Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri officials under fire for land encroachment



Mondulkiri officials under fire for land encroachment

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sar Kheng has called for some officials to be fired. Hean Rangsey

Mondulkiri officials under fire for land encroachment

Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed with the results of the inter-ministerial working group on the study of illegal forest encroachment in protected areas in Mondulkiri province.

But he has yet to issue a formal announcement after Minister of Interior Sar Kheng requested the termination of some official positions, according to ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

Sopheak told The Post on Sunday the inter-ministerial working group has been studying the case of illegal forest land occupation and encroachment of protected areas in Mondulkiri province with transparency, integrity and evidence.

“We have all the principles, but as we have not yet received the directive for implementation. We will not be able to announce publicly. It is not a secret.

“We already have everything the Prime Minister assigned us to do. We reported to the Prime Minister and he agreed with what the inter-ministerial working group concluded,” Sopheak said.

Sar Kheng on July 22 issued a decision on the “Establishment of an inter-ministerial working group to study cases of illegal forest land occupation and encroachment of protected areas in Mondulkiri province”.

The decision to establish the inter-ministerial working group was based on a note from the Prime Minister dated July 8.

Sar Kheng assigned Minister of Interior secretary of state Ang Mongkul to head the working group to study the case of illegal forest land occupation and encroachment of protected areas in Mondulkiri province.

On August 30, Sar Kheng submitted a letter to Hun Sen to review and decide on the results of the study’s request to modify the duties of the governor and terminate the positions of nine officials.

“After listening to the report of the study team, the group found that provincial governor Svay Sam Eang didn’t make serious mistakes as accused and requested the prime minister keep him in his position and educate him to fulfil his responsibilities,” the letter stated.

The same letter noted a request for the termination of Region 8 Senator Noy Sron. The group found that Sron used his position and power to instruct local officials to sign illegal land documents.

“Based on this reason, the meeting respectfully requested Samdech Vibol Sena Pheakdei Say Chhum [President of the Senate] to educate Noy Sron,” the letter read.

According to Sar Kheng’s letter, Mondulkiri Provincial Hall deputy chief of administration Sok Sera was asked by the Ministry of Interior to simplify his duties by returning to work at the Ministry of Interior.

Sera told The Post: “I moved back to the Ministry of Interior because of some problems.”

O’Raing district governor Seak Mony was asked to provide more education.

Poeb Pe, Sre Preah commune chief in Keo Seima district, Thvan Trel, Sen Monorom commune chief in O’Raing district, and But Sam El, Sre Khtum commune chief in Keo Seima district, were requested by the Ministry of Interior to impose greater disciplinary action under the law on commune administration.

According to Sar Kheng’s letter, names of other officials have been sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen to review.

Kroeung Tola, a forestry activist in Mondulkiri, insisted to change some senior official of the Mondulkiri provincial administration. He claims that when senior provincial officials have a bad reputation related to such crimes, the people will no longer support them and the leadership will be ineffective.

“Deforestation and encroachment on state land in Mondulkiri province could not have taken place without the involvement of the provincial leadership. If we leave officials to continue to do so they will not be able to change their habits. Therefore, only change can preserve the forest and natural resources in Mondulkiri province,” Tola said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants