Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet’s Impromptu Speech at the Meeting with Workers from Factories in Samraong Tong District, Kampong Speu Province [Unofficial excerpts and translations]


(1) 90.28% of Kampong Speu people went to the polls, of which 84.49% voted for the CPP

I thank the people of Samraong Tong district as well as Kampong Speu province as a whole for providing support and warmth by placing as usual in the Cambodian People’s Party in the last election in large numbers […] some 90.28% of the registered voters in Kampong Speu went to the polls. Very high rates compared to across the country. Of these, 84.49% voted to give confidence to the CPP to continue to implement the policy to serve the people. I would also like to bring the message of greetings and thanks of Samdech Techo to you all. This election clearly confirms your satisfaction and trust in Samdech Techo, in the party leadership and especially for the achievements that the leaders of the previous government led and served the country for 44 years to build achievements for the people. For me, as the person who must continue to lead the Royal Government to implement the policy of the Cambodian People’s Party, I am expressing my gratitude and commitment to continue to implement the policy of caring for the people in all fields […]

(2) Four major tasks done during the ASEAN Summit

I went to (Indonesia for the ASEAN Summit and related summits) in my capacity as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the head and senior representative of the Cambodian people. What are the achievement that we have scored from this trip for the Cambodians and for our country? […] we have fulfilled numerous important works for the nation […]

The first job is (I have reassured Cambodia’s stand in) diplomacy as the head of the Royal Government, especially as the new Prime Minister of Cambodia. It is my first official trip as there is this important (regional leaders’ gathering) ASEAN summit (and related summits) […] every leaders recognizes me as the representative of the Royal Government (of Cambodia) […] we have conducted diplomacy relations in equal right and footing as a sovereign country. No matter big or small, […] every country recognizes Cambodia as equal right and footing […] this proves that despites the change of government, the level of Cambodian diplomacy remains intact – a country with equal (right and footing) to all countries […]

The second job was the conduct of meetings bilaterally with the ASEAN countries to clarify relations with neighboring countries. The new Royal Government of Cambodia emerged from an election in which 82.3% (or equivalent to) more than 6 million people voted to confide overwhelming support for the Cambodian People’s Party […] wins continued diplomatic relations with all countries. With the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, who represents 18 other islands […] and with whom we do not yet have diplomatic relations, […] (in our meeting we have discussed ways to) open diplomatic ties with the Cook Islands and other island states in the Pacific region […]

Thirdly, we have carried out political affairs as a member of the United Nations and a member of ASEAN, a sovereign nation, whose national interests are intertwined with those of the region […] (I have expressed) concerns on overheating tensions of certain situation, and the wish not to see a war or instability which would affect the regional economy and development […]

Cambodia is not a big country, but we are not a small country either. Cambodia has the voice as an independent, sovereign and powerful as other countries. We have the right to make our policies known to the international community since we are one of the actors in contributing to global security by maintaining our internal peace, acting in partnership with countries in the region to maintain peace and stability and to fight transnational crime. We have sent our troops to many countries to participate in peacekeeping operations. We are important as a country. We express a political position in equality with the leaders of all great powers and small countries […]

The fourth job that we have accomplished is in terms of economics, or in short, we did the work of “marketing or enticing” […] to promote Cambodia or we called attracting countries to “invest” […]

In addition to expressing my political and diplomatic stance in multilateral, trilateral or bilateral frameworks, I have participated in various programs as witness to the signing of relations between the Ministry of Agriculture (of the Kingdom of Cambodia) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia […]

I delivered a speech at the ASEAN Business Forum to the presence of hundreds of investors from different countries. For what good is it? It is to promote Cambodia, to market or sell Cambodia, […] to attract interested business people to “come and invest” in Cambodia. Other countries also try to attract business people to their own. We also do it for our national interest. We need to meet them to tell them about us. We have our investment community, our Chamber of Commerce, who is ready to share them with presentation but the message from the head of government certainly carries a heavy weight […]

(3) 250,000 tons of rice/4 years to Indonesia with 100,000 tons exported first

After that, I went to meet with relevant Indonesian authorities to talk about diplomatic relations, and we were able to sell agricultural products […] we sold 250,000 metric tons (of rice) in a period of four years (to the Indonesian market). (we got on to) signing (the deal) immediately. We moved on to think of other products to export […] 250,000 metric tons for four years, but before we got out of the country, the Ministry of Commerce negotiated successfully to advance shipment to Indonesia 100,000 metric tons […] where will we get the 100,000 metric tons of rice come from? The government has no rice. They will buy from our farmers. This means we have got the market for our farmers […]

