Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, the meeting with some 18,000 workers from factories/enterprises in Bati district, Takeo province [Unofficial excerpts and translation]


(1) Consider demographic planning to ensure a full workforce towards 2050

The day before, there was a meeting of the Pentagonal Policy Planning – Phase 1, we have discussed on demographic issue […] the Ministry of Planning reported that Cambodia is projected to become an aging country by 2050. I asked concerned officials to look at the data clearly […] 2050 is the year when we (plan) to become a high-income country. So, at that time, we would not let our country to have more older people than the young ones […] if the data is certain, we must reconsider demographic policy, because 27 years from now is not that far away. We need to ensure a full workforce to move forward for many years to come […]

I have had (the meeting’s) attention to see (specifically) if (there is a need) for more people, (we should encourage people) to have (more children from) now. Do not wait until 2050. If we wait until 2050, then no one would want to have children, because firstly, the cost of raising a child is going to get expensive, and secondly, there is going to different way of working […] (please) help (take more children) as we still have a lot of land left. We have 17 million people now (but we should make our country) a market strength of 30-40 million people […]

It will not be long before 2050 arrives. We must not wait until the time has come to think (about taking measure). (At a time when) the economy is booming, suddenly our people are getting older, the situation where younger population are less than the retirees, we will have difficulty […] we also need to think about the balance of economic growth and population […] and (need to think about level of economic planning) to ensure such balance so that (the population) growth will not exceed our capacity to feed. We must ensure, however, that in 25 or 30 years later, we will not have problem of shrinking labor force […]

(2) 93.39% of Bati district people went to the polls and 88.95% went to the CPP

As for Takeo in 2023, the (general election) turnout was higher than in the whole country. Nationwide, we have more than 84 percent turnout but in Takeo, the turnout was 90.14 percent and 86.6 percent voted for the CPP. In Bati district in particular, 93.39 percent voters went to the polls, of which 88.95 percent, close to 89 percent, voted in favor of the CPP […] in this new term, we will continue the CPP’s set cause and mission, which is to serve the nation and the people so that they can have everything v and we can grow together […] our policy (already presented) to the people during) the election. (It is time) to fulfil it as we have already been elected […]

The Cambodian People’s Party does not make promises but we must live up to our commitments. This is true. (It is in this manner) that for 44 years, people continue to vote (for the Cambodian People’s Party). In the world, the longer the party rules, it would be difficult to maintain over 50% of support. As for the CPP, take this figure in Takeo, almost 90 percent (89% to be exact, of the voters voted for the CPP) […] means we do the right thing and we must continue […]

(3) Koh Ker temple, a heritage of Khmer civilization from more than a thousand years ago, became a World Heritage Site

We are proud that yesterday the UNESCO World Heritage Committee unanimously decided to include the “Koh Ker Temple”, which our ancestors built more than 1,000 years ago, as a World Heritage Site. This is the pride of all Cambodian children. (This temple has) a history of over a thousand years […] our ancestors have built many such temples. Our country used to be an empire […] our civilization has also been well-known, but unfortunately, we have been divided for hundreds of years. Today, the younger generation of Cambodians is united in taking back the works that our ancestors built more than 1,000 years ago, not only for their descendants to see and benefit from, but for the world to recognize the legacy of the works of our ancestors’ invaluable civilization […]

Tomorrow, at 7am, there will be drumming […] in public places to present to the souls of our ancestors from a thousand of years ago who built the temple/site Koh Ker to see that the “Khmer descendants in 2023 – whereas the Koh Ker temple was built over ten centuries ago (or more than) a thousand later – have come together and resurrected, recognized and celebrated what they have left for us.” This is nationalism. No matter which party one may belong, and we may have different belief in election and politics, but when it is the national honor regarding the heritage of our ancestors, we must unite as Cambodian children […]

[…] (After) more than 500 years (of internal conflicts and divisions), until we can come together (as we do) now, and (what) can (allow) us to sit together is the peace factor. Some blame me for talking about peace again. Peace is like the air. It is invisible. I ask you what is the most expensive around you now? You may point to the camera because it costs tens of thousands of dollars or an expensive smart phone. No, it is the air that we breath. It is free of charge but it is of the most value. If it is turned off the air, you will throw away everything to catch the breath. It is the same for peace […]

(4) War sent ancestral souls associated with the statues away from the country

[…] We have just got more statues returning from America. We have fought for so many years until we now have them returned […] we retain them (as property) for our children. During the war, it was not only the people who were separated, even the ancestral souls inscribed or attached in the statues were separated from the nation. Now we have taken it back. (The soul of) our ancestors that (were) separated from us and drifted away in containers […] have finally recollected and returned (gradually) […]

