Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith on Monday put an end to speculation that the $1.2 million crematorium built for the funeral of King Father Norodom Sihanouk this month might stay up as a permanent Phnom Penh landmark for tourists.
“We have never kept a crematorium in the middle of the city; we will dismantle the site after the Chinese New Year,” Kanharith said, adding that the site would be cleared in time for the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony on May 28.
“It has to be [the site for the ploughing ceremony],”Kanharith said.
He did not give an exact date for the start of demolition.
Prince Sisowath Thomico, a former Sihanouk aide, said it’s tradition to take apart the crematorium after a king is cremated on the grounds of Veal Preah Meru in front of the National Museum.
“The high cost of the crematorium doesn’t matter,” he said.
Veal Preah Meru is home to the royal ploughing ceremony, which marks the beginning of the rice-growing season and dictates when farmers must prepare their fields for the next crop.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]