Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, conversation with the Cambodian community in EU and the UK [Unofficial Translation]

CMF:

(1) Never ever underestimated the Cambodians, wherever they are they think of the country

[…] Let me thank the teams, especially to the youth group and all the embassies that participated in organizing, coordinating and informing our uncles and aunts of this event […] this shows the spirit of unity, love and recognition of one Khmer nation […] some say that the Royal Government had staged the meeting. Please do not underestimate the Cambodian people. This common spirit as the Khmer nation, or so-called blood is thicker than water […] wherever you live, no matter what situation made you go abroad – either due to war or because of something else, you all still think of our nations […] besides showing solidarity, you wanted to know what policies the government has put together for the people […] and wanted to know more directly from the head of the Royal Government […]

(2) In Europe for WEF and the official visit the French Republic

[…] My presence in Europe this time has two goals or two reasons. First, to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where I have to leave tomorrow, and second, the official visit to France, which will take place from 18th to 19th (January) […] I welcome every request for a meeting until my assistants told me “I do not have any time lefty” […] for me, “if I take 15 minutes or 20 minutes or half an hour to meet with a private sector […] and I have encouraged the decision to invest millions of dollars in Cambodia to create jobs for Cambodian children, it is better than sitting and watching TV […]”, even though I am tired but I am happy that I have spent all my time trying to promote Cambodia, meet with government organizations and the private sector […] and it is the duty of the Royal Government of the head of government entrusted with the job by the people […]

(3) In WEF to present and promote policies, and network with other businesses

[…] The World Economic Forum (WEF) brings together top leaders in politics, economy and business […] and the former Prime Minister Samdech Techo regularly participated. We go (there first) to present some policies related to the state of the global business and economy […]; second, to promote the policy of participation and ensure the environment to attract business; and thirdly, to network with other businesses […] generally speaking, go knock on their doors […] if we spend this much time in only one week, and we can benefit not only in business but also in economy […] combined with cooperation with France, we can increase the relationship between Cambodia and France, Cambodia with other countries through the private sector, then is the best time to use […] we must try to meet, try to knock on the door of investors and introduce ourselves. Let us be proactive. We do not just issue policies on paper. We have to reach out to them and not just the policy, we try to get them to visit our home. Let us prepare our clean house to welcome them […]

(4) The Cambodian-French relationship is historical and must continue to accumulate.

[…] Apart from engagements in Switzerland and in France, what else will we do? This is my first official visit to France as the Cambodian new Prime Minister to tour Europe. This visit was made to confirm our relationship with France. My visit is not accidental […] usually it is the counterpart (who would extend official invitation, i.e.) the Prime Minister (and) the Prime Minister […] however, in this case, this bilateral official visit is made between the Prime Minister and the President (of the French Republic). This confirms that France values the diplomatic, political and economic relations between the two countries – Cambodia and France. This is our pride […] the relationship between Cambodia and France has a long history, and this historical relationship must continue to accumulate […]

I have seen that some are trying to make a case to the French president not to be tricked by Hun Manet. He wrote a long letter saying that the French President Macron should be more careful not to be deceived by Hun Manet […] prior to sending a high-level letter inviting the head of the Cambodian government for an official visit, the Prime Minister or the President of a country, especially a superpower like France must have assessed from all angles, experts and advisers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, all specialists must have gathered opinions, and even the President himself has seen clearly the benefits of the relationship, […] what we are going to accomplish, President Macron and I, as heads of governments, is to fulfill our duties for the nations and the peoples. Nothing about personal interests […]

We are a Francophone country. Let me share with you all good news. In 2026, Cambodia will host (now we are applying) for the Francophonie Summit. French President Macron gave his initial support. We are proud to be a Francophonie in Southeast Asia […] we must continue to expand our security, diplomatic, cultural and other relations, with the aim of promoting opportunities for inter-country relations […] as a politician, whether one likes or does not like the government, one should value what benefits the country, rather than putting politics all the time up ahead and pretending to be patriotic […] I never see French politicians, even from other parties, or even if they do not support the President, (forbid) the President from pursuing his diplomatic policy with other countries […] surprisingly, this time the person did not call me a child anymore […] perhaps because my partner, the French president, is two months younger than I am […]

I am not here to talk with France to destroy the interests of Cambodia, and France has no interest to issue a policy to destroy Cambodia. There is nothing but talk about the common interests of our two countries […] in relations with France and other countries in Europe, we remain in the position of taking respect for sovereignty, independence, and mutual dialogue to strengthen our common national interest […]

(5) Cambodians believe that elections choose the leader without social instability

In Cambodia, we held the 7th National Assembly election on July 23, 2023. Exit polls recorded that 8.5 million people, or 84.59% of the registered voters, went to the polls, which is a very high rate affirming that the Cambodians believe in the election. Electing a leader is the only option that ensures a state of justice, stability and efficiency to continue to serve them effectively without social instability […]

