The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19.
The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range of reopening initiatives to ease the Kingdom back to normalcy, including easing restrictions on some foreign airline passengers.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth is expected to mention the holiday and the foreign traveller restrictions at a meeting of the National Committee to Combat Covid-19, according to ministry spokesman Meas Soksensan.
Soksensan told The Post the days off to make up for the Khmer New Year are being reviewed. The minister also said certain foreign airline passengers – investors and experts – will be exempt from posting the $3,000 deposit and having $50,000 in health insurance.
“If we can ease restrictions we will ease them,” Sokensan said.
According to a leaked voicemail on social media, Hun Sen advised Pornmoniroth on July 5 to lead a meeting of the National Committee to Combat Covid-19 to examine the possibility of making up for a five-day break as Cambodia is bringing Covid-19 under control.
“The point is, I allowed the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to hold examinations. It is time for us to make up for days off for citizens, workers, staff and civil servants when we didn’t allow them to take the days off during the Khmer New Year.
“I think perhaps the days off can occur late this July or early next August,” he said.
Hun Sen also called on Pornmoniroth and Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng to discuss ways to ease measures for foreign passengers who are investors and experts on building roads and bridges in Cambodia.
“I observed that this point carries a high risk to our country’s economy that affects investors and those who work in Cambodia. Investors might not return to our country and they won’t leave our country either.
“If they leave, they leave forever. Experts and technicians who work here visited their native countries, and they cannot come and employers cannot guarantee ...
“We have a lot of contracts with foreign companies from Japan and China which build roads and bridges,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister said the easing of the measure in the coming days would attract new investors and retain old ones. But if such foreigners test positive for Covid-19, they will cover treatment fees on their own.
On June 16, the government decided not to require foreign passengers who are diplomats to deposit $3,000 and have $50,000 in health insurance. Diplomats will also receive treatment free of charge in case they contract Covid-19.
On July 3, health ministry secretary of state York Sambath confirmed that the ministry had received $9 million in deposits from 3,000 foreign passengers who travelled to Cambodia between June 15 and 30.
Money left over after hotel costs, testing and travelling fees were returned after a 14-day quarantine.