CAMBODIAN People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat made an impromptu visit to the site of a land dispute in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday, telling villagers in Omlaing commune that they will not be able to plant any crops this year, and that they will soon be forced to relocate 30 kilometres away, villagers said.
More than 2,000 families in 11 villages in Omlaing commune face eviction because of a 9,000-hectare concession granted to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, which is owned by Ly Yong Phat.
During the Wednesday meeting, which was attended by 15 village representatives and lasted from 11am to 2:45pm, Ly Yong Phat promised to provide the villagers with relocation land matching the size of their current plots, said Men Pek, a village representative.
“But,” he added, “Ly Yong Phat told us that this year he will not allow us to plant on the disputed land, and that if some land has already been planted, it will be cleared.”
He said he was concerned about the quality of the relocation land, which is at the base of Pis Mountain, 30 kilometres away from Omlaing commune.
San Tho, a village representative, said it was unclear how others would react, but speculated that the new land would be accepted “because we don’t want to be involved with this company anymore”.
Ly Yong Phat and provincial Deputy Governor Pen Sambou declined to comment.