… I am very happy to return today to the province of Banteay Mean Chey to join with all of you in this ceremony to lay the cornerstones for the construction of the Mean Chey University at the initiative of HE General Ke Kim Yan, Chief of General Staff and Madame together with the CPP working team for the province. Last year I came to Banteay Mean Chey twice – once in February to the Tropeang Thmor Reservoir and again to inaugurate the Japanese-Cambodian Friendship Hospital in the district of Mongkul Borei.
Having gone through the background of the idea to put the Mean Cheay University into construction, I wish to share with you what I learned from the inauguration of the Svay Rieng University where HE General Ke Kim Yan who attended the ceremony sounded out that he would like to propose the construction of a University in Banteay Mean Chey. I have urged him to go with the plan. As we all see today that his idea has indeed realized.
HE General Ke Kim Yan told me last Friday that he already has raised 1.3 million US dollars and as of last night he told me the contribution has indeed secured a sum of nearly two million US dollars. The project is going to cost indeed 3.5 million US dollars.
Maybe it is worth sharing with all of us here today why HE General Ke Kim Yan requested me to reserve my schedule for the ceremony on February 25. He told me just now that February 25 for one reason is his birthday, the 52nd birthday. For another reason, when he became a soldier in 1979, on this date (February 25, 1979) he was assigned to protect the bridge which is not far from our sight.
From a soldier, HE General Ke Kim Yan has risen to his rank of general staff since 1987 and various positions – the Governor of Battambang province, etc. What is more important here today is the fact that bordering with Thailand, the province of Banteay Mean Chey is to have a new University in addition to facilities as branches of some Universities in the country. The Mean Chey University is to stand on an area of 13 hectares with another 27 hectares in reserve.
I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to HE General Ke Kim Yan and Madame, HE Yim Chhai Ly and Madame and others generous fellows for bringing the University closer to the people. We have done already our efforts to bring primary and secondary schools closer to the people and it is indeed splendid that we now bring the University to them. We have a University in the eastern province of Svay Rieng and now we have a University in the western province of Banteay Mean Chey. We will do more for the whole country.
According to the report by Governor HE An Sum the University comprises of six faculties that are appropriately addressing market’s demand – agriculture, technical science, agro-mechanics and electricity, information technology and foreign languages and pedagogy. Teaching will be the sound we hear here instead of sound of fighting where would be echoing from the districts around – Thmor Puok, Phnom Srok, etc. The win-win policy has brought the country from war to peace and from destruction to development and it is indeed a long lasting one.
As I speak about peace here some countries in the world have gone into troubles take for instance in Sudan where we also have our de-mining team there. A few months ago shelling landed near the place where our troops stay but it did not cause any casualties. Problems continue to be messy in the Middle East, in the Kosovo’s elections, etc. But we have in place now the benefit of win-win policy in which now we compete in building infrastructures such as roads, water canals and reservoirs, hospitals, schools, etc.
According to the Governor HE An Sum, the construction has indeed started since 2006. As the foundation began at that time and my presence here is indeed the official approval of the construction. The construction could be finished in 2008 while in early 2009 the University would be ready to enroll between 1000 and 2000 students. Now that our students here are going to get their exams soon, we have started the construction of the University for them so that they do not have to go far for further education.
I used to be separated from my parents in Kompong Cham province in pursuit of education in Phnom Penh when I was 13 years old. I felt that part of my life was a sad one. It is not without a reason that I have requested for the mounting of statue of a monk and a young boy at every major achievements like bridges and schools. I knew our problems and I determined to resolve them whenever I had a chance to do so. I used to see my father’s eyes full of tears because of flood that destroyed his rice in the field.
When the opportunity arises, I and my colleagues in the Royal Government as well as the Cambodian People’s Party – which has led the country 28 years already implements this policy of development. Funcinpec has been invited to join in the coalition Government in the belief that we will bring about changes for the better for our people. Parties with too wide a gap in our political platform could not work with CPP. For instance, CPP is talking about building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water canals and reservoirs, etc, while others would want to spend money on luxurious cars, etc.
We soon will have (communal) elections and in the campaign different parties will bring to our people their promises. I do not start a campaign today but to warn our people of promise-making. CPP never makes a promise but it does only when it can do. Take for instance I never say anything about this University until I am sure of its development as the foundation is now in place.
Talking about education in Banteay Mean Chey, according to the report by HE An Sum, what impresses us is the fact that there 64 communes in Banteay Mean Chey and 624 villages with the total population of 664,014 people. With this figure we have 120 kindergartens, 394 primary schools in 64 communes and this means that there are two to three primary schools for each commune. We have here 56 junior colleges and 20 senior ones making in all 76 colleges and most of them are in the district of Mongkul Borei.
We have many now but we will have to do more. We do not speak empty words but the truth and the real change. We should follow the wisdom of Father Dong and Mother Chey as they set a condition that a road had to be built first before they offer their daughter for marriage. We have conducted changes from battle into development at what I call the “toad’s pace.” A toad’s jump brings us one new thing, and if the toad continues to make a jump, new things will keep on taking place too.
As far as crop production is concerned I am grateful to the efforts made whereby the cultivation has reached 106.4% of the planned 200,000 hectares because we have a figure here of 201,200 hectares under cultivation. This year is expecting a food surplus of 20,000 tons. I wish to also send my best greetings to the people in Malay district and also wish them a quick recovery from water poisoning. The water has been sent to the laboratory in Japan for study.
A proposal from the district of Serei Sophoan for a bridge is welcome and after I discussed with Senior Minister for Finance and Economy, HE Keat Chhon, I wish to take this opportunity to announce the cornerstone laying for the construction of the Serei Sophoan 120 meters long and 7.5 meters wide bridge as well.
Today we have Governors from Siemreap, Uddor Mean Chey, Banteay Mean Chey and Pailin and I would urge all provinces bordering with neighboring countries to take measures in banning import of right-hand drive vehicles. Some of those involved have been removed, and there are more. If the rest do not redeem their mistakes I would not hesitate to act. I wish to also call on the Thais to help prevent smuggling of right-hand drive vehicles to Cambodia as in the past we discovered that some of the vehicles came with parts of human bodies i.e. there was a crime committed prior to getting the vehicles out to Cambodia. This could indeed increase car theft and crimes on the Thai side as well.
I would stress again the issue of tax collection. All imported goods should be taxed with a ten percent of the amount given to the collectors. Last month income from this exit has gone up to 18 billion Riels. I warn that I would not hesitate to remove you from your positions, no matter who you are. I designate you. So I will be the one to remove you too. The same is true that while people elect us, they also could remove us.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered a school building of six classrooms for the Primary School of Toek Thla and a school building of six classrooms for the Primary School of Mkak.