Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday denied a senior sport official’s $100 million cost estimate for a new national stadium, although he confirmed it will be China footing the bill.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony on Koh Pich, the premier said that he had approved the building’s design but distanced himself from the nine-figure tally for its completion.
“I did not say China gave $100 million to build this stadium; where did The Phnom Penh Post get this from? I did not say it,” he told more than a thousand graduating students. “I just approved a design from the [two designs presented] for approval.”
While Hun Sen did not address the stadium’s cost on Monday, National Olympic Committee secretary-general Vath Chamroeun pegged it at $100 million on the same day in a follow-up interview with the Post.
Though he insisted that the final estimate had yet to be tallied, Hun Sen yesterday confirmed the source of its funding.
“My negotiation is that China will give it, but how much it will cost has not been estimated,” he said. “Our Chinese friends just say that, whatever the cost, they will cover all, and Cambodia and Prime Minister Hun Sen are satisfied with that.”
The Morokot Decho stadium, which is located on the outskirts of the capital and intended to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Southeast Asia Games in 2023, saw ground broken in April 2013, with Hun Sen in attendance.
Speaking to the Post yesterday, Chamrouen still insisted that the Cambodian technical team’s evaluation of the main stadium’s construction cost would be about $100 million.
It’s not a number he feels will be a problem for the Chinese.
“China doesn’t care how much it costs, but we estimated it would cost about $100 million for the construction of this main stadium alone,” Chamroeun said.