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

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.