Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, in a Conversation with Resettlement People at Run Ta Ek, Siem Reap [Unofficial translations]


(1) December 1992, Angkor Wat has been inscribed on the World Heritage List and international friends have helped restore it

Please allow me to deliver a message from Samdech Techo, former Prime Minister, Chairman of the Supreme Council of HM the King and Samdech Kittiprittbandit Bun Rany Hun Sen, who always pay attention to the people, especially those in Run Ta Ek and in the Pak Snaeng area, who had to move from the Angkor Wat temple vicinity. Samdech Techo had met with the people here four times in one year. In the more than 40 years of leadership, he might not have been to places as often as he has been in (Run Ta Ek) just a few months in a row. Why? He wanted to show that he paid attention (to the works here) and directed command, and solved problems […]

On our flag there is a picture of Angkor Wat, a symbol of the soul of the Khmer nation […] This area of Angkor Wat faces the risk that Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod Preah Norodom Sihanouk and our leaders in early 1991 had asked for international help. Initially, it was not a request for listing the heritage to be seen by tourists, but for rescuing it from the risks of decades of war and abandonment. Since then, in December 1992, Angkor Wat has been inscribed on the World Heritage List […] and the international friends have helped restore it until 2004 […]

This Angkor temple resort area is more than 400 square kilometers […] or more than 40,000 hectares […] (it means) we do not just place the temple itself in the list (of the world heritage). We place the entire area at once. More than 400 years ago, our ancestors built 91 temples from the 9th to the 13th century (within this specified area). We have to take care of small and big temples. We have to work together to take care of them because they are priceless […]

(2) The politics of open skies and the designation of Angkor Wat as a World Heritage Site have attracted tourists and turned Siem Reap into an economic pole

Since the end of the war, especially in the Angkor Wat area, and ever since we listed the temple as one of the world’s heritages, combined with Samdech Techo’s open sky policy, the whole of Siem Reap, especially this Angkor temple area, has become a magnet for millions of tourists to visit) making Siem Reap, which used to be a quiet province, become an economic pole. The area of Angkor Wat, once a quiet little and sparsely populated town, has experienced growth in term of population, tourism and economy, improving the livelihood of our people […] when we put temples in the World Heritage List, we must abide by some of the technical conditions required by UNESCO to, firstly, make our temples a World Heritage Site or a World Human Property Site and, secondly, to benefit from technical assistance for thousands of years to come. Our temple (which is 1,200 years old already) has been guaranteed and maintained for thousands of years on […]

(3) The Royal Government chooses both the temple and the people

Some areas need to be protected. For what? For the Khmer nation. They asked, between the temple and the people, which one will the government take? The answer is both easy and difficult. The simple answer is that we choose both of them without thinking, both the heritage of our ancestors and our people must be a big priority for the government, […] but what is difficult to say/do is how do we accomplish our tasks? It is not an easy decision […] (How do we ensure) the people’s livening condition (that we are moving them) to a new settlement. If we do not work together, the risk of increasing population growth in the temple area could affect the temple condition and/or it could be facing removal possibility from the list – maybe it is ok in 10 years or 20 years, but how do we know for hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of decades […]

(4) The soul of the nation is cultural property heritage, the life of the nation is the people

Today I came here to reaffirm my commitment to continue to build this place for the betterment of the resettlement people (moving out of the Angkor Wat temple area) […] (because on the) one side is the national soul and the other is the national life. The national soul refers to the cultural heritage that gives us as a symbol of the nation, especially the temple of Angkor Wat. Our national life is the people. If our people die, our people suffer, our nation also dies, our nation also suffers. In the last 40 years […] Siem Reap has transformed from a province with few visitors […] into a tourist center and a symbol of our country […]

(5) With the ongoing construction of infrastructure, let us prepare necessary conditions for “Run Ta Ek” to become a city

With the ongoing construction of this infrastructure, we should be prepared to meet the conditions to make “Run Ta Ek” become a city in itself. I have seen stone houses and wooden houses in some places, and nothing has been done yet in others. Some places are on dirt roads, and some are on concrete roads. There has not yet been 100 percent access to electricity and groundwater system, but we will continue to work on that […] (however,) compared to the situation (more than 400 days ago) when we came here to set coordinates and the bulldozer started to clear the area with demining activities, the place has now grown remarkably. Who knows, for another year, two years, three years, five years, what this place will grow into as infrastructure of this place continues growing into an important city […]

