The day after returning from attending the world leaders summit in New York organized at the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations and his working visit to the Republic of France, Samdech Hun Sen went to visit the canal construction site in the village of Rongeang, Skus commune, Samraong Tong district, Kompong Speu province, where he shared with local people achievements scored during the visit to New York and to France, while clarifying some political issues, with selection and translation made as follows:
… I am glad to return once again to the site in about twenty days following my trip here to the commune of Veal where I made a decision to dig a canal to meet our people’s need for water in the district of Kong Pisey. According to the study, the point at Bak Thmenh, though it would incur a very high price, would also grant us a greater benefit as well. It was in this judgement that together with HE Sam Sarith and HE Lim Kean Hor, we have decided to start our project in the Ach Kaek Lake at the point of Bak Thmenh because the canal would pass through several communes. Take for instance in the district of Samraong Tong, there would be the communes of Skus, Roleang Chak, Roleang Kroeul, etc., while in the district of Kong Pisey, there would be the communes of Kong Pisey Khang Tbong, Pich Muni, Toek Laak and Chrey Vean.
… Yesterday In returned from my trip to New York to give my address at the United Nations headquarter following which I went for a working visit to the Republic of France. Aside from attending the UN general assembly, I was invited as guest of HE George W Bush and the First Lady for a party, in which I had a chance to meet him in person for a short time. I coveyed to him the Cambodian people’s condolences to the American people who have suffered from the recent trail of destruction of the hurricane Katrina. I also challenged him for a round of golf one day because I learned that he is a great golf player. He accepted. I also had a chance to meet with numerous leaders in the world.
… Still, though I was busy in New York and then in Paris, my thought has always been with works in Cambodia, especially the weather. I called to HE Lim Kean Hor, Minister for Water Resources and Meteorology to find out how work is being done here. I also had a dubious feeling about rain condition in Savy Rieng province, and also the province of Kompong Speu. I have said that no matter how much it would cost, we will have to build this canal. That was an order and it will be implemented resolutely similar to what we said no matter what might cost us we would curb the return of the genocide. As of today, you can see that we have ruled out the possibility of the Khmer Rouge’s return as we have already disorganized them politically and militarily.
… This canal project will be beneficial not only to the people in the Kong Pisey and Samraong TOng district, as it will run through parts of Takeo province, Kandal province and Phnom Penh. We have shown from this experience that Kompong Speu that used to be a dry place has become a water reservoir in the making. Resolving the 25 kilometer canal, some water could be provided to Skus, Roleang Chak, Roleang Kroeul, Sen Dei, Pich Muni, Toeuk Laak, Prey Nhean. As of today, in the cultivation area of 1712 hectares we have just cultivated about 300 hectares. Once we have resolved the water shortage issue, we would have no problem to put the 1712 hectares under double cropping cultivation, or even up to 2000 hectares.
… This is perhaps the first time that in just one kilometer we have used ten heavy excavators comparing to ten excavators for five kilometers before. Our plan has been urgent. But as a Prime Minister one could do whatever one may wish to and I see this place deserves this kind of assistance. Some people say this is a diamond opportunity. Just now there is another requests for digging a canal from O Veng to Skus and I said if it is technically feasible I would accept the proposal. As I see it, only we do not want to do it, otherwise technically it is possible if we enlarge the canal width a bit wider in order to allow deep digging. These excavators are from the People’s Republic of China that I visited last April, and one day I would invite HE Ambassador for a visit to the place.
… I would order that anywhere along the canal line that negotiation with our people in relation to land affected from the project concludes in finale, excavators will have to be sent in to start digging, though we may not be able to abridge one canal to another yet, because the dug parts could be used as water reserves for our people to use in the dry season. I would suggest a consideration to be paid as prices of land with our people according to the standard we set for people in Roleang Chrey, O Krang Ambel, etc. Take for instance if the canal runs into the people’s rice field, how much should we pay the rice field owner? In addition to that, some rice field might also have rice in them, so we should negotiate the price reciprocation for the loss of rice. I suggest that we should work on the rate of two million Riel (about five hundred dollars) for one hectare of rice. Owner could choose to get payment in husked rice or cash.
