Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Closing Session of the 2016 Stocktaking and 2017 Directive Settings Conference of the Ministry of Interior

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CNV: 

In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo made the following selected adlib comments:

Guarantee Political Stability and Macroeconomic Stability for Country Development

… I would continue to remind that in order to develop a country the biggest issue is to maintain political stability on one side and macroeconomic stability on the other. They have dialectical relationship and are indispensable. We will allow no one to destroy peace. We will take swift response for whatever kind of actions they may be. We will take actions to guarantee our safety in the country and allow no terrorist activity on our land as it would be fearful for our people and destructive to our tourism industry. Everyone residing in the country must abide by laws and take part in safeguarding peace and security of the country. We shall not allow anyone or political party to disguise under label of democracy or human rights to destroy national security.

… One another angle, we have secured macroeconomic stability, in which our efforts have been to continue to realize an steadfast 7% economic growth, while urging other reforms, especially the public financial and administrative reforms, as from one year to the next demand for expenses goes up high on payrolls. We must make efforts to maintain stable exchange rate and keep (inflation rate at official target of) below 5%. If we are not able to maintain macroeconomic stability, it is certain that our efforts to increase salary for our people make no sense. We must guarantee that while increasing salary, we are also able to keep purchasing power of the increased salary for our civil servants, the armed forces, and our workers, who have enjoyed their basic salary adjustment to a minimum of US$ 153. With other interests included, they may receive no less than US$ 170 or 180 (per month) […]

Every Circles Take Parts in Educating, Eradicating Drugs, Crossed Border Crimes

I wish to take this opportune moment to express my appreciation to every institution under the leadership of Samdech Krola Haom in implementing an unprecedented large-scale campaign against drugs. Through carrying out anti-drug campaign, we have noticed that armed robberies also dwindle. Normally drugs and robberies are ones related files. However, we must be aware that using only armed forces and court to carry out this work is not complete. We anticipate participations from our people, especially private sector, civil society, Buddhist monks, religious organizations, etc., especially those families themselves.

While campaign is undergoing, the best way to handle this is that parents and family members should not allow their children to go out and join their ranks and files or they could face arrest and place in a concentration camp. A camp is not a prison but a place to rehabilitate them. However, if every family could educate their children and secure treatment for them at home, I am sure number of drug addicts in society will come down. I am appealing to people – parents, superintendants, etc. to make efforts in educating their children and try to keep them home for treatment rather than leaving them and having them arrested and placed in the camp. We must also seek regional cooperation as well as offer our cooperation when we are conducting visits to other countries to combat drugs and crossed border crimes […]

Arrested Elephant Tusk Ivory and Rhino Horns Will Go into Exhibition

I am taking this moment to express my sincere appreciation to our competent airports authority. If I am not mistaken, those elephant tusk ivory and Rhino horns arrested travelled through many airports from Latin America and caught in Cambodia. We had busted a few cases in Siem Reap and in Phnom Penh. This has clarified that there had been negligence in those airports. We do not overvalue capacity of our competent authority officials but they prove that they have not neglected their duties […]

The Ministry of Environment the other day requested that we should keep the elephant tusk ivory and Rhino horns for exhibition. There has been suggestion from America to destroy them … I think we will keep them and exhibit them. We will not destroy them because doing so would eliminate evidences. I agree with the request of the Ministry of Environment to keep them and may have them exhibited. They made holes in logs and placed them in there. Cambodia discovered them. Our officials deserve praise … These tusk ivory and horns are rare and come from endangered animals in Africa. We may allow other countries to borrow and place in their exhibitions […]

Checking on Requirement Services for People

We have decided to cancel collection of service costs for many kinds of paper. However, we must monitor if our junior level operational officers are actually implementing as instructed. Take for instance identity cards are not important only for claiming right to vote but it is a must-have item for our people when they turn 15 years of age. Previously, because the country was in financial difficulty, we sought our people’s contribution of Riel 10,000 for each identity card. We have removed service charges for identity card already and for other certificates such as for decease, marriage, birth, family logbooks, etc. We have deleted the prices of about twenty items […]

With regard to markets, I wish those of you at the sub-national level seriously look into the Royal Government’s cancellation of taxes on goods sold in baskets by small-scale traders. People who picked up their homestead crops and come in small baskets to market to sell them, they are free of any taxes selling in the markets. We must make sure that the policy works for them […]

Transfer of Functions to Sub-National Level Authorities

I continue to appeal to ministries and ministers here present to transfer functions to sub-national level authorities. We should not let them pile up at the central level. I have discussed this issue with Samdech Krola Haom in the National Council for Women’s meeting on district structure. We have more staff at the central level but few in the district level. They could not respond in a timely manner to demand of work. I would suggest Samdech Krola Haom discuss with the Ministry of Public Functions and the Ministry of Economy and Finance to look for a form of restructuring their work lines. For example, in production group, we may have agriculture, rural development, environment, industry, mines and energy, etc. We may group them in one cluster. We also have a cluster of service related works, so that we could make sure there are officials to look after the matters. The one to overlook it would be the district level administration. Women’s affairs must go into the cluster of social affairs. Doing so we will be sure there are bureaus and staff to take care of works […]

We must proceed with this job in a rather speedy manner so that we could channel funds to them. In the past, the district authorities oversaw lower level administrations but they did not have budgets. Later, we had created budgets for them. Now we have budgets at national, provincial, district, and communal levels. Now that we have budget, how do we implement the works when there are only one or two staff in one bureau. They will retire any day too. That is why we must regroup them in cluster of expertise […]

