Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the official inauguration of the “new administrative buildings and achievements” in Kampong Speu province and the declaration of Kampong Speu province as a mine-free province” [Unofficial translation]


(1) Cambodia not only demines its territory but also helps demining efforts in other countries under the umbrella of the United Nations

[…] (When I was) the commander of the army, I had the honor of declaring the liberation of Phnom Sruoch (district free from mines). Now (we have the opportunity to declare) the whole Kompong Speu province mines free […] we have 25 capitals and provinces altogether. (With) Kampong Speu (added to the list, we have liberated so far) 13 provinces or 50+1 (provinces from mines) […] the war is over. No new mines are laid, and (we have) the commitment not to use mines […] Cambodia not only demines its territory but also helps demining efforts in other countries under the umbrella of the United Nations […] the devotion of our brothers/sisters (deminers) has brought happiness to hundreds of thousands, or even millions of the Cambodian people, firstly, by keeping them safe from accidents that could either maim or kill them, and secondly, liberating the land from minces for the people […] to grow crops for a living […]

(2) To become a member of countries ratifying mine-free

I am asking my protocol people to set up a schedule for me to join in the celebration, promotion and confirmation to the international community that, as a war-torn country with tens of thousands of people killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnances, Cambodia is committed to join this effort (of a mine-free world). We join the United Nations as well as countries that have ratified the mines ban treaty. Speaking of demining, we must not forget that it is Samdech Techo, who has had the vision of leading the initiative for decades […] and lastly, the Cambodia Mine Action Plan 2025 is Samdech Techo’s initiative that we are working together today, realizing Kampong Speu the 13th province (that we declared mine-free). We still have 12 more (provinces to do so). We will continue to implement this plan to turn our land into a risk free from mines, the hidden killers […]

(3) Being mine-free people no longer have fear of war atrocity and enjoy infrastructural connectivity

Since the beginning of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, bombs had been dropped in the province of Kampong Speu. According to CMAC reports, Cambodia first learnt about the American bombs […] (this region of Kompong Speu) had been the main geographical area where there were the most armed clashes […] one may ask what is the benefit of this demining action for the people? […] the beginning of the search for peace and the attainment of complete peace under the 1998 win-win policy […] the demining efforts in Kampong Speu province have helped turn the province from a hotbed of fighting, geographical location of war from the 1960s to the 1990s, to an area where people no longer have fear of war atrocity […]

Demining after ending the war is the result of our efforts to turn those areas into tourist destinations. Demining widens the roads, connecting many areas in Kampong Speu province that were previously remote. We say that the provincial town of Kampong Speu, Chbar Morn, used to be far away from Phnom Penh because of the difficult roads, and the same is true for Oral and Thpong districts, and many other provinces, districts, and communes, where there were no connecting roads, public services, schools, hospitals, and unreachable. No that we have those places declared mine-free, it makes thing easier for us to build infrastructure […]

(4) New building for officials to work in fruitful environment to serve the people

[…] What is the benefit of building a nice (provincial administration) building? The benefit is for the officials to work in a fruitful environment here […] to distribute the dividends to all the officials working here […] (I have seen that) there are permanent offices for each department here. The biggest benefit is that this is a place to serve the people. That is when we talk about the quality of the fruits of sharing. If we build the provincial office only for the provincial governor, whereas others work in the same ragtag place, they would not be able to serve the people to their best ability and that would not be a good thing […]

(5) linking places with natural properties/heritages that attract tourism activities

The fact that the country has no more war, whom would these benefits reach? It reaches out to the local people, their livelihood, connecting infrastructure, people’s travel, economic activities, and more factories are delegated to local levels to create jobs for the local people. This is sharing […] I am calling on His Excellency the Minister of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, provincial authorities (to consider) linking places with natural properties or heritages that can attract tourism activities. We must do it in such a way to give profit priority to local communities. I see (that will) be (more beneficial) than taking net foreign investment to the community. We involve the people in investments, in taking care of their environments, and in making themselves benefiting from the activities […]

(6) Improve public administration through capacity strengthening, staff recruitments based on meritocracy, and setting up an incentive system for officials

In addition to the six priority policy programs, we issued five key measures, the first of which is to strengthen the capacity of national and sub-national public administration, […] the fourth is to strengthen the implementation of the safe village, commune, peace and security policies, especially to reduce and eliminate drug use and trafficking, and the fifth is the reform of the judiciary […]

Regarding the first key measure to strengthen public administration at the national and sub-national levels … we have carried out several series of reforms to ensure the enhancement of capacity as well as efficiency and quality of service to the people. But there is still more to be done. The public administration needs to be constantly reformed, modernized and revised to meet the needs of the people. There is no formula that is there for 50 years […] as life grows, so does living, economic growth, and innovation, there requires improvement of way to serve the people […] adjusting to growth of living standards and the changes of that society […]

The first key measure […] focuses on (1) strengthening the capacity, which I call strengthening and tidying our house at both the national and sub-national levels […] (2) on the recruitment of officials to serve with merit, transparency, justice, inclusiveness, and efficiency, and that would include strengthening the management of officials, enhancing the capacity and efficiency of officials, institutions, and (3) setting up an incentive system for officials in accordance with the principles of meritocracy based on achievements […]

(7) Setting 2024 the year of self-examination and/or self-assessment for more than one term advancement