… As you can see here the area around us here does not have rice yet. I would guarantee that next year at this time, we will have fully grown rice because we have the canal in place. So what remains to be done is that parliamentarians Say Chhum, Hem Khan, especially the local authorities at all levels to work with the people to get the matter resolved. I would say any commune that decides quickly would benefit the most as canals could not be excavated on property indecisive land. I would not order the work to be done though only one out of a hundred families disagrees. So the 99 families will have to bring the matter for discussion with them.
… It is indeed unimaginable to see how hurricane Katrina caused destruction to the United States of America. While battling the Katrina’s destruction, there comes this hurricane Rita. In the world there are three kinds of catastrophes. Some countries suffered one, some two and some all three. First, it is the destruction caused by terrorism, take for instance the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York, the attacks on underground transport systems in Spain and in the United Kingdom, in Indonesia, etc. that scared a lot of tourists leading to economic growth downturn. The other twos are oil crisis and natural disaster. Cambodia is affected mostly by oil crisis.
… Well today I have re-approved the canal projection that needs some re-adjustments, and informed you that we have extended the length to over 25 kilometers, and approved the request that I mentioned above. As far as statistical interpretation is concerned, I would urge Okhna Por Tri to discuss with HE Minister (of Agriculture) Chan Sarun on problem of actual cultivation areas and registered cultivated areas in planning. We have to avoid inconsistency between actual implementation and planning.
… This evening I will lead a governmental delegation to see His Majesty the King, and I would report to HM the achievements made from the visits to the United States of America and the Republic of France. I saw on TV that HM has been out helping people in the remote areas, mainly those living along the river basin that is affected by flood. Samdech Ov and Samdech Me, who reside in in Beijing for medical treatment, as well as HM the King have expressed affectionate feelings and concerns to the people in the country. The same is also seen to have been done by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh, the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Chea Sim, the President of the Senate, Samdech Heng Samrin, the first Vice President of the National Assembly, and various other leaders in reaching out to our people in need.
… There are some people making their statements that there are so and so number of people died of hunger, but I have their names here they died because of illness. There has been plots to falsify information. I have told VOA and Free Asia sometimes in 1999 that I would agree to give an interview only when it is live broadcast, because I doubt censorship will be made. I told Mr. Voha Chuon of the VOA sometimes ago that “VOA should not broadcast uncivilized language, but I thank you very much for insulting me to make me the winner.” I would urge politicians to stop speaking without truth because the people are not blind and uninformed like before. They know who dig this canal, take for instance.
… They sued me on charge of masterminding the grenade attacks in front of the National Assembly, and their charges were rejected by the Court, the Appeal Judge and the Supreme Court. I have signed yesterday to sue them back and I demand a compensation of 25 million US dollars for insulting me. Whoever want to organize demonstration, I would not say no, because there has always been a pro and con. In the United States, I did not know that there was demonstration. When I left the US, they wrote a letter to the US court to arrest me. There, the bodyguards of the President George W Bush protected me, and HE George Bush posed for a photo with me and promised to have a round of golf together.
… I heard there was a demonstration in Paris, though I do not know where it was. They requested to the French Court to arrest me and question me, at the time that I had a meeting with HE Jacques Chirac, the President of the Republic of France. If there is a counter-demonstration inside the country, Hun Sen would not intervene for it is their rights. People can demonstrate against me and in support of me. I have sued back. The Court will request their presence once, and twice, and if it appears that the persons does not show up, the police will escort them. And that I would act according to the Court order. One person jailed for seven years already on count of trying to set up an illegal military system, and Samdech Krom Preah and I for once thought of responding positively to the appeal of his spouse, but I back away when they say said “that the release will take place at the international pressure.” If I accept to propose to HM for the release, it is apparent that I bow to the international pressure, and that is not Hun Sen’s way.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered to the people of Samraong Tong district 1) a six classroom school building to the people of Roleang Chak commune, 2) two million Riel for each pagoda in Skus, Cham Pa and Ang Chrey during the third Ben days (the religious ceremony in Buddhism in which people hand out food and utensils to monks and believe their passed away ancestors would receive them for use).