(4) Direct flights, small/medium enterprises, cooperation in transmission of electricity, sale of agricultural products, additional work quota

Apart from that, we have talked with the relevant Indonesian authorities about reopening direct flight, aimed at receiving more tourists to Cambodia. Covid-19 disrupted the flight routine and dropped (the number of tourists). (The Indonesian side) procrastinated […] when there is no direct flight, those who go (Indonesia), have to travel either to Singapore or to Thailand (to get a connecting flight from there). Let us have direct flight to get more tourists. We tried to market our tourist destination […]

The next day, I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Cambodian private sector and the Philippine private sector. We had tried to figure out what Cambodian can do in term of investment in the Philippines and the Philippines in Cambodia. The first topic is about agro-industry, and the second story is about micro-small-medium enterprises (MSME) so that Cambodian and the Philippines partners can connect. Cambodia will find market in the Philippine, and the Philippines are to find the market in Cambodia. The governments of the two countries open the door for them […]

I ask the Philippines to increase flights to and from Cambodia. First, there are direct flights from Phnom Penh to Manila five times a week. The Philippines has agreed to increase more flights. The more flights, the more tourists will come. Second, we have asked the Philippines to think of opening other ports, not only from Manila to Phnom Penh, but, for instance, from Cebu to Siem Reap. Cebu is her tourist city […]

As for the energy sector, I talked with Singapore, with Vietnam, with Laos, with Malaysia […] on this principle that Samdech Techo had worked on before […] we continue to carry it through so that we can send the energy for sale to Singapore. The delivering of energy has to go under waters of Vietnam and Malaysia. We have negotiated with their Prime Ministers to create conditions for us to send it. The Cambodian company negotiated with a large Singaporean company the other day. Once that (electricity grid) is connected, the private sector will start selling electricity to the market […]

For agricultural products (we negotiated with) China, Japan, Korea, besides the Philippines. The Philippines is now negotiating for 200,000 metric tons of rice. We want to increase to 500,000 metric tons. We will negotiate more for other products with Singapore as they may have interest in our vegetables and chicken […]

Korea is interested in our agricultural products. I met with the Minister of Agriculture (of Republic of Korea). He was seeking for the possibility of trading agricultural products between Cambodia and Korea. We export to them and they will export to us. In practice so far, for many countries, we export to more to other countries to benefit our farmers […]

Finally, it is involving the employment sector. I met with the Korean counterpart and the Prime Minister of Japan. Especially with Korea, I asked to consider increasing the quota for our workers to go work in Korea. Samdech Techo has raised this issue before, and the Korean side agreed to examine the possibility of expanding the quota for our workers […]

(5) Would diplomacy have impacts on life of people in Samraong Tong?

You may ask if (everything that I have just talked about) has anything to do with you – “I worked at Samraong Tong in Kampong Speu, why traveling abroad for the ASEAN Summit and related summits has anything to do with me? (Let me assure you) it all involved. Should we have no diplomacy and political engagements, which is safeguarding regional peace and security, and were there conflict and fights among countries in the region, (there would really be impacts on) us. The war between Ukraine and Russia, which is thousands of Kilometers away, has increased the prices of goods and of oil.

What else could we expect if the war erupted […] near our house, how much does it affect us? If we lose peace, stability and cooperation in this region, we will all face difficulties […] why should we want them to invest more in Cambodia, it is to create factories, enterprises or other opportunities for banks and all relevant sectors to create jobs; […] why should we like to increase the number of flights, it is for more tourists arrivals. It is so in order for people in the tourism sector to have more jobs and generate income for the people. Why (do we have to create) connectivity for the energy sector? It is to reduce the cost of production, to increase the number of factories, enterprises, expand the ability to create jobs […]

(6) The merits and efforts of the previous generation of leaders are for the gradual benefit of the people

Samdech Techo (Hun Sen) and leaders of the former generation, who have led Cambodia for 44 years, not only liberated the people from the genocidal regime, maintained economic stability, established internal economic reforms, but went abroad to negotiate in every forum in (defense of and promoting) gradual interests for the people. This is the merits and efforts of our leaders of all generations, especially Samdech Techo […] it was thanking to their relentless effort that there are now 385 factories in Kompong Speu, for which there are nearly 160,000 workers. At the minimum pay of USD 200 per person, there will be USD 31 million/month or USD 376 million/year going into the pockets of our workers […]