Now that we are united, not only the souls of the art objects and people, but also the souls of our ancestors, through the efforts of this generation of Cambodians, has come back to be together once again […] as a Cambodian, as a descendant of the Cambodian ancestors, just like you are brothers and sisters, I am proud of the achievements that confirm the spirit of unity with our ancestors from thousands of years ago to the world […] one may ask whether achievements and peace that we have, and talking about Koh Ker temple, has anything to do with you here today? Of course, it has a lot to do with you and every one of us because it involves peace […]

If there were no peace, we could not talk about reconnecting the National Road 2. Without peace, we would not be able to move factories to Takeo or to Kampong Chhnang, and other provinces for instance. This job creation and economic growth are possible because of peace […] in the absence of war, we can invest for our people to learn. If there were war, the national resource would be spent on buying bullets to fight and kill each other […] and we would not be able to spend it to clear mines and UXOs like these days […]

(5) Delivering Cambodian identity, civilization and culture to the world

This year we are going to organize not an world event, but a national event that we have been able to celebrate since the time of Covid-19. Let us celebrate this event together […] every year, people all over the country and in all fields, not just the civil servants, have been working hard. This water festival has its historical significance. We need to have time to relax and celebrate together. This is nationalism, we are all tired for the sake of life, but we must be happy together in a united spirit to celebrate our national day […]

We have the Khmer identity. No matter how much we are developing, and despite the modernization around us, we must adhere to the Khmer identity. I would not agree with whoever believe that adhering to the tradition makes us slow. (On the contrary, it is) making us grow. We can have modernization in the Khmer style. We do not take after other cultures and civilizations to change ours – culture and civilization. We must work together to deliver our civilization and culture to the world to see […]

In full peace, not only the Koh Ker temple (which is) listed as a (World Heritage), the Cambodian people are able to go to work and study abroad. It has shown that the Cambodian young generation have the ability and acquired good character […] those who go abroad as migrant workers and as students have helped advertised about the country. We have been able to expand labor quotas and promote our national civilization. This is a token of expression of the Royal Government’s help and thought about the benefits for workers – both inside and outside the country […]

(6) Laws to attract investments, each province must formulate policy to attract investors 

We should also pay attention to help facilitate the employers […] we thank you for your hard work and trust to invest in Cambodia. In some instances, they have even expanded the investment, and with understanding, especially when the Covid-19 disease hit, we had been working well with each other and solving many problems. I thank our workers and employees here for not suspending their works in time of Covid-19 or we could have cut off our production line […]

The investment laws that have come out is to ease some of the burdens (in order to) attract new investments. What do the laws offer? For instance, tax incentives or (certain implementation for) some targets so that they can save from that angle to increase the increase the minimum wage (for workers). Last night, I asked His Excellency Keo Rattanak (Minister of Energy and Mines) to examine the possibility of testing (this policy) in the next three months, especially before the end of this year, regarding the level of electricity tariffs, if not for all, but for some, especially industrial and agricultural enterprises that their production consume a lot of electricity […]

Each province should compete to attract investors or do marketing. We are introduced this policy of decentralization at the sub-national level […] each province should issue some policy to attract investors […] to do this job successfully, first and foremost, you need to prepare your house cleanly, like we are coordinating the environment in each family or in each field. The labor sector needs to be harmonious, while the children are healthier, more capable, and the workforce is more advanced that we could bring in investment in IT technology, etc. Our children must learn and be educated to prepare themselves for that […]

(7) Leaders obliged to inform the people and people to access information

Let me open a bracket here […] at the national leadership, I meet some 20,000 people in the forum directly, but at the same time I speak to 17 million people who are watching and continuing to see the content of my speech […] it is both the obligation and rights. First, it is the duty of senior leaders to connect with the people, to inform the masses on a regular basis what they have done. Second, it is the right of the Cambodian people to receive/access information directly from their leaders […]

It is my duty as the head of the Royal Government to be transparent to the people so that they do not have to worry. In particular, there are people who distort and misinterpret the facts. The right to interpret is theirs, but I also have the right as a leader to explain and clarify to my people not to have concern on what I have done and am going to do, or this government is doing, both at home and abroad […]

(8) The visit to China reaffirms Cambodia’s foreign policy and attract investors

I would like to clarify to you a little bit on what my recent visit to China is about and what do we have from such visit? Firstly, the official visit to the (People’s Republic of China was) to confirm the position of Cambodia’s (foreign) policy […] (of) the newly established government. Our friends want to know the political stance of the country, especially the diplomatic policy, in the initial period. Even the Cambodian people in the country want to know and to hear the pollical platform that I read in the National Assembly on August 22 […]

The policy of the Royal Government in the seventh legislative term (of the National Assembly) is to maintain a sustainable and consistent position with the policy set by the previous government based on sovereignty, independence, based on the law, and creative and intelligent implementation with the national interests on top of everything else. This is our foreign policy to be implementing with every country […]