Holding Elections on Schedules

… On this point, we must focus on the fact that Cambodia holds elections regularly according to schedules. Some said we cancel elections. How could that be true when the Prime Minister declares the date of 4 June for the (communal council elections). Would that means the one who says it was slandering … and went free, because s/he is not in the country. However, the main issue would be to guarantee that the elections take place because Cambodia will organize both universal and non-universal suffrages. The universal suffrages would elect communal councilors who will become electors for the senators and councilors of the municipal and provinces, districts/Khans through non-universal suffrages. The other universal suffrage is for electing members of the National Assembly. We must continue our democratic procedures […]

I am taking this moment to share with you that there are internal conflicts within some political parties as far as candidacy lists are concerned. Some who are not happy that their names are not on top of the lists have vowed to pull down the parties’ signboards. If this case is happening, please do not finger at the Royal Government. It seems that one solution suggested by the Parties’ leaders was to have internal votes if so and so is not happy with where their names are in the lists. Some are happy when their supporters did not turn up and their placements in the lists of candidates have changed, some from number one in the list to number five … Just say it out now. The case happened. Please do not accuse this or that political party or the Royal Government of doing it […]

Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) – Helpful, But Not State-Owned

I would take this place to reiterate my gratefulness to the media of all forms for circulating the message about MFIs as requested. The Smart phone company has attached messages about the fact that MFIs are not state-owned to every connection calls or SMS for 1.2 million users by Smart Axiata, Metfone – for two million users, and Mobitel – for 1.5 millon users. In fact, in general, I do not oppose the work of MFIs. Use their service properly, MFIs are useful and profitable for our people who needs capitals for businesses. The Royal Government in many instances suggested to MFIs to help reduce interests, especially when people in certain areas faced with natural disasters. The Royal Government would ask MFIs to reschedule their payment period and/or even reduced interests for people in the affected areas too.

I watched an interview yesterday on CNC’s TV program at about 8 o’clock in the evening with an executive director of a microfinance institution. The presenter asked him what could be the causes of such confusion, among many causes, he stressed on the fact that some politicians went to the people and told them they would clear all debts for the people if they won the elections. This has proven that MFIs themselves admitted that politicians are the ones who did all this mess. Using the word Angkar (organization) to refer to MFIs also has connotations because the term had understood to mean the “state” under the regime of Pol Pot and people bore that in their minds […]

That is why in this campaign, some MFIs have had to change their logos. Thank you so much. I am calling on all MFIs to explain the people directly that that so and so borrows money from MFIs, s/he is borrowing from private-owned institutions and not that of the state. Some people, thinking that they borrow money from the state, would not think about paying back. They would just think of voting to a different political party who they hope will clear all their debts to the “state.” I am reiterating my explanation that to clear such debts, ones need to have a revolution to overthrow the Constitutional monarchy regime and replace it with power that is different from it. That would be the country’s danger.

I am calling on MFIs to follow instructions given by the National Bank of Cambodia and the Ministry of Economy and Finance relating to examination of reasons for loans and their ability to pay them back. You may have remembered that in time of financial crisis and economic downturn, we took precautionary measures to increase reserve requirement ratio by private banks from 8% to 16%. It was to make sure that all banks would have cash flow for customers’ withdrawals. Secondly, any loans for property purchases would get the approval for 15%, not 100%, of the value of to-be-purchasing property […]

Claiming MFIs Is State-Owned and to Clear Debts If Elected Will Face Arrests

… We will arrest on spots. Opposition parties may not take it as a measure aiming at them because there are many political parties that are not in the Royal Government. Whoever says “when I win (the elections), I will not allow so and so to pay such debts” or “to pay on their behalves,” will risk arrest on spots. We will bring them to justice. It is a violation of law. With what rights do they make such promises? What law and in which part of it says that one can pay no debts? We may not reach everyone with this message but I hope many will get it. Some would continue to score political gains in a hidden way because they think they would gain votes doing that […]

Traders Can Transfer or Sell Their Market-Use Rights

I must clarify too about rights to do business in the markets. It means that when one already has done trade in anyone market, s/he could give that right on to his/her children, and/or sell it to other interested parties. They may give the rights to their children. Their children may not be interested to carry out business their parents had been doing. They may want to sell the rights to other people who are interested. We have issued an instruction that people doing trade in the markets, where they normally have a set period of using the market space, will be able to trade in their whole life and have right to transfer on to their children, relatives, or sell it to other interested parties. This has ended rumors spread in whisper by some politicians that they will extend term for them when they win the elections […]

Guarantee Safe, Free, Just, Fair, Acceptable Elections

… We must guarantee that the 4-June-2017 elections will be fair, and the authority must guarantee safety for every candidate of political parties. This morning I approved request from the National Elections Committee (NEC) through the Ministry of Public Functions concerning issue of maintaining benefits for contracted officials for this job … This clearly shows functional relationship between the NEC and the Royal Government. NEC is independent in its function but the Royal Government is to pay for its works. Our duty is to guarantee that there will be security and enough financial supports for NEC to conduct its business. We must guarantee that the coming elections will take place. Winning or not winning is a matter for political parties. As the Royal Government, we must take up the responsibility to guarantee that the elections will take place in a safe, free, just, fair, and acceptable environment./.