Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said that the government will take $1,000,000 earmarked for the construction of an army base and contribute it instead to the building of homes for veterans across the country.
Mr Hun Sen also appealed to businesses to help finance programs dealing with veterans affairs issues.
Speaking during the 11th anniversary of the creation of National Day for Cambodian Veterans, Mr Hun Sen said that the construction of homes for veterans is a top government priority.
He said that about $1,000,000 is to be withdrawn from the construction of military base number 128 in order to support the activities of veteran associations.
“Now I take $1,000,000 for building houses for veterans,” Mr Hun Sen said. “And a campaign to solve the problems of veterans is currently being considered.”
The Prime Minister also asked for the private sector to contribute to his efforts in providing homes for veterans during his speech.
Mr Hun Sen said that a tycoon had met with him and noted that he had asked the unnamed tycoon to help build 100 houses through the tycoon’s construction company.
“So, there are so many ways that companies and generous people can help,” he said. “The money can go directly to the building of homes for veterans to make their lives better.”
Social Affairs Minister Vong Soth said yesterday that there are 86,905 veterans, along with 42,811 family members, currently receiving government assistance.
Mr Soth said various veterans associations contribute about $980 for funerals and other services to the families. He added that the government will spend about $240,000 per year to help veterans’ general problems.
In addition, Mr Soth noted that the government has spent about $390,000 per year for veterans’ healthcare needs.
Addressing pension issues, Mr Soth said that a number of veterans had received land and benefits from the state and added that veterans would only need a bank account to receive their pension.
“It’s easy now for veterans to get state benefits,” Mr Soth said “[They] just need to open a bank account and the Social Ministry staff are working hard to provide their pension.”
Kun Kim, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and deputy chief of the Cambodia Veterans Association, said that veterans’ medical conditions require them to be supported.
Mr Kim added that 3,057 veteran families have land, but lack proper housing, while 4,761 veteran families lack both land and housing.
“They are lucky to have the Prime Minister taking care of them because some of the veterans now are very old and weak,” he said.