I have reaffirmed that our diplomatic position with China remains the same. This is the policy of the Cambodian People’s Party, which was approved by its extraordinary congress. Whoever leads the government, from whichever party s/he is, will implement that party’s policy. That would include also the (Royal Government’s reassertion of the) one-China policy. The day before, a radio station condemns Cambodia’s adherence to the one-China policy position. I would tell them to do a bit of research. Among the 193 member states of the United Nations, 181 of them, the United States included, stand by the one-China policy […]

Secondly, the visit to China was to meet with the Chinese private sector and bring the Chinese business in […] our country is small (and it is not appropriate to) join with one and fight the other. As long as we cane, we must make as many friends as possible […] we must embark on trade relations with small or big countries for two ways interest, especially to bring more benefits to our nation […]

The Prime Minister of Japan wanted to know what the new government’s foreign policy is with Japan. I met him in Jakarta, I told him that our foreign policy with Japan has not changed. We continue to maintain what has been built and continue to expand. In the meeting with the President of Korea, I said the same thing. Meeting with the President of the Philippines, I continue to reaffirm continued policy, and meeting with the US Congress delegation before leaving for the ASEAN Summit, I asserted Cambodia’s policy to maintain with sustainability and consistency. There is nothing abnormal with that […]

(9) Will not allow Khmer children to be a satellite of any country

We must be increasing relations with all countries in our common interests. We are sovereign state and we know what to do for our future. Some warned me that relations with China would undermine Cambodia’s sovereignty. I would tell them that Cambodia knows how to think. I have my children. My children will have theirs […] I do not want my children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren to lose their identity or any Cambodian to stay under anyone’s influence. Samdech Techo has done the same. The same goes for other (previous) leaders. We will not allow loss of sovereignty and independence (of our nation) […] we work with friends in the spirit of respecting sovereignty and each other’s interests, with equal right and footing […]

(10) One strategy, one action plan, one voice

When we are going abroad, we did the job that is no different from Samdech Techo’s time and former leaders in all institutions […] as we have a lot of agricultural products, I have given to His Excellency Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth to consider in principle a framework to promote export more effectively […] I have to set a testing module to prepare our house according to my theory – strengthening before expanding […]

I will order for a study. Soon we will need to meet. First, all relevant ministries and the private sector must work together to find a more effective way (by having) one voice, one strategy, one action plan, so that they can discuss and cooperate as a whole between ministries and institutions. Second, the private sector, all companies, enterprises are to export in the spirit of cooperation, not competition with each otherThird, the state and the private sector are to cooperate with one another.

In short, we are practicing the slogan “one strategy, one action plan, one voice” so that we can work successfully, otherwise we will not win. We must not compete only within our small country […] we should unite together to form a total force so that we guarantee price, guarantee quality, guarantee quantity or otherwise we do not win […]

Not only that we think of the framework, but we must prepare the ad hoc team to reach out to market the country or to attract investors. It is not enough to just do the exhibition. There must be a team that is responsible for traveling to each country, and for each country we should bring one product and make it a success […]

We need to make adjustments, focusing on the direction, the action and the working method. We will need wider market for the agricultural produces/products […] we need to work together to find a strategy, a plan of action, a voice so that one sector can unite, going out there and competing, and ensuring victory. We need to consider this framework. It is not that there has not been success before, but if we remain the way we were, we would be sliding to being less efficient […]

(11) Negotiation of salary and benefits, to reduce electricity tariffs, labor officials in Sa Keo and Songkhla, identification to cooperate with foreign affairs

In the next few days, there will be an announcement on how much the minimum wage will increase. Now we are negotiating other benefits too. Each time we negotiate, it is not only about the net salary. We are negotiating other benefits too […] I have suggested that the results will come to me before Pchum Ben (the Cambodian Buddhist alms offering ritual) […]

I am asking (Minister of Energy and Mines) His Excellency Keo Rattanak to consider the framework for reducing the price of electricity at any level among the more than 20,000 enterprises. We may not be able to all of them, but some, and especially the attention is to give to those who have planned to increase (productive) ability and to encourage more production in agro-industry as well as industry […]

We have striven to discuss more regarding the (identification department) mechanism and the Ministry of Labor’s officials in Sa Keo and Songkhla (in the southern part of Thailand). Someone asked me if it (obtaining a passport from the identification office seconded to the Cambodian embassies abroad) would cost more – double the price, for instance. Thwre is nothing for you to pay much. You apply online and send the documents to the identity officer at the embassy […]

As far as the price is concerned, I would recommend (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance) HE Aun Porn Moniroth to talk with the relevant institutions […] since we have done all this to help the workers in Korea, let us help them till the end. This is the will of our government. In terms of identification, I met with (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior) Sar Sokha […] I have solicited consideration the time frame as well […] it must not be too long […] or s/he became illegal in the respective country due to the expiration (of his/her passport). Please work out in such away that it is saving both cost, time and risk. We have to manage with security matters too. The Identification Department is responsible for data matters with the Ministry of Interior, coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for facilitating the provision of diplomatic support as much as possible, but without interfering in professional work […]./.