Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 2006 year in quotes

2006 year in quotes

2006 year in quotes



Prime Minister Hun Sen in a rice-planting ceremony in Kampong Chhnang province on September 17, before telling Royalists to "Prepare your coffin."

"When they accuse this regime of being a dictatorial regime and want to topple this regime, what does that mean? We acted only in accordance with the rule of law and of the courts. The government did not use force to arrest anyone and the issues of detention or charges or punishment are all up to the courts to decide."

PM Hun Sen commenting Jan 12 on arrests of activist who criticized the border treaty with Vietnam.
"It drives me crazy when people say democracy is for idealists-it's the opposite: democracy is for pessimists, cynics who don't trust government. Democracy is the belief that anyone-even good people-with power will be corrupted."

US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli on Jan 11.

"Normal people cannot live in this kind of style. Only a prince or the Prime Minister can afford to have a house with such style."

Caretaker Chea Sakhan, on Jan 11, commenting on the colonial era building across from the National Museum owned by Prince Ranariddh. Estimated to be worth $1.5 million, the building had been up for sale for over a year.
"I think that this Senate election has just shown that the government has respected the Constitution, but the role of the Senate is meaningless."

Koul Panha, Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia on Senate elections held Jan 22.

"For me this Senate election is making history. It shows we have reached international standards of democracy. We have had an important role in local development and in promoting decentralization."

Oum Sarith, Secretary General of the Senate, on Jan 26.


"I don't feel like I have any control over my life as I cannot even control my own mind. The people around me are always smoking yama and whenever I see people smoking it makes me crave the drug myself. I don't think I will ever be able to stop. When I smoke I fall into moods and experience emotions which I do not understand. I have no outlet except to cut myself."

Touch Srey Mao, a prostitute who cuts her wrists regularly, on Feb 6.

"When foreigners interfere in Khmer [affairs], it is not an easy way to solve the conflict. Everything has been resolved and it was not from international pressure. Khmers can make disputes, and Khmers also can solve the problem. I am not a coward politician, and I want to compete with the strong opponent."

PM Hun Sen on Feb 6, speaking about the resumption of parliamentary immunity to Sam Rainsy.


"The request was for $513 million, but the pledges amounted to $601 million. Donors have praised the achievements under prime Minister Hun Sen."

Finance Minister Keat Chhon, speaking after the Consultative Meeting at which foreign donors gave more than the government asked for.

"The KR Trial is a trial of history, the first trial of this kind to take place in Cambodia. We will learn a lot. This trial does not just bring justice to those who have died, but it will leave behind many good lessons for Cambodia, particularly the judiciary."

Reach Sambath, KRT press officer, on Mar 6, discussing the KRT as it began its operations.

"While forest crimes are now being recorded, there are very few examples of any court cases arising from the findings. Well connected individuals are still able to log illegally with impunity."

Global Witness in March.

"During the Pol Pot regime, the judiciary was essentially obliterated. It takes time to build institutions and achieve rule of law. Right now the judiciary is like 16th-century England. We believe in the government's intentions-we just hope it doesn't take three centuries."

US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli.

"In 2008 there will be only two major parties competing against each other-the CPP and the SRP-and I put them in that order out of politeness."

Sam Rainsy on March 23

"It is more difficult than fighting the Khmer Rouge. I don't believe that you don't know what is happening in your own work areas. The big problem is that you do not work, or you are involved [in the illegal activities], that's why you dare not to take action..."

PM Hun Sen, speaking about why he sacked seven provincial governors, on March 29, due to involvement in illegal land grabs.


"I've heard that Funcinpec and the CPP are afraid of Kem Sokha. I don't know why the SRP is afraid-they should worry about their own party. Maybe they are worried that the people trust me. I tell the truth; maybe they don't want me to tell people the truth."

Kem Sokha, Cambodian Center for Human Rights director, April 3.

"The growth in tax revenue-from 11.3 percent of GDP to 11.7 percent of GDP-is a major achievement."

Robert Talierco, World Bank Senior Country Economist, in a Bank regional update report.

"The situation is very bleak. For every ship we stop, there are 10 more ships we don't see that same day. We need at least 10 more mobile units to tackle the problem."

Suwanna Gauntlett, Director, WildAid, on the illegal wildlife trade.

"I don't like [UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Yash] Ghai. I am leaving [Ghai] a message refuse to meet you, I refuse to meet you for ever."

PM Hun Sen.

"We follow [suspected pedophiles] secretly by pretending to be a motodop-so the foreigners will not know they are being watched by police. Then, if they commit sex crimes with children, the police are already monitoring the situation and will catch them."

Keo Thea, Deputy Chief, Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office, Phnom Penh Municipality.


