Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Despair in Pursat as land policies backflip

Despair in Pursat as land policies backflip

Despair in Pursat as land policies backflip


Youth volunteers depart Phnom Penh last month to take part in a government-initiated land measurement program. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Nineteen families from Pursat province’s Prangil commune, plagued by a long-running land dispute with developer Pheapimex, are in despair now that student volunteer surveyors cannot help them reclaim land they say is rightfully theirs.

Villager Tes Chhieng Ly said that the residents would be forced to take protests to higher levels, after their plans to plead for help from student volunteers measuring their land were thwarted by Wednesday’s policy backflip by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“Now, we don’t know what to do because volunteering youths are told that they have no obligation … we seem hopeless,” Chhieng Ly said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday revealed he had revised his land titling program – announced in June – which aimed to alleviate land disputes by employing over 2,000 university students, at $7 a day, to demarcate villagers’ land in state forests, former timber concessions and economic land concessions.

The amendment means students will no longer measure disputed land and has prolonged the original six-month timeframe of the project.

However, when contacted by the Post yesterday, government spokesmen ?Phay Siphan? and Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Ek Tha both said they had no further details on the program revision or how and when it would be implemented.

His announcement contradicts what Minister of Land Management Im Chhun Lim declared in June ­– that student workers would indeed be posted to areas where “plenty of land conflicts have occurred”.

About 12,000 families are tangled in land disputes on a Pheapimex economic land concession that extends over both Pursat and Kampong Chhang provinces and covers over 315,000 hectares.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]
With assistance from Claire Knox


  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release