Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Graduation and Diploma Presenting Ceremony of the National University of Management [Unofficial Translation]


Knowledge Economy

… In relation to education, I have to say that we will continue to make efforts for our country to become one with abundance of human resource, where our economy will be knowledge-based and not a traditional one. Talking about food issue in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, everyone seemed to have talked about digital agriculture. There have been numerous definitions and explanation about what could digital agriculture entail. By and large, we already have addressed some of those issues after all. HE Chan Sarun may have remembered that we did have our agricultural students researching on designing zones of where what to grow. We have a more urgent issue here to find market for our farmers. I also had a meeting with Director of the Bank of America, and she talked about digital agriculture. After our exchanges, we have come to a point that I invited her to assign a group of her specialists to assist us in analyzing soil, and a more urgent thing is to envisage the importance of market role […]

The Arbitration’s Decision Was No More Than a Blank Sheet of Paper

… I do not what (President) Trump had had to say but I do not believe that we would take back/away Coca Cola factory. Let me open brackets here. In the WEF session, I have given advices to rectors of two famous foreign universities. The one from the United Kingdom did not seem to have a clue about South China Sea issue and had understood that the Arbitration Court’s decision was what ASEAN want. I denied it. I said that the fact that China and the Philippines talked to each other, (the court’s decision) is equal to a blank sheet of paper … Prime Minister of Vietnam was to open the discussion and I I would do a closing. In between, we had a dialogue session. I could not hold it when the rector said it is certain that the US and China fight one another. ASEAN seemed to be placed in danger zone. Some even continued that while elephants had a fight, the ones to die are aunts […]

Even If Trump Wanted To, China Would Not

… Even if Donald Trump, who would swear in as the US President in a few hours from now, I said, would want to have a fight, China would not want to. ASEAN is a trading partner with China. Even if Donald Trump wished to, the private sector would not agree because they have put a large amount of money in their investments there. On another note, China has been the source of money from whom the US borrowed. If you check some websites, you will see that each US citizen owed a debt of 60,000 USD, while in Cambodia, each Cambodian owed only a few hundreds. Why no one is blaming the US? The US’s biggest debt is to China. I am sure they will find way to coordinate relations between them.

ASEAN, ASEAN Member Nation Should Not Be Grass for Elephants to Walk On

In another instance, ASEAN is also a business partner with the US. If Donald Trump would think of us otherwise, maybe he would have to make friend with North Korea’s Kim. For instance, when he talks about “Buy America,” would he ban vehicles from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Japan, etc. […] Then he would have only Kim Jung Un to make friend. I am talking frank. Another reason, ASEAN and each ASEAN member nation should not allow itself to be grass for elephants to walk on. Why should ASEAN place itself under the feet of China or the US? I am sure even if the US wishes to China would not. China also would not consider ASEAN, where they land their feet, because we are trading partners.

TPP Carries Divisive Nature

About three hours prior to Donald Trump’s presidential ceremony, responding to a question about future of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the Trump’s time, I said I wished to see it ending because it carried a divisive nature. How comes only four out of the ten members of ASEAN were allowed? I pointed my finger to Prime Minister of Vietnam and said though Vietnam is a member of TPP, but it was not real yet. Should TPP be there no more, you would still be here. TPP should not survive because of its divisive nature. As of now, the first executive order that President Trump signed was the one on Obamacare and the second one was to withdraw from TPP […]

The World Is Uniting

… From another aspect, ASEAN has its mechanism to coordinate with other countries, ASEAN Plus, ASEAN Plus the US, ASEAN Plus India, ASEAN Plus Australia, ASEAN Plus New Zealand, ASEAN Plus China, ASEAN Plus Japan, and ASEAN Plus South Korea, etc. They are the best mechanisms. On another day of the forum, they worked on a topic – ASEAN in a divisive world. I suggested they should change the topic. The world today is one the contrary uniting on fighting against terrorism, climate changes, cross-border crimes, contagious diseases, etc. As to what Donald Trump was talking about and Brexit were just short-term inconveniences.

ASEAN Members Are Equal

There was a question about whether anyone country would withdraw from ASEAN? I raised my hand and responded. I said they should ask this question to Europe, who would do so after Britain. I think the question was not appropriate because in ASEAN we have no big brothers. It was an open forum and I had to raise it up. There would be. In the French presidential elections, should Marie Le Pen have a chance, she would reconsider France’s political platform. Besides, there have been those who wish to leave completely and those who would want to leave just the Eurozone. It is a complicated matter and a messy one too. ASEAN, though, has not big brother. We are equal.

