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Borei Keila families ‘forgotten’

A Borei Keila community member receives a land title on Tuesday in Phnom Penh during a presentation ceremony.
A Borei Keila community member receives a land title on Tuesday in Phnom Penh during a presentation ceremony. Pha Lina

Borei Keila families ‘forgotten’

As a municipality-led committee winds down outstanding claims in the Borei Keila land dispute, 24 families who had remained silent during the years-long process out of fears for their government jobs yesterday came forward to say that their previous agreements with authorities had seemingly been forgotten.

Yorng Sarem, 72 – a member of the Veal Vong commune council, and a representative of the 24 families – said an earlier committee gave them documents years ago, composed of representatives of City Hall and developer Phanimex, promising them flats at Borei Keila.

Sarem said when protests over the dispute began, her superiors had assured her that her claim was secure. The other families, also government workers, refrained from protesting too.

However, she continued, when she took the claims to Mean Chanyada, chief of City Hall administration and head of the current resolution committee, she was “shocked” to hear the documents were “irregular”, and that their claims would have to be re-filed.

“Those words also killed our hope and trust in the government,” Sarem said.

The documents, seen by the Post, bore the signature of the committee and the stamp of then-governor Kep Chuktema.

“We didn’t just make them up to get a house,” fellow representative Sok Samet said.

Chanyada could not be reached yesterday, but committee member and NGO representative Sia Phearum suggested the families file complaints straight to municipal authorities, as the current joint committee was only empowered to handle the claims of 154 specific families.

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