Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Conversation with workers in Cheung Prey District, Kampong Cham Province [Unofficial Translation]


(1) 36,000 workers of 510 factories/enterprises earning 111 million USD/year salary in Kampong Cham

If we did not reunite the country, the war would continue, the Khmer Rouge could have continued to kill the people, and development would not have come this far. The relationship that has brought us together is not one between the leader and you to be led, but one of the family relationships allowing us to work together to liberate the country, put out the fires of war, bring peace and development. (The Minister of Labor and Vocatonal Training) HE Ith Sam Heng already made a report on the progress in Kampong Cham province giving detail of the enterprises and the income for the people. Throughout Kampong Cham province, there are 510 factories/enterprises, with 36,000 workers who earn a total annual salary of USD 111 million. Of the total factories/enterprises, 21 are garment factories employing more than 25,000 workers with an average salary of 79 million USD […]

(2) In 2003, Kampong Cham supplies medical clothing to fight against SARS

When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in 2003, Cambodia was the largest supplier of personal protective clothing (PPC) for medical staff and health care workers attending patients with SARS. Factories in Kampong Cham supplied them. There is also a DuPont brand factory. At the time of the Covid-19 outbreak, Cambodia exported (procedural) masks from Kampong Cham as well as from Svay Rieng and from other provinces to overseas markets. I know the factory owner well. We met in New York and invited him to invest in Cambodia. He owns a factory in the special economic zone of Kampong Cham and another in Bavet (of Svay Rieng) that supplies masks to countries in need […]

(3) Continue to meet with workers between after the election and the formation of the Cabinet

Since we have done this many already, I would ask His Excellency Ith Sam Heng to continue to prepare for more meetings. We have time. We will stop the meeting tour during the election campaign. Once the election is over, we will start again. If we go to the factory during the election campaign, and if we offer participants with drinks or food, extra pocket money for pregnant women, there will be complain. We have to respect the election law. In the first round of meeting with workers, we met 77 times with about 1 million of them. I suggest that after these 18 meetings of this second round – how many more places do we have left? – we can find (time) to meet (those) workers between the post-election and the formation of the new government. We can do 5 to 10 more meetings […]

(4) Infrastructure makes Kampong Cham attractive for investment and employment

In 2018, these two roads (national road 6 and national road 7) were under construction. Now the National Road 6 is ready. Our workers from both Cheung Prey and Batheay districts can travel on such a beautiful road […] we are now working to improve the national road 7 starting from the Skun town. We have to build it into a four lanes road – two to and two from – and there is a divider of flower bed in the middle. The improved roads and infrastructure will be creating the possibilities and qualifications for Kampong Cham to attract more investments to solve demand for jobs here. Transportation plays an important part in production and in attracting investment. There will be more than just garment sector in Kampong Cham […]

(4) Kampong Cham will have more factories using existing raw materials

In the future, Kampong Cham will have more factories that use existing raw materials in the province. We have rubber, cashews and when it comes to bananas, there are plenty […] of yellow bananas in Kampong Cham’s Boeung Ket and Stung Trang districts, which we export to China. Let me tell you what, a small country that exported nearly US$ 30 billion or US$ 29 billion to be exact is not a small thing. Previously, we only imported. There was nothing to export. We are now transforming from the country that imports to the one that exports. The total trade volume was US$ 52 billion by 2022. Of the 52 billion, USD 29 billion was from exports – as you can see our exports was about US 4 billion larger than imports […]

(5) Attracting investment, creating added value using local raw materials

Our country has raw materials such as rice and numerous agricultural products. We wanted to attract and establish agricultural industry or agro-industry. We have not gone far on that front yet. Agribusiness connects the market with agro-industry. In the garment sector, we do what is called the labor-intensive industry […] we have not yet attracted much value-added investment for local raw materials. I have a wish that Cambodia becomes the biggest Cashew exporter. We have a lot of cashews. Cashews is popular among tourists and are widely consumed in the world. Vietnam and India are the largest distributors so far […]

(6) The draft amendment – anyone disturbs/destroys/obstructs the election punishable

Please note that the draft law on the amendment of the election law reached the National Assembly yesterday. I am watching the process. Let us see what else they are thinking of doing. The draft law is at the National Assembly now. What we wanted (from this election law amendments) is an election that is not interrupted by anyone – such as obstructions or destruction during the election or obstructions/destructions during the vote count. (Whoever make these mistakes) will be fined or even punishable with crimes […] (the amendment draft) clearly states that “should anyone want to stand for election in 2028, s/he has to go to the polls in two consecutive general elections” […] the legislative general election on 23 July 2023 and the commune council elections in 2027 […] should you fail to vote in both, you will not have the right to stand (since) you do not meet the conditions for the 2028 election […]

