More than 500 families on Koh Kong’s Koh Sdech island stand to receive land titles under a sub-decree, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month, reclassifying 92 hectares of state property as either state private land that will go to villagers, or state public land set aside for future infrastructure development.
The sub-decree, signed on December 18 and obtained by The Post this week, doesn’t specify how the land will be divided up.
However, the private state land will be for villagers in Koh Sdech village in Kiri Sakor district’s Koh Sdech commune, where residents will be issued land titles.
Sok Cheng, Koh Sdech commune chief, said he believes the space currently occupied by the 560 families in Koh Sdech village is larger than the 92 hectares covered by the sub-decree.
He said only about 10 percent of the 560 families currently have land titles.
Ouch Touch, Koh Kong Provincial Hall administrator, said Provincial Governor Mithona Phouthorng has yet to establish a joint committee to work out the details under the sub-decree.
“Right now, the Koh Kong provincial administration has just received the sub-decree, and the provincial governor until now has not yet invited all the relevant . . . authorities to meet to create the joint committee,” he said, adding the group will be in charge of demarcation and would also decide on what infrastructure development is needed.
Once created, if the committee finds the land allotment in the sub-decree to be insufficient for the villagers, the group can make a request to the government at the national level to offer more land.
According to villager Saing Puy, residents along the beach had been concerned about being evicted from the area, but the sub-decree brought some relief.
“I am very pleased to hear” about the sub-decree,” she said. “Before, my family and others who live along the beach were very worried about authorities evicting us from the area because we overheard some people saying that the government needed investment [in] that area from a Chinese firm.”