… Today I have a great honour and pleasure in joining with our national compatriots in the district of Kravanh of Pursat province for the inauguration of the national road 56. My presence today is not strange because I did come here in 1990 after the State of Cambodia finished repositioning its troops to visit our armed forces of Division 4 in Treng, Division 6 in Kravel, Division 196 in Komping Puoy, and Division 95 in the Phnom Thibdei… The State of Cambodia was attacked after peace negotiation in Paris and we had made efforts in preventing the return of the genocide and their attempts to capture strategic positions inside the country. When I was here we had a difficult road condition. I should recall also the day when we celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of the road construction and the construction of three concrete bridges of a total length of 55 metres. But my presence today is to share pleasure with all of our people in putting this road into use officially. I remember that this road was in fact an elephant trail that was passable only in dry season.
… A few days ago I went to Preah Vihear to inaugurate one of the longest roads in Cambodia and today I notice that the length of this road is not less than that of Preah Vihear and it has got 126 bridges of a total length of 3175 metres, 104 of which are Bailey bridges. May I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the efforts made by the general staff which is represented today by HE Gen. Meas Sophea deputy chief of staff and infantry commander in the construction of the road 56 which took in all 754 days to finish – 09 March 2000 to 09 April 2002. Again the realization of this road has proven the invaluable sacrifice of our armed forces in areas under mines and plagued with malaria. In constructing this road, 22 members of our military engineering team died of malaria, a high malaria case ever noted. I wish to instruct involved officials to take good care of those who died constructing this road as they all are our heroes and as for my appreciation a posthumous medal should be presented to each one of them by their family. We have cleared 75,200 hectares of land from mines, while destroying in all 5486 pieces of mines and unexploded ordinances. On the Ta Lor road of 22 kilometres we had destroyed 59 mines. In fact at least five thousand people can from being maimed or killed by mines and/or unexploded ordinances.
… We have used a combined force of the general staff and the infantry unit and we have spent quite a large sum of resources for the construction of the roads and bridges in this area. Before we built this road our people spent 15 days to travel to inside the country and if they wish to go from here to Pailin they had to first get out to Thailand and get into Pailin from there. If we did not build this road, we could not fulfil our mission of integrating the district of Veal Veng with other areas of Cambodia. This would otherwise mean that integration is being conducted only in words and not in action. As the road is built here we have opened new opportunity for our people who are lacking land to get hold of cultivable land there. This would not mean that they could take land that is in the national park boundary on the contrary we have to put those parks under serious protection from any logging attempts. We have discovered from working here we have discovered some endangered species such as mountain crocs and tigers. It is because of this that we have decided to keep a specified area – which include a part of Pursat, a part of Koh Kong and a part of Kompong Speu – at a size of nearly one million hectares, as a protected area from logging and hunting of all sorts.
… Because of the win-win policy we no longer need to make war and I learnt from a reported that tigers are coming nearby but never cause harm to our soldiers. I would reassure that they would do no harm if you do not cause them any harm. HE Ung Sami, Governor of Pursat is in fact requesting for two more roads – a 59 kilometre road from the district of Veal Veng to O Saom at the boundary with Koh Kong and another is 49 kilometres from the district town to Kropoeu Pi at the boundary with Samloat. The two roads are totally 108 kilometres. This request would be taken for feasibility study. HE Ung Sami has to request to the Ministry of Public Works and Transports for road construction machines to maintain the road and I would recommend that overload transport must be forbidden. When we gave ultimatum to logging we have gained two things – the forest remains in tact and the road is in good condition.
… Kravanh district is indeed lucky as Samdech Buddhist patriarch Tep Vong has also mobilized assistance for the area. The district of Kravanh has been in drought and last night there was rain, which also covered some part of Battambang as well. As we could see that even nature could not satisfy everyone at the same time as some places may have rains and some may not. That is why I have tried to keep calm though I have been angered. I wish to appeal to all of my supporters to restrain and keep patience in face of those ill-intent provocations and you should continue to work harder instead. The more they scold us the more our people will be aware as they would not be pleased with acts of reproaching. It is proven in the Cambodian history that a person who likes to scold was Pol Pot and because of his act he finally disappeared himself. They compared the CPP sign of a Devada to a woman with one leg holding up. Their wording is impolite. This could be taken as my appeal and when the time nears for the election I will have one more written appeal so that we could have a neutral political environment and safety which are necessary for a free, fair, transparent, non-violent and none-intimidation election.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered ten million Riel to the pagoda of Kompeng, five million Riel each to the pagodas of Leach, Srebon, Bakchenchean, Sereimeanchei and the Svay Bat Mosque, five million Riel to the pagoda of Phnom Kravanh, two school buildings of twelve classrooms in the Kravanh town, plus a set of computer and accessories and fifty sewing machines, one school building of six classrooms to the Hun Sen-Bak Chenhchean Junior College, two school buildings of 12 classrooms to the Primary School of Samraong, one school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Thlok Takaor, and 66 tons of rice for labour to the people in seven communes in the district for the construction of a protection of shore from falling into the stream.