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Hun Sen’s old dorm rises again

Hun Sen’s old dorm rises again

A DORMITORY that once housed Prime Minister Hun Sen has been completely rebuilt just under four months after it was destroyed in a fire in Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Kak 2 commune, officials said yesterday.

Thim Sam An, the deputy governor of Tuol Kork district, said reconstruction began on May 27 at the premier’s urging and was completed on June 25, though no inauguration date had been set. He added that he did not know when the dormitory would be made available for monks and students.

“We double-checked the plans already. It was made on the old site, which is 17.74 by 12.10 metres, and we kept the dimensions and original style,” he said. The reconstruction was funded by a US$30,000 donation from Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, he added.

The March 8 fire, which authorities say was caused by an electrical short circuit in a resident’s home, destroyed about 178 homes as well as 31 dormitories at Neak Von pagoda, leaving 257 families, 181 students and 90 monks homeless.

In a speech later that month, Hun Sen called for his old dormitory to be rebuilt quickly, saying the fire “did not know it was the house of a pagoda boy who became the prime minister”.

Local officials have yet to demarcate land for residents’ homes, though more than two-thirds of those destroyed have been rebuilt anyway.

The new dormitory can house between 20 and 30 monks and students, Thim Sam An said.

Gnith Khim, the abbot at Neak Von pagoda, said he hoped it would be open soon.

“I hope the authorities will inaugurate this dormitory and give it to my pagoda before the end of this month, because currently we have 100 monks and students living in a dining hall,” he said.

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