Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday ordered a crackdown on overloaded and modified trucks, threatening to fire officials who let drivers off easy and to imprison drivers who protest.
The prime minister issued the order at the groundbreaking of a bridge in Kampong Cham province, ordering officials to meet with transportation companies starting at midnight.
“I will be observing,” he said. “Do not forget about Hun Sen’s hand. The demotion of provincial governor needs only 24 hours, while that of a district governor needs only 15.”
The premier also scolded drivers who overload or add extensions to their trucks for doing damage to the Kingdom’s roads and bridges.
“Let’s wait for them to come and protest in front of Hun Sen’s house and when they arrive, they will be arrested and sent to Prey Sar prison because it affects people’s lives and the roads,” Hun Sen said.
Road safety consultant Kong Sovann said he agreed with the message but expressed scepticism that the crackdown would change people’s habits.
“We want it to be sustained, rather than just when the prime minister warns about it or to crack down for one or two weeks,” Sovann said. He recommended that the government focus on education for officials about the rules, which he said are poorly understood.
In leaked audio released over the weekend, the premier’s son, Hun Manith, appeared to express annoyance that some officials had begun the crackdown hours early.
“You should pity Samdech,” said Manith, who said he suspected that officials would blame the crackdown on his father. “Do not let them curse Samdech because of our enforcement.”
According to Hun Sen’s Facebook page, as of yesterday more than 150 modified trucks had been “trimmed” of extra parts and another 310 were on the chopping block.
Additional reporting by Daphne Chen