Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hun Sen: Rice price increase instigated by dishonest merchants

26 March 2008
Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper
Translated from Khmer by Socheata and Heng Soy

Hun Sen considered that the recent rice price increase as a strange price increase instigated by “opportunists and dishonest people,” and what these people want is to shoot 2 birds with one arrow, and the largest bird of the two being “Hun Sen” himself.

In the morning of 25 March, during the inauguration of the temple of Wat Silanimit pagoda, located in Kriel commune, Baray district, Kampong Thom province, Prime minister Hun Sen said that: “In Kampong Cham, Kampot, Kandal, Kien Svay, people said: ‘Samdach Hun Sen said that he will make it such that the price of 1 kilo of rice is the same as the price of one liter of gasoline in order to help the farmers, this is why the price of rice soars.’ Meanwhile in a number of other provinces and municipalities, people said: ‘Samdach Dek Cho make the price of lands goes up, so people sold all their lands, and they don’t have rice fields to plant their crop, that’s why rice price increases.’”

In response to this issue, Hun Sen said that he has no ability to make the price of rice to be the same as that of gasoline, and also there are no investors who will buy more than 3 million hectares that people use to plant their crop either. The lands which saw an increase in price are those in areas where factories can be built, or where special economic zones can be founded, therefore, this does not mean that the land price increase everywhere and make people sell their rice field lands, whereby causing the soaring of the price of rice.

Hun Sen said that the price of rice should jump in 2000-2001 when there was a major flood in Cambodia, but the price of rice during that time was stable. Regarding the current rice price soaring, it is due to the fact that Cambodian rice is the cheapest in the region, and even Malaysia and The Philippines is considering buying rice from Cambodia also. Furthermore, Thailand and Vietnam are both currently buying rice from Cambodia.

Hun Sen said: “Is Cambodia short of rice yet? Because there are dishonest people who are instigating rumors about rice shortage in the market.” Hun Sen said that the government had prepared rice to intervene in order to provide sufficient amount of rice to the market, about 50,000 tons. Regarding rice shortage, Hun Sen said that it is merely a false rumor. He said that in Cambodia, only under the Khmer Republic regime, between 1972 and 1975, that there was a rice shortage problem in the city, and this situation led to rice hoarding because the republicans couldn’t govern.

Hun Sen added that: “Those who are strong, please come and buy rice from Hun Sen, I will sell it for you for 5,000 riels ($1.25) per kilo. I will make you fall apart, I will sell to you for 5,000 riels per kilo and let you hoard it, then we will release (our rice) stock to sell at a cheaper price, this will make you pass out. The economy in Cambodia is an economy which does not have black market, whereby rice must be hoarded and then sold at black market, therefore, some of the leaders should understand this issue, don’t be fooled, it is a wrong strategy and a wrong comment. Black market is reserved only for illegal goods prohibited by the state, such as guns.”

Hun Sen asked the population to remain calm in front of this situation, and for those rice mills which are closed, the Ministry of Commerce must take a look at them immediately because they can be a source of problem also, and if there is rice hoarding, the authority must take immediate measure, including rice sales points in the market. Hun Sen asked the authority and the police force to take tough measures against the instigators of the economic sabotage.

Hun Sen added that the rice price soaring is an international tendency due to increasing price of oil, and this in turn pushes up the price of goods and rice.

The world economy is facing a problem caused by the US economy, the world leader in economic growth, which is now facing serious recession, and this situation affects the Cambodian economy also because Cambodia exports worth $3 billion in merchandise to the US, and the government is currently concerned the increase in international investments (in Cambodia) has increased by $2 billion only in the past few months.

Hun Sen added that some people want the government to set the price of goods on the market, he said that such action is a long step backward because that would be a planned economy and a dictatorial regime will take place in Cambodia.


Anonymous said...

We should confiscated all their rices when we caught any merchant ripping off people.

Anonymous said...

Economics 101 a la Hun Sen. I wouldn't know where to begin knocking his arguments. This shows he's only repeating buzz words and phrases that he hears, and that he hasn't got a f*cking clue what he's talking about

Anonymous said...

there's always bad people who seems to want to rip others off. i suggest people not be so gullible when they just hear rumors or somethings. please learn to think, analyze the situation then make the decision before believing. it is called being smart about everything, and getting education is important to be able to do that. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it looks like the west here, where people are stepping on each other to get ahead. I hope it's not too late to bring our good moral value back. Furthermore, we should limit westerners stay to no more than 4 weeks at a time.

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