Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koh Rong projects ‘will not bring pain’, DPM says

Koh Rong projects ‘will not bring pain’, DPM says

Koh Rong projects ‘will not bring pain’, DPM says

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng has sought to reassure residents of Koh Rong, an island off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province that has been leased to a local tycoon, that they would not be adversely affected by planned development projects.

The popular backpacker destination was granted to Royal Group chairman Kith Meng in 2008 under a 99-year lease. Speaking at the opening of Meng’s five-star Royal Sands hotel on the island, Kheng, who is also the interior minister, said that the roughly 600 Cambodians living on the island had nothing to fear from other planned projects.

“The development will also bring benefits to the villagers,” he said. “The developments will not bring pain to the residents. The government would not allow the company’s developments to bring hurt to the villagers.”

He added that the government was working with Meng to employ the so-called tiger skin policy, whereby villagers living on the sites of planned developments can remain on their land while the developer builds around their property.

Boun Narith, local coordinator for rights group Licadho, said that the island’s inhabitants had campaigned since the lease was granted to be able to remain where they are, so Kheng’s assurances might provide some comfort.

“If the authorities use the tiger skin [policy] for the villagers, they will keep some of the land and not be badly hurt by the development,” he said.

Chan Sanch, 40, a Koh Rong resident, said he did not object outright to Meng’s plans.

“But we also need the authority to think of our farms and homes as well,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the