(7) Vote in 2027 and in 2028 to meet the conditions for standing in 2032

For the commune council election, for instance, to have the right to stand for commune council in 2027 election, the person has to have been voting in the upcoming general elections. If you do not, you do not have the right to run. You can vote for others though. You may ask what you can do to rehabilitate that right. Firstly, you must go to the polls in 2027 – the commune/Sangkat council election, and secondly, you must exercise your vote in the 2028 (legislative general election) to meet the conditions for standing in 2032. Well, by 2032 […] would some with white hair be able to run? […] however, those who want can run in 2032, but must meet the above conditions […]

(8) Hun Manet – on top of the list in Phnom Penh constituency

In order to become the Prime Minister of Cambodia, the first condition is that the person has to be nominated as a candidate by the Party. The Cambodian People’s Party has many capable people who can be the Prime Minister. The problem (for some of the opposition here) is Hun Manet is the son of Hun Sen. Let me remind you, even though he were not my child, we would still choose Manet (because) he has all the qualifications. The party has already decided on this candidate two years ago. If the party does not support you cannot become a candidate (Prime Minister). Secondly, you must be an elected member of the National Assembly. (Hun Manet) is now running in the Phnom Penh constituency. Proportional system is not difficult for him to get elected since his name is on top of the list […]

(9) Awaiting resignation of incumbent Prime Minister

But if this (becoming Prime Minister) cannot happen after this election, Hun Manet must continue to be a member of the National Assembly. He needs to be because if he is not a member of the National Assembly, he cannot be the Prime Minister later. For the post of Deputy Prime Minister, the non-member of the National Assembly can also be appointed, but the position of Prime Minister, the person must be the member of the National Assembly. (He has to stay as member of the National Assembly until) at some point, the cabinet is dissolved through the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister, who will remain the caretaker Prime Minister until a new cabinet is formed […]

(10) Though not holding the position of Prime Minister, still the party president and political manager

[…] Those who (wished) to be Prime Minister, what have they done for the country besides destruction? […] have anyone of them the qualification to be the Prime Minister of Cambodia? […] even if (the candidate chosen to be the Prime Minister) were not Hun Sen’s son, the Party would still choose people in the Cambodian People’s Party, not them […] on that note, they do not have the youth to take turns like the Cambodian People’s Party. The CPP has dozens of young people who can afford to be prime minister […] let you tell you, even though I were to no longer be the Prime Minister, I would still be the leader of the ruling party. I would still be the president of the ruling CPP. This is in case I am not going to be the Prime Minister anymore […]

(11) Prevent illegal crossings into Cambodia, suspect rebel leaders in Cambodian territory

[…] On June 11, there had been fighting (caused by) a group of armed rebels in Vietnam […] I am worried that they will be able to (infiltrate into) Cambodian territory. I am issuing an open order to the armed forces, the army and the police in the 1st Military Zone […] to increase attention to cooperate with the Vietnamese side to prevent illegal border entry into Cambodia. I am suspecting that their boss is in Cambodian territory […] the Montagnards might have left Vietnam for (refuge and protection by) the UNHCR in Phnom Penh. Their plan was to attack and take over. If they failed, they had to run into Cambodia for UNHCR’s help. On this note, the real network is in Cambodia. We must increase attention on travelers not just in the territory of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, but also Kratie and Tbong Khmum. There are still some Montagnards in Phnom Penh […] the national security sector needs to pay close attention. We have had experiences […]

(12) Cross-border insurgents from Vietnam to Cambodia must be returned to Vietnam

I would warn in advance to any international organization or international groups or any Cambodian who collude to bring these persons to Phnom Penh. We do not allow the asylum for those insurgents fleeing across the border from Vietnam to Cambodia. They must be arrested and returned to Vietnam immediately. Even if they arrived at the UNHCR (protection), they do not have the right to be a political refugee waiting to go to a third country […] I am calling on all international organizations, including UN agencies, (understand this issue). This is not a search for political asylum or a better economic life. This is a type of terrorism or a so-called catastrophic infliction event that threatens the lives and property of Vietnamese people […]

(13) Responsible state honoring international promise to allow use of its territory by no one against other countries What worries me is they are blending among the people and then secretly traveling to (the UNHCR office) in Phnom Penh. Therefore, I would warn international organizations operating in Cambodia to stay away from the crimes those insurgents committed. If you accept (them) it would be equivalent to you committing crimes against the Vietnamese people. We may have to close offices in Phnom Penh if they are violating the normal rules of state relations with international organizations […] (Cambodia is just) performing its duty as a responsible state in keeping its international promise not to allow use of its territory (by anyone) against other countries […]./.