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Lawmakers bend PM’s ear on dam

Lawmakers bend PM’s ear on dam

A proposal to transform the Areng Valley in Koh Kong province into an eco-tourism destination has been sent by leader of parliament Heng Samrin to Prime Minister Hun Sen on behalf of a group of opposition lawmakers.

The six CNRP lawmakers who penned the request, dated May 7, seeks to persuade Hun Sen to approve a protected status for the valley, which is a rich area for biodiversity but has come under threat from a planned hydropower dam project.

“Transforming the Areng Valley into an eco-tourism site not only helps promote . . . environmental protection, but will also substantially benefit the national revenue and people living in the area,” the letter reads.

In January, Hun Sen issued a letter saying that the construction of the planned Stung Cheay Areng dam would be postponed “for future generations”.

“We think this is a very clear and positive stance of the government to preserve the Areng Valley without allowing the hydropower dam to be built,” the letter goes on to say.

But Phay Siphan, a Council of Ministers spokesman, said the letter would not sway government plans. “We cannot use a piece of paper to order the government,” he said.

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