Some say that Samdech Techo went out to beg from other countries. Now it is my turn to go out and beg. We ask (them for investments) through negotiations […] we negotiate sitting in seats of equal status with respect to each other. We make sure that people come to invest with trust in us and they will create good investments for our people. I am satisfied to be called a beggar as long as it helps the people benefit […] we asked Indonesia to buy 250,000 metric tons of rice, Malaysia, Singapore to consider buying rice, fish, chicken, pork, and the Philippines to buy metric tons of rice […] the benefit will go to the people. I am not a producer. I do not have a company that grows rice […] it is the Cambodian farmers who have fields that can produce rice […] I just do more of what Samdech Techo hun Sen, the head of the former legislative National Assembly government and his ministers did for nearly 40 years […]

(7) To meet and listen to informal economy workers’ request

The world economy is (now facing with complication) however, we have not yet had entered the negative growth area. The World Bank forecasts (Cambodia’s) growth of 5.6% (while the) global growth (is anywhere at) 3% and the ASEAN growth (is at) 4.5%. (At) 5.6%, we are in positive territory and moving forward […] I am planning to meet with traders in Phnom Penh in the market. Meet them to listen to their concerns and requests. I will meet with people working in the informal economy to listen to them – what are their concerns and what I can do to help? – Cambodia’s main principle is to reduce poverty and improve people’s livelihood, and in that, job creation is a big task. Job creation is a priority. We have economic growth, we have more jobs, and we have poverty reduction – all of which ensure that this growth will deliver share into the hands of the people. We call it equity and efficiency and ensure the sustainability of development […]

(8) Create jobs in the country, increase job opportunities abroad

I want to talk about another issue […] the (Cambodian) migrant workers (abroad). We create jobs domestically and find jobs internationally. We are not urging our people to be servants in other countries. We increase employment opportunities so that our people have a choice. We try to create jobs availability inside the country so that our brothers and sisters have a chance, but we also do not forbid you from going for work abroad. There is no policy in the world that prohibits workers from going abroad to work. Exception is when countries are under the UN sanctions […] all countries are pushing for a so-called free trade agreement, which is abolishing legal barriers or imposing certain conditions on the flow of goods and services. Labor flows back and forth. No one forbids it but everyone encourages people to have a choice. Free trade is (about making possible) the flow of people and the flow of products, the flow of technology, the flow of work […]

(9) Embassies to expand diplomatic relations and supports/benefits of Cambodian citizens abroad

Some attacked the government that we do not care about (Cambodian) migrant workers abroad. We have migrant workers working in Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, but one of the solutions that we are trying to address is to attract investment to expand employment opportunities in the country, improve salaries in the country, make life easier so that it is not difficult for our people to go find jobs abroad […]

Our embassies abroad are to do two jobs. One job is to work on expanding diplomatic, political and economic ties with the host country and the second most important priority is to protect and benefit our people who live in accordance with the Constitution, wherever those Cambodians are, even if they are US-Australian, or wherever they are that we can provide services. That would include citizens who have to work and stay in those places. Some marry in those countries and some studies there […] we have to serve them as much as possible […]

(10) Identification Attaché in Korea, online petition form fill-in, criminal record letter

In the past, working with the youth team, I went to see workers in Korea very often. One of the things you face is Passport. They are difficult to prolong or to issue new ones because we have a pre-existing condition giving us reasons to think about national security that we need you to come back to the country in person to avoid issue of falsification and/or imposter act […]

Soon, you no longer have to prolong your passport. We are exchanging for a new passport. The new passport is not able to prolong. It is valid for 10 years […] talking with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […] to address concerns about security and data management, I decided to set up an attaché office (with the embassy) and send an identification officer to work there to manage the data and work at the same time. Our people do not have to worry about losing your job just because having to come back for legal documents […]

Second, regarding the criminal record that you need to present (to respective authority of the receiving countries) when going out […] we will apply the principle that you can fill out the application form online and you do not have to go to go to certain place to do all that for a long time. When we issue this policy, I ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, where there is this General Identification Office, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance to figure out the framework and budget for the establishment of new (attaché) offices (of identification). They may take into account legal procedures in force to allow quick set up of such office and send officers in a timely manner. The Ministry of Justice prepares various procedures and letter regarding criminal record […]