I consider the seventh legislative term (Royal Government is) in the stage of strengthening rather than expanding. (We’d) expand (to a) moderate (degree) as necessary. Recruitment of new officials would be made according to necessity and rationality […] where there is a real shortage of staff, we’d allow recruitments. Wherever there is enough or more than enough, we find ways to strengthen their use according to our objective. We would be trying to deploy competent staff at the sub-national level rather than having them stuck at the national level, thus making staff insufficient at the sub-national level. For the upcoming 2024, (as I said in the meeting) of the Council of Ministers, the day before, I set a goal to be the year to put on the brake and to make evaluation without rushing. It is a year of self-examination and/or self-assessment to advance not one but two or three terms to come […]

(8) Building roads for officials/authorities to reach out to the people

Given the right, (the Royal Government is) to help increase the capacity and responsibility of the sub-national authorities and to ensure that they receive assistance, attention and rights, as well as strengthening capacity, ethics and responsibility to serve the people […] the Royal Government continues to strengthen and sharpen decentralization and this right of responsibility and help strengthen local capacity. The fact that we have now highways and/or good roads, we should not require people to travel long distances (to seek for local administrative assistance). We build roads, not for people to come all the way to the provinces and districts. We build roads so that the authorities are reaching out to the people. As far as we know, some of the services have now been provided to the people at their homes […]

(9) Using IT to expedite administrative procedures

The near future, we will be able to make use of IT systems (in the healthcare system) that allow people to request (for medicines) by mobile phone, and they could to pick their requests up at the health centers […] the day before, HE Chea Vandeth (Minister of Post and Telecommunication) thought about setting up an IT system in the district so that people can use computers or, if necessary, complete administrative procedures related to national institutions (from where they are) without having to go to the national level […] this reinforcement should not leave the other parts in trembling. We are working to strengthen the base. At the national level, we have to do the same, but we aim to get to the grassroots. The budget of hundreds of millions of dollars projected the day is for 2024 […]

(10) Heavy weight ADA means RGC takes reducing and eliminating drug trafficking and use seriously and a priority

The fourth key measure is to strengthen the implementation of safe village/commune/Sangkat policies, with a focus on reducing and eventually eliminating the trafficking and use of drug in the community. Today we declare a landmine-free province, meaning that there is no longer a risk from landmines and war, but the risk from social safety and security is still important. (We) sharpen the direction to carry out works relating to combating drug trafficking/use, gangsters, and gambling of all sorts […] that I said “we think big and act small.” It means that we are focusing on action program that is the foundation of the major policy activities from one term to another […]

We have rectified the leadership structure as well as the leadership of the Anti-Drug Authority (ADA). At the beginning, we thought that only a senior minister to lead (the ADA would be sufficed) […] but we later saw that it was not strong enough […] because (at this level) the ministries and institutions would send their representatives at the Secretary of State level to participate. The issue cannot be therefore a priority. A rectification is necessary. Not only we make the person who leads ADA one of the Deputy Prime Ministers, but four additional Deputy Prime Ministers are also involved in this mechanism […] the heavy weight mechanism should send a message to the people that the Royal Government takes reducing and eliminating drug trafficking and use in Cambodia seriously and gives it the priority […]

(11) NAEJDR is to resolve civil, trade and other disputes through mediation

[…] The fifth key measure is to strengthen and enhance the quality and efficiency of the justice system. The Royal Government has done a lot, not just in this term, particularly, Samdech Techo former Prime Minister had led the works […] in resolving (issues regarding) the justice system, we are focusing on three measures – (1) the establishment of extra-judicial dispute resolution mechanisms in addition to existing mechanisms; (2) promoting and expediting the settlement of cases in the courts, improving the quality and efficiency of providing justice services to the people, and reducing the congestion of cases; and (3) monitoring and resolving some irregularities in courts […]

Regarding the establishment of the National Authority for Extrajudicial Dispute Resolution (NAEJDR) is concerned, […] we aim to ensure efficiency, which we had to lift the weight, the heavier we life, the sharper and bigger the sword […] that we organize the National Authority for Extrajudicial Dispute Resolution […] is not to replace the courts for that matter or to replace the existing justice system […] the benefit of establishing a dispute resolution authority is to resolve civil disputes, trade disputes and other disputes through mediation based on agreement between the parties and at the request of the parties to the dispute or to the parties agreeing to accept the conciliation […]

(12) Three element of success – a clear plan; effective mechanism; and competent implementors

We create NAEJDR (1) to bring the dispute resolution service that is easy, fast, highly effective closer to the local people, to reduce the time spent in resolving chronic conflicts by calling in the commune chief, district governor to help resolve the case […]; (2) to provide people with a mechanism for resolving disputes that can ensure an atmosphere of pacifism and social harmony, which is to ensure a win-win solution […] once (the parties in disputes reached) the agreement, there must be an agreement with the weight of the court verdict. This means that both sides can no longer turn around […] if we can (do thing like) this, (we) will be helpful to the people […] For whatever we do, (in order to) succeed, firstly, we need to have a clear plan based on all practical realities, secondly, we need to have a good and effective implementation mechanism, effective working system and human resources, and thirdly, we count on competent practitioners, professional ethics and responsibility […] of all the measures that have been set out, these are all implementation mechanisms, prepare people to fulfil or to say in other word we do not make plan based on theory, but practicality […]./.