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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vendors stick to demands

Vendors stick to demands

T HE original Olympic Market vendors say they remain as commited as ever to their

demand they be given free stalls.

They claim that they are not making

money at the old market, and cannot pay for stalls at the new one.

Space

for the 1,951 registered traders in the old market has been set aside for weeks,

with the rest left for newcomers.

Finance Minister Sam Rainsy has backed

the "old" traders demands for free stalls and King Norodom Sihanouk advised the

Royal Government to accept Rainsy's proposal.

"All of the traders

vigorously follow the King, and the price of the stalls should be free," a woman

said, speaking for a large group of the traders gathered around her.

One

male vendor asked: "If you meet Hun Sen. Please ask him whether he follows the

King or not."

Vendors interviewed at the old Olympic Market said that

none of them had made commitments to rent space in the new market. The Royal

Government gave the Thai Boon Rong Company approval on June 15 to open the new

market.

"This decision of the government is very bad. It makes the

reputation of the government very bad. They use dictatorial methods.

"Ask Hun Sen: Do you like Thai Boon Roong Company better than the

Cambodian people? The government has given the right to TBR to do what they

like."

"Hun Sen has liberated us from Pol Pot regime, but why does he

make a decision to kill the traders like this? The government seems to be happy

when they see the people killed."

"We want to know whether this country

is a dictatorship or a democracy."

A woman vendor said: "When you see

Samdech Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh, tell them that we would like them to

re-examine the King's decision. If the Co-Prime Ministers don't follow the

King's decision, the people will not believe in the government anymore. And we

will not want to be Cambodian anymore. We want to be another race, we want to

leave Cambodia."

The vendors claim that they make very little at the old

market and they don't expect to earn much at the new one. "We spend very much,

but we get very little from our shops. We lose more than we earn," a vendor

said. Others around him nodded. One said, "In one month, I get no

income."

But Chim Chheng Ly, a government appointed security chief at the

old market disagrees.

He said: "If they didn't make money, they wouldn't

be here selling."

Chhim said: "In the past the [Thai Boon Roong] company

has made many concessions to the traders. In my opinion they have been fair. The

money for renting the stalls is for the new building.

"Now they are in

wooden stalls [but there] they will have secure concrete buildings to store

their goods and to sell them.

"If they take the money which they use to

transport their goods from home to the old market and home again at night,

perhaps 4,000 riel to 8,000 riel per day, they could pay for the stalls at the

new market.

"In my opinion, in the negotiations, the traders don't move

forward, they move backward. They may not make money, but at least they do not

lose money," he added.

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