(11) Consulate General in the South of Thailand Considered

Thailand is close, but some of our migrant workers are far away. In the past, we have pushed for our officials and labor advisers to stand by in embassies and we have set up posts along the border to help people who need to prolong their passports or travel documents for that matter. We need to strengthen and expand. First, by expanding, we have to increase the number of employment advisors. We now have three all in Bangkok. We have a consulate in Sa Kaeo. Please bring one from Bangkok to Sa Kaeo. Another point of need is in southern Thailand. We do not yet have consulates in Songkhla, Hat Yai or Yala. I talked to HE Ouch Borith (of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) last night about the establishment of one of our Consulates General there […] so that our workers in the south (of Thailand) do not have difficulty of coming up […]

I would like to delegate to HE Net Savoeun (Deputy Prime Minister) the task of working with all institutions and provinces along the border on entry and exit management. I hear a lot from our people and workers of informal costs that they had to face going through them. Please find a solution so that people do not have difficulty going through anymore. I am assigning a Deputy Prime Minister here to coordinate with the Interior, National Defense, Customs and related border provinces, to find a solution to facilitate the passage of workers […] and do whatever possible to find a long-term sustainable solution […] to help our people and workers going to (Thailand for) work […]

(12) 5 key reform priorities – education, health, public functions, against drugs, judiciary

In addition to the six priorities that I announced on August 24, there are five other priorities that I have set out and that I have not yet highlighted. What are the five key priorities? The first is the reform in the education sector to strengthen primary education up to grade 12. We do our best to educate our children so that they have the capacity, the knowledge, the mindset and the improved moral virtues. The second is the key measure to strengthen the health sector and focus on health centers and referral hospitals to provide healthcare services to our people, along with the private sector […]

The third priority is the reform of public functions related to the civil service exam, the management […] the reform policy of the new government start first of all with the reform of public functions, in which the exam itself (is the primary focus). We will on the one hand strengthen the effective use of officials, not to have a large number (of staff/officials but less quality), and secondly, direct the incentive system to the right target group […]

Fourth, safe villages and communes that focus on the fight against drugs and this is a major priority of the new government, and fifth, reforming the legal system, the judiciary, and strengthening the informal dispute resolution system […]

Whether the country is small or large, we need to consider the fight (against drug). Samdech Techo, the Royal Government of the previous terms has given priority to this work, and we have done a lot of work in education, prevention and taking action […] I have decided to assign a Deputy Prime Minister as the head of this authority (to fight against drug). We will follow the path taken by the previous government involving three Deputy Prime Ministers – the Ministry of Interior, National Defense and Justice, with all the relevant ministers, namely the minister of social affairs, women’s affairs, education, etc., as members. We need to level up this mechanism. A Senior Minister serves as the Deputy Chairman who takes permanent leadership. This should demonstrate our commitment to the fight against drugs […]

(13) Working with whoever has a market for whatever the product for our people

On September 14, I will visit China to participate in the exhibition. The Ministry of Commerce will do the hosting where many countries are going to participate. There will be efforts to attract tourists from China and other countries and we have to do the best we can to show Cambodian tourism products to attract more people. (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports -) His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron will take my place to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia in the G77 meeting in Cuba. We must extend contacts to countries in South America too because we now export rice to Cuba to Latin America. We are working with whoever has a market for whatever the product for our people. The Ministry of Commerce, Agriculture, Rural Development, Economy and Finance are working together to find ways to strengthen exports and competitiveness […] and to attract more tourists arrivals. The Singaporeans are interested in vegetables, pork and chicken. We will look into that further. The Singaporean team are poised to come next week. They work fast. We work fast too. The officials work fast, the benefit reach to our people fast too […]

(14) Four decisive components for success of reforms

Reform is not an easy thing to accomplish. Reform is difficult. Reform (will take effect) based on four key factors. Firstly, there must have a clear vision and based on clear reason/objective. We do all this to increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the nation […]. Secondly, we must be committed to do the job together. I already told you that I am not going to take all the shots. We all must do it together. I entrust the rights and confidence for our officials to carry out the tasks. I handed over the martial sword to you to cut […]. Thirdly, we all need to participate in this reform. Not only me, not only government officials, it needs all the people to participate. For instance, the recruitment exam of civil servants […] we work together for us and for the sake of our children in the future. Eliminate social injustice (by making it) transparent, equitable starting with everyone’s participation […], and the last one is that it requires our sacrifice. Reform is having impacts. If we do not give up, do not participate, we cannot (succeed) or succeed but with difficulty. The hardest part is all of us. I am asking (concerned parties to pay attention to implement these four tasks). Civil servants – from Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers to Chief of Office and ordinary officials – must make efforts to implement these four tasks. Sub-national officials from governors, deputy governors to district governors, commune chiefs, village chiefs must work together to strengthen our work system […]./.