"I am very worried about assassination of labor leaders and rights activists. Today, at 5:30am, seven members of a government union beat up one of my colleagues. He is now in the hospital."

Chea Mony, President, Free Trade Union, on May 2.

"I tell you, I would not believe in any political party or even the local authority. They always say this and that, but in reality, they do nothing. I will not vote for any political party for the next election. But I might as well take presents from them [political parties] if they give them to us."

Chhim Sok, moto driver.

"My family is poor. My country is poor. But never underestimate the ability of our people, especially the students."

Dy Kuchsa, Cambodia's only gold medalist at the International Junior Science Olympiad in Indonesia.

"I got famous all over the world, but it seems to have had no meaning in the nation-no one paid attention. So now I just pursue my job as a carwash garage owner."

Nhean Phalat, designer of Cambodia's first homemade car.

"I was possessed by the dragon spirit. But I can't talk about it to you; I must go to see Preah Meadda Keo."

Mom Soy, speaking on May 12 about a seven-colored turtle with magic powers.


"The Philippines and Vietnam are against debauchery through the Internet. Singapore is also against it. So, yesterday I called So Khun and told him please do not allow these phones. I said wait another 10 years until we strengthen social morality, otherwise even Buddhist monks fall down...this is very modern technology."

PM Hun Sen on why he banned 3G mobile phones.

"We are disappointed with the World Bank for not informing us about the corruption. The World Bank always conspires with the government to hide information about corruption from us. This causes the corruption to get more serious."

MP Son Chhay on the $62 million World Bank funding scandal that forced the bank to suspend three major projects.

"Chinese employees deserve more because they have to leave their country to work here. The employers also pay their food, lodging and air tickets to home."

Wong Swie-Hwa, vice chairwoman, China, Hong Kong and Macau Expatriate and Business Association of Cambodia on why Chinese managers in garment factories get paid more than Cambodians.

"I am disgusted. This is perversion of democracy. It is totally disconnected from the will of people. In reaction to these results the SRP is calling for passive resistance and civil disobedience."

Sam Rainsy commenting on June 29 after the CPP won 99.5 percent of 13,796 village chief positions in polls.


"He [Ta Mok] became unconscious last night. In fact, he was in a coma. He could not stand or sit, could not eat or drink and could not speak. ...He could die tonight, tomorrow or next week."

Ta Mok lawyer Benson Samay on July 13 on his client's health.

"People come to me a lot about land issues. Even though people live in a country that has laws, they have no hope. People are protesting just for the right to live and survive. They are afraid that if they protest too much they will be killed or thrown in prison. People come to me with no hope. They can see that the government is not solving problems in Cambodia. When they come to me they are seeking relief."

Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando on July 12 on the villagers who seek his help with land problems.

"These evictions are causing a humanitarian crisis. Land grabbing and forced evictions of poor communities are out of control."

Sara Colm, Human Rights Watch.

"Ta Mok might be a 'great grandfather' Mok, but he's got stains on his hands. His death will mean that it will take the victims and the perpetrators many more decades to come to reconcile with one another."

Youk Chhang, director, DC-Cam.

"My wife and I are very happy to invest in Cambodia because the [Cambodian] government has managed the country to have better stability."

Thai investor Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, TCC Group, on July 17.


"Heng Pov is not a political refugee. He is a criminal. He kills people, and he kidnaps people for money."

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak on Aug 9.

"I am innocent of all charges against me. I am being targeted by the Cambodian government for my determination to bring an end to high level corruption.

Heng Pov in an Aug 8 statement.

"There are very many different religions in Cambodia. This is not a problem as we have no religious discrimination at all-if people want to be Buddhist, fine; Islamist, fine; Christian, fine-it is all ok with us."

Sun Kim Hun, Secretary of State, Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs, on Aug 10.


"Most days I would hear a little girl screaming. It was definitely a kid's voice; sometimes there would be loud screaming and then silence immediately. I suspected someone in the area was raping kids."

A neighbor of Karl Heinz Henning a German who was arrested for sexually abusing and torturing young girls.

"If my children don't go to Phnom Penh, my whole family will have nothing to eat."

Khem Kanh, 60, from Prey Veng province, reflecting on the flood of people coming to the capital looking for work.

"Adultery committed against a wife is pervasive and socially accepted in Cambodia. This results mainly from the power imbalance between a man and a woman."

SRP's Mu Sochua, commenting on the new law to ban adultery.

"We consider Cambodians to be very quiet, very obedient to their rulers. It takes a very long time, many years of mismanagement and mistakes, to get the people to explode, but when they do explode it is impossible to contain them."

Van Molyvann.

