PEOPLE seem impressed - if perhaps slightly awed - with the no-nonsense way that
Governor Sou Phirin has ushered in change in Takeo province.
'there will be no bandits or rogue police', and suddenly there weren't," said
one Westerner working in Takeo.
"He can't control the national routes but
there don't seem to be any checkpoints extorting money on his provincial roads
Phirin's philosophy is simple: "The first way we solve problems
[in Takeo] is by ourselves; the second way is with help from the Royal
government and from NGOs."
"The problem of undisciplined soldiers has
gone," he says, chopping his hand through the air.
"I talked to them, I
enforce a strict order, and I implement this by law," says the CPP
His three step approach is education, rehabilitation and
imprisonment. Though Phirin has not yet had to jail anyone, it is clear he
wouldn't hesitate to do so.
Anyone messing around in Phirin's patch -
robbers, bandits, rogue soldiers, illegal immigrants from Vietnam, or vagrants
from other provinces wandering in - can expect the same.
"I am a cruel
man," he said. "I enforce a noble order and abide by the law."
Phirin has been governor, the KR "leopard spot" in the Takeo mountains seems to
have been cleared and the security situation was now "100 per cent," he
With the gradual improvement of Takeo's agriculture, Phirin says he
is becoming free to invest in better roading, hospitals and schools.
Phirin had a choice, he would like to bring his hard-line approach to provincial
leadership to either Phnom Penh or Kompong Cham.
"It depends on the
Co-Prime Ministers and the government who they appoint or remove as
"If the Co-Prime Ministers ever asked me what province I would
like to govern, I would chose Phnom Penh or Kompong Cham. I would allow no
"Traffic robbers would not be allowed to exist," he said of the
problems that abound in Phnom Penh.
"Also, I would solve the allegations
of [illegal] foreign residents, especially Thai and Vietnamese."
want to interfere with the business of the governors of Phnom Penh or Kampong
Cham, but I would want to restore the situation in Phnom Penh so that visiting
foreign guests or delegations can see the beauty and law and order in the
In Kampong Cham he said he would improve peoples' living
conditions by changing their agricultural methods.
"There is an abundance
of rubber and tobacco [in Kompong Cham], it is very fertile land," he said.