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Copper statue for Norodom Sihanouk

Copper statue for Norodom Sihanouk

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King Norodom Sihanouk waves to onlookers following the Royal Ploughing ceremony in Phnom Penh in 2001. Photograph: Reuters

Plans are in the works to build a larger-than-life commemorative copper statue of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and give it prominent placement near Phnom Penh’s Independence Monument, officials said yesterday.

Those familiar with the proposal said construction is scheduled to begin on February 20 and wrap up by the middle of July.

“The plan of this construction has already been agreed to by King [Norodom Sihamoni] and Queen Mother [Norodom Monineath]. This construction must be attractive and fitting with the King’s reputation,” said Tith Sothea, deputy president of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers. He did not provide a sample sketch of the design.

He added that Seila Construction Group, headed up by former director of the National Museum and current Ministry of Culture official Hab Touch, is responsible for the project, the price tag of which was not disclosed.

Officials said they plan to build the seven-metre statue in the garden just east of the Independence Monument.

Nhek Bun Chhay, who sat on the government’s funeral committee for Sihanouk, told the Post yesterday that Sihamoni had already signed off on the sample plan for the statue.  

Phnom Penh municipal governor Kep Chuktema, who participated in a planning meeting held yesterday, declined to comment.

Yim Sovann, lawmaker and spokesman of opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said that the SRP supports building a statue, but urged the government to open up the bidding process for the project.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

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