Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Graduation and Diploma Presenting Ceremony of the Phnom Penh International University (PPIU) [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV: 

Cambodia Becomes Chairman of LDCs Coordinators at WTO

… In addition to my recommendation for all of you to make efforts in your further study and to continue with the works in hands, I wish to share with you that Cambodia has now become the Chairman of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) coordinators at the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is not a simple position for just anyone country. Aside from coordinating the least developed countries under the framework of WTO, Cambodia has embodied the task of helping Timor-Leste in its preparation for accession to WTO. This point indicates that ascertaining economic growth is one thing but how effective our human resource has become is another. It is an honor to assume this coordinating role. Cambodia will take up responsibilities of the role and in addition with that provide assistance for Timor-Leste in its accession to WTO.

Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030, High Income Economy by 2050

In the last ten years, we have been sending troops for missions abroad. It is not a simple mission. They are well-trained soldiers. In Mali, we have to send troops with reasonable knowledge of technology, take for instance regarding airports and engineering. Cambodia has to be aware and proud of this progress. On the one hand, we are resolving our own endeavors with bare hands to get out of least developed countries to become one of the low-income countries and lower-middle income countries. We have ambition to bring Cambodia into a status of developed county with upper-middle income country by 2030, and high-income country by 2050 […]

Every Circle to Join in Anti-Drug Campaign

… Firstly, I am calling on the participation of our Buddhist monks and people in the anti-drug campaign that is in progress. We are taking this measure to prevent Cambodia from falling into a country of drug war like in Mexico and other countries in Latin America. Those wars killed so many lives. We must resolve our problem through people’s participation. We are not using solely legal and administrative measures. Those addicted to drugs are not criminals. Those who distribute and sell it are. We should have pity on the addicted ones and we must seek for the best way to help them, not only to put them all in one place.

… I think it would be best when the Royal Government is putting the campaign into operation for the parents and relatives to bring their addicted children and/or family members in to rehabilitation or treatment. Leaving them in the wild would push them further to danger. I am calling on every circle to help this campaign and the addicts, some of whom have even become prisoners. Some of them may not want to go to rehabilitation concentration camps. No one would have better ability that parents, brothers, and sisters, etc. in helping them deal with the problem. The best place to treat them is at home.

… As for rehabilitation centre, there is no punishment ensured. However, in case family help does not work, they may opt to send them to rehab centre. Sometimes they have changed themselves while in the centre, but getting out there, with bad companionship, they may fall into it again. It is not purely correct to blame all on the Royal Government for this matter … Without commitment and help from each, and every family, this is going to be a difficult problem. Families will be the first to set tears when bad thing happen … I am asking them therefore to take part in this matter.

Micro-Finance Institutions Are Private

Secondly, I am calling on our people to understand, and confirming again that micro-finance institutions are private-owned and not state-owned. There have been confusions so far that people are in debt to the state. Let me clarify that the National Bank of Cambodia has no rights whatsoever to lend people money. It is defined by law. It may allow some loans to the Royal Government because it may deposit some cash remained from the flow with the National Bank … In case of shortage of cash the Royal Government may borrow from the National Bank to avoid selling bonds. In 1997, 1998 or 1999, the Royal Government did not have sufficient money to pay salary and it had to borrow from the National Bank. It repaid the principle and interest. However, the National Bank does not have right to lend money to private citizen.

It has been a major confusion that people borrowed money from micro-finance institutions and thought that they borrowed it from the state. The opposition parties also take this chance to promise to the people that they would help erase those debts should they win the elections. It is a big disaster. What is at stake is the fact that people in debt would face all sorts of confiscation for debts they cannot repay. We have now launched a nation-wide campaign to educate our citizen that micro-finance institutions are not state-owned but private ones … I am taking this chance to speak to every TV stations, online news outlets as well as print media to help circulate the news […]

I am asking for one-full year campaign through media to inform users and people at large in one way or the other that micro-finance institutions (MFIs) are not state-owned … Any media outlets neglected this request may categorized as bearing intention to continue to confuse people. We are not going to take any punishment measures with them but we will wait and see whether they have intention to help people beware of the debts? If people borrowed money for production, it is one matter. However, we have noticed that some MFIs offered loans to people who wished to change their motorbikes to the latest version […]

It Takes a Coup to Erase Debts

The opposition parties go around with tricks “voting for them they will erase those debts.” I must warn you that those debts are not erasable. To erase them it may take a coup. Why a coup, it takes? It is to dissolve the Constitutional Monarchy regime and its existing laws and to commence nationalization. That may bring a regime like Pol Pot that we all know back. I am calling on all telephone companies to include such message – “MFIs are private-owned, not state-owned” in every out-going and incoming calls or SMS … Let us all do it and use the IT systems that we have to clear this up […]

MFIs to Change Logos

… The Ministry of Trade has in fact carried out this job more so far. ACLEDA Bank has decided to spend money to change its logo (from placing a bird resembling to that of the Ministry of Economy and Finance). I thank ACLEDA to carry out its part in this work. There is this MFI – PRASAC whose logo carries three R letters in the middle and R is in fact a symbol of the National Bank of Cambodia. The alphabet R (could be an abbreviation of “state” in Khmer) so it may confuse people that it is a state owned institution. I think we have a major task to do and the National Bank of Cambodia is playing important role with the Ministry of Information to help our people understand […]

