THE National Assembly’s Permanent Committee is set to debate the government’s Draft Law on Expropriation on December 15, Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said Monday.
The draft, approved by the Council of Ministers on October 9, authorises the government to seize land, provided that it is used for infrastructure or construction projects that serve “the public interest”.
“According to the law, when the government needs land for construction or development, and if it impacts the land of villagers, the law requires the government to make an evaluation of the impact and then provide fair compensation,” Cheam Yeap said.
The law states that residents living on expropriated land should receive compensation equivalent to its market price when the government takes over.
Cheam Yeap could not say when the National Assembly will vote to approve the draft law, because parliamentarians will be on vacation for a three-month period beginning in January.
Officials from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party said they were concerned that the law will merely formalise the dispossession of poor residents by powerful private business interests on the pretext of national development.
“We are concerned that the law will give power to the government to take the land from the villagers for the development of private companies,” said Yim Sovann, lawmaker and spokesman for the SRP.
“Some articles of the law are not clear, so we will continue to study it carefully,” he added.