Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Date set for Sihanouk’s funeral

Date set for Sihanouk’s funeral

Date set for Sihanouk’s funeral

121127_05

A worker yesterday, Monday, Nov.26 2012, near the National Museum, where a crematorium is being built for the late Norodom Sihanouk. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The cremation of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, whose body has been lying in state since his death last month, will take place in the first week of February in front of the National Museum.

Speaking to thousands of villagers and government officials at a ground breaking ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday Sihanouk’s corpse would be removed from the Royal Palace on February 1 and, after it had laid in an adjacent crematorium for three days, officials would perform the final rite on February 4.

The crematorium is now under construction on the grassy grounds in front of the museum.

The premier said the procession, beginning at the Royal Palace, would crawl north to Wat Phnom, double back to the Independence Monument, and end up in front of the museum.

Out of respect for Sihanouk’s death on October 15 in Beijing, officials cancelled this year’s Water Festival, which begins today.

In the same speech yesterday, Hun Sen explained why it was fitting to let the festivities pass without official notice.

“It is inappropriate for millions of Cambodian people to celebrate the Water Festival in front of the Royal Palace at this time of mourning, [ I ] hope that our people are understanding and will give this favour, because we had only one father,” he said.

Although the cremation will be a solemn affair, officials are expecting crowds to rival the hundreds of thousands who turned out for the funeral procession from the airport to the Royal Palace last month.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said yesterday authorities were prepared for at least one million Cambodians to attend, and that the ministry would set up a large screen in public for a live simulcast.

Sihanouk, revered by many Cambodians for helping them gain independence from France in 1953 and the periods of prosperity that followed, died of a heart attack at the age of 89.

His body was returned to Phnom Penh on an Air China flight two days later.

After a week of mourning, he was moved to lie in state for a planned three-month period at the Royal Palace.

Many officials who attended the ASEAN summit last week visited the palace to pay their respects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10