Contractor World City Co Ltd of South Korea was told that designs were not sufficiently Khmer in style, it says
THE Ministry of Economy and Finance has rejected designs for the forthcoming Cambodian stock exchange, the South Korean company responsible for the building's design and construction said Wednesday.
Kheng Ser, assistant to World City Co Ltd Vice President Duk-kon Kim, said the plans were rejected by the Cambodian government because they were not considered sufficiently Khmer in architectural style.
"They [the ministry] have asked us to redesign it again because they want a Khmer-style design," he said.
Officials at the Finance Ministry were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Kim said last month that the ministry had already seen a draft version of architectural plans and had submitted adjustments to World City to include in the final plans.
Hang Chuon Naron, secretary general at the ministry, said at the time that finalisation of plans for the four-storey, 6,000-square-metre exchange building "should be soon".
However, a final decision now looks to have been delayed.
Kheng Ser said that architects in South Korea will again adjust the designs for the building, which are to be constructed at Camko City on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Original plans placed the trading floor itself on the first floor of the building, Kim said, adding that all necessary infrastructure - water and electricity supplies included - had been in place for some time.
"We don't know when they [architectural plans] will be finished or when they will be submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Finance to take a look," he said.
Kim said Tuesday that World City still planned to begin construction on the US$6 million building by the end of the rainy season this year.
However, Ming Ban Kosal, director general of the Cambodia Securities and Exchange Commission, said Wednesday that rejection of the architectural plans would undoubtedly lead to further delays in the opening of Cambodia's long-awaited stock exchange.
"It will affect our work to open the stock exchange because when we do so, we must have an office ... or how could we run the stock market?" He said Wednesday. "Given these problems, the government must make a decision on whether to look for a temporary location.... We don't know yet."
While the Stock Exchange Company - a joint venture between the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Korea Exchange (KRX) - is still thought to be on schedule for incorporation before the end of the year, prior to the recent delay in designs, the building itself had not been scheduled to go online until about August next year at the earliest.
Construction will take about eight months, Kim said last month, and once the building is complete, system checks will take a further three months.
"I think it [the opening] will be 2010," Hang Chuon Naron said in June.
The government had previously said it had scheduled to open the Cambodian stock exchange in December.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STEVE FINCH