No Real Prime Minister, No Acting Prime Minister

… Some people complained that Prime Minister has spoken too much or all power rests with the Prime Minister. Have they just known about it? Prime Minister has every power the Constitution gives. He has the largest executive power as stipulated in the Constitution. Some said there seemed to be some problems between Acting Prime Minister and Prime Minister, when the latter is abroad. I have responded that if there were no real Prime Minister, there would not be an acting one too. The Constitution clearly stipulates – “when the position of Prime Minister is permanently vacant, must be carried to the appointment of a new Council of Ministers as provided for in this constitution…” This means that should the Prime Minister die, immediately the whole Cabinet will dissolve automatically. If there is no real Prime Minister, there is not going to be an acting one. Please do not be mistaken that the Prime Minister is without power when he is abroad. I just wish that analysts listened carefully to this point.

One Person’s Freedom Ends Where another Person’s Begins

… In Cambodia, there are people who analyze, who just speak out, and who scold. I am fond of people who analyze things but they need to be real analysts. I do not like people who scold others. They may have to face with legal matter for the guilt they committed … Some make accusations in his/her analysis … people may listen to the clips. I just wish to remind you that a person’s freedom ends where another person’s begins. Some said that a person would be popular to scold Hun Sen and from there they may win elections. I do not see any signs that s/he would win. I wish they rather waited until they actually win it to declare their victory. Some even extrapolated that they will win in 2018, and when they do, they will vanquish us. Well, they should wait for the elections results, the Constitutional Council, and the National Elections Committee to declare who the winners are officially, why do they say it from now? How comes they declare their victory when the elections have yet to happen […]

Secondly, a person’s freedom ends where another person’s begins. No one should violate this. When you infringe upon other’s right and freedom, there will be conflict, whether it is matter between an individual and individual, an entity and entity, or between individual and entity. Even in a state, there has to have a clear boundary as well. Take for instance the Ministry of Planning must have a sub-decree about its organization and functioning. It must not infringe upon other institutions’ areas of coverage. I like people who analyze and I am one of them. Should I not do so, how could I be able to understand situation and bring the country out of the Pol Pot’s regime, prevent them from returning to power, bringing peace to the country, and develop it as in the present? Take for instance the US presidential elections, 99% of analysts in Cambodia said that Hilary Clinton would win and only 1%, included me, said it otherwise. I told the Women Association yesterday, why my analysis concluded that Donald Trump would win […]

No Local Officials to Involve in Confiscations

…I hope that our Buddhist monks would also help with telling people about danger of drugs and/or indebtedness when they do the preaching. I would reaffirm to the MFIs that they must be strict with their rules to lend no money to those who borrow only for upgrading their motorbikes to the latest version, while they do not have the ability to pay it back. However, there are those who like them to borrow so that from indebtedness they could not repay, confiscation ensued. In some cases, they just hastily locked the door to take it away from borrowers for just hours of late payment. If they are carrying out such cruel measures, we may consider stripping off their licenses.

So far there have been many illegal actions in the name of Angkar (organization). The word widely misused under the Khmer Rouge regime to mean the state. Now, when people owed money to private money lending institutions, (people) think they owe it to the state. While MFIs carries signs with almost similar symbols to the state financial institutions, people easily confused. ACLEDA spends more than three million USD to change its logo. I would urge PRASAC to change it quickly […]

Let Cambodians Resolve Its Problem

Finally, I may send a message that there would be no one who likes Cambodia than the Cambodians themselves. It is true that we need their assistances, do business, and cooperate with you, but you should not interfere into Cambodia’s internal affairs. When you dropped bombs over my country killing my people, had you ever thought about human rights? Now you made public statement regretting bombarding Cambodia, supporting the Lon Nol group to overthrow (then head of state) Preah Norodom Sihanouk, and continuing to support them to destroy and sent bombs to Cambodia. They also supported Pol Pot at the United Nations […]

Laws in Cambodia, adopted by the National Assembly, are not for killing the Cambodian people as you did to them in the past. I do not mention by name. As a sovereign state, we have the right to tell you to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. You have many ensuing problems of destroying countries and we still have to remove many UXOs from the time you brought war to us. Look at what you do to Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. Have you seen tragedies over there? Would you like to create a problem for Cambodia again? As a cooperation partner and working with equal right and footing, Cambodia finds foreign interferences unacceptable.

We are a small country but we need to protect our independence and sovereignty … We are writing and adopting law for national unity and for everyone to respect it. Why do you say we are reducing rights? We are not formulating law for national division. The law clearly stipulates whoever seeks secession or national division is punishable by law. This means that a country must be in unity. Is it your intention to launch a color revolution that you try to keep points about allowing no creation of armed forces or secession? […] Cambodia once divided severely because of you. I would seek you not to repeat what you did in our history. Analysts must be clear and do not just scold and brag around./.