phnom Penh, there are 9,314 with 660,000 workers. For garment alone, Phnom Penh has 727 factories with 338,000 workers. It is the most concentrated area for factories. We have focused on expanding investments to the countryside. We strive to further develop the necessary infrastructure to attract investment […] when factories are present, there is a connection to other services. What are they? Vendors and shops around the factory can do business. Vendors can sell things creates another job. Transporters also have jobs through the same connection. Tenants also have the ability to invest in the construction of rented houses for workers […]

(4) By 2030, Cambodian population could reach 20M and status will be a higher middle-income country

In estimates, by 2030, the (Cambodian) population could reach somewhat 20 million. At that time, the Cambodian people will have a higher middle income. We have a birthrate of more than 300,000 people a year. We now have 17 million people. The birthrate of 300,000 multiplied by 7 (years – till 2030) we will have more than 19 million […] actually the birthrate is higher by year. We can have the birthrate of 350,000/year. The current birthrate is 330,000 / year, in the near future it may not be long, the birthrate per year may increase to 350,000 […] we started with a population of only 5 million (after the fall of the Democratic Kampuchea). There are now 17 million. In 1979, when I visited Laos, Laos and Cambodia each has roughly 5 million people. Now Laos has more than 7 million people, while we have more than 17 million people […]

(5) For the National Assembly to approve the amendments of the election law before the election campaign

Regarding (the call for) people to go to the polls to exercise their rights. Due to the provocative actions against the civil rights, let me affirm to Mr. Ry Kea, who led the meeting on ZOOM on the night of June 11, 2023 at 7 pm – Cambodian time […] that relating to Chapter 6 (of the Election Law) on Commune/Sangkat Council Elections, (we can amend the) article 35 and/or 36. We do not deprive anyone of his/her right to vote, but require that candidates at all levels must (exercise) his/her right to vote first. If they do not vote (they will) lose their right to stand for election […] Samdech Krala Hom Sar Kheng (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior) and His Excellency Keut Rith, Minister of Justice, work together quickly and push the amendments into the National Assembly for approval. Despite (there is) an election campaign, the National Assembly can convene. However, we want to do it before the election campaign starts […]

(6) The WiFi campaign against the election prompted amendments

Let me explain to our people (to understand) why we have reached that decision? The reason is because the (opposition has organized what they called the) WiFi campaign asking people not to go to vote and even if they had to, (they tell them to) invalidate the ballots with unapproved marks. You may be aware that in some democracies, I am pointing out, Australia for instance, (who) does not go to vote (will get) fines. How can they do it? […] they have pushed us to the point where we have to take political decisions – pushing for amendments to the law. Those of you who are in action locally […] if you are audacious, you do not go to vote on July 23, 2023. That you do not go to vote, you will deprive yourself of the rights to stand for election. You will not be able to stand for the commune council election in 2027. You will not be able to stand for the district council elections, You will not be able to stand for the senate election, or the national election in 2028. You deprived your own rights […] As for Sar Longdet, he might come back. Last night he left Phnom Penh. Was he on the run? If he runs away, even to Thailand, I would have Thailand to send you back […] come back to sleep comfortably at home and go to court to answer for the accusation you made about the SEA Games organization […]

(7) Just give voters the right; why creating this disruptive campaign “winning by sleeping at home”

They have run this (WiFi) campaign to mobilize people not to go to the polls. (Since they initiated this campaign) they themselves do not have to vote. Now that I put out (this political decision), wait and see what strategy they will come up with […] daring as a man with heart of a son, on July 23, 2023, you do not go to the polls. It is your rights (not to go to the polls) and from then until 2028, you will not have the right to stand at all. They do not have the right to stand for election, but they still have right to vote. (Why cant they just give voters their rights and why it is) necessary (that they create this) disruptive campaign ‘winning by sleeping at home,” or winning by eating Khmer noodles […] or Ambok (flattened rice) campaign […]

(8) Dishonest characters to Cambodia’s efforts and achievements

People (workers) in Phnom Penh have more than 1 billion dollars going in their pockets per month – that is not a small thing for a small country. The size of exports is getting bigger […] to those who say Hun Sen’s leadership is making the country and people poorer should answer this question who would be poorer than in 1979? […] in time (of Covid-19 eruption) the country offered vaccines free of charge to any race as long as they reside in the Cambodian territory. It was these people who prevented others from getting vaccinated. When they have no way of controlling people’s need for vaccines, they urged people in great number than the vaccine we have to demand for vaccines. That was not a good intention. They encouraged people to get vaccines while we did not have enough yet. That was a dishonest character they held […]

(9) When they failed to fulfill normal voting right, how can they stand for election? The exercise of voting rights is the right thing for a democracy, no matter which party you love, you go to the polls to be a good citizen. We do not do this to defeat them, but to increase the responsibility of those who stand for election. How could they be responsible for the commune/sangkat, the district/khan, the province/capital, as a senator/National Assembly member, when they failed to exercise/fulfill the right to vote, which is the normal right of citizens? While they failed to do it themselves, they even stop other people from doing it […] I am begging them to continue the “WIFI election campaign” […] and calling on you not to go to the polls on July 23, 2023. I am not giving you bad feeling, but this is true. You will then be the one who killed your own political life […]./.