(6) Siem Reap people believe in Samdech Techo and the CPP

In the medium and long term, Run Ta Ek and the people living here will have a stronger and more prosperous life. This is a tribute to the people who have confidence in the Royal Government, especially Samdech Techo, who arranged for all of you to come here. I am of the opinion that you believe that Samdech Techo did not let you come out (from the Angkor Wat temple area so that he can) sell the land (- your old residence) to the private sector. (What the Royal Government is doing is) not to take that land for the benefit of anyone, but for the benefit of our nation. (Therefore) you gave trust and volunteered to come here […]

I thank the people here as well as the people of Siem Reap for their trust and confidence in Samdech Techo and the CPP in the July-general elections last year giving the CPP a landslide victory in the province of Siem Reap. I am sure that if you thought that Samdech Techo has a bad intention to get people out so that he could sell the land in the Angkor area to investors to build a 100-storey building, you would not have come. Samdech Techo absolutely does not do that bad thing. Throughout his life, he fought for the people, to defend the nation, to protect cultural property, he would not have done such destructive things […]

(7) 4,554 land titles delivered, of which 86 families received both land titles and equity ID card, and 10 buses to facilitate traveling

Today, we have prepared to hand over 4,554 land titles as ownerships to the people, including 86 families, who will receive two precious things – firstly, they will receive their land titles, and secondly, they will receive equity ID cards. The rest has already received their equity ID cards […] I am happy because the applause is louder than my voice on microphone. Other citizens who would volunteer to move (here from Angkor Wat temple area,) when s/he arrives, s/he will be given the same […]

On another issue, since the location is far away and it is difficult for some people to travel to and from the city, let the province arrange 10 buses to help transport them in the morning (coming) and going in the evening. The trip to/from Siem Reap will be free. No money. The state covers the expenses. So, set the time now […]

In addition, the road infrastructure in Run Ta Ek and Pak Sneang must continue to build or improve from the dirt road to the concrete road, and where the road is to be asphalted, we will start the work so that soon all the roads here become concrete and asphalted roads […] Please take action to prepare the sewer system […] I would assign the task to relevant ministries and institutions as well as the local authorities […] to develop the infrastructure and provide the necessary social services to turn the Run Ta Ek development area and Pak Snaeng to become model rural towns in terms of village planning, focusing on the principle of sustainability, in promoting decent living, clean living environment, and adequate public services […]

(8) Although Cambodia is not rich, the Royal Government strives for rapid development

In the past, some international organizations and some politicians have taken the opportunity to attack the Royal Government for leaving the resettlement people without proper assistance. I think that the person who said it should come and see for himself or herself. In this year, even though Cambodia is not as rich as the United States or (other) countries, the Royal Government has had a leader who is doing everything he can to strive to make (development) faster. We do not leave people unassisted […]

We, along with our children and grandchildren, must unite in the 21st century to take the measures to keep this soul alive for thousands of years to come […] where we will have proper development in the right place for the next generation to develop further. Together, we develop and preserve together for the Khmer nation to prosper […] It does not matter that some have said so and so. The important thing is that we work hard. Some people (no matter what we do) are never right […] even the fact that I am meeting the people today, a little later, there would be people who criticize and attack it […]

We dedicate today for tomorrow and another tomorrow for the betterment of our children and grandchildren, and the relevant authorities must continue to build this place to further develop and prosper for the people […]

(9) Five tasks implemented to develop the Run Ta Ek area and Pak Snaeng

  1. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction continues to prepare land use master plans for the Run Ta Ek development area and Pak Snaeng […] for agriculture, animal husbandry and other economic activities connected to the economic corridor between urban and rural areas […] for the economy here to grow, one corner that is important is job creation. This is an important strategy of the government of the seventh legislature. Growing economy […] must benefit the people, must increase employment so that the people’s livelihood can increase in all areas […]
  2. Strive to connect the potential of this place and the development of not only Run Ta Ek, but Banteay Srei district, Angkor Thom district into a development area […] Siem Reap cannot grow only within the Siem Reap city but we must expand development to all districts according to their potentials […]
  3.  The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction cooperates with relevant ministries, institutions and local authorities to prepare plans to attract potential investments […]
  4. The Ministry of Labor, the Department of Labor, relevant institutions and authorities examine the possibility of providing vocational training […] so that firstly, it is easy for our people to find existing jobs in the city; and secondly, to create various employment potentials for young people […]; the Royal Government has set a special policy to quickly develop the tourism sector in Siem Reap. In 2024, we will launch the year to visit Siem Reap. The Ministry of Tourism has worked with institutions and some partner countries to attract more tourists; and
  5. The Siem Reap Provincial Administration and the competent authorities at all levels continue to facilitate the people to settle in these two development areas as soon and facilitating as possible, and absolutely prevent the encroachment for occupation and unauthorized housing in the entire Angkor Park area […]./.