About 50 villagers representing 386 families from Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community protested outside Prampi Makara district hall yesterday, urging the government’s intervention in a contentious land dispute eight years in the making.
In 2003, Phanimex Company agreed to construct 10 buildings on 2.6 hectares of land in Borei Keila in order to house nearly 1,400 displaced families in exchange for the land’s development rights. So far, however, the property development firm has built only eight of the 10 apartment buildings required in the contract, leaving nearly 400 villagers in limbo.
Representatives of those villagers – forced to remain in the squalid conditions of their lots in Prampi Makara district while their neighbours move into newer housing – demanded yesterday that the company begin construction on the two remaining promised buildings.
Phouk Lina, representing the 386 families without housing, said Phanimex Company was breaking its contract.
“We want the company to construct two more buildings for us” he said.
Phouk Lina also expressed ire for the 59 families that he said had received houses within the eight buildings already constructed, but then sold them. This was contrary to the government’s intention of its contract with Phanimex Company, he said.
“We want the government to monitor over this case and confiscate those houses as state property in order to give shelter to residents who have not yet received housing in the deal,” Phouk Lina said.
Standing on the sidelines of yesterday’s protest, opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Ho Van told the Post that he planned to file a petition to National Assembly president Heng Samrin urging authorities to “force” Phanimex Company to make good on its 2003 deal.
“The authority and Phanimex Company must be responsible for finishing the two additional buildings for the remaining 386 families,” he said.
Suy Sophan, president of Phanimex Company, could not be reached by the Post for comment yesterday.