Secondly, 82.30% (or equivalent to) 6.4 million people voted for the Cambodian People’s Party to continue to lead […] especially our people coming from abroad, especially in Europe, […] I have noticed that some went to the polls in Cambodia because they have registered […], secondly, some have sent messages encouraging people to go to the polls to fulfill their democratic obligations as citizens and thirdly, many of our brothers take a stand that does not support any incitement or violence that disrupts the order during the election […]

That 82.30% (of voters who support) the Cambodian People’s Party confirms the satisfaction, the confidence and warmth of the people throughout the country on the leadership of the CPP, especially Samdech Techo Hun Sen, former Prime Minister, in serving the people, especially helping them in difficult situations of the recent danger of Covid-19, which was a dark situation […]

(It was made know widely that) for the 2023 (elections), Samdech Techo will be the candidate for the Prime Minister and His Excellency Hun Manet will be the future succeeding candidate […] if the people are not satisfied with that, the result may not be this high […] the decision to transfer power/leadership reflects the wishes of the people and the message that the people sent clearly that they have trusted the CPP, believed in the leadership of Samdech Techo, and have confidence in the plan to transfer leadership in the future […] that is why the term was transferred at once […] to ensure sustainability and stability for the nation to move forward, and in general, for the further development of the nation […]

(6) In the past five months, RGC provides fish and fishing rods to the people

The work carried out by the Royal Government in the past five months has been for two major objectives […] first, to provide fish, and second, to provide fishing rods. What about helping to provide fish? To help provide fish means we help people in difficult situations. Helping them with a fishing rod is to build their capacity so that they have chance to survive on their own […] the world has bogged in two crises. It all started with the Covid-19 pandemic […] prompted the economy to stall, and so many people lost their jobs. After that, the wars in Ukraine and Russia started, causing an energy crisis in Europe. Now, we have war situations in the Middle East and elsewhere. (Economy) has recovered to some degrees, but it is still affected by the energy crisis […]

Every country is predicting the coming effect of El Niño and the rice price would rise. Farmers are happy about rising rice prices, but consumers are worried about it. The government needs to take measures to address the issue to some levels. In Cambodia, in some places we are still figuring out the use of water for farming and for people’s consumption and livestock. The provincial administrations have issued guidelines to suspend the cultivation of dry season for the second time […] inflationary pressures have affected the global economy, including Cambodia. Thus, we also have additional cash subsidies for vulnerable families by the inflationary pressures that we have implemented from the end of 2022 to the present. More than 490,000 families, or 1.8 million people, have benefited from this assistance […]

Different countries have different policies, but in Europe, they have good health policies. In Cambodia, we are in the process of considering this. In the past, we have issued an equity fund, which we call a health fund, for poor people to go to the public hospital for treatment for which the state helps with reduction of their treatment cost […] for pregnant women and children under two years of age, the policy has gone into force from June 2016 to now, provide benefits to more than 330,000 people, nearly 340,000 people. We have other allowances. If s/he has a national social security fund (ticket), s/he will receive additional support for this front […] I am talking about providing fish (to them) […]

(7) The 7th legislature term’s pentagonal strategic policies for the next 25 years

In this seventh legislature, the government issues a pentagonal strategic policy […] based on policies (previously inscribed in the triangular and rectangular strategies) that have the foundation for making the country to move from being a poor to a lower middle income. In 2024, we will have a second assessment whether we leave the status of a poor country. It means from the least developed to a lower middle-income country […] should we continue to maintain the status if the poor to borrow money (with low interest)? […] not only we make our country a middle income, but also aim to make the country richer. Do not be afraid. We need to know how to live ourselves. Our policy is to make Cambodia self-reliant, a country that does not need to rely on any concessions, but has direct competitiveness […]

The poverty rate of the people in 1997 due to war was 51% […] in 2019, before Covid-19, the poverty rate dropped to 12% or to 13%. Owing to the Covid-19, the poverty rate has jumped up to 17%. The goal of the new government is to achieve a poverty rate of less than 10% […]; and secondly, to create more jobs. For the economy to grow, (we must base on) one (important) angle to increase employment, which is a big priority. We create an (appropriate) environment in Cambodia for the private sector to grow. I have set a policy since the 11th (of January) this year to encourage tourism, especially Cambodian investors in the country to promote tourism in Siem Reap to help those involved in tourism business […]

We do not create (works and proper environment) only in Phnom Penh. We replicate them everywhere. Now, in every province, we have connections of roads, electricity, water conducive for investment […] we create not only low-skill jobs. We are striving to bring higher (-skill) jobs as well as training to the children of our people. Car factories need to train our youth, our people know how to use robots […] the same must be done for the Cambodian children who assemble electric appliances […] we try to encourage more, but we also do not block the rights of our people (to find work) abroad […] together, hopefully, we can ensure jobs availability […]

