Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri governor denies lying to prime minister



Mondulkiri governor denies lying to prime minister

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung (right). Supplied

Mondulkiri governor denies lying to prime minister

Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang on Monday rejected an allegation made by a prominent Supreme Council for Consultation member that he had lied to Prime Minister Hun Sen in his report about encroachment on the protected Phnom Dos Kromom mountain.

After leading a nine-day field visit to more than 10 provinces including Mondulkiri, Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, who is also president of the Khmer Rise Party (KRP), alleged that Sam Eang had been “inactive” in stopping the construction of villas and karaoke businesses on the mountain.

Located in Sen Monorom town, Phnom Dos Kromom is home to the Cultural Centre for Indigenous People. A government directive issued in 2004 designated 102ha from the foot of the mountain to the top for the centre.

Vathana Sabung told The Post on Monday that during a two-day visit to the province, the working group did not see any indigenous people living on the mountain.

“We only saw guesthouses, KTVs and other entertainment places,” he said.

Sam Eang denied he lied to the prime minister. He said the provincial administration had collaborated with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and authorities at all levels to restore the area to its original state.

“He [Sabung] should have consulted me rather than just conduct a one-sided study . . . only those working on the ground to solve the case know clearly about it,” he said.

Kroeung Tola, the cultural centre’s secretary, said more than 80 wealthy and powerful families had built villas and entertainment businesses in the area.

“I agree with the group’s findings, but I ask him [Sabung] to study the root cause. Who allowed such encroachment in the first place? Land grab and construction of villas and KTVs did not take place during Svay Sam Eang’s mandate as governor.

“As far as I know, all of these took shape during the mandates of former governors Chan Yoeun and Eng Bunheang. I don’t take sides with anyone, but Svay Sam Eang is only a scapegoat.

“It’s difficult for him to solve the case because his predecessors had sold the land and allowed wealthy individuals to construct villas there,” he said.

He said indigenous people do not live on the mountain as it is a sacred site. Instead, they live between 2km and 3km away.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there