Minister of Environment Say Sam Al on Tuesday welcomed Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim and encouraged Malaysians to invest in the Kingdom’s waste management sector.
The Ministry of Environment said in a Facebook post: “Say Sam Al encouraged and warmly welcomed cooperation between the two countries this year to share experiences in nature tourism, as well as allow investors from Malaysia to invest in urban waste management and construction of wastewater treatment facilities in Cambodia.”
The post said Eldeen pledged to try his best to continue strengthening cooperation between Cambodia and Malaysia.
He also asked Sam Al to participate in the Third Asian Conference on Biodiversity in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on March 15-20.
Meanwhile, a Facebook post by the Malaysian embassy on Tuesday said Eldeen and Sam Al mainly talked about the benefits the two countries would gain from strengthening environmental cooperation and sustainable development, particularly waste management, water treatment and eco-tourism.
“The ambassador invited Cambodia to collaborate with Malaysia’s Alam Flora Sdn Bhd and Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd in reducing the production of waste and achieving a cleaner environment in the Kingdom,” it said.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Wednesday that the recently-held meeting was only a discussion, and investments were yet to be discussed.
“This was just the first request raised,” said Pheaktra.
Community Sanitation and Recycling Organisation (CSARO) executive director Heng Yon Kora expressed delight over Malaysia’s intention to help address the Kingdom’s waste crisis.
However, he wondered which authority in Cambodia would continue the cooperation for the initiative to be sustainable.
“For instance, as my project or other organisation’s projects were concluded, the authorities no longer continued to further the work. Once the project was over, the authority’s work was also over,” said Yon Kora.
The government, he said, plays a more important role in waste management than the private sector.
Thus, the relevant government authorities should establish a commission to manage and oversee operations in waste management.
“I have seen investment firms only focused on generating profits, but with low regard for the environment. Paying too much attention to the environment does not generate much income,” he said.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s press release on Tuesday said the policy on urban waste and solid waste management was an urgent task that needed to be addressed to promote public health and environmental preservation, as well as improve the Kingdom’s beauty.
Cambodia plans to build a wastewater treatment plant by year’s end in the capital’s Choeung Ek commune, in Dangkor district.
The project will be financially supported by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.