Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the closing of the annual review conference of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation [unofficial and translation]



(1) Win-win politics ended the war and implemented the triangle and rectangular strategies

The formulation and implementation of the win-win policy to end the war, achieve full peace and national unity has created the necessary environment for us to successfully implement the past triangle strategy, and the rectangular strategy. Poverty has been reduced from more than 50% in 1997 to 17% this year, with a lower poverty rate (than 17%) before the Covid 19 outbreak. What does the 7% economic growth from the time we made peace until Covid-19 mean to us? It means that the lives of our people have improved. People who used to be below the poverty line have become among the middle class and many middle- class people have evolved into the upper-middle class in the 20 years since the end of the war or in recent years […] unfortunately, we have experienced repeated crises from Covid-19, as well as the crisis of inflation and war in other places in the world that are also affecting our country […]

(3) One hand solves the immediate problems and the other strengthens the foundation for the future

Therefore, it demanded that Cambodia, on the one hand, solved the immediate problems and on the other hand worked hard to build and strengthen the foundation for the future of the nation. What do we do to solve the immediate problems? We do everything we possibly can to prevent the situation from getting worse. When it comes to people’s livelihood, we must not let our people fall into the difficult abyss of life. Therefore, in every country, it is necessary for the Royal Government to set out various social intervention policies […]  helping people deal with this situation is to help stabilize the national economy because the national economy depends on the people. A state cannot have macroeconomic stability if its people’s livelihood is unstable […] every citizen and each family is a cell of society. The measurement of national economic health is the measurement of the per capita income […] that is why we put in place a lot of social intervention policies […]

(7) Sustainable economic development is to create a culture that increase the people’s ability to feed themselves

There has been a question that come with a hypothesis […] what kind of social protection policy does Cambodia have? My answer to the question was of course every sustainable economic development is about creating a culture that improves people’s ability to live on their own. (Citizens) can feed themselves and to feed the state […] we practice a free market economy. We want to make sure that people can fish on their own, but we must also recognize that in our country there are people who cannot fish. Some are born with health problems. We have some elderly people and people with disabilities. It cannot be perfect all the time […] there must be a part of the people who need help […] if we look at the policy of the Royal Government, what we do is not just social protection or humanitarian programs. We have invested a lot in education and in health to build human capital so that our people have the ability to be healthy from a young age […]

(9) Economic growth of 7%/year after the war ended came from training, investment facilitation, and jobs creation both inside and outside the country

The establishment of economic programs (leading to the) 7% growth per annum after the end of the war, stemmed not from the fact that the state gave out (distributed) money to the people, but from the increasing ability, environment, peace that allowed the state to issue policies to promote the private sector, to train people for jobs, to create both domestic and foreign investments, and to promote a better working environment that realizes progress so far […] the policy of the Royal Government of the seventh legislature is no different from the previous (term Royal Government). We continue to address the current short-term challenges that people are facing. To what extent can the state help some people who cannot afford to support themselves while at the same time preparing suitable environment to improve the economic situation […]

(10) Develop effective social safety net policy

[…] The Royal Government of the 7th legislature […] develops a policy for this social safety net system (that can be reliant for people who need assistance) […] for example, the disabled or the elderly […] or the homeless children […] we will examine the possibility of increasing assistance […] for their health and life […] if s/he is incompetent, for example, disabled or elderly, how much should we help her/him? […] we have formulated a lot of policies that will continue to help them (in those situations). We will examine the possibility of further assisting her/him to become a strong labor. If they are old, we do (everything) for their health and life, because they are all our people […] because our goal is not to leave any citizen unattended […]

(12) Social media helps with information sharing leading to a culture of sharing

In this era there is a lot of participation. Especially the technology has enabled sharing information and helping each other. Of course, people use Facebook (and other social media platform) for something else, but they also used them to help (the disadvantaged and the needy in) this society […] seeing some old and vulnerable people in places […] people posted and shared the news and they received generous assistance accordingly. This kind of social assistance action defines a culture of helping each other and joining with the efforts of Royal Government. This is called the culture of sharing […] that those who have help those who have not […] the government of the seventh legislative term will continue this work and set up an additional intervention system […]

(13) The RGC’s intervention is not permanent, and mostly for emergencies

Responding to the question that the Royal Government does not seem to be concerned that providing social assistance would create a culture of dependency, and people are not clinging on to the culture of being the owners of their lives, (I suggest the people who asked the question to) please check on the interventions of the Royal Government. They are not permanent in nature. Most interventions are based on emergencies and difficulties caused by Covid-19, for instance. We are now phasing out help to people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and (are advancing) to completion. Women in pregnancy, during and after delivery, and until their babies are two years of age, (are receiving social assistance). People have equity card and ID Poor card program, with which we help them to deal with their troubles. As their lives get better, we will be (phasing out our assistance). We cannot help forever. We need to use the money to help others in need. There is no such promise that all must be done for life. That is why we do not just provide the money, (but vocational training, etc.) […]

(17) The Ministry of Social Affairs is the main actor in providing government services to the people

All this work is necessary, and one of the main executive actors is the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, with which we are involved in reviewing the work results […] the Ministry has a duty to work to help those in need. Most of our social interventions are for the disadvantaged, the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled, the elderly, the veterans who are in need. Helping orphans and the elderly, those who are out of the workforce, is a huge burden. Whether the provision of government services to the people is helpful depends on the main executive actor, the Ministry of Social Affairs […]


(17) Adapt the program to meet the actual needs of those in need

We are working out to become a permanent mechanism that helps (people stand on their feet), whereas ending the (social assistance) program for people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to have a program that replaces and reassesses, after the program ends in March, how many of them would continue to need help. In this regard, every program in action is subjected to readjustment – taking into account for instance the ID Poor and other programs. We are readjusting them to meet the real needs of those who are in need. In the past, the ID Poor has been evaluated, but this happened three years ago (so it has led to actual) changes. I went once to Oddar Meanchey province. During the Covid-19 outbreak, the provincial governor complained that the ID Poor program evaluation was conducted many years ago. That has brought about some people reacting that so and so has had a few tractors, but got an ID Poor card (to receive the social assistance from the government). The program issued them the ID based on the initial assessment […]

(18) Regular and permanent social assistance programs to bring balance, to make and implement plans

To organize a system that combines together social assistance programs that are regular and permanent will enable us to be more stable and easier to plan because we cannot (and should not) wait (until something) happens to (organize the mechanism). We set up a mechanism in place. If something happens that requires the help from the social programs combined, we can intervene and prepare some budget in a timely manner […] it is true that the implementation will not be 100% as planned, but planning and calculating the budget allows us to predict what to come at least 80%. In practice, we can deal with the issues with flexibility […] the preparation for a national (social assistance) program is like this. In terms of social intervention, we have no way of knowing what is going to happen, but we have to plan ahead. When something happens, we would need not only money (but also the implementation mechanism). If there were budget but no implementation mechanism […] the intervention would be ineffective and wasteful […]./.


Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the closing session ...

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