(8) Equitable distribute of benefits to the people

Third is equity. The word equity is the benefit that we find to be distributed to the people […] not to concentrate only in the government or in some groups. Equity is the distribution of benefits […] the state benefits from the economy, increases the tax money, for instance, use it to increase the salaries of civil servants, sets out the health policy […] that is the increase in the average living standard that we wanted. We continue to move the middle class up to the top class and the lower class to middle class […] the price of electricity, for instance, is up because of the economy. Cambodia, however, does not jack up the price. The state is willing to pay to keep the price of electricity stable for the people. EDC loses hundreds of millions of dollars last year […]

(9) Give the fishing rod to the children of 1.5 million poor workers

As a policy of the seventh legislative term, the RGC gives priority to training 1.5 million people, who are the children of the poor and the vulnerable, the children of the workers, whereby the government pays for the training and provides a monthly salary of Riel 280,000 to help them in their course of trainings. S/he wants to go to school to gain knowledge/skills, but faces no money to pay for the training fees. Now the state is organizing a training program, where the state pays for the living expenses just for them to come to school […] once they finished their studies, they go out to find works to better their skills. That is to help teach them and/or to give them the fishing rods […]

(On the healthcare front,) to help those in their burden, the government issues a policy to organize a program that the beneficiary pays only 15,600 riel per month, or about 4 euros as his/her insurance. Whenever s/he gets sick, s/he can go to a public or private hospital/doctor that are collaborating with the NSSF (national social security fund), s/he will receive treatments without having to pay (money) anymore […], and (thirdly,) we issued a policy to help people in the informal economy or those who are self-employed […] this newly policy is to provide training as well as health benefits for (people in the informal sector) […]

(10) The RGC’s policy is to make Cambodia stronger, more capable, more self-reliant

One may ask why we do all that. We do all that to make Cambodia stronger. For the Cambodian people to be stronger, the foundation is health and knowledge, as well as the opportunities that we connect with them through job creation, so that the Cambodian children become stronger and more independent. It is said that Cambodia is subordinate to so and so […], while the policy of Cambodia, under the Royal Governments for many terms now and the seventh term, is to make Cambodia stronger, the people’s lives improve with stronger capacity, better health, self-governing, and being subordinate to no one […] Cambodia knows how to live on its own, has a strong population, and that is the basis on which we stand for our position in the international arena. Cambodia is a small country, but Cambodia is a sovereign country with equal right and footing capacity […]

(11) Foreign Economist: “Cambodia’s Economic Plan Detailed and Comprehensive”

The other day I met with economists from the United States and other countries. They said that looking at Cambodia’s economic plan they see that it is detailed and comprehensive, based on reality. I said to them why it would not be realistic since this policy is based on the 20 years of experiences that we have acquired from the triangular to the rectangular strategies and now to the pentagonal strategy for sustainability and moving forward. However, I have made a point to them that it does not matter that it is good on paper. What is important for me is to actualize it on the ground for the people […]

(12) Six policies with five measures

In the six policy (programs that we have laid out), we set out five measures to increase achievement and increase capacity. The five measures are, firstly, the reform of public administration that the Royal Government must do to increase the efficiency of public administration reform […] we do three things (on this measure) – (a) the examination for recruitment of new officials must be accurate, those who know are to pass […], (b) to reform and strengthen internal institutions, review and re-evaluate the function of the institution, the use of officials in the institution […], and (c) to provide incentives to the desired performance […]

The second measure is to strengthen the basic education and health […] (first) in education, we need to strengthen (quality from) the kindergarten to the 12th grade […], second, in health, we aim to strengthen health centers and district referral hospitals, to help strengthen the health centers in the commune to have enough doctors, good medicine, good materials, and working 24 hours to serve local people […], the fourth measure is to strengthen security, especially the fight against drugs […], and the fifth one is to reform the legal system/justice system […]

(13) Peace – the achievements that we cannot afford to lose

I do not say that Cambodia is perfect or the Royal Government of Cambodia is perfect. I do not say that the Royal Government officials are perfect […] the Royal Government has put in place the five approaches – mirroring, taking a shower, rubbing off dirt, taking treatment, if it does not work, we are taking surgery. Before coming here, I signed an order to remove the mayor of Kep city for misconduct. I removed the person at once. We do not wish to do that and we leave the opportunity for the individual to change, but when it comes to the interests of the people, we must implement this approach […]

This is a summary of the priority goals of what the Royal Government has done in all aspects both externally and internally, my visit her included, only to increase the success and resilience of our people. I am begging uncles and aunts, and our compatriots, to trust that we will continue to implement these policies […] and work on this practical indicator together to protect the national achievement that we cannot afford to lose – peace, not to return to war […]

At the beginning of January, the Royal Government designated December 29 Peace Day as a holiday. Some say that 29th December Peace Day is a day for the Hun family […] Peace Day for Cambodia is a day for all Cambodians who love peace and hate war. The Hun family is among millions of the people who love peace and hate war. That day is true to be the day of the Hun family. But I believe it is not just for my family. All of you here are sure loving peace and hating war, right? […]./.

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