No Age Requirements for Recruitment Exams for Health and Civil Servants

… I may take some of your time to say a few things. Firstly, it is an issue regarding public civil reform. I have worked it out with HE Pech Bunthin and signed a sub-decree about forgoing age requirement for those who wish to take recruitment exams in health and the same thing for those who wish to take exams to change their civil servants’ careers. We have many people but we did not make use of them because of the age limit. A person wrote to me online many times and I have had to respond to him. He asked for a special admission. Returned from WEF and was at the gold course, I replied to his request. I asked him to go through a fair recruitment process – taking exam. Many came in and supported the message. Now I am sending him a message from TV that for those in health sector, if they wish to join the government payroll, they just have to take exams, and there is no limit to their ages […] some came in and asked how to figure out their retirement ages and benefit. Well, we have to follow the course. One works for a shorter period, one gets smaller benefit. What else shall we do […]

Secondly, there is no age limit too for civil servants who wish to take exams to change their stream of works, for example, one person working in the Ministry of Education wishes to be a custom officer. There is no age limit anymore for such case to take exam to change their civil servants’ careers. As for other those with Ph D but not in the health sector, there is no age limit too but s/he has to hand in thesis along with diplomas … That is what I have to say and I must seek understanding from those of you who asked for automatic admissions. If I were to allow one, I must allow the others as well. I hope you will take exams […]

State in State, Two National Assemblies – Not Allowed

… Let me send a message to Son Chhay. You do not join the National Assembly session. You gave a press conference. You said out laud that you do not recognize decision made on (Internal Regulation’s Article New III) and adopted by the National Assembly. If you really defy this, you may do what you said. Do not recognize the existing internal regulation, promulgated by the President of the National Assembly, which nullified positions of majority and minority leaders – of Samdech Krola Haom and HE Kem Sokha. It is a democratic decision by majority. Look at what happened in the US. It is example of change. What he said was nothing but a state in state. Please do not try to have two National Assemblies. I am warning not to step into actual criminal offense or arrest would be real. It is not a threat […]

Two Conditions for Ministers to Take Questions

One other issue, you have said repeatedly about inviting three members of the Royal Government – National Defense, Labor, and Agriculture to take questions. My reaction yesterday was that you yourselves have to respect the rule first. You must join the National Assembly … There was this pundit Meas Ni who said something about the Article 97 of the Constitution about inviting ministers to take questions on respected field of responsibility. I know that. If the National Assembly convenes, I would positively respond. If the opposition does, I would not. Eng Chhay Enag said it was not official. If it is not official yet, why do you say it? There must be two conditions for ministers to take questions.

Firstly, the opposition must return to work fully in the National Assembly. If you do not, there is no need to follow it too. If the head of commissions of the Cambodian People’s Party who work fully, we would respond positively too. I do not say about the National Assembly. I am talking about (being called) by the opposition. Secondly, no matter how well we answer, they would not be contented. In the meeting, they would say it was good but they would go wild outside saying “it was useless.” I would not allow it because it would devalue ministers who are members of the Royal Government and the National Assembly. You may judge your words with the press as those that are useful.

I still respect the rule of questions and answers in the National Assembly but only would do it with NA members that are working fully and with permission of the President of the National Assembly. If they do not report themselves to works, we do not have to go take questions, and again, will do so only with fully working members of the National Assembly […]

To Amend Political Party Law

The meeting will take place this evening. Please work out so that we will amend the political party law. Our law is loose. Written since 1998 on organization of political party, nearly twenty years, it is out of date now. Some parties have filed for their creations to the Ministry of Interior but never have the required number of supporters’ thump prints. Some never came up with one even after six or seven months. We must take a position in the forthcoming amending law that any case like that, the decision would annul. Some requested a setup of political party since 2014 but sis not provide any supporters’ thump prints. It should be a clause in the law that any political parties approved by the Ministry of Interior on political party organizations, after a certified period, if they could not provide the required 4,000 thump prints, the approval goes nullify.

The Article on punishment is also light. I think we should look into the one Thailand has used. Party leader committed grave mistake must face with dissolution of his/her political party. In Thailand, they have dissolved so many parties … They also stripped political rights of their executives and did not allow them to join political actions for five years. This will not serve the Cambodian People’s party but for all. Whoever committed mistake, his party will dissolve and her/his political rights stripped off. As for now, our law would only punish with a fine of a couple million Riel. Since they earn somewhere more from somewhere, they would not be concerned of millions Riel fine […]

K5 – National Defense Plan against the Return of Pol Pot, Nothing Wrong

… Someone has said something about K5 … Let me tell you it was because of you that we had to come up with K5, which was a national defense plan to prevent the return of the regime of Pol Pot’s genocide. You should be responsible for the tragedy of the people of Cambodia. In what meaning that you allied with the Khmer Rouge to destroy the revival of the people of Cambodia. You may ask yourself why we tried the Khmer Rouge. It was because they were bad. The fact that I defended the possible return of the regime of Pol Pot would not be wrong. We have peace today because we toppled the Pol Pot’s regime and prevented them from coming back. It is a part of the whole package. Some countries created chemical bombs and dropped them on Japan, the US launched attacks in Iraq, Libya, and Syria on argument to fight ISIS. We did the same to thwart the Khmer Rouge. Scolding the 7-January victory, and you do, is tantamount to insulting souls of those killede by them, your family relatives may be included too. If it were not because of January 7, some of you guys may not be present today for your parents could have been dead already./.