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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Election promises broken, say Borei Keila residents

Election promises broken, say Borei Keila residents


Now they are elected, but where is the promise? We are still living in temporary

shelters and now they come to evict us again.

The new Borei Keila apartment buildings.

About 120 families waiting for new apartments in the Borei Keila development are

accusing their district chiefs of duping them into voting for them but failing to

live up to their elections' promises.

The chiefs campaigned for their seats in the commune elections in April on a platform

of getting them a place to live, and now they've reneged, say the families.

Morn Kunthea, 33, a renter who settled in the area in 1991 said during the commune

election their district governor vowed to get them the much sought after apartments

if they won the election.

"Now they are elected, but where is the promise? We are still living in temporary

shelters and now they come to evict us again," said Kunthea.

Srun Srorn, 7 Makara District Governor, said he is working on it.

"It is not true. I never made any promise before the election," he said.

"What I am doing now is try to make it fair to everyone according to the initial

agreement. It is not related to the election."

Borei Keila was touted as a model project dating back to 2003 under which people

who had lived in the area "permanently" would be eligible for apartments

in 10 buildings constructed by a private developer. The first two buildings were

occupied. A third building is up and the other buildings are under construction.

Srorn blamed the families for causing difficulties in the construction process. He

said the construction of the remaining seven buildings was planned for completion

in 18 months but he said the people slowed down the process when they refused to

leave the construction site. He accused some families of playing tricks to get more

apartments and making the evaluating procedure more complicated.

"The buildings are not for those who split their families or for those who rented

for just a few months or a few days and then claimed that they were here a long time

ago. The area is developed for those who are really poor, not people who cheat like


Srorn said officials are evaluating the documents to prioritize the legitimate families,

owners first, then the renters. He couldn't confirm whether all 120 families would

get the apartments nor could he estimate when the problem will be solved.

Noun Sarath, a representative of the 120 families, said he wants to know why eligible

families cannot move into 131 rooms available in the third building.

Instead, people are being constantly moved within the construction area.

"The district governor said he moved us again and again because he needed to

use the land to construct the buildings. It's been eight months."

The families had to move their temporary shelters again from one spot in the rubble

to another spot, and they may have to move again.

Mann Choeun and Pa Socheat Vong, Deputy Governors of Phnom Penh in charge of urban

planning refused to comment.

Chheng Sophors, an investigator from Licadho, told the Post that there is a lack

of transparency in division of the apartments. He said many families deemed legitimate

for the apartments are still waiting. He said the process is "abnormal"

but he declined to comment on the possible reasons. He said Licadho is concerned

about the financial and sanitary conditions of the families when they have to go

through repetitive evictions.

"Each eviction always caused the same problems. There are no toilets and they

need to keep living with rubbish. It affects the most the health of the children

and their schooling."

Sophors said repeated evictions create more serious poverty because each time people

must rebuild their temporary shelters it costs money. "It makes them poorer

and poorer."

Srorn said the authority is trying to solve the sanitation problem. He called for

trust in City Hall.



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