"I know all. Even if you farted, I would still know. You cannot hide from me."

PM Hun Sen, Sept 17.


"The case of Heng Pov will not bring down the CPP; Heng Pov is a small piece of cake within the CPP."

Nguon Nhel, CPP standing committee member and first vice president of the National Assembly.

"Donors don't want to reckon with the fact there is still no rule of law in Cambodia. I am not surprised people may not support [UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Yash] Ghai, as he is telling an unpleasant truth which is being ignored."

Basil Fernando, director, Asia Human Rights Commission, on Oct 6.

"When the neighbors get sick, they need magic so they come to get a blessing from the snake and the boy."

Aun Sambath's mother, speaking about her son's lifelong friendship with a seven-meter Burmese python.

"There is sometimes total anarchy in front of the departure and arrival station because bodyguards or police officials are facilitating the arrival of a particular individual. Our government's officials are not respecting the rules."

Bun Ny, Chief of Security Operations, Phnom Penh International Airport, on Oct 11.

"We don't want to oust the prince, but if we don't do it Funcinpec is in more difficulties than the current situation. I was a compromiser and the cooperation between Samdech Hun Sen and Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh was over."

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhek Bun Chhay on Oct 18, on why Ranariddh was kicked out of the party.

"Protesters aren't as peaceful or coy as the unions might like you to believe. It's easy for workers to say they are afraid of police, but are they really as innocent as they seem? These workers can be pretty menacing at times. You would think that they, as young girls are meek and mild, but the reality is that in the factory it is not only young girls. There are plenty of male counterparts and Cambodian crowds are easily incited."

Ken Loo, Secretary-General, GMAC.

"The proliferation of land disputes in Cambodia has reached alarming proportions. We need to see stronger determination on the part of the Cambodian government to address this issue."

German Ambassador Pius Fischer on Oct 17.

"My generation is taking over and we want to study and know everything about the outside world. We don't want to listen to Hun Sen on the radio every night. We don't want to be a frog in a well."

Mak Sarath, director, Youth Council of Cambodia, on Oct 26.

"History will consider the events of October 18 as a coup. It is the result of a betrayal by Nhiek Bun Chhay, Lu Lay Sreng and Prince Sirirath-Keo Puth Rasmey is not important. The real Funcinpec is finished. Its mission is over. I do not support their betrayal and I was never part of the October 18 faction. Now we must transfer our mission to the real Royalist party, the Norodom Ranariddh party."

Funcinpec Senior Minister Serei Kosal on Oct 30.

"Now, the most royalist party is the CPP-without them this country could not be called the Kingdom of Cambodia. They are the true Royalists because without Samdech Hun Sen how can the monarchy survive?"

Funcinpec Second Deputy President Prince Sisowath Sirirath on Oct 31.


"Amid the sea of national problems and potential solutions, I do not see war as a problem or military conscription as a solution for Cambodia. We may be a country at war against the demons within ourselves but we are not at war with another country; there is no need for forced, mandatory military service."

Theary Seng, director, Center for Social Development, on Nov 1.

"The estimated 8.9 percent growth for 2006 would be one of the highest growth rates in the region and the third highest for Cambodia over the last seven years."

Robert Taliercio, World Bank country economist, on Nov 14

"We do have grassroots, we do have local structures, and I will have no problem transforming the Norodom Ranariddh Party into a very powerful party."

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Nov 13.

"I've not seen anything like this before. The people are being treated worse than cattle."

Usha Baskaran, a delegate from the Education and Research Association for Consumers in Malaysia, commenting on land grabbing on Nov 15

"Singers, TV presenters, maybe one out of ten has managed to get to where they are by talent alone, but the rest have had to use their bodies to get a big break."

Soy Thida Vorleak on Nov 14.

"They were afraid of us using the kites to drop grenades on the National Assembly."

Kek Galabru on Nov 27


"We don't have any problems so far, and the situation of the harvest is good because we have been building the irrigation network, and giving farmers modern technical advice on planting short-period seeds, and the rains have been good."

Chan Tong Yves, Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the expected bumper rice crop from 2.2 million hectares of paddy.

"It's morally, but not legally perplexing. Duch has been held beyond what Cambodia or international law would allow. He should have been charged and almost certainly should have been put on trial by now."

Brad Adams, Asia director, Human Rights Watch, on Dec 14.

"We are at a transformational point in ICT development and developing nations like Cambodia are in an incredible position."

Tony Bates, senior vice president, Cisco, on Dec 5.

"As I have seen, it is only the host party [the CPP] that brought back and protected Buddhism, such as building pagodas. But the guest and younger parties think only of destroying the national identity."

Venerable Tep Vong, Great Supreme Patriarch.


  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget